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How to Really Prepare for a Toddler

Photograph by Instagram/andreawadadavies

My daughter is now 18 months old, so I am getting into the thick of the toddler phase. And as much as I LOVE it, I’m also getting my ass kicked. Anyone who has or has had a toddler knows that the toddler phase is intense. In fact, it’s so intense that it may serve parents well to prepare for this stage in advance. Here are some tips for gearing up for the toddler phase.

RELATED: When Toddlers Attack

1. Start Training in Cross-Fit

You need to build strength, endurance, flexibility and discipline to meet the physical demands of enduring a toddler tantrum, picky eating, and the hellish nightmare that is the bedtime ritual (with “ritual” being loosely defined).

2. Master the Skill of Meditation

Practice finding peace amidst chaos, letting stress and negative energy flow through you leaving you unbothered, unscathed. Train yourself to not lose your shit over Caillou, that annoying Canadian cartoon character whose voice is clearly a lady in her early 40s named Deirdre.

3. Work on Your Will Power

Work on your ability to be immune to your toddler’s pleas to rescue her from the crib. Maybe even strengthen your will power and practice your conviction on a fluffy, big-eyed puppy. You must be able to avoid caving for cuteness. You must be able to withstand cries for help in the cutest damn voice you have ever heard. She will call your name, she will say “peez,” she will say peez and your name together. Then she will throw herself dramatically against the side of the crib or simply bang her head against the slats to appeal to your sympathetic side. She will pull out all the stops, and not easily back down. You need to prepare for hard core face-offs.

4. Train in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu

Or any other martial arts discipline which teaches you how to spar.

5. Prepare to be Able to Function in a Next to Comatose State

You must learn to be able to operate a vehicle, have coherent conversations, use knives and other sharp utensils with which to cook, and also be able to chase down and catch your daughter before she throws your favorite lip gloss in the toilet. And you must be capable of doing any and all of that being only half-lucid.

It’s so cute that you die.

6. Learn how to push a fully-loaded grocery cart throughout a grocery store with one hand while holding a lurching, spasmodic 30-pound human in the other arm while remembering to avoid the snacks aisle.

7. Prepare to Nearly Die From Cuteness

Toddlers are not just cute, they are friggin’ adorable. And sometimes when you see their chub cheeks and hear that cherubic giggle, it’s overwhelming. It’s so cute that you die. Like, you can’t go on living.

8. Polish Your Psychic Abilities

So that you can anticipate and dodge forceful head lunges to your face and sleep kicks to your neck.

9. Learn how to strap a child with a stiffly arched back into a car seat.

10. Learn How to Say “NO!”

Practice the word. Say it into the mirror. Become one with the word.

11. Get a Parrot

Get used to it mocking you and repeating everything you say. Become aware of how you occasionally speak like a gangster rapper using the “F” word way too much before you have it pointed out in a painfully jarring way when you hear your toddler say it.

12. Go to a Tony Robbins Seminar

Awaken the giant within. You need to believe that you can do it. Although walking on coals is NOTHING compared to getting a toddler to put on her shoes.

13. Listen to Tapes of Goats Being Slaughtered

Like the ones the FBI uses for torture methods. Condition yourself to hours of endless torture that is children’s music.

14. Buy Costco Supplies of Magic Eraser

At least one for every crayon in the box.

15. Practice Keeping Your Cool

Especially in front of strangers in a public place when your toddler drops your cell phone into your coffee or throws her cream cheese bagel into the lap of the man eating at the next table over.

16. Prepare for the Endorphin Surges

This will happen repeatedly when your toddler spontaneously kisses or hugs you and increasingly is able to show you love.

RELATED: Toddlers Are the Real Psychos

17. Upgrade Your Gigabytes on Your Phone

You know, to accommodate the thousands of photos and video that you will be taking. Your toddler will not be too cooperative to hold her “CHEEEESE” face while you delete photos to free up space.

18. Practice Laughing and Smiling a Lot

For as tiring as it is chasing a non-stop toddler around, seeing your little munchkin grow and play and whole-heartedly love you is a thousand times more rewarding.

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