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10 Things I Regret Saying to My Toddler

Photograph by Instagram

"Have no regrets,” they say. And don’t get me wrong, I support the general idea behind that saying. Don’t feel bad about decisions that you make. Yes, live for the moment, embrace your decisions—both those that led you farther down your path to greatness and those that led you down the walk of shame, with one shoe on and a massive hangover. But I believe that some decisions don’t help us get to our higher self. No, some decisions are stupid, and some we just shouldn’t have ever said—especially as parents to toddlers. Here are 10 things I’ve recently said to my toddler that I totally regret.

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1. OK, just 5 more minutes.

It’s universally known that toddlers always want more. Give them 5 more minutes to do anything, and they return your generosity with a massive meltdown and a kick in the shin, even after you had already stretched it to 10. “Just 5 more minutes” in Toddlerese translates to “Just wait 5 more minutes to do the freaking out you were going to do anyway.”

2. Sure, we can buy the Play-Doh kitchen set.

Play-Doh and Legos are the assholes of the Toy World. But, I went ahead and let Stella have the Play-Doh kitchen set anyway. Big mistake. It’s smashed in the carpet, smeared across her pants, in her shoe treads and tangled up in her hair. It causes me to rage (and immediately feel bad that I raged), makes me a worse mother and a worse person, and haunts me in my dreams.

3. OK, you can help mommy make cookies.

In essence, I said, “You can crack five eggs all over the counter and drop the rest on the floor, and then shove three little fistfuls of raw dough into your mouth, then run around for 45 minutes with a sugar high and then end the whole experience with a unrelenting bout of diarrhea.“

4. Have daddy get you dressed.

I regret telling my daughter to have her daddy dress her on the day we ended up running into some old family friends who took 50+ photos of her in her three-sizes-too-small “Jamaica Me Crazy” souvenir T-shirt and equally-too-small track pants. She looked like Mickey Rourke from "The Wrestler."

5. Anything that involves us laughing at the word “poop.”

Sure, going for the easy laughs seems enticing at first. And it starts out seemingly harmless with the “stinky feet” references while you pinch your nose. But then it always graduates to poop, butt and fart jokes. Or, at least it has in my house. And I have to admit, poop, butt and fart jokes are often really funny, even at my age, so I can understand why it is appealing to a toddler. But now it won’t stop. And even though I still laugh occasionally, yeah, I regret it.

6. Do you want to watch "Caillou"?

I despise the day I ever let that bald-headed, primary-color sweater wearing, annoyingly naïve, little ginger boy into my home. I can’t unwatch him. I can’t unhear him. And my toddler is crazy about him! He’s like the toddler Harry Styles. But instead of being British, he’s French-Canadian, and instead of having hair to die for, he has a weird, bald infant-looking head, and instead of oozing swag, he has a swag deficit. And now I’ve caught myself accusing Caillou, a children’s cartoon character, of having no swag. Regrets all around.

7. OK, one more story.

I ended up reading seven stories and a sales circular before I gave up and let her watch Beyoncé videos on the iPad.

You know in the movies, where the mom reads the entire bedtime story and then realizes when she ends the book that her sweet young child is fast asleep? She closes the book, pulls the covers up tight and gives a tender kiss on her angelic looking child’s forehead. Well, that scene is bullshit, my friends. Because in my house, it’s never just one more story, it’s never even two more stories that helps them settle into their bed and decide to quietly close their eyes and sleep. Nope, one night in an effort to read my toddler to sleep, I ended up reading seven stories and a sales circular before I gave up and let her watch Beyoncé videos on the iPad. Nope, our bedtime story ends like this: a toddler crying so long and hard about not getting one more f’ing story that she gets a bloody nose and then throws up. Sweet dreams, everyone.

8. Because our neighbor lady is mean like Ursula.

Why did I say this to my toddler in response to her question, “Why do you have a mad face, mommy?” Because now I am scared as hell to be at the mailbox or in our driveway at the same time our neighbor is in hers—or anywhere near the lady who my daughter will now no doubt point at and call Ursula the next time we see her.

9. It’s in my makeup drawer.

First rule of parenting: Never talk about the makeup drawer. As long as they don’t know where to find my lipsticks and glosses and eye shadows, they won’t use them to draw “Olaf eating sandmiches” on my computer screen or on their foreheads or anywhere else with a surface area.

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10. Should we see what these Disney Egg Surprises are all about?

I have to be honest with you. I ain’t mad at you, Disney Egg Surprise lady, you are pulling in an ungodly amount of money for simply breaking chocolate eggs and naming what’s inside with your hypnotic (and super weird) voice inflections. But after just one video, my daughter threw tantrums to see more. And we gave in. And we kept giving in. And after hearing and seeing you do this for three dozen times, we wanted to stab ourselves. And our world has become all about chocolate egg surprises. I wish we would have never known about you, weird voice-inflection, millionaire egg lady.

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