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5 Ways Toddlers Test Our Love

Photograph by Twenty20

I was recently walking through the airport with my daughter when I placed my hand lightly on her shoulder, hoping simply to guide her forward so that we could get home sometime before the next century.

"Don't push me!" She screamed only seconds later. I stopped and looked at her, baffled as she screamed it again. "Stop pushing me, Mommy."

Strangers were watching us now, giving me that look—the one that said they knew one of two scenarios was going on here: either I was pushing my small child, or my small child was being a brat. Neither option made me look all that good.

And in that moment, I realized … my toddler is jerk.

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The "Don't push me" line has been repeated a handful of times since, along with "don't hit me," which is actually so much worse. I feel like it bears mentioning that I have never pushed or hit my child. But that doesn't stop her from accusing me of such atrocities in public.

I'm learning through talking to other mothers, though, that toddlers are simply notorious for this kind of thing. They like to test their boundaries, often in public, perhaps as a way of seeing just how unconditional our love really is.

Here are a few of the ways toddlers will test your love, and testimonies from 14 mothers to back up just how common it really is.

The "Don't Push Me" Phenomenon

'Mommy, why did you let that man pull my pants down?'

It's good to know my kid is not the only one accusing me of abuse in public.

"My son was acting totally out of control in the DMV. I picked him up and told him I was going to take him into the bathroom to talk to him. As soon as I took one step toward the bathroom, he screamed (in the silence of the crowded DMV) 'DON'T BEAT ME!' I have never beaten him." — Michaela D.

"I took my 3-year-old to Target after getting her flu shot this year. As soon as we got into the store, she yelled out (while still crying from the shot), 'Mommy, why did you let that man pull my pants down?' I got some really judgy looks." — Eliz F.

"Our childcare provider called me a few days ago to tell me that my daughter told her, 'My daddy spanked my ass and punched me in the face.' Let me be clear, yes she said a potty word (I may be guilty for that.) But her father adores her and would never punch her in the face." — Dawn M.

The Gross-Out Factor

My toddler has stopped picking her nose and eating it. Which is awesome, because that was gross. Only now, she picks her nose and hands me the boogers. "Here, Mommy!" She beams. Meanwhile, all I can think is, "Great … just what I always wanted."

"Both my sons will lick my cheek instead of kiss it every now and again, despite my flipping out on them for doing it." — Sarah M.

The Potty Training Madness

The kid literally peed everywhere in the middle of a museum, like she had been saving it up all week just for that very moment.

My daughter has been potty trained for quite a while now, but only recently did I decide it was safe to leave the diaper bag at home. Of course, that first trip out without a spare set of clothes was the first time in months she had an accident. The kid literally peed everywhere in the middle of a museum, like she had been saving it up all week just for that very moment.

"My 4 year old will scream after she poops (even in public places) 'come wipe my butt!' If I ask her when she plans on learning to wipe her own butt she says, 'never, it's your job!' So that's fun…" — Christina H.

"My daughter is 2.5 and potty training and when daddy went to help her with the contents of the potty chair she screamed, 'Not YOU! Not you, Daddy!!!' I have the exclusive rights to all pee, poop and vomit in this house, apparently. No one is allowed to touch a full potty chair but me. I am so blessed." — Jill S.

The Moments That Make You Want to Hide

Far and away, these embarrassing parenting moments seemed to top the list of love-testing for most moms.

"When my oldest was just shy of his third birthday, we were shopping at Walmart. I put a box of tampons in the cart and continued shopping. That was when my son started yelling, 'I have coupons! Coupons for your butt!' I turned around just in time to see him throw about a dozen of his 'coupons' in the air. Needless to say, he had opened the tampons and they were now everywhere. Several people were cracking up while I was picking up 'coupons' and he kept screaming about the 'Coupons for your butt!'" — Tonia H.

"My Husband had a major back injury this summer and after surgery needed to sleep in our guest bedroom, which of course meant that my 3-year-old felt the need to tell everyone that daddy sleeps in his own bed, in his own room. Oy." — Kathryn H.

"My son used to yell loudly, and somewhat panicky, 'Mama! We can't forget Daddy's beer!!!' every time we were at the grocery store." — Ali N.

"Two of mine used to pull my shirts down in public. They were not breastfed. One time my son flashed my boobs to an elderly man in the bread aisle. He totally just stopped in his tracks and stared. Then we locked eyes. Very awkward!" — Kayla B.

"When I was 8 months pregnant my daughter, who was 2.5, would point out VERY LOUDLY everyone else who was pregnant … I'm pretty sure she was only right once." — Samantha P.

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The Jerk Moves

She proceeded to cry and scream because I put cheese on it.

And I swear, sometimes … they're just trying to be jerks.

"My 3-year-old threw a watermelon down the carpeted stairs. On purpose. He grabbed it off the counter while I was putting away the groceries, ran from me straight to the stairs, and chucked it down. It broke on the first bounce, then continued to break and bounce until it finally went SPLAT at the bottom. It took FOUR hours to clean!" — Renee E.

"My 2.5 year old daughter asked for a quesadilla. Then she proceeded to cry and scream because I put cheese on it." — Nonaki

"If I take a piece of food off of my daughter's plate she will shake her little finger in my face and say, 'No, ma'am!' I call her Joey from "Friends." Because 'Joey doesn't share food!' In true Joey fashion she will take food from my plate but I'm not allowed to do the same." — Tracey M.

So there you have it. Toddlers are forever testing our love. I suppose it's a good thing that love truly is unconditional, and that most of the time, we can laugh about it after the fact.

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