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9 Toddler Habits That Drive Parents Absolutely Bonkers

#3 Their ability to hide goldfish crackers in every possible crevice

Toddlerhood is a wonderful and exciting time. It’s also, let’s face it, a wild time for all parties involved. Because toddlerhood, as we’ve said before, is a time of messy faces and messy emotions. Think about it: Toddlers are relishing a newfound freedom but are still coming to terms with the limits of what they can and cannot do. Plus, they’re still developing and have a (very) limited ability to explain what they’re experiencing. Are they adorable and hilarious? Absolutely. But they are also tiny, volatile things who, at any moment, might erupt in a tantrum, head butt you, or strip off all their clothes as though they were a drunken pledge. We asked a variety of dads to explain the most maddening habits of their toddlers. Here’s what they said.

Their Understanding of Time

“Here’s a regular interaction between me and my son.

“Mommy, mommy, mommy”
“You want mommy?”
“Yeah.”
“Okay she’ll come down in two minutes. Can you wait two minutes?”
“Yeah”

Four seconds goes by. Crying starts. I know he doesn’t grasp time but in the moment it’s never not frustrating. In retrospect, it is pretty adorable.”  — Kevin M., Chicago

That They Make a Mess Out of Everything

“At any given moment, our family room always look like a homemade grenade full of clothes and toys was recently detonated. I feel like I need one of those Hurt Locker suits.” — George L., Miami

Their Ability to Hide Goldfish Crackers in Every Possible Crevice

“Every week I walk through the grocery store knowing that a certain percentage of the food in our cart is going to end up on the floor this week. Or smooshed in the couch cushions. Or beneath the seats of the car. Especially the Goldfish crackers. I find those crumbs everywhere.” — Jason C., Raleigh, NC

Their Irrational Fury

“Trying to get my son to do something is like negotiating with a domestic terrorist who has limited vocabulary and no sense of rationality. Yes, he’s limited in his capacity to form arguments. But still.” — Franklin C., San Diego

When They Wake up at 2 a.m. and Are Ready For The Day

“There was a span of a couple of months where, every other night or so, my son would appear in our bedroom or I’d hear him rooting around and getting ready for school. Once he was up and I had to spend a good hour convincing him to wind down again. Sometimes, I’d just give up and make him breakfast like it was the morning and we’d just hang. I was exhausted but it was a blast.” — Brian S., Nyack NY

That They Always Have the Stickiest Hands 

“Anytime my daughter touches me, it’s like she always just finished going full Winnie the Pooh on a jar of honey. I could watch her every move and find nothing that could possibly be sticky. Then she touches me and her hands are like fly traps. It’s sort of funny, but it’s mostly gross. Is she just secreting tree sap or something?” — Colin R., New York, NY

The Repeating, The Repeating, The Repeating

“Like many parents, I’ll read the same 10-page book over and over and over and over and over. Yes, I know that repetition is important for kids to grasp the nuances of language and I do love bedtime with my daughter. But after so many readings, Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Did You See? becomes a specific version of hell. I think I blacked out the other night.” — Randy L, Los Angeles

The Desire to Strip Off Their Clothes

“I can’t tell you how many hectic mornings I turn around to see my toddler, who was a second ago fully dressed, stripped down to the diaper with a big smile on her face. She’s the cutest. But she’s also an agent of chaos, saying “Oh, you’re running late? This nude body and pile of clothes on the floor doesn’t care about your schedule.”  — Kyle R., Nashua, NH

That My Shirt Is Always a Napkin

“I am daddy, which means my shirt is up for grabs as the substitution for tissues, napkins, and anything else. It’s like, Oh, you want a hug? Nope, you just wanted to wipe that soggy patch of Goldfish from the corner of your mouth? Okay, cool. Haven’t worn an unstained shirt in months.” — Roger L., San Francisco