Most of the time, raising a toddler feels like running a marathon—so why don't you get a gold medal at the end of the day?

By Jacqueline Burt Cote

Let's face it, parents of toddlers: You don't get nearly enough credit for all the little things you do (and the tremendous amount of patience those little things require). In an ideal world, they'd give out awards to parents for the successful completion of daily tasks such as:

1. Cutting countless grapes in half. If only they weren't so slippery! (Also, is 50 grapes too many for a 2-year-old to eat in one sitting? Asking for a friend...)

2. Getting your toddler in the car seat...and out of the car seat...and in the car seat...and out of the car seat. And to think, people probably think you got those biceps from the gym!

3. Trimming your tot's nails without anyone getting hurt. Sometimes you do it ninja-style while he's sleeping, sometimes you distract him with a little screen time so he doesn't notice what you're doing. Either way, it feels like you're completing this stealth grooming operation every day (how do his nails grow so fast?!).

4. Squeezing lukewarm water out of a mountainous pile of rubber bath toys. Because we all know what happens if you don't make sure rubber ducky and his pals aren't emptied out properly...and what happens is mold.

5. Searching every corner of the house for the wheel that fell off the yellow truck/shoe that fell off the doll/top of the sippy cup with the bears on it. Are there other trucks/dolls/sippy cups with all their parts available for your child's use? Yes, of course. But none of those are THE RIGHT ONE.

6. Deciphering your toddler's emphatic but unintelligible requests. You understand what he's talking about more often than not, but sometimes you're just plain stumped. He's screaming because he wants a...what? A horse? A house?? A hearse?!

7. Spending large portions of the day with your phone temporarily disabled. This is what you get for letting him play with that ABCs app while you tried to load the dishwasher!

8. Reading the same page of the same book several dozen times in several dozen different voices. It's sort of fun at first, sure, but, well, isn't this what TV is for?

9. Digging disgusting discarded bits of yesterday's dinner out of the high chair. The worst part is that for almost a full 24 hours, you actually believed that she ate those carrots.

10. Successfully navigating the small plastic toy minefield that was once your living room floor...without destroying your feet. You should probably also get an extra medal for putting all those toys back in their bin multiple times a day even though you know they're only going to end up back on the floor in minutes.



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