A few things must be noted before I go on.
1) I confess that this list is biased based upon some of my own recent frustrations.
2) This is not a complete list by any stretch. These are just a few little things which make the day to day round exponentially harder or easier depending on;
a) How many of the things on the list you are attempting to accomplish and,
b) How many small ones you have currently battling to learn any of the items listed.
The Top Three Things Which are Impossible to Teach Kids:
1. Putting on mittens. (This could also be on Top Three Most Frustrating Things to Teach Kids list)
Gloves are even worse. I have collapsed, close to tears on many a walking path in winter trying to get a glove on my baby/toddler/preschooler for the umpteenth time. You just get each tiny little finger lined up with each finger in the glove, and push…….the thumb never seems to make it! You’d think I’d have figured out a foolproof system for this, given the number of kids I have. But nope! No system here. I have no advice for new parents on this front. But I have become a master at cursing imperceptibly through pursed lips while putting on said gloves/mittens. I could offer excellent lessons in the art of that!
My big boys were five before this task became somewhat less painful. My youngest could do it when she was two years old. Yet, I did nothing different. They get it when they get it.
2. Blowing their nose.
This one is impossible to teach I have decided. I have tried demonstrating the in vs. out technique, prompted them to “blow out like an elephant,” which has obvious associated risks for the young observer, and even cued them to “Sniff like you are smelling a flower, and oops you sniffed up a bee! Now snort it out.” Nothing. They sniff it up or blow out with their mouths. (Although, how cute is that?) The snot battle wages on.
They just get it when they get it. One day, suddenly instead of wiping endless snot all over their faces and the backs of their hands, they are blowing it into a tissue.
3. Toilet training
Currently, I am sitting in my bathroom, barricading my little one in here with me and giving her the perceived “choice” of potty or toilet. I have told her we are not leaving until she makes a decent effort to be productive on either one. We have been here for 15 minutes and counting.
My second child was fully capable of toileting at 16 months. I’m serious. I did nothing special to achieve this. He was ready and so he did it. With this little monkey, I have bribed – no, ‘provided incentives’, from Dairy Milk Chocolate Buttons and Smarties, to coveted comfort items, etc. etc., but she is my most resistant yet. She has switched between the potty and toilet now 5 times, and nothing. Arrrgggh. So much for the whole “girls are easier than boys to toilet train” theory.
And yes, yes I have read THAT book with the title which promises your child will be trained in a weekend. Oh yes, and the other one which promises five days until certain victory. Got them all right here.
If there is anything that having kids teaches you, is that there is not one formula that works for every child, and that is isn’t always about you being an ineffective parent or not having availed yourself of the ample resources about any number of pressing parenting concerns which come with the turf. The more kids we have, the more I know this is an absolute truth.
Certain milestones are just difficult until suddenly, they aren’t. That is just the nature of these little beasts. And just when you think you have figured that one key thing out, and assume with oh-so-much confidence, that you will be ever-so-prepared for the next child you take through that particular stage of development, they play with your mind. That next child has no trouble with that particular skill, the same one you went to painstaking efforts to teach the previous kid. It will be a different task that they just won’t be able to do as easily as the other child.
Case in point: I am still with my daughter in the bathroom. We are now on minute twenty………
It’s a good thing I love chocolate buttons.