Lately, I've been noticing a lot of parents talking about their "easy" baby, toddler, kid. This child is a great night sleeper, doesn't fuss much, and loves eating butternut squash, tofu, and whatever else mama decides is on the menu. He loves helping his parents clean up, begs to take naps, and is just so sweet with his baby sister. According to his mother, he's a dream. And I'm calling bullsh*t.
While this newest collection of so-called "easy" kids seems to be popping up all around me, it's not the first time I noticed that everyone else's kids seemed to behave better than my own. When my daughter was born 4.5 years ago, it appeared that I was the only mom in the world who was seriously sleep deprived. While I was getting up every two hours with my little princess/devil child, then struggling through the day sporting dirty yoga pants and dirtier hair, some of my friends with kids the same age claimed to be bored by their newborn duties, and a few were definitely sporting fresh blow-outs. What was I doing wrong?
"When they tell you their kids are sleeping through the night," my own mom told an overly exhausted me, "they're lying." As a certified oversharer, I couldn't understand why anyone wouldn't want to share their misery, but I learned that's it's a pretty common phenomenon among moms.
Even I have been occasionally guilty, often claiming that my 19-month-old son is my "easy" child. Compared to his sister, who just yesterday, destroyed my favorite lipstick by turning herself into a clown, told me she was leaving forever because I wouldn't let her put an entire bottle of barbecue sauce on her plate, and cried for 15 minutes because I wouldn't let her dye her hair brown, he is. But my "easy" child? Yesterday, he poured an entire cup of milk down his shirt right after I got him dressed, pinched me so hard I teared up when I was putting him down for a nap, and screamed nonstop every time we were in the car. And today, he woke me up at 5 a.m. Nothing's easy about that.
Here would be my definition of an actually easy child:
- Starts sleeping through the night at, let's say, 3 months old and, save the occasional night, never stops. And, I define "through the night" as at least 10 hours, not five.
- Keeps great sleep schedule on vacations, at grandma's house, and while teething.
- Eats and drinks whatever you make them without major complaint.
- Throws minimal tantrums and only about valid issues (i.e. no barbecue sauce battles).
- Gets dressed without complaint and understands superhero outfits and princess dresses are for in-home use only.
- Potty trains in a week or two after you suggest it might be a good idea. Extra easy points if he does it all by himself.
That obviously isn't a definitive list, but unless your child fits most of the above criteria, I don't want to hear about how "easy" she is. And, come to think of it, if she does (not that I believe this child exists), I really don't want to hear about that either. I'm too busy cleaning the lipstick off my not-so-easy child's chin.