It's time for another installment of ways tweens are like toddlers and vice versa. The similarities between the age groups are numerous and while yes, parenting gets easier as they become more self-sufficient, there are tweens bring challenges that can give a parent a sense of deja vu.
1. Bedtime brings sweet, sweet relief.
The overwhelming, palpable sense of relief I felt as I collapsed on the couch last night, basking in the sweet knowledge that my tween was tucked in bed and sleeping soundly last night transported me back to the toddler days.
While it's not every night like it was back then, there are still days when I feel like my tween has depleted me and by that, I mean suck every ounce of energy out of my body so that I feel like a limp dishrag, both emotionally and physically.
With toddlers, it was the literally chasing after them; with tweens, it's the busy schedule, including the early morning student council meetings before school and the math homework that takes far longer than it should, pushing bedtime back for all.
2. Both tweens and toddlers know when to turn on the cute.
Toddlers and tweens are aware of lines and boundaries. They sometimes run up to them and cautiously stick a toe over them. Other times, they run headlong with abandon right past them. Regardless of the circumstance, both toddlers and tweens are pretty aware when they've gone too far and they know how to turn on the charm to extricate themselves from some tricky situations. They're wily and will shamelessly use a cute smile and/or eye twinkle to try to get out of trouble.
On a less devious note, both age groups have an uncanny knack for displaying an unexpected sweetness when you as a parent least expect it and most need it.
3. They eat. A lot.
Dinner has not resulted in a lot of leftovers around here lately. As a toddler, my child would eat a green pepper like it was an apple and the zeal and relish that she displayed consuming prime rib at the age of two is still discussed by those who witnessed the shameless carniverous display.
Tweens are growing at a crazy fast rate, the speed of which is rivaled only by the growth rate in infancy. Hello, child looking for food to fuel a growth spurt, or several. That said, toddlers and tweens can also go through stages where it feels as if they eat next to nothing and are surviving on air. Fear not, parents. The tide will turn and when they are hungry, they'll eat. A lot.
4. Sitting still can sometimes be impossible for tweens and toddlers.
Toddlers are known for their constant motion. While it seems that tweens should have mastered the ability and self-control to sit still, that's not always the case. Many, many tween parents have been driven up the wall by a tween in perpetual motion, even if it's just fidgeting. Turns out there's a scientific reason for that. Tweens' bones are growing faster than muscles, and that biological factor makes it very hard for tweens to sit still, as explained by Linda Perlstein in her book, Not Much Just Chillin': The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers. Perlstein refers to the "terrible 12's" and finds them to be quite similar to the "terrible 2's."
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