There are a number of things that have surprised me about adulthood, but the most unexpected has been the lingering suspicion that I totally suck at it. Surely other adults, particularly fellow parents, don't experience that niggling feeling that they are mere impostors? Sure, we manage to keep our household running smoothly and our kids don't seem to be turning out to be a-holes-in-training, but sometimes, I feel that I've severely missed the mark. When I look back at my first models of adulthood -- my parents -- I feel confident that they did a hell of a lot better than I'm doing. In fact, it's quite possible that I could be considered an actual failure as an adult. I've broken down my incompetence as follows:
Top 10 Reasons I Am a Failure as an Adult
- I rarely dust, and when I do, I do a half-assed job. I don't move stuff around, I just dust what's visible so that when my parents visit, it looks like I dusted.
- I don't change my sheets often enough (or my children's, for that matter). Gross, I know.
- There is a pile of boxed food from Costco sitting on the dining room floor at all times. It's not in the pantry because we don't have one. Someday we'll have someone build us one, but right now we're too tired and don't give a sh*t.
- I don't plan out different, nutritious snacks for my kids to eat in the afternoon. In fact, I usually forget to feed them any snacks at all, until my 7-year-old asks me if she can have a granola bar. Then I tell her to go get one from the Costco box on the floor of the dining room.
- I can't change a tire. I am utterly inept at spatial skills and mechanical reasoning, which has nothing to do with my age or maturity, so I kind of don't care about this one.
- I don't wash my windows. Hardly ever. Ditto for bathroom mirrors.
- I don't have any curtains. Don't real grown-ups have curtains, even cheap ones purchased from Kmart or a thrift store? We just have the blinds that came with our house.
- I don't clean out the leftovers in the fridge nearly often enough. Which is likely due to a bigger problem, the fact that I don't eat said leftovers in a timely fashion, thereby wasting food.
- I often forget to clip my children's fingernails and toenails promptly.
- I never remember to clean the oven. Or the microwave.
When I look back on the efficient, well-oiled machine that was my childhood household, I don't remember as much chaos, scrambling and disorder. Was at least one person sick all the freaking time, the way it is in my family? (Don't you dare blame our persistent colds on our streaked windows or soup-splattered microwave.) Were swear words uttered and too many TV shows viewed? I don't believe my brother or I ever had fingernails (or toenails) that would've been considered an unfair advantage in The Hunger Games.
Have my husband and I totally failed at adulthood? Is there some sort of remedial class we need to take? During the most hectic of mornings, when my house looks like it threw itself up and we haven't had a good night's sleep in days, I often beat myself up for not having it all together. I might have been patting myself on the back for not having missed the school bus, but then I remember that I haven't cleaned that tile area behind the kitchen faucet... ever.
But maybe when my brother and I were little, our bedroom floors were littered with puzzle pieces and Happy Meal toy parts. Maybe we'd eaten hot dogs three times already in one week. Maybe the kitchen trash was overflowing. And perhaps 20 years from now, my children won't remember the fact that the bathtub toys were never put away. Perhaps they'll have forgotten the kitchen chair backs that were constantly streaked with squeezy-yogurt. I hope they remember the snuggling, the laughing and the "I love you so much"s instead.
Toddlers who constantly demand ""look at me!" are most likely to become better collaborators and learners when they're older, a study published in the journal Child Development found. Author Marie-Pierre Gosselin said that, "Toddlers whose parents have consistently responded positively to their attention-seeking expect interactions to be fulfilling. As a result, they're eager to collaborate with their parents' attempts to socialize them."
Researchers studied the behavior and brain scan images of kids while they played with others, were given rewards and prompted to share with their playmates. The findings revealed that, "even though young children understood how sharing benefited the other child, they were unable to resist the temptation to make the 'selfish' decision to keep much of the reward for themselves." But thankfully, as a child's brain matures, so will the child. "Brain scans revealed a region that matures along with children's greater ability to make less selfish decisions," the study found.
Children who snore or have sleep apnoea are more likely to be hyperactive by the age of 7. Researcher, Dr. Karen Bonuck said a toddler's "sleep problems could be harming the developing brain."
According to Ewen MacDonald of the Technical University of Denmark, adults monitor their voices so that the sound reflects what is intended. But, "2-year-olds do not monitor their auditory feedback like adults do, suggesting they are using a different strategy to control speech production," he said.
Researchers found that depriving toddlers of a daily nap led to "more anxiety, lower levels of joy and interest, and reduced problem-solving abilities." Kids in the focus group who missed naps were not able to "take full advantage of exciting and interesting experiences and to adapt to new frustrations."
Two-year-olds in a focus group "were more likely to copy an action when they saw it repeated by three other toddlers than if they saw an action repeated by just one other toddler," a study published in the journal Current Biology found.
In a recent Slate article, Nicholas Day illustrated a timeline of what scientists have learned about toddlers' memories over the last few decades. Before the 80s, it was believed that babies and young toddlers lived in the present with no memory of the past. Twenty years ago, however, a study found that 3-year-olds could recount memories of Disney World 18 months after they visited. And recently, research noted a "27-month-old child who'd seen a 'magic shrinking machine' remembered the experience some six years later."
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