Toddler, the New Psycho

by Janelle Hanchett

Do you ever look at your toddler and think to yourself “Clearly, this child is insane.”?

Like she’s nuts. Crazy. Bonkers. LOST IT.

Like somewhere between 14 months and 2.5 years, some critical brain component just shut right down and now, well, now you’ve just got the leftover nutcase.

You know what the worst part of my insane toddler is? I used to think insane toddlers were the result of bad parenting, since my first two toddlers were all calm and easy-going and NOT LAUNCHING THEMSELVES OUT OF THEIR CRIBS at 5am, after removing all of their clothes and diaper and squealing “MAMA! You gotta get up! I pooped!”

And only one of those things is actually true. I have to get up. That’s true. But you didn’t just poop. That’s a lie, Georgia.

The thing is, the kid lies all the time. She tells everybody she’s five. And a boy. She’s a five-year-old BOY. Ask her. Try to argue with her.

But that’s cute, right? Of course it is. Well, “of course it is” unless you’re one of those weirdos who can’t get behind some good old-fashioned gender-bending. And of course that’s the person who says to your daughter “You’re a big girl!” to which the girl scowls and declares “I’m a big BOYl!!” and the anti-gender-bender looks at you like you’re some sort of child abuser and you’re like “Look, dude, I didn’t do it.”

She decided she was a five-year-old boy and now she demands to be dressed in monster-truck, car and airplane shirts, but she calls them her “princess shirts.”

Dude, WHAT?

So, yeah. Our 5-year-old princess boy in a monster truck shirt is cute as hell, but really, really freaking annoying sometimes and, as far as I can tell, insane. I’m pretty sure the kid has paranoid delusions. She’s sitting there playing with her toys. Rocket sits down like 2 feet away playing with HIS toys. She gives him a sly glance, all suspicious and shit, trying to size him up to determine what sort of threat he poses to her general well-being.

Suddenly she launches herself at him: “That’s MY TOY!!!!!”

And he’s like “Wait. What just happened? Why is this blonde psycho coming at my head?” but it’s too late because she’s decided he’s out to get her and there’s no turning back and one must defend oneself against the threats of elder siblings, so clearly the only thing to do is wail and scream and flip the fuck out because there’s this boy and he’s IN MY SPACE and those are MY TOYS and if he DOESN’T MOVE I’M GOING TO DIE.

Or let’s talk about food.

Me: “Georgie. Here are some grapes for you.”

G: “I want my OWN!!!!”

Me: “These are your own.”

G: “Noooooooooooooo! I want my own.”

Me, not feeling like fighting: “Okay, whatever dude.” And, making her a new bowl of grapes: “Here.” Then I give the first bowl to Rocket.

G sees this, runs to him: “Those are MY GRAPES!!!”

Me: “No, these are yours. You wanted a new bowl.”

G: “HE TOOK MY GRAPES! Those are my grapes!!! Rocket took my grapes!!”

And then, chucking herself on the ground, a 20-minute tantrum ensues, while the rest of the family looks on in utter disbelief, and you remember why you can’t ever, EVER cater to two-year-olds. But my lord, both options just suck SO BAD, and often result in the same damn outcome.

Option 1: Do not cater to toddler’s demands. Endure tantrum.

Option 2: Cater to toddler’s demands. Endure tantrum. Raise horrible child.

So I guess Option 1 is better, but seriously people. That kid cried so hard this morning over a piece of fucking toast that she made herself vomit. And I’m all “Use your words. I’ll discuss this with you when you calm down.” And she just keeps on screaming.

On and on and on. And I’m not sure I can take it. So I put her in her room and ignore her for 15 minutes, reminding myself that if you don’t acknowledge the tantrums, eventually they’ll stop. OR WHATEVER THE FUCK. The best part is that if you read parenting articles on tantrums, they’ll give you all sorts of “helpful tactics,” but in the moment, it’s all I can do not to launch myself into oncoming traffic.

The kid flips like a switch. One second she’s fine, the next second she’ morphed into a flailing ball of squealing crazy and you’re like “My goodness it sure is fun being a mother.” I sure wish I could have like nine more kids.

Seriously. Sometimes this shit ain’t fun. It’s not even amusing. It’s not even vaguely interesting.

And toddlers are fucking insane.

It’s amazing mothers don’t emerge from this gig with PTSD. Seriously. How do we survive this nonsense?

Well, I guess this crap helps…for a minute, at least…I mean she’s wearing a MASK and CAPE.

Clearly, I’m powerless.

my little boy princess superhero

my little boy princess superhero



  • Lisa

    All I can say is, amen. Mine is almost three and although she is not convinced SHE is a boy, lord help me if I get the gender of one of her TOYS wrong. this morning she growled at me, truly GROWLED, because I called the plastic spider a “little guy.” The spider was thrown across the room and she fell on the floor. Apparently that particular spider is female. Sheesh. And I cater to the little one sometimes too I mean shit, how can you NOT when you just want to sit down and eat your own bowl of grapes? Hang in there.

  • Kathy G

    I swear to god this is why I stopped at one child. Tempting fate was for my teenage years.

  • Chelsey

    Holy fuck i love this shit lol im a mom of 4 – 2 step sons one is adhd and then my son who is autistic and a 18mnth old girl so this shit your whole blog is just amazing imma read this shit all the time lol lmao thank you for letting me know im not the only one who wants to be thrown into on comming traffic , lets hope their all semis cause i want to make sure theres no saving me lol

  • Heather

    I think all mother’s do end up with PTSD! Even if you think you don’t have it…trust me, you do! Along with PTSD, we end up with panic disorder, some form of OCD, a little tourette’s, and always Bi-polar! 😉 But honestly since I had my kids, most of my brain is gone..just not there anymore. This is what they do to us. It usually starts around toddlerhood and continues on through teen years, and only when they become a parent themselves do we get our paybacks! And obviously georgie’s superpowers of cuteness especially with the mask and cape is just unfair…

    • Kate C

      This is totally what I was going to say! Parenthood leaves all kinds of psychological scars. My mom used to tell me “Having a baby isn’t bad. At least, nobody remembers the bad parts.” And I’m thinking… isn’t memory suppression a classic response to trauma?

      • Heather

        hahaha…Yes, memory suppression is all part of the “JOY” of having these sweet little munchkins! 😉

  • Dawn

    This is why I love your writing. Any mother who does not admit to the fact that parenting SUCKS sometimes is dillusional. And all that parenting advice…yeeeah…I’d LOVE to see super nanny or some other pompous victim…I mean expert have a go at my youngest. My five year old boy could be Georgie…word for word, this whole story. True, he’s older, and he doesn’t think he’s a girl…we haven’t quite figured out what he thinks he is..all we know is that he hisses at us…hisses…and does the exact opposite of what we want him to do or not do, depends. It’s like a five year long tantrum that he never gets sick of, and never really improves. Strong willed, yeah, that’s it. But he’s cute.

  • Candice Garrett

    I love this article! It is AMAZING. My daughter turned two last month and I feel your pain. Have you ever watched Dexter? You sound like Deborah Morgan. That’s a compliment btw!

  • Kristin P

    Sounds about right 🙁

  • Melissa

    I consider giving my 3 yr old son away at least once a day. Sometimes, when we’re out somewhere, I actually try. Not that I really would, but, it’s somehow freeing to imagine him disappearing, even just for an hour! And, I think age 3 has been worse than 2, he exerts his ridiculously strong will waaaaayyyyy more than ever before.
    Everything he says is defiant. He actually has spit in my face before, hitting, kicking me. He also flicks his baby brother in the eye, tries to steamroll him, pinch him, kick him, pull his hair… Baby brother is 8 months old. But then, he’ll come up and say,”mom! I just want to hug you!” And I melt. Damn kid!

  • Natalie

    That’s why they call them the “threenagers” god help us when they are 14!!!

  • Bianca

    Oh man, this is so my life. Except I have 2 toddlers. My 3 year old girl insists that she’s a big boy. I correct her every once in a while, but usually I just say, “Uh huh, that’s right honey. Now be a big boy and eat your peas.” And 2 year Emet, of course wanting to be everything his sister is, insists he’s a girl. He’s pretty equal opportunity when it comes to the girly stuff vs. the manly stuff, though. Loves his brown Ugg-style boots with the rainbow butterflies on them, which I let him rock cause WTF? Boys can be into caterpillars but not butterflies?? I basically try not to distinguish between any “boy stuff” and “girl stuff” anymore, and just let them wear/play with whatever they’re drawn to as long as it’s not likely to kill them.

    And yeah, all those tantrums can get to you. Nothing like having a toddler shriek in your face for 5 minutes to drag you out of that good mood you’ve been in all day!

  • meagan

    I just flew all the way across the country on a plane with my two yr old, and PTSD is most def a real thing! I hope i remember why my nerves are shot when I’m older.

  • lisaeggs

    Oh I love you, I love you, I love you!!! Favorite line: “unless you’re one of those weirdos who can’t get behind some good old fashioned gender-bending”. Life is better over here. I’ve been off the Soule-sauce for about 3 weeks now. I have no idea what she’s knitting or how her chickens are doing, I’m all set, no disrespect to the gal, but I had to get real. Your kids are a riot and they’re all so cute. You are a really good mama, a really good writer, and I no longer care if it sounds like ass-kissing, I am loving my visits to your world! Thanks for all of it. xoxo

  • Brina

    OMG! This is my son. Through and through. Everything is his. And he is not a boy. He is not a girl. He is not 3. He is just Vinny. That’s all he is. Nothing else is him!

  • C Smith

    I have a psycho at my house too. My girl often throws herself down at the bottom of the stairs because she wants me to “up” her, and then she screams bloody murder as I carry her up, because she wants to walk. She’s nuts. She also throws things at us if we contradict her fantasies about being a dog, a baby, a princess, whatever.

  • Tracey aka KidLit!

    Dude, you just described Libby, my 2 1/2 year old almost perfectly. Ok, not the 5 year old boy stuff. She is 100% crazy ass Amelda Marcos like girly Diva!! I totally get the disbelief too. My first two were sweet toddlers and any tantrums were small and easily squelshed. This one has her own fucking agenda.

    PTSD= Psycho Toddler Stress Disorder!

  • Ally

    This is the funniest post I’ve read all week. Seriously. Even though I completely realize there is nothing remotely funny in the heat of a toddler tantrum. And you know the people who find this the funniest (like me) are nodding their heads in total understanding, because they’ve raised, or are raising, their own version of the toddler alien with the shut down brain component.

  • Kendra

    Yeah – my 3.5 year old boy says he’s a 7 year old girl…
    And corrects me every time I call him ‘big brother’ – “sister, mama!”
    The other day he actually said, “I don’t want to always have to remind you”

  • Jessica Butler

    Wine. Wine is how we survive.

    P.S. I love your writing.

  • Kyndale

    Either she’s getting sick or she has gluten intolerance. That’s my take on it.

    • Heather

      or she’s just a regular toddler….

  • Danie'

    That’s my two year old….I’m beyond the point of convicted that he’s insane….but he’s so dang cute. So I forgive I’m for moments of temporary insanity, at least we’ve got him to stop head butting things when he’s mad. He’s a whole lot differnt then our first was, she was pretty tame and easy to please….he’s a pain the ass like his dad lol.

  • Carrie

    When my 2 yr old was one, she was convinced she was ten (you just had to ask her). Now that she turned 2 she’s not sure if she is still ten, or if she is now seven…I figure at this rate, by the time she’s three or so she’ll think she’s the right age. Cute, extremely cute. But not the tantrums. And never cater to 2 yr old demands…

  • Sheena

    Amen! I’m convinced my 2.5 year old is trying to give him self brain damage. Like its his goal in life. I caught him literally trying to climb onto an old rickety ironing board. And then he got PISSED OFF when I pulled him off and told him he was going to fall on his head and then he ran back over to it and tried to climb it again. It took two of us to get the board put away, one to hold the toddler…

  • Bridgette

    You kill me. I literally spit coffee on my screen. Thank God they are cute. I must say that a million times a week. If they weren’t…yeah. it would be bad. And their instanity breeds and creates the most ridiculous conversations. “That’s my rock.” “That’s my peice of lint.” “He hurt my feelings. He said panda (stuffed animal) is a girl. HE IS NOT!!!” Crazy town.

  • Tina

    Ha! They’re mental at that age, aren’t they? My son is 3 and at the moment it’s like everything’s alive. He expects the carton of milk to talk back to him! I mean, the dog? Ok, I can live with that. A cuddly toy? Fair enough. But a fucking milk carton? Or the sun? Seriously, I will pretend to be the dog talking, but that’s too weird even for me. Kids. Weirdos, all of them…

  • Liz

    This post is just pure awesome. Thank you, I feel better now.

  • Natalie

    You are my hero

  • Cassie

    Working at a daycare I can totally relate and have been struggling to breathe through my laughter at this post. Let me tell you the tantrums are even more unbearable when the kid is in second grade. They’re in second grade and throwing themselves on the floor ON PURPOSE so they have a “reason” to be crying because I OBVIOUSLY didn’t see you magically trip over absolutely nothing (and before you ask, yes, there is a difference between tripping over air and faking it. This kid is faking it.) Parents come up to us all the time, “You know he’s crying right?” “No, sir, thank you for telling me! I had no idea because I couldn’t hear his screaming in my ear or the fact that I’ve already had 3 conversations with him today on his behavior. Here’s your kid who now has their homework done and owed me ten minutes of recess time for hitting another child.”

  • Rebekah C

    I’m so far behind on your posts and for that, I’m sorry. But I just love your blog so when I get a chance I scroll through and THIS ONE…omg, are you absolutely certain that you did not somehow transportmorph my 6year old to your house in toddler form? I have stories like that we could swap all day. Holy FUCK. She turned six yesterday and…well it does get better…sometimes, lol. Light of my life and all that (cap and mask and all) but hot damn is her little world a challenging one! Hang in there, Mama!

  • Margaret

    My G-d woman are you SPYING ON ME!???!?! We could probably switch out your daughter and my son and you wouldn’t know the difference. Today we had a tantrum because he wanted his ipod. While I was driving. It was in his lap. He didn’t care. He wanted me to hand it to him, going 65 MPH on the expressway from the front seat.

  • Becca

    I read this & instantly feel better that I’m not alone. I just had my second child & h a day my tubes tied afterwards because of my 2 1/2 year old son. He is insane & has meltdown after meltdown daily. I don’t know how I will survive this! His potty training has regressed and he refuses tof let us change him. He prefers to sit in shit or weAR nothing at all. Often it takes one of us to hold him down while the other puts his pull ups on. He cusses at both of us & his new sister. I know he is acting out because of the new baby, but wtf? When is this going to end? Among crying over a glass of juice to not being able to wear just his shoes & nothing else, I’m going to flip the fuck out.

  • Jessica

    I found this post googling “my toddler is completely insane”. Thank you, I feel less lonely.
    I’ve been at the verge of suicide three times today only.
    Than she comes to me, still sobbing: “M-m-m-om, k-k-k-kiss”.
    I forgot, her best performance today was for NO reason at all. She woke up in a bad mood. I tried to calm her down, hugged her, offered water, treats, distraction. Nothing.
    Within minutes she was screaming like in the painting of Munch and head butting me and hating the whole world. — Yes, done having kids here, too.

  • Spenser

    I know the Georgia of today is not the Georgia of 2013, but I just discovered your blog and am starting from the beginning.

    I’m laughing my ass off. I’m sympathetic, but I’m laughing my ass off.