Chicago tweens are just like toddlers

The toddler years are legendary. Parents shudder at the thought of the terrible twos but comfort themselves with the thought that they will leave that behavior in the past and it will quickly become a distant memory.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there are many similarities between the toddler years and the tween years. Here are just a few of the surprising ways that tweens are like toddler, all of which I have witnessed in just the past week.


Surprised? Me, too. Or maybe other parents are just much better than I am at remembering the teething schedule. I thought it was just “every freaking day for years on end” when they’re really little, but no.

I had completely forgotten about 12 year molars. But they exist. They make their appearance during the tween years, and while there isn’t the wailing that comes from poor teething toddlers, it can be a little ouchy.

The other day, my tween was a little cranky and later said, “My mouth hurts.” Confused, I asked her to show me where. She opened up and pointed to the back of her mouth. On each side were two shiny new molars peeking through her gums.

I believe the technical term is “erupting” but it that word just doesn’t seem like something that should happen in a mouth. It’s also a bit over dramatic – this happens to pretty much every human being and certainly isn’t something of Mount Vesuvius proportion.


Earlier this week, my tween asked if she could take a nap after school before dinner. After I picked my jaw up from the floor, I told her yes. I really thought she was just looking to avoid me, but by God the kid went up, crawled into bed and napped.

When I checked on her, she was sleeping that good, hard sleep of toddlerhood; the kind where the afternoon light shining on your face and making you sweaty doesn’t disturb you in the least.

Growth spurts

Given the napping, I shouldn’t be shocked at the fact that my tween is in a growth spurt, but holy height, Batman, the kid’s getting tall.

We will all pause for a moment of silence when she becomes taller than I am, right? That will probably be in a few weeks. Sob.

Worse yet, I did not learn my lesson when my kid was a toddler. I got a winter coat on sale, buying a size up from this year thinking it would be great for next winter. My tween tried it on earlier this week and it fits quite nicely now. She’s been wearing it all week. Who doesn’t love a new winter coat in mid-March? I think I did the same thing when she was two. Maybe I’ll learn next year.

Inappropriate winter weather attire

I’ll never forget my toddler putting on snow boots and announcing she was going to play in the snow. She was wearing nothing else. Just the boots.

Thankfully that hasn’t been a problem this winter, nine years later, but it seems that some of her peers are still impervious to cold.

I have been baffled for months by the boys I saw this winter walking home from junior high wearing shorts when the temperature was in the single digits. Didn’t that hurt? I asked my tween to please explain this phenomenon. She looked at me and said, “Are you asking me to make sense of junior high boys?” She may just have a point.

It appears that history does repeat itself. Just like toddlers, tweens keep you guessing and on your toes.

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