Other than the one sweet image of a toddler happily covered in birthday cake repeating through our Facebook feed, most of what we see of them before we have any of our own are stock images of clean and pressed cuties in pale washes of color going about their giggly business. THIS IS NOT REALITY. Toddlers are so thrilled about their newfound status as upright humans that they cannot help themselves but to run straight into grime and see the many wonderful ways to make it grow with their strangely dextrous widdle bitty fingers. They’re lucky their laughter is so addictive and their saucer eyes are so sparkly, otherwise they’d be in such big trouble. But they’re not. Because we’re defenseless against them—and too exhausted from cleaning up their messes. Not sure what it’s like? Here are 21 truths to get you started:
1. Toddlers have few goals. The first is to walk. The second is to put things in their mouth. The third is to do both of those things while spreading drool-soaked detritus everywhere they go.
2. Snacking is a full contact sport.
3. Meals are the Mom Olympics of stain prevention.
Related: 21 Things Every Mom Thinks While Cleaning the House
4. The messes can appear in impressively high locations, considering that the ones who put them there are the approximate height of a garden gnome.
5. Tiny hands can do terrible things with yogurt.
6. Potty training messes are not for the faint of heart.
7. The slowness with which a toddler will buckle herself into her carseat is in direct opposition to the speed with which she can completely destroy a room.
8. If he has touched it, remnants of it will be in his hair for days.
9. A single blueberry is more dangerous in a toddler’s possession than pretty much anything.
10. The daintier she appears, the more startlingly savage she is with the contents of a toy box.
11. The fancier the outfit he has on, the dirtier the play he will commit to.
12. Vacuuming before a toddler playdate is the definition of insanity.
13. Toddlers mark their territory by walking with one moist hand against the wall until they’ve circled their home at least ten times over.
14. They always include DNA samples.
15. The bigger the claim of innocence, the more disastrous a mess you are about to discover in her wake.
Related: 21 Things Every Mom Knows to Be True About Her Kids’ Bathroom
16. No matter how annoying the mess on your kid’s face is, you will still find it too adorable to not take a quick picture.
17. They will be sticky.
18. They will smell faintly of milk.
19. They can cause hundreds of dollars of damage to a toilet with a superhero toy and one flush.
20. Nothing is safe. Not the walls, floors, pets, ceilings, cars, televisions, toys, writing utensils, or clothes.
21. No, not even random passer-bys.
More Mom Truths:
- 17 Reasons Why You Deserve to Pee Alone
- What Kids Say vs. What Kids Mean
- Common Household Items Toddlers Wear Instead of Clothes