The Sticky Files - Marisca Bakker

Raising teens v. toddlers: Perhaps the latter are simpler

Marisca realizes in the chaos of toddlerhood, it’s easier to deal with than the teenage stage

The other day my girls, aged four and seven, were fighting over the same coloured bath towel after their tubby time. Both towels were actually blue, they were arguing over which shade of blue to use.

I’m sure it had nothing to do with the hue and everything to do with just wanting what the other one had. I paused for a minute in the chaos and thought I can’t wait until they are a little older and don’t care about the colour of a towel. I never want time to go faster but maybe I’m ready for the next stage of parenting.

And then I suddenly remembered an incident that happened a couple of months ago that shook me back to reality.

It was late at night. My husband was gone and I was home alone with my young daughters. There was a knock at my door, which jarred me awake. My heart started racing. I thought I could just ignore it and whoever was there would just go away.

But the knocking continued and got louder. I put my brave face (and my pants) on and went to the door. I looked through the window first and saw a small woman standing there so I felt if need be, I could probably take her, so I opened the door.

She had a panicked look on her face and asked where Sarah* was. I had no idea who Sarah was and assumed she had the wrong house and she’d be on her way. That was not the case.

“I know she is here somewhere,” she demanded. “Where is she?” Again, I told her I didn’t know Sarah and I tried to close the door, she put her hand out to stop the door from closing. My heart started beating even faster. I told her she had the wrong house.

She held out her phone for me to see. “Look, my daughter’s phone pinged here last and now I can’t find her. Her phone is going straight to voicemail. I need to find her.”

Her eyes started to swell with tears. My racing heart immediately sank. As a mother to three girls, I grew worried with her. She explained that her daughter had met someone on a dating app and he picked her up earlier in the evening and now it was midnight and she couldn’t get a hold of her.

My brain was still a bit foggy from being sound asleep a couple of minutes earlier but I started to connect the dots and remembered my friend had told me he was going on a date tonight. He had stopped by to pick up something up from me, but I wasn’t home and I forgot he had even been at my house.

He also told me he was going on a drive with his new date and would likely not have cell service. I tried calling him but of course it went straight to voicemail too. Sarah’s mother was still on my front porch. I explained that he was a good guy and that she didn’t have anything to worry about but that wasn’t enough for her.

She just stood there staring at me. I wanted to go back to bed so badly, it’s rare that my kids were all actually sleeping, I needed to take advantage of that. She asked me where they were and I had no idea. I tried calling mutual friends but no one had any idea.

I really couldn’t help, but Sarah’s mother wasn’t leaving until she had found her daughter. I gave her my friend’s number and reassured her that he was a good guy. She finally left. I felt for her. (But I also really wanted to go back to bed.)

Maybe in the moments of trying to reason with a toddler or finding the different lids to all the different sippy cups we somehow have accumulated, I forget that these are the simpler times.

I would rather break up a fight over a towel than have to deal with my daughters dating or using whatever new dating app comes out in the next ten to 20 years.

And for my friend’s date? It was a first and a last one. I didn’t ask any questions, I had been too much a part of that bad first date anyway.

*Name was changed to protect privacy (and also because I can’t remember it).

ParentingSmithers