There are certain milestones that every parent knows to look forward to: like the first time your baby rolls over, or takes those first few wobbly steps, or loses a tooth. And then there are the "surprise" milestones - the less-obvious ones that you kinda forgot to look forward to, but when they happen, they're awesome. Like when they learn to shower by themselves or tie their own shoes or take a dump without yelling, "Need help wi-piiiiiing!"
But for every milestone, every little bit of maturity that lightens your parental load, there's an anti-milestone: something they figure out how to do that you really wish they hadn't. (Like the time I tried to spell T-E-S-T-I-C-L-E-S, not realizing that my son could spell it, too.)
Anyway, in the world of anti-milestones, my two-year-old has recently reached an annoying double-whammy: he is able to open the refrigerator by himself and can open most any packaged food. And he practices these new-found skills as often as he possibly can.
Because two-year-olds are also learning to be sneaky, he's in there every time my back is turned. I go the bathroom; he's cramming cheese slices into his mouth as quickly as he can unwrap them. I run downstairs to switch the laundry from washer to dryer; he's ripping into a tube of yogurt like a ravenous lion at the throat of an antelope.
But it isn't limited to just trips to the fridge when Mommy isn't looking. If I open it myself, there he is, peeking in to see what he can get his grubby little fingers on. I swear he could be at the opposite end of the house, and he'll magically teleport to weasel his way in as I'm trying to close the refrigerator door. It only intensifies when the rest of my boys come home from school. Because what do they do? Head straight for the fridge. And we know if the fridge is open, the toddler is all up in it whether he's legitimately hungry or not.
It gets worse, though. When all the kids are home, and they spot their little brother with some ill-gotten goods, they're like, "We want (fill-in-the-blank) too!" So there goes four times the yogurt or mandarin oranges or string cheese or grapes or whatever.
The pinnacle of the snack insanity comes as I'm trying to cook dinner. I'm in and out of the fridge a bazillion times; therefore, so is the toddler. And consequently, his brothers. And since I'm trying to do something and don't have time to play Snack Monitor to four stealthy little boys, they end up noshing right before the meal ... which inevitably leads to, "But we're not hungry!" when it's actually time to eat.
As I write this blog post, my littlest sneak is lugging an economy-sized jar of peanut butter from the cabinet and rummaging in the drawer for a spoon. Clearly his territory is expanding to non-refrigerated goods. "Ope-it, pease!" he implores me with his most charming smile. Did I mention he just had breakfast?
At least none of them have figured out where I keep my stash of emergency chocolate.