I often get asked about the age gap between my children. My first is now 19 and living out of home currently. He’s been back and forth a few times in the last year. The difference between oldest and youngest is 18 years. Between the two boys – 16 years.
At the risk of scaring the day lights out of people, parenting a teen is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Babies, and even toddlers, are a breeze in comparison. But when asked this week about the differences I realised there are actually more similarities, and compiled a list.
1. Both like bottles. Ideally, your toddler does not have a milk bottle at almost 3, but mine still has two a day. His brother likes bottles too, only they’re of the alcoholic variety.
2. Both are difficult to communicate with. One can’t talk very well, and the other refuses to talk. Both grunt a lot.
3. Both give you sleepless nights. The younger still wakes, the older you worry about when they are out at night. One wakes at 6am, the other comes home then.
4. Both are messy unless you train them well, and I didn’t. Train your children. They don’t one day suddenly get it on their own.
5. Both are obsessed with cars. One with toy cars, the other with getting his license and owning his own, or driving yours.
6. Both have their own language. The toddler makes up words himself and the teen uses words that don’t make sense. A “rig” is a good-looking girl, and “that’s fully sick mum” doesn’t mean you’re coming down with the flu.
7. Both of them love mobile phones. One to watch peppa pig, the other can’t be without one but doesn’t use it to call, only text messages you often can’t decipher like “I lv u mum can I have sum coin” The 5 cents in your purse isn’t what they’re after.
8. You spend your life wiping their backsides. One literally, one figuratively. If you think your problems are over when they leave home think again. Big kid = big problem.
9. Both are babies when they want to be, and big when they want to be. “I’m 19” is used when told you’re an adult start acting like it. The same sentence is used but in a different tone when you’re telling them not to go to the dodgy pub.
10. Both can still make you melt when they use the word “mummy” you spend your life wishing the toddler would get older, and wishing your teen would go back to being a toddler.
Good luck as they get older and may the force be with you. You’re going to need it.