Thursday, March 3, 2011

Enter: The Twid

It used to be simple, but long gone are those days, and now seems to be the time for dividing children into elaborately named age groups. From baby to toddler, and then it’s off to being an actual “kid” before morphing into the awkward and frustrating world teenagers.

The latest addition to the age division is the “tween,” an appropriately named stage that falls between being a kid and a teenager. The Tween of today is caught in a world of frustration, somewhere in a gray area where his or her body, brain, and emotions just aren’t quite sure where they should be. But Tweens have their own music and television genre, so it’s not all bad.

Being a parent of younger children, I couldn’t help but notice a similarity between the transitional stage of the Tween and the generally stressful life of a three year old. And so, it is with great pride that I coin my own new stage of life.

The Twid.

Not quite Toddler, not quite Kid, the Twid is the in between time when your brain and body might be in communication, but neither of them is in touch with the outside world.

The Twid evolves from the Toddler, a lovely small person who enjoys simple things like dinosaurs and dolls without names and clothes that cost more than mine do. Toddlers won’t eat a variety of foods, but their brains are still fuzzy and warm enough to not really know the difference. Parents can dress their Toddlers in whimsical clothes and take them out. If Toddlers have observations, they aren’t quite articulate enough to get them out.

All of this starts to change when the child becomes a full-blown Twid.

Twids are easy to spot. They exhibit some very specific characteristics, making them tug on your heartstrings and make your blood pressure rise all in the same breath. One of the most common characteristics is something called Dress Yourself Thursday (or Friday, or any other day of the week). Fashion is not a naturally occurring talent, and Twids are not yet ready to face that fact. They operate on the assumption that green is green and therefore matches anything green (or blue, rainbow, or hot pink) and if they can successfully put it on, it’s a great outfit. Look for Twids wearing Halloween costumes in the Spring, snow boots in the summer, and four layers of shorts and tank tops come Winter.

Twids are also exceptionally picky eaters, mostly because they have now become quite skilled in expressing how they feel about certain foods, and have the ability to keep expressing how they feel until the weary parent gives in.

Their decision-making skills don’t stop at clothes or food, they also project their newly formed and nonsensical opinions into every part of their day, because this is what their Twid brains are telling them to do. Confused and determined, the Twid has been known to call siblings such things as “big doo-doo head” and wave his or her hands with great expression saying things that make so sense whatsoever before storming off in a huff, only to return in thirty seconds and ask for a glass of milk.

They also use their ability to speak to make observations in public, pointing out every embarrassing flaw in you or anyone else you happen to meet. Proud of their thoughts and memory, Twids will gladly tell a stranger your worst habits and then point out that their eyebrows are reeeeeealllly big.

All of these traits leave the parents of a Twid wondering a few things. When will this stage of Twid end? When will this child understand reason and tact? Were the terrible two’s really that bad? And how could the Tween years be any worse than dragging a sobbing child who wanted candy for dinner out of a public place while wearing sparkly shoes, camouflage clothes, and a tutu?

Ask any parent who has survived raising a Twid and they’ll tell you that this too shall pass. And when it does, you’ll hold up that tiny tutu and smile, and a part of you will really miss those twerrible and tworturing days of Twid.

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