I used to fear toddlers. Cranky, whiny, demanding, tantrum-throwing, mobile monsters. I listened in horror as a family member described how she had to stop visiting the grocery store. A friend refused to go to restaurants. Almost everything I read emphasized a similar outcome. Good-bye sweet baby, hello terror.
And, while there are obviously truths to the aforementioned generalizations, there’s also another side of toddlerhood I had no idea I’d love so much. Sure we’re only a couple months into this more communicative, mobile stage, and E has her fair share of fits that leave me wondering what the heck the terrible twos are going to look like, not to mention the perpetual disaster zone of a mess we call home, but she is also becoming the most amazing human being I’ve ever met and I expect most parents feel the same.
So, instead of giving you a list of why toddlers suck, I’m giving you a list of why they’re incredible. And, of course, every toddler develops at his or her own pace– I’m sure E is ahead in some aspects and behind in others, but that’s not the point of sharing all the cool things she’s doing. The point is people always share the hard parts of parenting, and less often the crazy wonderful parts that make the challenges worth overcoming.
Here’s a peek at what I love about toddler E:
Music moves her. Literally. She dances to her favorite beats on her keyboard, pausing frequently to press the button again to make sure her jam doesn’t stop playing. She dances in the middle of stores like no one is watching and expects me to do the same. Family dance parties are becoming a thing and I’m actually looking forward to taking her to a mommy and me dance class next week, (this coming from someone who has avoided choreographed dance for years due to an inability to remember what I’m supposed to do next).
Animals and “OUTSIDE!” are her other favorite things. She loves learning new animal sounds and thinks kitty kitties are the most magical creatures in existence, (again, this coming from a child whose parents prefer dogs). She points out the eyes on everything and wants to smell all the flowers. Paintbrushes and canvases call her name and her artwork is oddly appealing (yes, it already decorates my fridge). Suddenly her vocabulary includes abstract words like “cool” and “good”, (although she still calls me “this” instead of “mom,” go figure).
In short, she’s her own little person and I’m in awe of just about everything she does. While the first couple months of toddlerdom have been by no means easy, (and restaurants and grocery stores are definitely not my favorite places to visit anymore), exploring the world with her expanding ability to move and communicate is pretty amazing. So for those of you still on the fence about parenthood, the next time someone complains about their toddler, remember there is probably a lot more they assume you’re not so interested in hearing about but makes it all totally worth it.
And, if you catch me complaining about toddlers in the next couple years, as I’m sure I’m apt to do, remind me to go back and reread my own words. Getting to know E is like being reunited with someone I didn’t know I’ve loved so intensely all these years. Pretty darn cool. Or, as she’d say, “good, good, cool, cool.”
3 thoughts on “A Secret No One Tells You: Toddlers Are Amazing”
I know I told you this because it’s what I tell all new parents to be … parenting is the single most difficult, exhausting, frustrating thing you’ll ever do. And it is all totally and completely worth it. Your little girl is now at the age where you will experience more of that dual existence than at any other time. And it will stretch for years now. The beauty and growth that she will show you, accompanied by the frustrations, will just continue to knock your socks off. But, every day, every single day, she will do something — it may be as simple as a smile or a giggle, or a hug — that will take away all of the other stuff. Enjoy it. The incredibleness of the past few months is just the tip of the iceberg of what is to come. I guarantee it.
I’ve even had a moment with my oldest, who is now 20, that gave me warm fuzzies. He and I have had some difficulties over the past few years. I can safely say that there has been a lot more dislike than like, or even love, passed between the two of us for the last three or four years. A year or two ago, I asked him a couple of times if he could at least accept or understand that what I was saying and doing I said and did because of my love for him and my belief in what I thought was best for him. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t even wrap his head around the idea that I still had his best interests at heart. That inability to get him to see that was probably my lowest moment as a parent. Finally, in the last couple of months, he has turned the corner and twice told me that he gets it now and he’s willing to accept and understand my motivation. The first time he said it I cried. We’ve started to repair things over the past few months and I hope to get back to that place where, even though things aren’t perfect, we have some shared experiences that make the difficult ones more easy to bear.
Enjoy the explosion of great things that are coming your way.
Yes, your words have stuck with me! I’m so happy to hear you’ve made progress with your son, that’s really promising. Teenagers are definitely scarier than toddlers 😉 But, I’m sure they’re also pretty cool in a lot of ways!
This is the sweetest post! Makes my heart do a little dance with you two <3. And definitely makes me lean on the parenting side of the fence ;).