As a new mother, I can confidently say that the newborn stage is stressful. I, personally, had little-to-no idea what I was doing, was constantly afraid I was going to "break the baby," and was adjusting to a new life with a new, postpartum body. Still, now that my son is two and well into toddlerhood, there are moments when having a toddler will make you wish you had a newborn. I mean, sure, I like getting a great night's sleep and toddlers are fun, but they're also exhausting and often times irrational and, you know, a baby that's nothing more than a bump on the log can seem like a welcomed vacation.
My son is fun, don't get me wrong. I love watching him learn and grown and run and jump and, when his antics don't give me a heart attack, watching him gain more and more freedom and independence every single day is nothing short of wonderful. I get to see him learn new words and new numbers and new colors, amazed that this tiny human I grew and birthed can retain so much information in such a short amount of time. I mean, I can barely remember the password to my computer (the same one I've been using for more than five years) and my kid has learned more than 50 words in just two years of life. That's pretty impressive.
Still, he has his moments (usually in the form of some epic tantrum) that can leave me longing for the days when he just kind of sat there; sleeping and eating and pooping and sleeping some more. He was so quiet and little and he didn't think jumping off the couch was fun. So, if you're in the middle of the toddler stage and wishing you were back with a fresh newborn, know that you're not alone and it's pretty normal. After all, a toddler is exponentially more difficult to take care of than a newborn, for a number of reasons:
When They Refuse To Eat Whatever It Is You've Made Them
When my son was a newborn, he was all about the boob food and never turned it down. It was great to know that he was getting what he needed in the nutrition department, because he was constantly eating.
Now? Well, now (sometimes) my kid wants nothing to do with the meal I, or his father, have meticulously prepared for him. What gives, kid?!
When They Won't Sit Still
Granted, newborns can be pretty boring. I mean, they can't move anywhere. You set them down and, for the most part, that's where they'll remain until you pick them back up again. However, it's also nice because, you know, they can't move anywhere. My toddler gets into everything and is constantly on the go and while I enjoy a good work out, sometimes it would be nice if the kid would just sit still for all of three minutes.
When They Learn The Word "No"
Currently, "no" is my son's favorite word and he uses it religiously. Sometimes it's adorable. For example, every day when I get home from work I asked him he had a good day, and he says, "No," even though I know that isn't true; he had a wonderful day, his go-to word just implies otherwise.
Other times, like when I'm asking him to pick up his toys or have a bite to eat, his favorite word is an annoyance, at best. My kid couldn't tell me no when he was a newborn and, well, that was pretty nice.
Whey They Start To Throw...
The kid falls almost every time he runs, but his hand-eye coordination seems to be on point. After all, he can hit me in the back of the head with a stuffed animal (or worse, a toy car) from a ways away. I mean, you're more fun now because you can move your extremities and play and run and stuff, but it was definitely safer to have you around when you were a newborn, kid.
Thankfully, the "hitting phase" my son went through was relatively short, but man did those tiny, ineffectual fists hurt like a you-know-what. I definitely longed for the days he was barely able to hold his own head up, when he was upset at mom for giving him a blue cup instead of a slightly lighter-blue cup, and hitting.
...And Throw Epic, Public Tantrums
My kid was much easier to take out into the world when he was a newborn and slept for, well, the majority of the time. I didn't really have to worry about timing our outings (I was comfortable breastfeeding in public), so it was as easy as strapping him to my chest and going about my day. Now? Yeah, not so much.
If I don't make sure my kid has had his nap or is adequately fed (with plenty of back-up snacks) things are going to get dicey.
When They Unknowingly Out One Of Your Lies...
My kid is pretty honest because, well, he doesn't necessarily understand the concept of lying (thankfully) or the necessity for, at times, little white lies (unfortunately). So, when I'm trying to get out of plans or sidestep the fact that I didn't invite that one friend to that one party, my son will unknowingly blurt out, "Momma, fun party!" or "Mama, no plans. No plans, mama." Thanks, kid. Sometimes, I wish you could just go back to not talking.
...Or Just Refuse To Stop Talking
I, personally, think toddler talk is freakin' adorable. I mean, my son's gibberish paired with the words he knows (and the words he can sort of pronounce) is just magic. However, there are times when the kid just won't shut his mouth, and it's usually when I have a headache and I've worked for 13 hours and I"m exhausted and I just need some damn peace and quiet for two freakin' seconds before I lose my mind. Sigh.
When They Outsmart You (Because It Will Happen)
I'll try and harmlessly "trick" my kid into eating some vegetables or not freaking out when I take away a toy that is no longer safe (usually after he has broken it) only to realize that there's no fooling this kid. Nope, he's two years old and already smarter than me. Great. This definitely bodes well for the future.
When They Start Testing Gravity
I thought having a newborn was scary, but the fear I am subjected to on a daily basis because my son wants to jump off of something or balance on something or climb something or do something "by himself," is nothing short of painful. While it's wonderful to witness your kid gaining more independence, the knowledge that you can't protect them from pain is difficult to completely comprehend (or even accept). Can't you just sit on the floor all safe like? I mean, isn't that fun? Just sitting still so you will never get hurt, like, ever?
When They Say "I Love You" For The Very First Time
Yeah, just kidding. This is the freakin' best and makes all the death-defying, public tantrum stunts more than worth it. Sure, having a toddler in your care can be nothing short of difficult, but they're also so much fun. They're learning and growing and coming into their own every single day. They're playing and they're interactive and they're not, you know, just sleeping and pooping and eating. They get to voice how much they do love you, because they know words now, and it really is an absolutely awesome age.