By the time your child becomes a toddler, you’re a somewhat seasoned parent, and all your well-meaning friends and family members are pretty much done (for the most part) offering you sage and unsolicited advice. However, if my parenting experience is anything like the rest, there are things no one says about raising a toddler that many of us, if not all us, could benefit from hearing if not currently experiencing. In fact, this knowledge has brought me great solace during many of my most trying parental, um, tribulations (read: toddler tantrums). We’ve all been there, you guys. This is par for the course, I promise. The toddler years were, I have decided, created to test parents and knock us down a peg or to in order to remind us, in the most hilarious albeit difficult of ways, that we're like Jon Snow. We know nothing.
OK, to be completely fair, I'm basis the majority of my hypothesis on personal experience, but still, you get my drift. The toddler years are tricky and challenging, but often overshadowed by the baby years. I mean, where are the "toddler stores" where I can go get twenty versions of the same shirt because my kid will mess up all of them? Or some sort of inflatable dome I can put him in to protect the walls and the carpet whenever we eat spaghetti? Or that sells educational and enjoyable kids programming DVDs that won’t drive me absolutely bonkers? Someone with an entrepreneurial spirit may want to get on that.
The truth is, once you pass the year mark people assume you have a pretty good idea of what you're doing. You do, to be sure, but that doesn't mean you don't have additional challenges and moments of utter loss ahead. So, with that being said, let’s actually talk about the toddler years, shall we?
Every New Stage Will Become Your Favorite And Easily The Most Challenging
My kid is speaking in almost-sentences now, which is awesome but super challenging, because he's expressing discontent more and more and, um, more. He's also running and playing and jumping and getting bold as a little adventurer, which means he's also getting more scraped knees and bruises. See what I mean? There are two sides to everything.
You Will Change Their Clothes Approximately 20 Times A Day
I thought I'd never change pants more than the leaky newborn diaper phase. I was wrong.
Bath Day Is Every Day
Especially in the summer, in all it's sunscreened, watermelon-juiced, sand pit glory. Gone are the days of yore when baths were simply about dabbing the drool from a baby's chin.
You Can Still Get Waves Of Baby-Feels, But They're Pretty Much Little Adults Now
When my kid snuggles up in his footie pajamas, I lose all track of time passed and milestones accomplished and, well, his actual age. I know his head doesn't smell like a baby head and he can get up and walk away if he wants, but I will probably smell his head anyway and carry him to bed regardless.
Physical Inujuries All Over And All The Time
Our son is so comfortable with the word "owie," he now confidently points out our my own bruises (that come from playing with him, mind you). Thanks, bud.
They Will Speak A Secret Language Only You Can Understand
I used to be impressed when I'd see parents who understood their child's random syllables, but now I get that it was really just about survival. In related news, if anyone needs a toddler-to-adult translator, hit me up. Google is absolutely no help, you guys.
At Some Point, You Will Simply Stop Caring What Got On Their Shirt, Or Into Their Hair
Yes, I want my son to be clean (in general) but I've passed the point where a yogurt smear here or there is something worth reacting to. Besides, perhaps you've heard that today is bath day?
The Things They Want To Eat Are Rarely The Things You Put In Front Of Them
It's what you put in front of you that really sparks their interest (and their appetite). My son could have refused the entirety of our kitchen, but if it suddenly appears on a plate in front of me, it's like he's been lost at sea for a month.
It’s Super Satisfying To Not Have To Tell People Their Age In Months
Have you heard? My son just turned two years old. Years. No more months, years. That's fantastic, you guys.
Naps Are The Best, And Don’t Feel Guilty For Enjoying Them
How else am I going to watch High School Musical: Bad Lip Reading? I can't do it while he's awake. His attempts to dance along are just too distracting.
Not Only Does It Go Quickly, But The Changes Come At Warp Speed
It was, seriously, like a week ago that we were spoon-feeding our son purees and giving him like eighteen naps a day. Now? We're having full conversations about politics and physics. Okay, maybe not physics, but you get my point.
In Some Ways, It's Harder Than Other Stages...
Sure, those other stages required different things; a constant supply of clean burp cloths, more frequent diaper changes, more middle-of-the-night wake-ups. Toddlerhood? That requires way more patience than anything else. Ever.
...And In Some Ways, It's Not
Now my son can shout, "Mama!" and run across the room to hug my legs. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe toddlers are the answer to world peace.