When you become a parent, you are filled with both a tremendous amount of love and also an overwhelming feeling of “holy crap, what did I just get myself into?!” That’s all completely normal. It’s not like there are parenting classes you can take for college credit or anything, and even those brief parenting classes given at hospitals barely cover the very real stuff you’re facing. And just when you finally think you’re starting to get the hang of things, and your baby is sleeping through the night, and breastfeeding is going wonderfully (or you’ve got your formula routine on lock), your kid suddenly grows and their needs change and it’s back to square one.
One thing I wish I would’ve realized back when I was still swaddling my own son is that those days would be a freaking cakewalk compared to toddlerhood. Seriously. As any parent that’s been there (or is currently there; our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time) can tell you, toddlers are jerks and we kinda secretly hate them (even though we still completely love them). Every day that my rambunctious 2-year-old gets older and sassier, the more I miss the infant he once was, perfectly content by simply lying in his playpen, staring at his mobile. I mean, those days there the best. Sure, I was sleep deprived as hell and the drool wasn’t that fun to clean. But hey, I still don’t sleep, so what’s the difference? The point is, babies are easier than toddlers, hands down. Here's why:
I knew I was in trouble the minute my kid started crawling. And honestly, that phase didn’t last more than a month or two before he was already standing and walking and running. It’s like his motor skills went into hyperdrive once he turned one. Being able to place a baby anywhere and know they’ll barely be able to turn over on their tummy is so comforting in retrospect.
Infants might try to push something with their itty-bitty hands, but you never have to worry about them launching giant wooden trains at the television set.
My own sprout is currently in a “no way!” phase that is slowly driving me mad. It was kind of cute at first, but now he says no for everything, which makes it seriously hard to teach any toddler about things like consent (but I guess that comes later).
Oh, gosh. Infants are such nice little people. All they want is to be carried and loved on! Toddlers, on the other hand, are on a quest for independence, and will only accept cuddles when they request them, which is usually when you’re sitting on the toilet or trying to cook dinner or busy writing an article on a deadline.
At least, you'll never have leisurely, uninterrupted sex when you have a toddler. I know you might not be feeling as sexy in those first few months of parenthood, but I’m telling you, if you have any sex drive after having a baby, take advantage! Your infant sleeps often and quite soundly. Your toddler, on the other hand, will often wake up ready to play if he so much as hears a bed creak, making your sex life all but nonexistent.
Cleaning up spit-up usually means changing your shirt and changing their onesie. Toddler mealtimes, on the other hand, may require you to burn down your entire kitchen to get the stains out.
Living with a toddler is very much like living with that dirty, drunken, 21-year-old version of yourself. I mean, living with a baby is too, I guess, but whereas infants are the you when you would have a couple cocktails and pass out on your friend’s couch, toddlers are the you that wound up on a YouTube video dancing on the table at your cousin’s wedding where you then proceeded to punch the groom for no reason. It’s like that.
I don’t let my kid use my phone unless it’s to watch some alphabet video on YouTube, and this is because I’ve seen plenty of toddlers take selfies and call bosses and text their parent’s exes and delete every single app on their mommy’s phone and... Yeah, not happening. The worst an infant can do is drool a bit on it.
You would think the ability to explain to a toddler that they need to lie still would be sufficient to, you know, get them to do that. Nope. I’ll trade getting peed on a little any day of the week. (And then there's potty training, but there are not enough hours in the day to talk about how awful that is compared to anything a baby can throw at you.)
Toddlers love to beat people up, especially their parents. And believe me, it hurts. And there’s nothing you can do about it.
Try as they might, those teensy newborn whimpers are no match for the vocal chords of the wild toddler.
Toddlers get too excited to sleep when they’re out and about at times, making you long for the days that your infant would snooze through an entire dinner in their stroller.
I’m just going to say it: I hate feeding my toddler son. Mealtimes often bring me great anxiety because my son is so damn picky about what he’s willing to eat, no matter how many “methods” I try. I know he’ll outgrow this someday, but right now, I’m surprised I have any hair left on my head from all the stress.
Now that my kid is a toddler, I need to have the right amount of toys, and even then, he gets so, so mad about getting his hair washed. I miss the days when he’d barely move and I just did everything for him. Can we go back to that, please?
Sure, they cry sometimes (or maybe I was just lucky enough to have a really chill infant), but it’s nothing like the constant (often manipulative) waterworks my toddler now exhibits.
All this said, I still wouldn’t trade my toddler for the world. Here’s to you, toddler parents. We’ll miss it someday and then we’ll probably be writing about how much we should’ve appreciated this once they’re — *gulp* — teenagers.