Let me get really real for a second here: I am most definitely not past the toddler years with my kid. In fact, right now we're right in the awesome thick of it. And while I'm not in the camp of worrying about everything I'll miss about having a toddler, I can definitely see how the more experienced parents get emotional about it all. There is something really innocent about toddlerhood that you just don't get again with that same kid at any other point in their life.
OK, so maybe diapers filled and sometimes bursting with poop of all varieties isn't the most endearing thing, but what about that baby butt? Chubby baby butts make the world go round, guys, and eventually they're going to just become normal human butts, which are unremarkable at best. And those footy pajamas you have to struggle with your toddler to zip up? I see enough quotes, poems, and limericks in my daily Facebook news feed to know that the toddler years go by fast and that I should be doing all kinds of cherishing. And trust me, I have no problem not taking the awesomeness of my crazy 2-year-old for granted. But it's not hard to see all of the things to miss about having toddlers running throughout the house on unsteady legs, leaving trails of milk and foot-crushed crackers in their wake.
OK, so I'll be right back; I'm gonna go hold my squirming toddler hard while you contemplate all of the things you didn't realize you'd miss about toddlers.
1. Picking Their Boogers
That's right, helping your toddler get those disgusting crusties out of their tiny nostrils is actually kind of fun.
2. That Baby Shampoo Smell
Sometimes you're so busy thinking about when your kid will be done needing help in the bath at all that you forget about that baby shampoo going away once that happens.
My kid willingly got over his pacifier when he was about 10 months old. But I have always been a sucker for how freaking cute toddlers look with a face obscured by a binky.
4. Bath Time
While you might be counting down the days to when you don't have to be leaning over the tub for the entire duration of your kid's bath, something tells me that when they gain that little independence, it'll hit you right where it hurts, deep in that special soft part of your momheart.
5. Nap Time
Especially when you nap together. Snuggles with a tiny human are kind of awesome.
6. Their Excitement At Everything
And I do mean everything. Snow? Falling from the sky? Say whaaat? And is that stuffed animal actually talking, Mom? What is this wizardry!? I will absolutely miss that particular kind of wonder, even if it's replaced by a brand new kind of older-kid wonder.
7. Having A Permanent Shadow
During any given weekend, my son can be found trailing behind me from room to room, often pulling with him his favorite stuffed animal, toy pirate ship on wheels, and several toy cars. I may not get to go to the bathroom without stepping on the somehow sharp underbelly of a Matchbox car when I stand up, and I'm sure I complain about it often enough these days, but it's pretty worth it, and I have no doubt I'll be dying for him to tail me when he's older.
8. Chasing Them Around To Dress Them
You know the scene: Your toddler, totally naked, refusing to get dressed and instead running through the house with a ridiculously huge grin before they get distracted by the TV in the living room and you slip a shirt over their unsuspecting head.
9. Making Mac 'N Cheese Five Nights Straight
Hey, if it's all your kid will eat, count your lucky stars that they're eating at all, right?
10. The Abundance Of Wipes
The baby wipes! Always around when you need them, a pack in pretty much every room, to use for hand wiping, butt wiping, and cleaning up small messes. Who needs to actually get up and find the paper towels when you've got these, thanks to your toddler?
11. A Diaper Bag!
Never has it been more appropriate to have a huge bag and not look like you're trying to channel Nicole Richie circa 2003.
12. Getting 6 A.M. Wake-Up Calls In The Form Of Tiny Hands Squishing Your Face
I have never been a morning person and I'm still not one, because sleep. But waking up to tiny cold feet on my chest or little hands trying to pry open my eyes makes me feel like a morning person for an hour or two at least.
13. Goldfish Crackers Embedded In Your Carpet
I mean, I don't probably have several crushed crackers in the hall carpet and the living room rug right now or anything. No, not at all...
14. Making Up Voices For Their Stuffed Animals
Sometimes I feel like I should have never made up the set voice of my son's huge ape stuffed animal, "Big Guy." But it makes me feel sort of cool to be the reason my son is using his imagination talking to and hugging the thing.
15. Footy Pajamas
Slip these on your 3-year-old and suddenly they're your baby again, all chubby butt and covered feet. Those zippers might be a bitch with a squirming toddler, but yeah, worth it.
16. Being Able To Always Show Them Something New
Toddlers are seeing almost everything for the first time. When you introduce them to sledding, or bubbles, or spinning around in the middle of the living room, they find the craziest amazement and joy in it. OK, I'm seriously not trying to be one of those overly sentimental moms, but the things you didn't realize you'd miss about toddlers are very real.