I can honestly say that I've enjoyed every age my kids have thrown at me. Newborns are squishy, pre-schoolers are inquisitive, and kindergarteners are always on the cusp of new discoveries. I don't know that I have a favorite age, but I will say that toddlers have a special place in my heart. My youngest is just about 3 now, so I only have a few weeks left to enjoy her toddlerhood. One day I'll look back on this time with her and share all the things I can't wait to tell my kid about their toddler years.
I'm kinda sorta able to do this with my 5-year-old son, and it's actually been really lovely to look back on his toddler years. He's still at the age of egocentrism, so he thinks anything remotely about him is automatically interesting, and it gives me a chance to reminisce and remember his babyhood. I'll talk in generalities ("You loved this episode of Curious George," or, "Your favorite food was garlic hummus") as well as specifics ("When you were 2, like your sister, a turkey pecked your finger at a petting zoo and you talked about it every day for a year").
Of course, there are some things I can't tell my curious child just yet, because he's either not ready, wouldn't understand, or I'd be ruining an important aspect of his childhood. However, I'm a patient person, and before I know it the day will come where I can sit both my children down and regale them with truths about their toddler years.
It Was Hard Not To Get Mad At You, Even When You Really Couldn't Help Yourself Because You Could Be A Real Brat
Look, they're toddlers. Toddlers biologically lack even a fraction of the impulse control adults have (and anyone who has ever seen me around a bag of salt and vinegar potato chips knows my adult impulse control isn't all that impressive). .However, damned if their crappy behavior doesn't feel like a personal insult sometimes, especially when this is their third time out-worthy offense in 10 minutes.
Why? Why do you do this just to hurt me?
That Really Annoying, Super-Long Book You Asked Me To Read You Every Single Night Didn't Actually Go Missing
Yeah, I'm sorry, but I'm so not sorry. The book takes forever to read and there's a million tongue twisters and I just really needed you to go to sleep, so I hid it in the top of the closet.
Oh sure, it was manageable when you were too little to have memorized every word and I could skip every other page. But once you oh-so-kindly pointed out, "Oops! Mommy! You missed a page! Go back!" that was the death knell of that particular tome.
Sometimes Your Sorrow & Pain Was Hilarious
I dare you to look at that picture and not laugh. Is he upset? Yeah, but he got over it. It's been almost five years and I'm still not over that adorably hilarious little pout because look at that damn face. Oh my God...
You Made Holidays Way More Fun
Holidays during childhood were amazing. Once I hit my teenager years and through most of my 20s? Meh. They were fine. It was nice to have a day off from time to time. However, when my kids came along, and especially once they were toddlers and more aware of their surroundings, holidays were suddenly spectacular again. It was like reliving all the childhood whimsy of the past while simultaneously seeing them through fresh new eyes.
Also, tending to the children provides an excellent excuse to get out of awkward conversations about personal skin ailments with Uncle Martin...
Sometimes I Let You & Your Sibling Fight So You Were Distracted & I Could Get Stuff Done Around The House
Yes, you two would scream and cry at one another, but whatever. Those fights helped to develop good problem solving and conflict resolution skills. You're welcome.
You Were Really Annoying Sometimes
It's not their fault, and I still love them, but anyone who required that much of my attention (i.e. all of it) that much of the time (i.e. all the time) is bound to get annoying sometimes. It's like, "Can't you just handle your own business for, like, an hour? One hour alone. That's all I need to do everything it will take me three days to do with you hanging on me."
Dressing You Was A Hobby Of Mine
Do you know how much a full wardrobe of really adorable clothing for me would cost? A lot. However, a full wardrobe for a tiny little body that requires less material and labor? Even my meager budget can work with that price point.
I'm not one who normally likes to project and live vicariously through her children, but that's absolutely what I do with my toddler's clothes. Once they get opinions and preferences I honor those (which is why the vast majority of my kindergartener's t-shirts feature Pokémon), but before then? Before then my kids wear all the adorable clothing I secretly want to wear.
You Were Clothed Less Than 25 Percent Of The Time Until You Were 5
Toddlers couldn't care less about social norms or propriety. They want their bare asses free to feel gentle summer breezes! To feel the warm sun on their cute little belly buttons. What even is clothing, you guys? Vive la vie au naturel!
I Take Solace In The Fact That All Of The Characters On 'Dinosaur Train' Were Killed By A Giant Asteroid
My kids loved this show, which is proof positive that toddlers need adult guidance and supervision because they make terrible decisions when left to their own devices. Whenever this show comes on, I want to reach through the screen and smack all of those baby dinosaurs in their over-earnest, cartoon faces. I'll smack Don twice. The only comfort I can muster for myself is to know that all dinosaurs met a fiery, violent end, so if they were ever real they're now dead.
Your Regular Play Dates Were Based On How Much I Liked The Other Parents
Oh sure, I'll let them have the occasional play date with pretty much any of their friends, but the standing appointments? Those are reserved for the cool moms. I don't especially care how much my toddler liked her kid: as long as they got along moderately that was fine by me. (And hey! Bonus points if they love the child in question!) Mommy needs some interaction with a fellow mommy who was on her level.
You Were The Only Person Who Didn't Suck Sometimes
Yes, as previously mentioned, toddlers can be really annoying sometimes. Other times, however, they are legit the coolest person you know. They're honest, their funny, they have zero f*cks to give, they're adorable, and they love you. When the world seems awful (and, seriously, doesn't the world seem really awful lately), the magnificence of your toddler will shine through, reviving your faith in humanity and hope for the future.
Your Toys Were Secretly For Me
I'm super glad my toddler likes her Wonder Woman doll, because that allows me the opportunity to buy her similar dolls and play with those, too.
Don't you judge me. It says 3 and up, you guys. And up.
I Could Have Won Every Competitive Game We Ever Played, But I Let You Win
I'm really competitive, and sometimes it's painful to lose all the time. Even on purpose. Even to a baby. So, some day, I will bitterly assure my children that their childhood was a lie and I am the reigning champion of literally everything.
I Hid All Candy In An Empty Box Of Fiber One
Because I didn't want to share and you were never going to look in there. Don't get all judgmental and tell me I should have shared. I share everything else with my child, from my bank account to my body. I deserve two measly peanut butter cups to myself.
You Weren't Really Playing Video Games
It's not like they were interested in anything more than pushing the buttons anyway. Even if they had been, it's not like they would have been able to do anything anyway. So any time we passed an arcade game we just let them pound on the buttons and told them they won.
If my partner was playing a video game and the little one wanted to horn in, he just handed them an unplugged controller and let them pretend while he snuck in some gaming time right under their noses. It was genius and we're not sorry.
I Had No Idea What You Were Talking About Half The Time
Toddler brains work funny. Even if you can literally understand the words coming out of their mouth, those words don't always make a ton of sense. Why? Well, because your toddler will randomly re-start a conversation they abruptly ended, like, three days ago and then get pissed off when you don't realize that and catch up. This makes them angry and even more incomprehensible.
Your Relationship With The Cat Was Hysterical
You loved that little ball of fluff and he, well, he tolerated you on his best days. It was basically like living inside a Pepe Le Pew cartoon.
I Lied To You All The Time
There was no other way to get through those years. Toddler's don't accept a reasonable "no" without a huge argument, and sometimes a firm "no" is necessary even with an ensuring argument. That's how you learn the world doesn't revolve around you. However, little white lies make the process so much more bearable on days when you can't even. For example:
"Mommy, I want to go to the playground!"
"The playground is closed."
"No it's not!"
"Yes it is. Huge construction project. It's re-opening tomorrow. Maybe. If you're good and I have the time to drive there."
Your Cuddles Were The Best
In 34 years I have not yet found a sensation as immeasurably and uniquely amazing as cuddling with a toddler. It's simultaneously the most thrilling and peaceful feeling in the world.
You Were So Magical I Could Cry Just Looking At You
You're more glorious and enchanting than a fairy riding a unicorn to meet her mermaid date at the wizarding school prom. I love you so much, and I can't wait until you are self-aware enough for me to tell you all about it.