9 Lessons You Can Only Learn From A Challenging 2-Year-Old Toddler

Ad failed to load

Six years into this whole parenting gig, I find that my children are still teaching me things. But something special happens once they hit 2. Before then, their wisdom is like that of a zen master from whom you have to glean implied, profound lessons. But once the toddler years are in full swing, they become energetic, demanding little Yodas, clinging to our backs, speaking in a syntactically bizarre way, and filling us in on the parts of the world we're missing. Indeed, there are some things you can only learn from a 2-year-old toddler.

Two can be a difficult age, but it’s also so much fun. This is often the age where one day you realize, “Oh, crap! I just had an actual conversation with this kid. OK, so they only speak in four word sentences, but it was still a genuine back and forth for a while there!” Their personality has probably made itself known for some time now, but it’s around 2 when preferences and opinions come into play as well (for better and for worse), and it’s fascinating to see what they naturally gravitate towards. They will become more independent. They may become more defiant. It's all very exciting... and trying.

Amid all this developmental excitement, they will impart their toddler-y wisdom unto you. Here’s what you can expect to learn:

Ad failed to load

How To Get Fingerprints On Something Two Feet Above Your Natural Reach


Remember when your kid was an infant and just sat there? Like, back before they could even roll over? And if you left them sleeping on a blanket on the floor while you ran to switch the laundry really quick, they would still be there, unmoved, sleeping on that same blanket on the floor? Well, 2-year-olds aren't like that. Moreover, every day they are capable of physical feats we couldn’t have imagined the day before. They’re like very small Spider-Mans. Spider-Men? Spider-People? Whatever, they’re dexterous and nimble AF and they cannot be trusted. Only 2-year-olds can teach you how many places it is possible to dirty and/or fall from. It’s kind of the worst, but also hilarious. My husband is 35-years-old and to this day his family tells the story of the time they found him taking a nap on the top of a book shelf.

Everything You Need To Know About A Completely Esoteric Animal


Hey, did you know that the creature above isn’t a Muppet that came to life only to be subsequently cursed by God? Did you know it’s called an Aye-aye? Did you know Aye-ayes are primates that live in Madagascar? Did you know they have really terrifying middle fingers that they use to find and catch insects? Did you know that Aye-ayes are our friends and we need to protect them? Well, if you didn’t, then you don’t know a 2-year-old who watches a lot of Wild Kratts. Kids are damn sponges, and if they’re interested in something, they are going to take it all in. And they don’t care whether you are interested or not: they are going to tell you about it until you could defend a dissertation on the subject.

Not all kids latch on to animals (I just used this as an example, and also because my son did). Some kids will get really into cars (I know one child who would collect the brochures that you can get from Toyota dealers and read them like bedtime stories), others will become obsessed with dinosaurs. Point is, they are fanatical in their interests, and you will soon become an expert.

Oh, by the way, this trait doesn't stop once they hit 3. My oldest is 6 and there's literally no end in sight for this sort of professorial behavior.

You Can Be Even More Nervous About Getting Caught In The Middle Of A Sex Act Than You Were When You Were In High School & Living With Your Parents


Oh don’t get it twisted: you do not have to wait until they are 2 for them to interrupt sexytimes. Infants are basically really adorable birth control, because I swear to God they have ESP for when you and your partner want to get it on and that’s when they wake up/start crying. You may not even have to wait until your kid is 2 for them to walk in on you. But once they hit 2, not only will they walk in on you, but they will ask you what is going on and not let the subject go until you answer them to their satisfaction. You then run the risk of them talking to other people about what went down. Oh, and unlike your parents back in high school, who make a lot of noise whenever they move, giving you ample warning and time to shimmy back into your jeans before they open your door, 2-year-olds are damn ninjas. By the time you hear them (if you hear them) it’s already too late.

Ad failed to load

You Are Capable Of Infinite Patience


Every day, you will imagine your limit. Every day, you will find a new limit. Your patience is boundless. Your children sense this, but they cannot possibly grasp how very lucky they are that it is.

How Fast You Can Run


You will never know how fast you are capable of running until you see that your 2-year-old child has somehow managed to get their tricycle on the jungle gym, about 7 feet up, and start pedaling. At least I didn’t know how fast I could run until that moment. Your individual moment of realization may be different. Perhaps you see your kid pick up a bag of peanuts on the playground and they’re allergic to peanuts. Or maybe they’re slowing lifting a fork up to an electrical socket. Point is, your 2-year-old will continually do stupid sh*t and you are going to have to run to save them. Don’t worry, though, you will: you’re a mom. If a kid’s superpower is their ability to get into unimaginable shenanigans, a mom’s superpower is her ability to stop it just in the nick of time.

How Little Food It Takes For A Small Creature To Thrive


I swear to God, sometimes it feels like toddlers exist on air, sunlight, and their own limitless stores of self-generating energy. No matter how much of how little food you give them, there’s a pretty good chance they will take two bites and claim a full tummy. Those two nibbles of a cheese stick nevertheless provide them with the energy they need to run like a child possessed on the playground for hours at a time, and grow another five inches in three minutes, which means you have to buy them all new clothes. Again.

Ad failed to load

How To Dress Fabulously


Do you know what goes with that dress you’re wearing? A pair of plastic Cinderella shoes. And an astronaut helmet. Also a dinosaur tail. You’d be an idiot if you left out your fairy wings. Complete the look with a stethoscope and a tutu and you’re set. There is nothing more fantastic in this world than seeing the outfits a 2-year-old chooses for themselves. Study them. Learn from them. When you’re really old you will be able to get away with doing this sort of thing again, and I hope you go for it. God knows I’m ready.

The Magic Of Holidays


Before they hit 2, they really don’t know what’s going on. Once they’re 2? Holy crap, holidays are magical again. No longer is your primary concern how you’re going to avoid your Uncle Bart and his weird rants about the Illuminati, it’s about how much fun you’re going to have ensuring that your child has so much fun.

Nothing Is So Important That You Can't Stop & Have A Tea Party


My husband once said that whenever our children want to play with him, he first thinks about how damn exhausted he is, but then immediately hears the song “Cat’s in the Cradle” playing in the back of his mind and fights a tear as he gets down on the floor and play whatever they want. It sounds cliché, because it is, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true: they’re only young for so long and we should take advantage of that while we can. So forego mopping for floor for a bit, you know it’s just going to get dirty in about ten seconds again anyway. Have an imaginary cup of tea while wearing a Batman cape.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills