There are so many ways you can describe your kid, the majority of them being positive because kids are great and, well, you're biased. "Spirited" is one of those descriptions, and while it can mean some very positive things, it's usually code for the, um, not-so-positive attributes a child may or may not exude on a fairly normal basis. Yes, it turns out there are a few things every mom actually means when she calls her kid "spirited," and they're usually things we all (as fellow moms, but non-moms alike) are aware of. This is why smiling and nodding and going along with the label of "spirited" is nothing if not the kind thing to do.
If I'm being honest, I've called my daughter "spirited" on more than one occasion. Sometimes, that just means the kid won't sit still and she's hyper and she's running around, all happy and joyful and carefree. Other days, it means she's refusing to listen to absolutely anything I have to say. Honestly, there's no rhyme or reason to what "spirited" may mean, it just helps to use that word when describing a toddler as it's one of those "secret words" all moms eventually learn to use. Thank you, English language, for being so wonderfully versatile. You're the real MVP.
If you aren't sure what a mom means when she says her kid is "spirited," chances are you probably don't have a kid. Hey, it's OK, there's a learning curve to this whole parenthood thing, even if you aren't a parent yourself. So, I'll let you in on our little secret and give you a few possibilities (if you haven't figured it out, already).
"This Kid Won't Sit Still. Not Even For A Second."
Spirited as in high-spirited, right? Every kid has a certain amount of energy, but there are just some days and some kids who are blessed with a little more energy than rest. Honestly, they're like the energizer bunny: always go go go and never stopping, not even for a (much needed) break. It's wonderful and exhausting all at the same time.
"This Kid Can't Keep Their Hands To Themselves"
They like to make a mess and get into anything and everything they can possibly get their hands on. Nothing is "off limits," even when it's off limits, and nothing is safe.
"This Kid Is Driving Me Absolutely Crazy"
I love my child, but that doesn't mean my child doesn't drive me absolutely crazy sometimes. Of course, every single parent can say the same, which is why the word "spirited," exists. We can tell the other adults in our immediate vicinity that we're about to lose our mind and it's time for someone else to take over, and we don't say something that could even be a little bit hurtful or detrimental to little, toddler earls. Win-win, my friends.
"This Kid Is Being, That's Right, A Jerk"
Can we all just take a second to admit that, sometimes, kids can be the worst? Seriously, there are toddlers that act exactly like irrational drunk mini-humans, and they're not all that fun to be around. "Spirited" is a nice way of saying they need to get it together.
"This Kid Is Ridiculously Loud"
"Spirited" can definitely cover those "my kid has been screaming at the top of their lungs for hours on end and I think I am losing my ability to hear properly" moments. Hey, they're finding their voice, so it's not necessarily a bad thing, right?
"This Kid Is Acting So Wonderfully Strange"
Kids are wonderfully weird and when you witness them doing something "goofy" or "odd" or even crazy, you can't help but just stop and appreciate the joy your kid can get out of something so silly and small.
"This Kid Has An Awesome Imagination"
This is just awesome. I mean, what else can you say? When you see your kid building forts and pretending the living room floor is lava and getting super into this secret game they've created in their mind, you can't help but marvel at the spirit of their highly-active imagination. It's the best.
"Yeah, So, My Kid Is A Little Weird"
Sometimes, there are no words to describe whatever it is your kid is doing. So, you know, why not use "spirited" for those moments, too?
"This Kid Won't Stop Talking. Ever."
Toddlers talk. Like, a lot. It's not always in coherent sentences, but when they're going on and on in their adorable voices and cute little language that you've somehow learned to decipher, you go ahead and call them "spirited." Would you like to get some peace and quiet? Yup. Will that be happening any time soon? Not until bedtime, my friend.