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).