I honestly think 2-year-olds get a bad rap. Even before I had kids I heard about the "terrible twos." When my daughter was a baby people would comment about how chill she was, warning, "Just wait until she turns 2." Once she turned 2, I kept waiting for her to change. Turns out, I had to wait the whole year. Guys, her 2's weren't terrible at all. It all changed when she turned 3, though. So I think it's time we sing our 2-year-olds' praises, because 3-year-olds are actually the worst.
I often think back fondly about my daughter at 2-years-old. We had moved to a new city and I didn't know anyone, so she was my best buddy. In fact, we did everything together. My husband worked out of town, so I was on my own for morning wake-ups, day care drop-offs, dinner, and bedtime. At first I thought it would be terrible, but I honestly didn't mind. Why? Well, because my 2-year-old toddler was great — so helpful, gentle, kind, and snuggly — and not at all like people told me she'd be. Now I'm not saying there wasn't the occasional tantrum, but honestly, I really started to wonder why people think 2-year-olds are challenging.
Then she turned 3, and while my daughter at 2 was an angel, at 3 she was a demon. I wish I was exaggerating. Gone was my helpful, sweet child who cheerfully ate the food I made, wore the clothes I bought, and went to bed with a book, a song, and a kiss on the head. In her place was a "threenager" who subsisted solely on grilled cheese sandwiches, chocolate milk, and pure evil. Her personality shifted from "loves to help mommy" to "loves to roll her eyes and laugh while she runs away from mommy in the parking lot." While I knew, logically, that it was completely normal for my 3-year-old to assert her independence and want control over her life, it was a lot for this tired mom to manage. I honestly missed my little angel and wished I could exorcise the demon that seemed to possess her. So with that in mind, and because nostalgia is one hell of a drug, here's why 2-year-olds are the best. No, seriously. They are.
They Do What You Ask
My 2-year-old daughter actually listened to my instructions. I was her favorite person, so she always wanted to please me. She would carefully listen if I said something wasn't safe and always said "yes" when I asked her to do something.
My 3-year-old, in contrast, was an expert at doing the exact opposite of what I asked, like it was the best game ever. She thought it was hilarious to run into traffic, hide in the grocery store, or strip naked when we had company over. I didn't think it was funny at all. Her favorite word was "why" and I turned into my mother when I started replying, "Because I said so."
They Still Like Snuggling
My 2-year-old was so snuggly. We spent hours on the couch or my bed, snuggling together while we read books, sang songs, and watched movies.
My 3-year-old would shout, "Don't touch me!" if I tried to give her snuggles. It made me more than a bit weepy at the time.
They Eat The Food You Prepared
My 2-year-old would happily eat anything I served her. She loved things like broccoli and green beans and pretty much any fruit.
My 3-year-old would eat exactly five things, all of which were composed of carbs and/or cheese.
They Make Road Trips Fun
When my daughter was 2 she absolutely loved riding in the car, singing with me or the radio, and happily chatting about her day. My 3-year-old thought it was hilarious to unfasten her car seat buckle, always had to go to the bathroom as soon as we got on the expressway, and would repeat, "Are we there, yet?" 1,000 times like it was the funniest joke ever.
They Go The F*ck To Sleep
My 2-year-old slept through the night, usually after a book, a song, and a snuggle. I actually loved her bedtime because of the snuggles alone.
Then she turned 3 and required an hours-long bedtime routine. After 500 trips to the bathroom, endless bedtime stories and songs, and countless drinks of water, I would be up past my own bedtime in an attempt to get her to fall asleep. If I gave up and left the room she would scream and cry, so most nights I would fall asleep on the floor, hunched uncomfortably over her toddler bed.
Your Life Doesn't Revolve Around Bathroom Breaks
When my daughter was 2 and still in diapers, we could go about our day without having to worry about bathroom breaks. When she learned to use the potty at about 2.5 years old, things got a bit more challenging, but were OK as long as there was a bathroom she could use.
When she turned 3, however, she suddenly refused to use public restrooms. She once held her pee for 10 hours in the car on the way to Chicago, only to pee all over the hotel lobby while we were checking in.
They Love Helping
My 2-year-old toddler loved to "help" me. We baked cookies, cleaned house, did laundry, and made art together. Sure, it was a little messy, but it was generally a fantastic time.
Let's just say my 3-year-old was not helpful at all. Her favorite word? "No."
They Let You Help Them
Our morning routine was a breeze when my daughter was 2. Sure, I would say a lot of that had to do with the fact that both of us were actually sleeping through the night, but her willingness to let me help her definitely contributed to how smooth the start of every day was.
When my daughter was 3, however, she suddenly wanted to "do it myself" and would scream, punch, or bite me if I so much as touched a sleeve or a zipper or tried to strap her into her car seat. It's a good thing she was cute.
They Will Wear The Clothes You Picked Out
Well, most of the time, anyway. While my 2-year-old happily wore anything that I picked out, my 3-year-old demanded that she choose her own clothes and get dressed herself. I wouldn't have minded if it didn't take her roughly 6.66 hours to get ready, only to change her mind after we got in the car. Now, at 8, she still doesn't let me pick out her clothes, but at least she can actually do it herself if I ask her.
Luck for me, my daughters demonic 3-year-old stage only lasted roughly one year. Since then, each age has brought with it a different set of challenges, but thankfully (seriously guys, I am freaking lucky) no age has been close to the horror story that was 3.