For the New Toddler Mom

It's official, I am an old lady.  I don't know how it happened or why, but it did.

I was sitting at playgroup today next to a newer mom.  Her first baby was creeping towards two.  He was doing typical things of a child that age.  Mostly non-verbal with some aggression thrown in and some inability to deal with playmates in a real grown-up way.

It was so cute!

Well, not all cute of course, because she seemed a little frustrated at times and took him out once or twice when he hit somebody.

When I see a new mom like this it takes me back a few years (OK, I am not THAT old- it wasn't that long ago that I had my first toddler).  I just want to grab my former self, or anybody with their first toddler, and give them a hug and tell them, "It is just a phase.  It is all just a phase!  They don't bite forever!"

I probably spent so much time worrying about stuff that was totally typical but seemed like something I needed to "fix" in my normal toddler.  But now, when I have a toddler, I actually enjoy most of it.  (Although, in all honesty, the period of time from about 11-18 months or so is typically hellish.  It just is.  Why do normal sleepers freak out at this point?!)

I love my final two year old.  She is so much fun.  So independent.  I love watching them get used to a world where they don't need me all the time.  I love watching them learn and enjoy and try new things.  How fun is it to hear their new words and their exploration of language?  I especially love the frequent poops in the toilet rather than the pants.  (The end of potty training is one of my all time favorite things about toddlers.)  I love that they can walk and get around on their own.  Most of the time toddlers are just so much fun.

So if you are a mom of a toddler and that child occasionally bites or hits or screams or lays on the floor and screams some more or has a few accidental pees in public or forgets all their words, I have news for you:  this all passes!  It really does.  An occasional freak out in public, while embarrassing for you, is normal and they do learn and become fairly functional in due time.  All that love and affection you showered on them through the long nights of babyhood and the endless hours of baby wearing and nursing and cuddling and co-sleeping- they pay off.  You end up with this great kid that you get to enjoy being around.

And as a bonus, the can get their own drink and find a cheese stick in the fridge all on their own.  And shoes- they can put on their own shoes!  I love this about toddlers!  Why doesn't everybody appreciate their two year old!

So enjoy them.  It passes.  I have to GRAB my eight year old for a hug, and sometimes the older ones get snarky and forget that I was once the coolest person they ever met.

Hug a two year old today.  You won't regret it.


Claudia said…
I am learning to enjoy my 3 year old's independence. Today she had a meltdown because she didn't like the clothes I picked out. First I fought her about it and was going to force her to wear what I picked. But then I thought, why? Why choose this fight with her? All she wanted was to pick another dress. So she calmed down, picked another dress, and all was right with the world! I'm learning to embrace her independence :)
Unknown said…
I was so glad to read that your kids quit sleeping at 11-18 months too! My first didn't sleep well ever so I didn't notice the rough patch. My second has been a great sleeper his whole life and now all of a sudden he doesn't sleep through the night and sometimes I give in and let him sleep an hour or two (or 5) in our bed.