We Are Both Right

An Ode to the Not-So-Terrible Toddler Years

©We Are Both Right

They might be "terrible", but for Amanda, the toddler years are some of the best. ©We Are Both Right

As I write this, my two-year-old son, S., is sleeping. His arms are sprawled out, as are his legs — his limbs seemingly taking up all available space in his crib, flung into every corner deliberately.  As he does when he is awake, it appears he has given 110 percent to his nighttime ventures. Even in his slumber, he is passionate, fervent.

He is a toddler. We all could learn something from him.

I am jealous at his ability to live solely in the moment. You see, for a toddler, there is no tomorrow or yesterday, heck there is even no five minutes from now. There is simply now. (NOW!)

So because of this lack of recognition of time, it has been my experience that toddlers are “all or nothing” kind of creatures. S. is not just tired, he is EXHAUSTED. Not hungry, STARVING. Not thirsty, PARCHED. Why whine a little when a full-blown meltdown works just as well? I have never seen a S. make just a small mess — instead he is like a tornado, wreaking havoc and destruction he goes.

But his display of emotions and toddler behavior run the whole gamut. (And sometimes within minutes of each other.)

S. doesn’t giggle, he gives a belly laugh. He smiles with his whole face and when I ask for a kiss, I get twenty. He hugs with his whole little body. And his ability to change the mood in a room is astounding — when he is around, I am instantly cheered.

He is not simply happy but JOYFUL.

It’s easy to tell when he discovers something that he enjoys because he does it with his whole self — every part of him, every aspect of his toddler behavior partaking in the experience. I love it. Because his reactions are real and true. They are all him.

When he wakes up in the morning, he is exuberant in his bellowing: “MOMMY! MOMMY I WAKE UP!” He happily picks out his own clothes, tells me what he wants to eat and what he’d like to do today. He will skip or run any place we go, excited to see what is coming up next.

Is it frustrating when he shrieks like a banshee when I most need him to be quiet (church, the bank, when I’m on the phone)? Sure. Maddening when the only shirts he wants to wear lately are the ones with stripes? You bet. Would I prefer it if he’d sit quietly in the cart or the stroller when we go to the store so I can actually get the shopping done? You have no idea (or maybe you do). But despite my eye rolling, I love it. S. is a toddler, doing everything with passion and an energy for life and living that I wish I had. It’s wonderful to watch and a pretty great way to live.

Yes, I could learn something from my toddler. I hope I do!

What about you? Obviously we love our kids at any age or stage, but which one is your favorite?

Suzanne was once told that the preschool years are the most amazing, and now she believes it!

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