I’ve made a pact with myself that after all the complaining I’ve done so far, I am going to write at least one positive post. So here it is. Now, it’s a known fact that Wendy and I spend the majority of our days battling toddler temper tantrums and picky eating habits. Do we enjoy that part of mommyhood? Of course not. That would be like saying we enjoyed Artie and Brittany breaking up on Glee (Go Team !) But despite those trying moments and the fact that they seem to lurk in public places, this toddler age can be a lot of fun and here’s why:
They actually take an interest in things. While the first year is awesome because you can stay inside and never change out of your PJs if you want to (which I wanted to), it can be a little boring because the baby spends most of the time chewing on things, pooing and just staring back at you. After the first 12 months, they really start to figure out who they are and what they like. It’s fun to watch Thumper pick out her clothes for the day or be excited for days after visiting the zoo because she got to see an elephant. It also helps that all the work I’ve done to push her into loving My Little Ponys is finally starting to pay off.
They will never love you more than they do right now. It’d be nice if you could backlog their love and hugs so that when they’re hating you and slamming doors in your face as teenagers it wouldn’t feel so bad. I guess for now we just have to enjoy it while it lasts. Because I’ve smothered her with hugs and kisses daily since she was born, Thumper now likes to randomly throw herself into my arms for a little snuggle. Obviously, it’s never when I’m asking for one, but I’m not one to pass up a little cuddle, even if it is while I’m changing her dirty diaper. Actually, I think I’ve turned her into a hugging monster. Not only does she hug her stuffed bunny, the cat and her favourite shoes, the other day I caught her hugging French fries at dinnertime.
They want to help with chores. Things tend to take a lot longer when they help, but I’d say it’s worth it if eventually they will take over all the household chores for you. It turns out that Thumper likes to do the laundry. All she does is help me transfer clothes from the washer to the dryer and from the dryer to the basket, but still. She even gets angry if I do it without her. I’m hoping this will be a life-long love affair with laundry since I have a love-hate relationship with it. I hate it and it loves to pile up and taunt me. Now if only she could get over her fear of the vacuum and learn how to dust without eating the dust bunnies, we would be golden.
They actually become friends with each other. Gone are the days when the kids play near each other but basically ignore each other’s existence. Okay, so maybe most of what they do is chase each other around while squealing with delight or try not to hit one another while we force them to take turns on the slide but it’s a start. When everyone’s in a good mood and they’re the ones to initiate play, it’s fricken adorable. Wendy and I have trained Thumper and Prince to hug and kiss when saying hello and goodbye, and they like to hold hands when we’re walking to the park. The cuteness is enough to make your heart instantly explode into rainbows and lollipops.
Their vocabulary is much better. It’s amazing to hear your child say words, any words, for the first time. Hearing them say ‘mama’ is obviously the best and hearing ‘fuck’ is probably the worst. Once they start saying more casual words it’s pretty humorous. The other day, Thumper hopped into a baby pool in the backyard, smiled from ear to ear and said, for the first time, “Awesome.” She also sometimes starts her sentences with ‘sooooo...’ As in, she’ll be playing in her room, then look at me and say “Sooooo, mama go aside?” (Translation: mama, can we go outside?) I guess I use the word awesome and start my sentences with sooooo a lot more than I thought.
They are the smartest people ever. In months 0-12, babies learn a lot, but it seems to be spaced out across the year. Sometime after their 1st birthday, they turn into baby geniuses because they learn something new every day. Whether it’s how to go down a slide by themselves or counting to 10, it’s insane how quickly they can pick stuff up that they literally had no concept of before. Thumper has an amazing memory and it never ceases to surprise me. A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine paid us a visit and Thumper hadn’t seen her in probably four months or so. Normally a toddler’s short term memory isn’t much longer than a week, but as soon as Thumper saw her, she yelled out “Ason!” (Translation: Alison) I sat there wondering how she could remember my friend’s name when I have trouble remembering what day it is.
So ask me again, are the toddler meltdowns and power struggles fun? No, but they are worth it. Our kids may not give us a moment’s peace and might be the source of our occasional need for a glass of wine before 9 a.m. but they are smart, charming little creatures. I think all moms would agree that they’d gladly suffer through another epic outburst if it meant after it was over we could have a little cuddle and hear them say “sooooo...I lub bou!” (Translation: I love you.)