Toddler. We often hear about these tiny yet growing-up-way-too-fast little humans in the context of the “terrible twos” and the “threenager years.” Sure, one- to three-year-olds are notorious for giving parents a run for our money. Still, we shouldn’t overlook the many wonderful things about this stage.
My two-year-old daughter constantly puts a smile on my face just by being her bold, sweet, inarguably one-of-a-kind self, and I can’t help but think how lucky I feel in this chapter of our story. Simply put, I love having a toddler. Below are some of the countless reasons why I find these years so special.
Toddlers are Ever-Evolving
While every stage of raising children goes by in the blink of an eye, the remarkable growth in toddlerhood is distinct and unparalleled. I vividly remember my daughter (who was still crawling and cruising furniture at the time) proudly bouncing around in her sparkly purple squeaky shoes on her first birthday, holding onto the playroom windowsill for support. Barely over a year later, she’s now fearlessly scaling the highest climbing equipment at our favorite indoor playground. Toddlers don’t slow down; they make sure we’re well aware of it daily.
Communication Explodes During the Toddler Years
During the toddler years, the constant evolution is far from limited to physical milestones and gross motor skills. Over the past year, my daughter went from speaking ten or so words to carrying out entire conversations with up to 10 words in a sentence, a plethora of questions, and a genuine interest in the exchange of thoughts. Sure, the babbling days were fun, but it’s incredible to have an actual heart-to-heart with my tiny human. She can share exactly what’s on her mind and doesn’t leave anyone guessing when it comes to knowing what she wants. Plus, can we acknowledge how ridiculously adorable it is to hear the truth (and nothing but the truth) by way of the most innocent yet self-assured little voice you’ve ever heard?
Toddlers are Impressionable
For better or worse, toddlers soak up everything around them. During a recent dinnertime conversation with my husband, I mentioned our daughter is truly my mini-me in many ways. To which he jokingly replied, “God help us!” Without missing a beat, our always-listening, always-absorbing-everything toddler declared, “God help us!” right back, knowing smile and all. While we all laughed, this lighthearted moment reminded me of the power of the words, actions, and behaviors we expose our toddlers to. They are sponges. And although the thought of playing such a significant role in this stage is slightly intimidating, it’s an honor of an opportunity I’m grateful to have.
The Pure and Genuine Love Toddlers Give is Unmatched
My two-year-old might be young, but she’s wise beyond her years, where it matters most. That is, in matters of the heart. Even when I’m silently kicking myself at the end of any given day for not being as patient, understanding, or grace-filled as I aspire to be as her mama, my daughter loves out loud and without condition. There’s nothing in the world as life-giving as a spontaneous “I love you, Mommy,” wrapped up with two tiny arms reaching out and ready for “just one more” hug at lights out. Or the sight of those wide-open toddler arms eagerly embracing her not-much-tinier baby brother first thing in the morning. Or pretty much any other baby she can get her hands on, wherever we might be. The unapologetic love toddlers have to give is wildly endearing and can teach us all a thing or two about kindness and acceptance.
Toddlers Keep Us On Our Toes
Any seasoned parent knows this. While we might wish for – at times – even an ounce of their energy, there’s rarely a dull moment with a toddler. Some of my daughter’s most recent rainy day adventures include narrowly avoiding diving face-first onto the hardwood floor following an impromptu couch jumping (aka, a full-on rave) session; scribbling a footlong masterpiece on our kitchen wall with bright blue crayon (still not sure when exactly she managed this one); and attempting to launch my six-month-old into outer space from his bouncer. She doesn’t let me check out for a moment, and I don’t mind. These wild, wacky days of almost feeling my blondes turn to grays won’t last forever. And you know what? I know I’ll look back one day and reminisce on them all with a smile on my face.
Everything is Magical Through the Eyes of a Toddler
Holidays. Birthdays. The first snowfall. Pancakes for breakfast (with strawberries and whip cream on top, of course). Trips to the beach. A bluebird on the tree. Bedtime stories that we’ve read a hundred times before. Mid-day Facetimes with cousins. Afternoons at the zoo. Ice cream cones just because. All of this and so much more. It doesn’t take much to make toddlers happy. They’re perfectly content – scratch that, overwhelmingly delighted – with the simple things in life. Life with a toddler is pure magic.
The toddler years are full of all the things: growth and trials, snuggles and laughter, bruises and bumps. Some days feel like chaos. But I know I wouldn’t trade this phase for anything. I absolutely love having a toddler. And I’m going to miss these moments so much one day.