Toddlers suck. Yup, I went there. I said it. It’s out in the open. For those of you who have toddlers, you know what I mean. For those who haven’t reached this stage yet, you’ll find out what I mean soon enough. There seems to be no satisfying them. One minute they are all snuggly and lovey, the next they are on the ground throwing a tantrum over who knows what. “No” is the favorite word, and it is used quite often. Understanding what they are trying to say is like putting a puzzle together. Sometimes you can figure the word out, sometimes you can’t. Heaven forbid you get the word wrong, though. Another tantrum might be the end result. But figure it out, and you have one happy toddler. (And you can breathe a sigh of relief that you had it right!) Another victory. Pat yourself on the back, because there will be times when you feel like you just can’t win.
Yet this isn’t your life. Not all the time. Yes, there are tantrums. Every child (and even some adults!) have them. Looking back on it, you won’t remember many of these tantrums. But you’ll remember moments like this:
“Mommy, shoes off.” My daughter takes off down the hall as I remove my slippers.
The pitter patter of her running off down the hall, only to return with my flip flops a few seconds later.
“Mommy, shoes on.” I take the flip flops and put them on.
“Me shoes.” And off we go to find her shoes. (No flip flops for her, it has to be the Mary Janes.)
After her shoes are on, the same scenario for Daddy, if he is home, occurs.
We both share a smile, knowing full well what is coming next – “outside” or “car ride”.
Despite how long of a day of we both have had or how hot it is outside, we know we cannot deny our daughter this request. Sometimes we postpone the trip (because usually her requests fall around dinner time, naturally). But unless it is raining or snowing, outside we go. Thankfully, by the time dinner is over, there are times when we are spared an extra trip. Attention span of toddlers? Not very long. Remembering wanting to go outside was a request of the past. Instead we make other memories: hide and seek, chasing each other around the house, or just sitting together on the couch watching an episode of Mickey before bed.
As for putting the house back in order? One thing I’ve learned over the last few months can be summed up in a little ditty:
“Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
For babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow
So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep
I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep.”
The dishes will get done, the toys and books put away. What’s more important, though, is being present with my daughter. Being nurturing, caring, loving, and spending time with her. Modeling right from wrong. Not giving in to every request and disciplining when necessary. Letting her know early on that life is not fair, but that I love her. Time is precious. I don’t want to miss out on those little moments I may never get back.
So if you don’t mind, I’m going to go rock my baby now.