Parenting toddlers is an emotional roller-coaster that will make you want to rip out your hair while chugging a bottle of wine at 5:05 p.m. to seeing your heart-melting all over the floor at 5:10 p.m. Urban Dictionary defines toddlers as “tiny bipolar humans under the age of 3, who can swing rapidly between endearingly cute antics and screaming, kicking, biting fits of rage…completely unpredictable and often unintelligible lovable little walking blessings/nightmares disguised as tiny human beings with giant heads.” Yup, that sounds about right. I would also add to the definition “caution: arguing with these tiny humans is fruitless, but you will get trapped into doing so anyway.”
But in all seriousness, I think being the mom of a toddler is the most rewarding experience, and
the pint sized dictator of my house, my 2.5-year-old daughter, has taught me some amazing lessons in life and love that have made me fall even more in love with her.
Apologize right away. I have taught her to “say you’re sorry” if she hurts someone, and she immediately does so when she realizes that she has upset someone. She says she is sorry and moves on. Toddlers apologize without hesitation. But as adults, I think we struggle to apologize and must first analyze the situation repeatedly before we actually bring ourselves to do so. If you did something wrong, apologize right away and move on.
Forgive easily. Queen Elsa had the right idea when she “let it go.” As moms, we all make mistakes, but toddlers won’t hold them against you or love you any less because of them. They forgive and forget as quickly as they got upset over something in the first place.
Pay attention and ask questions. Although my daughter sometimes may pretend that she can’t hear me when I tell her it’s bedtime, she sure pays a lot of attention to what I’m doing and doesn’t hesitate to ask me any questions that she is curious about. Sometimes we hesitate to ask questions as adults because we do not want to appear unintelligent or uninformed. Still, there oftentimes is no need to hesitate, and you’d be better off if you asked the question than went on not knowing.
Always find time to be silly. My daughter always finds a way to be silly or make me laugh when I least want to. Laughter is good for the soul, and being silly can release tensions!
Slow down. When my older daughter came to the hospital after my younger daughter’s birth, I realized how old she had gotten, and I committed at that moment to slow down and appreciate every stage, no matter how tiring it could be. There is nothing like comparing a toddler to a baby that makes you realize that these moments and days of them being little really are fleeting.
If you love someone, say it and show it often. One of my favorite parts of each day is when my daughter spontaneously says she loves me or gives me hugs and kisses. If you are overcome with love for someone, say it and show them how you feel.
Ask for what you want (politely). If my daughter wants food, she asks for it right away. If she wants to be picked up, she asks for it. She will say please and thank you, but she will have no hesitation in asking for something when she wants it. She also doesn’t hesitate to be persistent if she doesn’t get what she wants! If we want that promotion at work, we hesitate to ask – but why should we? If you want it, go for it because it never hurts to ask!
Do what makes you happy, and don’t worry about what people think. My daughter insisted on wearing a princess nightgown and dressy boots with a camo jacket to the grocery store this past weekend because she wanted to, and she had no hesitations about what people would think. She will also sing loudly wherever she goes. I desperately wish that my daughter would never get self-conscious and aware of judgmental people, but I know this is naive of me to think. But right now, I’m trying to take a page from her book.
Quality over quantity. No matter if it was 1 hour or an entire day that she spent with her relatives or us, she will remember the quality of that time over the amount of time. As that quote goes, she really does measure life in the moments that take her breath away (or make her laugh) and not the moments in her life.