People are always talking about how great newborns are, with the new-baby-head-smell and all that. To be honest, for the first three days of my son’s life I thought that the smell of his Pampers Swaddlers was his “new baby smell.” I was bewildered thinking why people raved about it. When I finally realized I had been smelling the diapers all along, I was obviously quite relieved. (And I started looking for more natural diaper options.) My new mom confusion aside, we can agree that we love babies! They are tiny, cuddly angels.
The subject of much more debate seems to be in the area of toddlerhood. Toddlers, especially two-year-olds, get a bad reputation. I think maybe this group of young ones is just misunderstood! Let’s allow that they did just recently learn to walk and talk and are still trying to figure out how the world works and where their place is in it. Let’s take a fresh look at the “trying twos” and celebrate these young ones for all of who they are.
These are 10 things I love about toddlers.
1 They stand up for what they believe in.
Popsicles, drinking from a cup with no lid, getting out of the car seat right now. Whatever their current passion, toddlers make a pitch for it loud and clear. They are people of conviction.
2 They see opportunity everywhere.
Doesn’t look like much to do in the parking lot here? They see a bed of rocks just begging to be scooped up, dropped down, stacked in piles. Opportunity. It just rained and puddles are everywhere? Jumping opportunity. Mom just watered a hanging basket and water is pouring out through the bottom like a rain shower, just begging to be an impromptu toddler shower. Opportunity.
3 They are self-starters.
My son isn’t happy unless he gets a chance to do it “by myself!” Cracking eggs, stirring batter, painting with watercolors, brushing his teeth. He is motivated to learn and to do for himself. It’s a valuable trait.
4 They can do chores.
They can sort recycling, wipe up spills, rinse dishes, dust, wash their own hands. I’m sure I am just scratching the surface here. They can actually help you to get things done around the house, and they love doing it! (Usually. For at least two minutes.)
5 They don’t give up a search.
For a cherished teddy bear, for a missing Matchbox garbage truck, for a Cheerio that fell onto the floor. If they have to have it, toddler and caregivers will be scouring the house for it until it is found.
Maybe I should more accurately say that “they don’t give up a search easily.” There was a time that my son’s special teddy bear was missing for more than a month. We looked everywhere we could think of for days before calling off the search. When teddy was not to be found, our toddler adopted two different teddy bears to cuddle in place of the original.
Four weeks later, we were packing for a camping trip, and low and behold, there was teddy wrapped up in a sleeping bag (the best sleeping bag ever, might I note). At least teddy was comfortable. Maybe he was hibernating and just got the seasons wrong?
6 Their imagination is working and they know how to use it.
All day long, toddlers are playing make-believe. It seems to me you can’t follow your dreams as an adult if you don’t start exercising that imagination when you’re young. Can’t cook on the real stove yet with mom? Make-believe you are cooking a feast on your play kitchenette. Can’t drive till you’re 16? Imagine you are driver and operator of all sorts of work trucks and construction trucks in your own living room.
The real fun is when you stop making suggestions for their imaginative play and listen to what those toddler minds come up with on their own!
7 Their legs are long enough to walk up and down the stairs alone.
Now Mom can walk down the stairs and carry a basket of laundry and a cup of coffee at the same time. Family efficiency gained.
8 Hugs for days.
One of the greatest joys of living with a toddler is their increasing ability to express their love for you. Hugs that they initiate, reaching out their hand to take yours in it so that you can go along with them to play. I just try to soak it in!
9 Their conversation is honest and unfiltered.
Social conventions and guarded conversation doesn’t make much sense to a toddler. My son currently asks every friendly person he meets “what’s your name?” and provides his full name in return. They tell you what’s up, and they ask you what they want to know. Simple.
10 They are excited about life, and their joy is contagious.
It is impossible to not enjoy yourself when a toddler is innocently having fun living life. Everywhere we go, my son’s smiling face and genuine interest in the world around him brings smiles to people’s faces. The way he lights up when he is proud of himself for accomplishing something new, or the excitement he shows about counting 1-2-3-4 and jumping off a curb. The way he grabs your hand and says “let’s run!” across a field of grass. Watching him jump in the fallen leaves. Magic.
Cheers to Toddlerhood
Don’t stop being you, toddlers. There is a grand design to life and this stage of it is meaningful and important. Twos are more “testy” than “terrible,” and you are lovely just the way you are. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
What do you love about toddlers?