Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What I've Learned About Toddlers

1. They are dirty.  No matter how hard you try, no matter how much you scrub their noses, wipe off their faces, and fix their hair... they will go back to square one in a matter of seconds. And you know what? It's okay. It's okay to let them just be a kid. Play in the mud. Wipe their snot on the sleeve of their shirt. And wipe their dirty hands on their pants. The day will still go on. 

2. It's hard being a toddler. Although my husband and I say this in a joking manner all the time.. "Honey, it must be so hard being two," it really is very true when you think about it. Their brains are working so hard, storing all this information and knowledge. They are growing. Their little bodies changing. They have a grasp that now they can control their emotions, but yet, they do not exactly know how just yet. They are experimenting. They are pushing limits. They went from baby to big overnight, and yet... they sitll are a baby. And you know what? All that is just hard.

3. Learn to let go. Give them that little freedom to make a mess. Let them eat that scoop of ice cream. If they want to take off their clothes, and thrust their fists against their chests like monkeys.. let them. If they just want to belt out yelling at the top of their lungs, because they think they are hilarious, then let those lungs sing. If they want to be independent and put on the mis-matched clothes.... go for it. Their independence is so important at this age. And ask yourself this... who are they hurting?

4. Learn when to pull in the reigns. Remember who is mom {or dad}. Remember that our number one responsibility is to be a parent first. So while we need to learn to let go, we also need to learn when limits need to be placed. And how to place them wisely.

5. It's okay to not be the "perfect" textbook mom. There is no such thing as perfect. And no one mom should ever follow "rules" or "guidelines" to how to mom. Just mom. And it's okay to make mistakes. To "trial and error." To acknowledge those mistakes. Learn from them. And try to become better because of them. Have I mentioned... it's okay to make mistakes? After all, we are human.

6. It's also more than okay, and obligatory to say "I'm sorry." I have been there. Plenty of times. Where I sat Elliana down on the bed, or I got down to her level, looked her in the eyes and said... "I'm sorry baby." I'm sorry for raising my voice, I'm sorry for getting mad, I'm sorry for what I said... or didn't say... or how I acted. And always, always, that sweet baby of yours wraps their arms around your neck, gives you a tight squeeze, and says "It's okay mama." And always, there are tears.

7. Acknowledge their achievements. So so so important. I have learned that Elliana thrives on our positive feedback. She soaks it in and she beams when we appreciate her listening, comment on her good behavior, and throw out all the "I'm so proud of you's" her way. In fact, she now says it before we even can. After she is done picking up something we asked, she looks over at me and says "Mama... I so proud of you." I seriously get tears {what else is new} every time her sweet little voice says those words. She wants to be appreciated, and she wants her good efforts acknowledged. It is so important and I really make it a point to let her know how proud we are each and every day. Because we are.

8. Give as many hugs and kisses and I love you's as you possibly can. There is no such thing as too much. And while Graham at this age cannot exactly wiggle his way out of my arms, and push his little hands in front of my face, Elliana can. And although she takes in my hugs and kisses with warmth... there are moments where she could care less for them. I still give them, and I'll keep giving them, and there is nothing to stop me. So there.

9. And when you're mad... just walk away. My most regrettable moments have been when I've already been on the edge, when I've been stressed, and when buttons have been pushed. If I know I'm going to raise my voice, or say something in the wrong way, I try to remember.. to walk away. This one is a tough one for me. It's a working progress.

10. Do not read the paper, news, or talk to people period. Okay, a little too much there. What I really wanted to say is... stop reading all those sad stories. You will cry every time. You will imagine your toddler falling off that swing, getting hit by the car, or being abducted by a stranger. You will. And it will eat away at you. And you will want to lock them up in the basement forever with a bunch of toys and balloons and keep them in this safe bubble forever. You know, this one is a hard one for me. To not worry. I constantly think of the worst, and these babies are my world. It's so scary to watch your greatest accomplishment in life, these children, walk around in this scary world. We mothers just want to protect. And reading all the horror out there? Makes it that much more difficult for us. So shut the computer when you read the title, go to the next page in the newspaper when you see the sad picture... just go on.

11. Lastly, most importantly, remember... they are just... a toddler. Often times we set such high expectations for these little babies of ours. It is like one day they went from needing us, depending on us, to being these free-spirited creatures. And just like that, we assumed that now they must obey and they must understand and they must listen. When we have to keep in mind that toddlers do not comprehend cause and effect. They are in their stage of their life where their brain wants to explore. Touching is normal and okay. Getting into things and exploring is normal, and what they should be doing. So instead of treating them like they are 5... remember... they are still babies. Just in these bigger bodies. With these bigger brains. And much bigger personalities.

Personalities that should be embraced, caught on camera, and written down for our memory.

Because this toddler stage.. goes too fast. And as hard and trying as some of these moments may be... they still go by too fast.

And never ever ever...do I want to wish this time away.

7 comments:

  1. Loved this! Found your blog recently and it is one of my favorites!

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  2. Couldn't agree more!! Love your blog!

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  3. My kiddo is only 4 months old and I can't read/watch the news. The terrible stories about kids is just too much for me!

    Love this post, such important things to think about!

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  4. This list is soooo true. I was looking at my toddler today, face covered in dirt and snot, no pants, no shoes... and I just said, whatever. I don't care if you smell like feet! Have fun!

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  5. Oh my goodness! I love this post!

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  6. Great post to help all Moms remember how precious the toddler years are! Makes me want to wake up my toddler and give him a hug now, but I think I'll enjoy my "Mom time" and wait to do that after he wakes up in a bit!

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