The Sweetness of a Toddler

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Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking of all the sweet moments that I’ve been having with my 23-month-old daughter. I’ve been very present in those tender moments with her when she gives hugs, and looks at me, and says “mama” in that angelic voice.

Of course, as I am typing this, she’s literally screaming her head off in her crib after barely napping today. I know she has to be exhausted. I am exhausted. My husband and dogs are exhausted. 

Molly started her “terrible twos” right at 18 months. The last six months have been the most emotionally draining I have ever experienced. Logically, I understand that her brain is developing at a rapid pace and that she is not able to process and make sense of emotions.

I also try to remember that everything she experiences is brand new to her; what seems trivial to me isn’t trivial to her. When the dogs steal one of her snacks that is traumatic for her. (I mean, come on though, it is traumatic to have to share your snacks.)

There have been tantrums, screaming fits, throwing, hitting, kicking, and more screaming. After using the Moms on Call guidelines for “Simmer Time,” the hitting and kicking have gotten exponentially better.

As her second birthday approaches in a few weeks, I’ve been reflecting on the past six months. There have been numerous times I have felt utterly defeated. I think to myself “Am I doing enough? Is she getting enough stimulation, too much stimulation? Am I engaging enough with her?”

The endless mental dialogue gets to me at times. Although it has been a rough time for us emotionally, things are starting to get better. Or, maybe I’m just used to it at this point.

Recently, she gave me a hug without asking for the very first time. That had to be one of the best moments I have experienced so far as a mom. Now she gives me hugs all the time, she follows me around like a little shadow, she talks to me even though most of the time I have no idea what she is talking about, usually ending most sentences with “mama” and looking up at me with a happy and inquisitive gaze.

My daughter has started to really use her imagination when playing and is learning new words every day. She pretends to talk to her dad on the phone and cook in her kitchen. She’s having tea parties with her Elsa doll.

I love watching her use her imagination, it’s so amazing to witness her grow!

I know that I’m not out of the woods yet. I’m certain there will be many more hard days ahead. I am certain that as she grows things will get more and more complicated. Someday she’ll want to be with friends and won’t run up to hug me as hard as she can. Someday she won’t reach up for me to carry her. She won’t follow me around wanting to be like me. One day I know I will give anything to come back to right now.

So, for now, I will enjoy these sweet moments with my girl. Now if I can just get her to sit and eat calmly at mealtimes...

Recently I heard Jerry Seinfeld make a great statement about toddlers. He said,

“A two-year-old is kind of like having a blender, but you don’t have a top for it.”

He couldn’t be more right!

Is your two-year-old like a blender? How are you handling the toddler years?

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Elizabeth is a South Carolina native who has lived in the Lowcountry, Midlands, and Upstate. She grew up in Greenville but has called the Midlands home since 2004. Elizabeth attended USC and graduated in 2013 with a degree in English Literature. She met her husband, Matt, in 2009 and they married in 2016. Her daughter Molly was born in July of 2019. After college, she had administrative jobs until transitioning to a stay-at-home mom once Molly was born. When needed she helps her husband run his business where he refinishes and installs hardwood flooring. Their rescue dog, Beatrice, has been part of the family for 11 years. They enjoy many trips to Riverbanks Zoo and the great parks in the Irmo area. A fun fact about Elizabeth is she has played bagpipes for 20 years. She has played at all types of events ranging from parades and weddings to Carolina and Clemson football games. Currently, her main hobby is watching Netflix after her daughter goes to bed as well as the occasional trip to Target by herself.

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