Toddlers Are My Favorite

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When I was pregnant, lots of well-meaning people told me how great babies were. They remembered with fondness on the days of rocking a baby to sleep, tiny fingers and toes, and the first smile.

When my daughter was an infant people told me to cherish this time because toddlerhood would transform her into a shrieking, demanding child overcome by big emotions and even bigger tantrums. Talk of the “terrible twos” and advice to survive those years became the main topic of conversation.

As much as I love my daughter, she was not an easy infant. She fought sleep with all her might, fussed constantly due to being overtired, and let’s not discuss how much spit up I endured. When people began to talk about the woes of toddlers, I couldn’t help but feel burdened by dread. If infancy was this hard, would we even make it through the toddler years? 

My daughter will celebrate her second birthday on May 30. During the last year, I have watched my curious, fast, and furious girl become more independent, loud, and stubborn. My baby is now a full-blown toddler and I am loving every minute.

Yes, she’s screamed and cried before eight o’clock in the morning because she wanted ice cream for breakfast. Yes, she’s thrown herself on the floor because I dared to utter the word “no.” She’s even called out for her grandmother in hopes that she would be rescued from the dreaded naptime. But I wouldn’t fast forward through this time, even if I could.

Because my daughter is coming into her own personality and I get a front-row seat.

She is constantly requesting high-fives and kisses. She will stop in the middle of playing just to run over and say “I wuv you” in her sweet, little voice. When she hears music, she declares “dancing, mama!” and she insists on shouting “loud!” when she is drumming on a pot in the kitchen.

Most of the time, I’m exhausted, my house is messy, and I don’t know how I’m going to do it all again tomorrow. But when she requests one more book at bedtime or to sit “next mama” while I have the computer open, I am so glad I have a toddler. Often when we are in the midst of a hectic day I am reminded of the valuable lessons she is teaching me while I am guiding her.

Laughter really is the best medicine. It’s okay to be angry, but don’t get stuck there. Messes can be so much fun. Enjoy the outdoors and forget about the phone for a while.

Toddlers are loud, messy, and very stubborn. However, I think they get a bad rap. My daughter can drive me crazy, but when she reaches up towards me and says “hold you, mama” right before I scoop her up, I am reminded that toddlers are my favorite. 

Is your child a toddler? What do you enjoy about this stage of life?

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Kelsey Arender is a Lexington native who fell in love with her work in libraries in 2012. Prior to her recent career change, you could find her at the public library's children department. Now, she happily works in a middle school library. On the weekends, Kelsey and her husband, William, enjoy watching reruns of their favorite TV shows, attending church, and reading with their one-year-old daughter. Kelsey's favorite things include endless mugs of coffee, cozy sweaters, rainy days, and laughing with friends. She may be an introvert but if you start a conversation about personality types, toddlers, or hygge, you'll make a fast friend. You can find her hanging on Instagram at @we_all_get_sleepy.

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