1) Toddlers can be meaner than Regina George discovering you wore pink before Wednesday. I never thought my 18 month old baby girl could possibly bring tears to my eyes besides tears of joy. False. I have endured more emotional and physical ouchies from my toddler than I ever could have imagined could have come from that sweet faced little monster in a onesie and Tiny Toms. I’ve been spit on, slapped, screamed at in the highest pitch sound only a dog could hear and have had more food and water tossed in my face than a soap opera star. Apparently, they do this to the ones they love most.
2) You will spend entire days trying to feed your little foodie and you will take offense when you slave over what you think is a delicious homemade meal that you spent perfectly steaming, chopping and sauteing just for them and it ends up on the floor, in your face and in the dog’s belly all with a resounding “NO!” to go along with it. It’s okay to give up, cave in and hand over the food pouch, yogurt or applesauce for the 8th time that day. Oh and the next day, she will decide she hates that same food pouch, yogurt or applesauce and go on a food strike all together. She is your worst food critic and can make you feel like you just read your own horrible restaurant review in the New York Times. Just keep telling yourself, It’s not personal. She’s a toddler.
3) The terrible two stage actually starts around 12 months. And no, no one tells you that. Right after throwing her a Pinterest worthy one year celebration, your precious one year old will manage to flail herself face first on the floor…screaming, kicking and contorting her body into crazier back arches than an acrobat in Cirque du Soleil.
4) Your toddler will manage to take out the most obnoxiously loud toys just as you put the new baby down for a nap. She hasn’t touched them in weeks…but the baby is sleeping, so obviously this is the best time to rediscover them, then see how close she can sit by the sleeping baby with said obnoxious toy.
5) You will put toys and books on “vacation.” When you feel like you just don’t care about what Brown Bear sees anymore or you just can’t listen to Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer in the middle of summer for the 19th time on repeat, you will conveniently misplace said book and toy and plead the 5th when she wanders around like a crazy person asking where “Brown Bee!!! BROWN BEE!!!” is. Don’t make the same mistake I did and forget to childproof the “vacation” drawer. Brown Bear came back from vacation earlier than expected.
6) It doesn’t matter how much they love something and for how long, one day they can decide they hate it. Marielle LOVED taking her baths. She would come running down the hallway giddily screaming, “BAA! BAA!” and excitedly watch the tub fill with water and bubbles. Then one day, Marielle part 2 decided she HATED baths and would run the other direction down the hallway screaming, “NOO BAA! NOO BAA!” I’d eventually just place her in the tub and she’d flail around like a fish out of water, screaming at the top of her lungs impairing my hearing for the remainder of the day.
7) Toddlers have multiple personalities that have the ability to show all of their sides in the same episode. When you turn off Daniel Tiger or Bubble Guppies before she decides she’s done watching, you will either a) get the remote thrown at you or b) smacked in the tummy with her out of control little chubby hands. When you give her the eye and tell her no, that hurts mommy, her lip will quiver, she will start to cry and then demand a hug and kiss. Oh, you do love me. I couldn’t tell from the toddler smack down you just gave me.
8) You may take it personally if your toddler doesn’t cry when you leave her in Baby and Me class for the first time. You may cry (even when you’ll just be in the room next door) but she may not. And that’s okay, it’s a good thing actually, You want her to be happy with her little toddler friends and comfortable with you not being around 24/7. And they do actually miss you as evidence by the big hug you will get 45 minutes later.
9) You will rediscover the world through a toddler’s eyes. You will laugh, sing and dance to Raffi and Baby Einstein. Find sheer joy watching them giggle and delight at the sight of the animals at the zoo. You’ll find yourself having the time of your life swinging on the swing set along side your little one, and take pride the first time they go down the playground slide alone. You’ll run through sprinklers, splash in the pool and dance around the kitchen. You will think everything they do is Instagram worthy and you’ll stop caring if you’re the obnoxious mom posting a million photos of your toddler doing the same thing over and over again.
10) But if there is one thing that I could never have imagined, it’s how much love you have for your little one. No matter how much they hit you and scream at you, make you worry, make you angry or make you sad. You are the center of their world and they are yours. They aren’t toddlers forever. This stage will end, and then you’ll forget it ever happened. Maybe that’s why everyone forgot to tell me about the terrible 12 month stage??
Your heart will melt, over and over again when they do unexpected acts of kindness. When they hand you a tissue when you cry, when they kiss their baby brother on the forehead just because, when they come up behind you and wrap their tiny arms around your leg, when they feed you their last precious strawberry with their chubby little fingers, when they look up at you with those big, bright baby blues and sweetly say, “mama.” Just, mama. Raising a toddler is the hardest thing I have ever done, but it’s worth every tantrum and sleepless night.