I was visiting my brother’s house at bedtime last night. It was the last night my nephew went to bed as a 2 year old. He put on a bit of a show jumping on his bed and fussing before picking out a bedtime story and settling in. In his defense, he had his birthday party the day before, and had an audience to perform for that threw off his routine. (sorry guys!)
I thought to myself, and then even said out loud “I miss that stage”. I thought about it on the drive home, why I might miss that needy/demanding stage. I mean who misses 2 year old fits? Well, apparently this momma does.
It’s not the fits that I miss, but the way toddlers NEED their parents.
The need for extra snuggles, extra attention, an extra story.
Yes, toddlers are demanding, and urgent.
Oh boy, are they ever urgent. When they want something they want it NOW. When they have to go to the bathroom there is only about a 10 second warning, when they’re hungry they act as if the world is falling apart. And how dare a mother go to the bathroom by herself for 2 minutes, because what if the toddler *needs* something in that 2 minute span? Yep, the toddler comes along sitting on the floor just talking, and waiting, and talking more.
You guys, their needs are so simple though! Seriously! You can sit down on the floor next to a toddler reading books, coloring, racing cars, or just talking, and they are perfectly content.
That’s what I miss about having a toddler, the simplicity. Their biggest interest isn’t Legos, cars, or Barbies; it’s simply mom and dad. It’s all about one-on-one attention.
Rarely did any of my toddlers tell me “just a minute” when I asked if they wanted to bake cookies together, but now that I have older kids, I hear all the time “Yeah, I will later”.
I appreciate that my big kids have other hobbies and interests. They aren’t nearly as urgent as they once were. They don’t beg for me, and over all, life is just a little bit easier in this season. Okay, maybe not actually easier, I mean I’ll have a teenager behind the wheel in about another week and there is nothing easy about that for this momma, but life just doesn’t feel as rushed right now.
My youngest is 4, and while she is still little and loves time together, she doesn’t beg for it. She’s content on her own much of the time. She would prefer time with the neighbor kids over time with me. She forms complete sentences, & she is highly independent. This girl turned 4 just 3 weeks ago, but for the last couple of months she has known how to start a load of laundry! Yes, really! She can load the washer with the right amount of clothes, I put in the soap (never let your littles handle laundry soap, even if it is natural like ours), and she pushes the buttons to get it started. Sometimes she will even begin to start a load of laundry while I’m off doing something else and yell for me when it’s time for the soap.
Toddlers don’t do that stuff. Oh friends, there is much to be appreciated with older kids.
Now this isn’t to say that older kids don’t need attention too, because they definitely do, and they show it in a different way (I’ll post on that another day).
I’m just saying if you’re a mom of little ones and you’re tired, worn out, and rushed, I promise you, it is only a season of life, and you will survive it.
These little ones won’t need you so urgently forever. They’ll still need you (says the girl who still calls home), but it won’t feel as demanding.
I think the best thing you can do for your toddler is to just love on them, give them attention, and let life slow down a little as you stop to read a board book, play with toys, or just snuggle and watch an episode of Peg + Cat together.
There is plenty of time later in life for rushing through chores (like the morning of an out of town volleyball tournament, when your teen says her uniform is still in the bottom of the hamper and you’re left with only minutes to wash it and let it air dry out the window on the way). Later in life you can let the outside world dictate what your schedule (like when a friend calls up for an impromptu coffee date, or someone locks their keys in their car at midnight and you’re their phone-a-friend).
For now though, while your littles are little, build a strong relationship with them, foster their confidence the best you can, because all too quickly the world will make them feel insecure and they’ll need the comfort of their mother or father again.
Dear tired mom,
Trust me when I say it’s only a phase. I promise you this won’t last forever, so tend to your littles without hesitation. You can’t over-spoil a baby or toddler. I don’t care what the other mommy blogs say, you just can’t, okay? You won’t make them a wuss or too sensitive. Your extra snuggles and attention just might make them more emotionally stable, and confident.