Everyone warned me about the toddler years.
The ‘terrible twos’, the toddler tantrums, the hell of living with a ‘threenager’ who has all the attitude of a teenager but still rocks a nappy.
People told me to enjoy the baby days because the toddler years were just around the corner and it would all hit me like a ton of bricks and be the hardest stage ever.
But – here’s the thing. Now they’re here, I actually love the toddler years. For me they are complete and utter magic.
The warnings were true
In some ways the warnings were right. My toddler has enough sass to give every other toddler in town a run round the block.
She’s had a full on public tantrum wailing and beating her tiny fists on the floor in the frozen food aisle at Tesco that was more than a little bit testing.
The other day she told me I was ‘ruining her life’ because I asked her to put on shoes to go outside.
The toddler tears and tantrums are here for sure. Some days seem so long. Sometimes the tears seem endless.
Some days I want to scream rather than have another pretendy cup of tea at a pretendy tea party that feels more like a hostage situation than a playdate.
But then something magic happens and all that melts away in an instant. And it’s those moments that show me how much I love the toddler years.
But they left out the best bits
I love the way my toddler runs up to me and gives me the biggest hug out of nowhere and tells me I’m the best Mummy in the whole entire world.
I love the way my toddler draws scribbly pictures of ‘My Mummy’ with hearts and sunshines and a million kisses.
I love the way that whenever we walk anywhere together her little hand reaches out automatically to grasp mine.
I love the expression on her face when she sees me at nursery pick up. Her whole face lights up and she instantly drops what she is doing and runs across the room to barrel into my body because she is so happy to see me.
I love listening to her toddler chatter. The funny words she pronounces wrong. The funny stories she tells. The inquisitive questions she asks that make me think about the world too.
I love the way a simple walk to the shops is like a big adventure. She makes me look up at the sky and see clouds that look like dragons. She makes me look down at the ground and look for little treasures like the tiny speck of shiny paper stuck on the pavement, or the stick that looks like a bird.
I love the way her big tummy sticks out and her thighs are chubby and she revels in her body as she dances round the living room after a bath.
I love the way she grabs my face and turns it to plant big sticky kisses right on my lips.
I love the way that she lets her whole body collapse into giggles at the silliest things and lets the laughter flow so much that it makes me smile too.
For all the warnings about the toddler years nobody told me the secret that they are actually also the best days ever.
Toddlers live the life
My toddler is the cutest little person. She’s funny and adorable. She embraces life in a way I only wish I could. And she’s teaching me to do so too.
Each morning she wakes at the crack of dawn and leaps out of bed with a huge smile because she’s so excited about the day ahead.
She faces each day with enthusiasm, ready to play. She launches herself into each new day ready to take on the adventures which may lay ahead.
Her enthusiasm is infectious.
We get on a bus and she’s beyond excited to be going on a bus. We can look out of the window and spot cats and gardens and people wearing funny hats.
And while we travel there is a build up to the thrill of when we can press the button to make a ding to tell the bus driver to stop.
Only a toddler can make a bus trip so thrilling. It’s almost impossible not to join in her enthusiasm and live in the moment as only a toddler can.
They are simply the best people to be around.
I wish I could press pause and bottle this time. Because little one, all too soon you’ll grow up and stop needing me so much.
You’ll stop making me the ‘I lub you Mummy’ notes.
You’ll stop rushing full onto each day ready for the happy adventures you know it will bring.
One day your problems won’t be fixed with a big hug from Mummy and a chocolate biscuit.
One day you will realise that life isn’t always exciting or fair.
One day you will realise that Mummy isn’t a princess who is the best and prettiest Mummy in the land ever.
And so I will grab hold of these sweet toddler years as hard as I can and enjoy every single moment of them. Tears, tantrums and all.
I LOVE the toddler years.
I know that when they are over I’ll be wishing them back.
The ‘terrible twos’ – they’re my favourite.