01 May 2015

Why I Disliked the Toddler Phase




I spend way too much time on social media every day (partially because of my job and the other times because...well...don't we all?) and in the process, I read a lot of articles, blog posts and comments from other parents who say that the toddler years are “the best years ever” but if you want my opinion? 

Ehhh...

Don't get me wrong. It's a tremendous feeling of awe, pride and amazement to watch your child grow, learn and discover the world at that age. Truly, there is nothing better than to watch them experience all those firsts in life: first steps, first words…first eaten booger. But all that other shit that comprises 90% of the toddler years? 


Ehhh...


You guys know exactly what I'm talking about - the endless, sleepless nights. The teething. The potty training. The sleepless nights. The transition from crib to bed. The tantrums. The attitude. The dreaded two-year-old molars. Did I mention the endless, sleepless nights?


Looking back on my journey as a parent up to this point, I have to say that without a doubt I enjoyed the baby phase and this current phase of being a preschooler far more than the toddler years. Once we got past the first couple of months of adjusting to our new roles as parents, life with Chickie was, well…life. She started sleeping through the night around the second month, had a sweet and cheerful disposition all the time, was extremely low maintenance {which seems weird as shit to say about a baby but it’s true} and keeping her entertained was so easy. 


But the toddler years?


Very simply: It’s like having Hitler living in your home; a sassy, independent, three foot, 39lb. dictator who shows absolutely no mercy to mom or dad. It's amazing to me how someone no taller than a fire hydrant can cause so much chaos in the lives of two grown adults. How does this happen? One minute I'm cooing and rocking my sweet baby girl while she's curled up sweetly in my lap and the next minute, I'm begging her to stop punching me in the tits because you know, for a toddler, that's apparently great fun.  #myboobswoulddisagree #homemadepunchingbags


Let me be clear. My child is by no means a bratty, monstrous, hateful demon but let me also be clear when I say that she is extremely challenging, stubborn, strong-willed, and forcefully independent and has more attitude than Barbara Streisand on steroids.

I remember during those toddler years yearning for the age where she could talk fully and in complete sentences so that I could understand her wants and needs better. I wanted to lay with her in bed at night and do girl talk about her dreams, her secrets and all the silly things that girls do together. I wanted to carry on conversations with her about boys and friends, music, clothes and all the things she's interested in and going through, not just the conversations like:

Mommy: “Maddy, no. That will hurt you. Don’t do that.”
Maddy: “No!”
Mommy: “Maddy, for the second time, don’t do that! If you do it again, you will get your hand popped.”
Maddy: “NOOOOOOO!!!”

Cue the shitty meltdown with waterworks and feet and fists flying in the air. And I’m sure Maddy had some kind of a reaction too.

I wanted to feel more of a relationship and connection with my daughter instead of feeling like some kind of task master: feed her. Clothe her. Wash, rinse, repeat. Oh! And through all of this big life adjustment, try not to kill her in the process, m’kay? 


I felt like a prison warden and kill joy because with the toddler years came an even bigger responsibility as Chickie's parent to discipline all. the. time. I constantly felt like the bad guy and while I know that discipline is a constant in the parent/child relationship through the years, the reality is that it's all pretty much hard discipline during the toddler years because it’s the time in a child’s life where they begin to figure out choices, independence and how the two go hand-in-hand. It's almost like building a house - you have to lay the foundation correctly in order for the home to be strong. Sure, the home may have things here and there that occasionally need fixing but as long as the foundation is solid, all is well. I think the same could be said for raising toddlers. So I forged ahead knowing that while the work was not fun, it was necessary and that like all things in life – it too shall pass.

And it has. In July, Chickie will be 4 and she has already entered into the preschool years. It’s a whole new set of challenges that her father and I have to deal with but honestly, it’s so. much. better. We talk, we laugh and we actually communicate on a lot of different levels. I can talk with her about her day or she can come to me and tell me things on her mind and we talk it out. We go for mani/pedi dates and we do lay in her bed and act silly, talk and play. She shares her personality and spirit with me and in return, I share a little of myself with her. It’s a wonderfully beautiful, amazing and fucking awesome thing that we’ve got going on and I can’t wait to see how it grows and changes over the years. 


So, no. The toddler years weren’t so hot for me and that's just the truth, y'all. Well, at least it's my truth {although, I'm willing to bet both of my bruised tits that there are other women out there who feel the same way whether they want to admit it or not}. I know I'm probably the lone mom out here on this and that it's probably not the most popular opinion around but I'm okay with that.

I still remind myself daily how lucky and blessed I am to have this beautiful creature in my world and how she has made my life all the more meaningful simply by her presence. Every day, Chickie inspires me to be a better woman, a better mother, a better mate and a better person. In so many ways she has saved me and even through this crazy roller coaster ride of parenthood, I wouldn't trade her or the journey for anything...because...she is my everything. 


http://www.greenlovinggirl.com/




Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup

Courtney is a published author, mom, taco enthusiast, and a Star Wars and Tennessee Volunteers fanatic. She's never met a piece of sushi she didn’t like and enjoys an amazing glass of wine and a great cut of meat. You can read more of her wine-induced, sleep-deprived adventures on The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy.

6 comments:

  1. Desiree @ Macke MonologuesMay 1, 2015 at 11:11 AM

    YES!! We are freshly into year 3 and ho.ly.shit. Never in my life have I had to say the word "no" more than I have in the last 9 months. It's exhausting. And that doesn't even include the nights of crappy sleep (which is essentially every.damn.night). Toddlers are assholes.
    I've heard things are better by year 4 - which I cannot wait for. While there are definite moments of momma pride during this phase I seriously can't wait until the attitude is a little less, the defiance is a little less, and the sleep is a little more. Surely that's just around the corner. Right?

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  2. OMG, the punching = the worst. Abbie also has a habit of aiming her super pointy elbows right at our throats...ugh. Come on kiddo, that hurts! I am so looking forward to the preschool years!

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  3. I can definitely relate. :O I think the hardest part of toddlerhood is walking on eggshells (esp when out in public), never knowing when the volcano will erupt haha.

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  4. Christina AmoreMay 1, 2015 at 4:03 PM

    Your descriptions and analogies were hilarious! I agree the toddler stage was difficult, but I am into the teen years now so some days I long for the toddler! (although there are a lot of similarities)

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  5. Christine Mudryk MartinMay 1, 2015 at 9:53 PM

    So funny! I feel similarly from the 12 -30 month age. That year and a half is SO HARD! They don't really understand stuff like "Don't empty the entire roll of toilet paper into the toilet bowl!" nor can they effectively communicate. But from 2.5/3ish on is SO awesome! Sure, there's loads of hard moments...but I've found that with my two oldest, who are both currently in that preschooler/JK phase...I just absolutely love it! My 13 month old though...ugh...so hard! Hang in there momma! xox

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  6. I only have a 2-month-old, and I'm still finding it so hard to deal with. I can't imagine what the toddler years will be like. I'm hoping to God that my son will at least want to play by himself every once in a while so I can pee and drink a coffee before it goes ice cold! (The coffee, not the pee). I loved your post though, and my husband did too!

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