The Terrible Twos. Threenagers. These stereotypical nicknames exist for toddlers for a reason, because let’s be real, Toddlers are a breed all their own! Every book you read will tell you why toddlers are difficult: the defiance, the irrationality–they’re managing big emotions in little bodies. But there are five things that I have found difficult about raising a toddler that I have yet to read in any book.
1. There will be pee… EVERYWHERE
And don’t think you have a free pass from all the pee just because you have a little girl. I naively thought that because I had a little girl who sat on the toilet that I wouldn’t have to deal with puddles of pee all over the bathroom. I forgot that you have to teach children EVERYTHING, and that includes sitting on the potty and waiting until all your pee is out before standing up.
2. They are creepy
Picture this: it’s 2 am and you’re sound asleep. Suddenly you’re woken by your dog growling at the bedroom door. You roll over bleary-eyed and see a shadowy figure staring at you, not saying a word, not moving. Just…staring. No, I’m not describing the next paranormal movie, just my nightly situation with a toddler who has phased out of sleeping in a crib and “needs” a drink of water.
3. Self-inflicting wounds are real
We know that temper tantrums will happen. We expect the screaming, maybe even some stomping and throwing things. But you know what I didn’t expect? That my tiny human would become so angry that she threw herself face first into the floor and caused a massive nose bleed. That’s just one example. I have seen her pull her hair, bite herself, and bang her head against the wall when she is super angry. No one told me she would become this self-destructive when her emotions reached their peak.
4. Your hormones may have normalized but that doesn’t mean your emotions have
Remember when you were pregnant or newly postpartum and you would cry and laugh all at the same time? Now that your hormones have more than likely leveled out, you may be thinking, “Great! I will be a rational person again.” Sorry, but that’s not necessarily the case. These extreme toddler behaviors have sent my own emotions astray. I will be feeling an immense amount of frustration which will turn to anger which will turn to guilt for being angry which will turn to sadness which will turn to happiness when my daughter’s pure, toddler heart forgives me without a second thought. Oh, and this whole range of emotions will happen in a 2-minute time span.
5. You will rethink your entire life
Okay, so this one may be more about you than about your toddler, but parenting a little one may make you do a bit of reflection. I understand children, I have spent six years of my adult life learning about children’s behaviors and how to manage their emotions. So why is it so hard for me to apply my knowledge to my own child? I have had to dig deep into my soul numerous nights and reevaluate who I am as a person and as a mother to ensure that I am giving my best self to this beautifully exhausting, tiny human. It is difficult to correct yourself and admit when you are not being your best, especially when it’s directed towards your child who you want nothing but the best for.
But it’s not all a struggle
You know what else the books don’t tell you? How your heart will feel the first time your toddler willingly says “I love you, mama.” The pride you will feel when they recite their ABCs by themselves. The comfort you will feel when you run into the counter and they ask you if they can kiss your boo-boo. Yes, these tiny people are difficult, but they are pure love at the same time.