Saturday, July 16, 2011

Welcome to Toddlerhood

If you read my last post, this will come as no surprise, but lately I've been getting so aggravated with Reese. I suppose this is common seeing as how she is almost 14 months old and has officially entered the toddler stage. Ah, the toddler stage, just another part of motherhood that we all hear stories about but can never fully appreciate until we're actually standing there fishing plastic farm animals out of the toilet. It's such a gradual shift from the cute, cuddly, sleeping-in-a-bouncy-chair-all-day newborn stage to the food throwing, poop smearing, queen of destruction toddler stage that it's hard to see it coming and even harder to prepare for it.

Not that the occasional random act of insanity isn’t funny (I’ll admit that I have videotaped her destroying a roll of paper towels), but if a box of tampons dumped in the bathtub doesn’t frustrate you, there are plenty of other ways to get aggravated. One of my favorites is the "guess what I'm pointing at" game where I get a limited number of attempts to find what she wants before the meltdown commences. Then there's the game of opposites where she wants to go outside and then she wants to come inside and then she wants to go back outside (or she wants her shoes on then she wants them off, then she wants them on again). 

She also never wants to be held anymore... unless I'm trying to get something done; then that's all she wants. This means that I have figure out how to do everything with one hand, and even though I already mastered this skill when I had a newborn, now I get the added challenge of her superhuman octopus-like ability to successfully get a hand on everything in sight. I just want to drink a glass of water that hasn’t had Reese’s dirty hand dunked in it. Is that so much to ask?

I think the hardest thing about realizing that my baby is now a toddler is knowing that it's going to get so much harder before it gets easier. She doesn’t have full-blown tantrums; she can’t talk enough to tell lies; and she’s still somewhat limited in her mobility. I get aggravated on a daily basis now, and there’s still so much more to come! As I look ahead to the next couple years, the only thing more unimaginable than living with her is not living with her. 

Now don't worry. I'm not going back on what I said before. It certainly does help to remember how short-lived this stage is and how much I will miss it when it's over. It definitely takes the edge off of my frustration, but that doesn't mean I suddenly love all things toddler. I still get aggravated every day (usually more than once). I still want an occasional break from her nonsense. But that’s the point. Sometimes I can’t get enough of her. Sometimes I can’t get away from her enough. Sometimes I speed a little on the way home because I’m so excited to see her. Sometimes the sound of her waking up from her nap makes me want to cry. Charles Dickens may not have been talking about motherhood, but he still had it right: “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” Welcome to toddlerhood.

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