As Leslie is taking this week to celebrate Emma Ramey and taking time to soak in every last moment of baby time, I wanted to share a few words of experience about being the mom of a toddler.
I have a 3.5 year old little boy named Hudson (who is technically a preschooler), and a 22 month old little boy named Hayes. They are too happy, wild, spirited, sweet little challenging boys.
As I'm in the midst of raising my second toddler, I feel like I'm able to look at this toddler stuff in a different light. While raising my first toddler, I thought the days would never end. That bed time would never come. That the tantrums would never end.
Sometimes I felt like I couldn't introduce him to a fun, new activity because as soon as the activity ended, we'd be in the midst of another horrible tantrum. And sometimes they were in public.
But then at the end of the day, he'd say something hilarious and I'd see just how much fun it is to watch a little person become their own little person. Watching him figure out the world and learning how to deal with disappointments was a privilege for me. I get to be the witness to his sweet little life! And I get to make an impact on him. So I just pray every day that my impact is positive. That I have a tug inside of me each time I think I'm going to lose my patience, to show him more love. Just more and more love.
And that part is just plain hard. They test your patience. They break things. They don't obey. They push the boundaries. But they love. They barely even know how to do anything else except love.
So here are just a few pieces of advice for Leslie as she prepares to enter the world of raising a sweet, spirited little toddler.
1. Remember that it's a season. This sweet little period of their lives will be over before you even know it. Then you'll be raising a preschooler and raising your second toddler, and you'll remember that it wasn't really all that bad the first time around. It's not a cake walk, but it won't last forever.
2. Ignore the noise when you need to. It's okay to tune out the constant repeat of "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" It's okay to take a minute to yourself to breathe and pray for patience. Just step away. And most of the time when we step away, we're able to regain our composure and gain a little perspective.
3. Lean on your friends and get out of the house. The occasional girls night and time spent with other moms is so therapeutic. Having the opportunity to talk about our kids when we get out-- or NOT talk about our kids-- gives us a chance to remember who we are as women aside from being a mom.
4. Enjoy every little moment. Get down on the floor and play with them. Go for walks. Talk to them. Run around the yard with them and teach them things. This wild time of innocence is fleeting. Hudson first rolled his eyes at us on his second birthday. We were singing "What's Up?" by 4 Non Blondes in the car. And he rolled his eyes and said, "Stop singing that." We were already uncool to him. Of course we laughed about it. But that time when they adore everything about you and beg to be held is the sweetest. And when you hold them and they just rest their heavy little head on your shoulder is the best feeling in the world. They learn to say "mommy" and "I love you" and you wonder if there will ever be a sweeter sound on this earth.
Toddlerhood is such a fun time. It tests you and brings so much immeasurable joy.
Leslie, I'm so excited for you as you enter this next season with Emma Ramey! Happy birthday to your sweet girl!