Toddler time

Hello from the Land of Sloppy Kisses and Terrible Tantrums!

It’s been busy as usual over here with our bright and super active three year old. In fact, it’s been another one of those sick seasons and I am just only about to finally recover from my week long flu whilst Jamie here is still battling some unknown bugs that seem to be altering his mood fairly often. (Above is a photo him eating an extremely messy gooey chocolate pretzel on the same day that he threw up in the back seat of the car, just a few hours later.)

Well. I shouldn’t complain, I suppose. At least he’s over his fever phase. And thankfully this round Deric didn’t fall ill so at least there was one fully functioning family member around here.

Anyway, I’m not gonna dwell on the gloom and doom of Sick Season for this post. I’m actually here to blog about parenting a toddler in more general terms. I’m not writing about my parenthood journey as often as I’d like to (well, because, I’m occupied with the challenges of parenting itself hehe), but here’s one of my attempts to make up for it.

I’m writing for the benefit of the outsiders looking in. Those who have yet to navigate this wonderfully engaging and rigorously demanding phase of parenting. Or even those whose child has yet to join the real world (read: expecting). Or who are eagerly planning for a child, but have qualms about what it all entails. Hope what I pen down will be useful to you.

So here we go…

If you’ve ever wondered what the Toddler Phase of parenthood is like, this is the gist of what you’re up for: Caring for a bursting bundle of energy that’s rearing to go the moment his/her eyes flutter open in the morning and counting down the moments till the next nap/bedtime. Haha. Brace yourselves!

But honestly, it’s not as bad as some might paint it to be. Either that, or my child is unusually good natured (and I’d be inclined to believe it, seeing what a joy it has been raising him thus far).

Every child is different, as they say, but I believe there are some similarities that all parents of toddlers face:

Boundless energy. There is this trick that we parents of toddlers sometimes like to use. We conspire to put together the most intensive, energy sapping of activities back to back with the hopes of tiring our enthusiastic toddler out so they will either have a long nap (and we can get stuff done in the day time) or pass out really early at night (so we can chill or get rest ourselves). But unfortunately, this tactic does backfire. Toddlers can surprise you with the energy reserves they have. It’s entirely possible that they will keep themselves up way past what you thought was the limit of their waking hours. Or a sugary treat or cat nap may suddenly rejuvenate them and completely cancel out the outcome you were hoping for.

Genuine adoration. As naughty as they might be at times, as much as they seem all out to make your life a living hell, toddlers actually really adore you from the very depths of their heart. Every little kiss or hug, every loving phrase that leaves their lips is guileless. It’s something I love most about this stage of parenting. It warms your heart and keeps you going on the more difficult days. You can scream at them, punish them, make them cry… but in their eyes, you’re still the best person in the whole wide world. That is a lot of power in your hands. It can be misused, of course, but let it be the motivation for you to leave positive imprints on their lives.

Inability to hide. Toddlers have yet to master the art of deception, so when they do try to be manipulative or to conceal their crimes, it is often badly done and extremely hilarious. You will find yourself stifling a grin or an outburst of laughter as you are trying to discipline them. It’s such a tough thing to do. Lol.

Content with simple things. Here is another gem from the toddler phase. The fact that they are easily satisfied. Sometimes all you need is just to present them with their favourite treat or take them to that same old place that they love to play in and you have on your hands one happy little fella. (I don’t suppose it’s as easy to make them happy once they are older and more calculative, but anyway, I’ll be sure to report my findings when I finally reach those later stages). The reward for us parents is just seeing how happy it makes them to enjoy what we have given them, as cheap or trivial as it may seem to us. If only all of us could just readjust our perspective on life and live in the moment just like they do. How much more straightforward life could be… *sigh*

Desire for independence. It begins this early, yes it does! In a different form from the rebellion of teenagehood, I suppose, but nevertheless it’s there. They want to do things for themselves. It’s time consuming, it’s sometimes downright frustrating, but we should let them try. It’s something to be proud of too, when they succeed at a task they’ve been trying hard to master. And it’s made me realise too how much we take for granted all the things we are able to do effortlessly as adults. Things as simple as putting on and taking off our shoes, knowing how to open up food packaging or turning a page in a book.

There are plenty of other things I could say about raising a toddler, but I guess this should be enough for this round.

For me, living through this toddler phase with Jamie has made me reflect on what life was like back when I was younger and more helpless. It has made me ponder about what my own parents went through with me and made me view them through different lens, so to speak. I am also keenly aware (thanks to the many online articles out there talking about the fleeting moments we have with our children) of how brief this phase will be, and how quickly Jamie will grow and live his life apart from me.

I hope what I’ve shared in this post has been helpful. I’ll be back at other times with more tales to tell.

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