Oh the wonderful toddler years.
These are the years when it does really start to get fun. The little ones are turning into tiny human beings with minds of their own and with no worries in the world of their safety or the world around them. They are curious explorers and can very easily get themselves into a heap of trouble in a blink of an eye.
They’re old enough to walk and run around everywhere you go but not old enough to understand why they shouldn’t stray away or do certain things. If you were worried about them getting into stuff when they started to crawl, take that and kick it up a notch or two because now it’s everything they did, but now on steroids.
Bumps and bruises will start happening when they start walking and climbing everywhere. For this very reason, we were inspired to create a cute, simple and easy to use first aid kit that can be thrown in a diaper bag or purse so moms can quickly grab a bandage to take care of the boo boos. You would be amazed at how quickly the tears go away once a bandage is put on.
Now they are bigger and can access even more things around the house like opening up cabinets to play with whatever toxic cleaning materials you have in there. They think it’s fun playing with the medicine cabinets, the toilet, your dirty shoes all the way to any makeup or markers you have laying around.
Everything that you have been dealing with in year 1 continues into the toddler years. Things like lack of sleep, staying on top of household chores, and the normal day to day kid activities. Except now, you are doing more things during the day. You’re taking them out on playdates, introducing them to new kid activities, enrolling them in different fun toddler classes, getting them to try new foods and perfecting the art of saying “no” to them a million times a day.
Our saving grace was that we were able to sleep train our kids to have them sleep through the night before they turned 1, which helped us tremendously. This, I believe hands down, saved our sanity because we weren’t sleep deprived. Which meant we had energy to run around chasing after them.
Now lets not forget about the dreaded potty training age where you do everything in your power to convince them to pee and poop in either the real or fake potty. When bribing or praising doesn’t work, you will resort to begging and as hard as you try, but after the 100th time of cleaning the sheets and/or carpet, there may even downright be some yelling out of pure frustrations.
It was not easy. Waking up a couple times during the night to change wet beds and giving them a shower because they are soaked in pee. Changing clothes and cleaning up wet spots all day long. As difficult as it will be when you’re actually in the moment, it is best to train them only when they are ready for it. I definitely learned this the hard way.
Now if there’s anything to prepare for during these years, it would be the wonderful phase we call the terrible 2’s and even worse, the terrible 3’s. They will get what they want, when they want and will show you who is in charge. To them, the word “no” actually means “yes, keep doing what I’m doing”. They will test your limits, so pick your battles to keep your sanity because at the end of the day, you will be physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted!
If they aren’t already in daycare, they will soon be entering preschool. Be ready for constant runny noses because being around lots of other kids in close quarters means more germs are being spread around and your kids WILL bring the bug home. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do with this one. The daycare can be the cleanest with the best sanitizing policies in place but at the end of the day, there’s not much they can do to control germs from spreading from one kid to another when they are in such close quarters with each other and playing with the same toys throughout the day.
Gone are the days when you can just take off to the grocery store to pick up a thing or two. When you have no other choice but to take your little ones with you to run errands around town. It’s much easier to do this with a newborn than a toddler, that’s for sure. What used to be something that would easily take you just a couple of hours will now take you half the day to do if not more. You now need to count in time to feed, diaper changes and/or potty breaks. If you’re lucky, you can get through all that without any temper tantrum outbreaks. No more leisurely strolling down the aisles. It’s get in and get out ASAP.
If you have read this far, you are probably thinking something along the lines of “holy smokes, I am so not ready for that!’
There is good news. You will have your good days. All it takes is to watch them sleep so peacefully that will melt your heart and soul and you will forget everything that happened that day. Some days they will say the darndest thing that will have you laughing like crazy. Or the days when they show you their work of arts, smiling from ear to ear. You will be one proud mama. But best of all, when they climb into your lap and all they want to do is just snuggle and give you hugs and kisses. Those are the best.
The best advice I and some other moms who have survived the toddler years can give you is the following:
- Know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The terrible 2’s & 3’s will pass. They will learn how to pee and poop on their own time. They won’t remember when they fell and got hurt. They will get sick, but they will get better.
- Set up routines for everything.
- Go on playdates. You need social interactions as much as they do.
- When going on errands, pack a small bucket of toys to keep them entertained. Pack plenty of snacks.
- Have a fully stocked diaper bag
- Shop online whenever possible. It will save you so much time.
- Find ways to include your child in household chores when they are able.
- Add some fun into their clean up process like using “a clean up song”
- Let go of being a neat freak or hire a housecleaner if you can. The house will get clean…eventually.
Just like the newborn phase, there’s nothing like going through this phase yourself to be able to experience and appreciate all the wonders having a toddler can bring and quite frankly, some of your most very challenging years. Get ready and buckle up. It will be an amazing ride.