If you don’t already know, whatever age you’re child is… someone will be waiting to tell you, “ope, wait until 2, 3, 4 —-”
To me, not even the worst night of absolutely zero sleep from a fussy baby was a bad time.
It sounds cheesy, corny, cliche, probably some other C words but I have reminded myself multiple times per day for exactly 13 months to cherish every moment. And that’s exactly what I’ve done.
1. P a t i e n c e
Okay, at first it really sucks letting go of all of your past expectations for yourself and your house and the amount of stuff you can get done but breathe. Dig out your old patience pants and sit down on the floor and let your toddler communicate with you. There is absolutely nothing more important in the world at this very minute than spending quality time with the tiny person in front of you who thinks you are the answer to all of their questions, hopes, and dreams. You are their idol. Live it up! Show them they are right! Make those crazy sounds, play those silly games, run around in circles to remind yourself that cardio is still very much hardio.
2. Listen with your eyes and your ears
On the communicating feelings scale, toddlers are a solid -4 at least. They don’t know what the heck is going on. You know when you stay up way too late binging on Netflix and next thing you know your alarm is going off and you have no idea if you actually went to sleep but still have to go to work? The feeling of hey, I know how to do some of these things, ohhhh dear God why didn’t I sleep? I’m TIRED. Don’t TALK TO ME. Leave me alone! Wait, why doesn’t anyone like me today? Hop off down from that rollercoaster and think about what it’s like trying to process the endless requests you sit in front of your toddler each day. They have no idea why they can’t splash the heck out of the dog water. They don’t know that if they go up the stairs and miss a step they can crack their head open. All they know is they’re hollered at which scares them which causes crying and frustration on your end because neither of you have any idea what the other one is trying to accomplish. Break it down. Keep it simple.
3. They are people too (just smol)
It’s hard to accept the tiny potato you birthed not that long ago is forming real people skills and will soon debate with you right on the couch you used to lull him to sleep on. I have made it a point from the beginning to speak to my son like I would speak to any other person and any other child. Kindness first. Just because they are “yours” doesn’t mean they should get the worst of you that’s leftover from the day. Every time I get my son up in the morning or from nap I greet him with excitement and ask him, “how was your nap? Did you have a good sleep?” He’s far from being able to answer me but if we’re going to communicate, he has to learn that what he has to say is important and I’m listening. I want to know how he is and I want to talk about what is going on. When I redirect him from the dog water I explain to him, this is for the dogs to drink when they are thirsty. This is not a toy. He laughs and goes on his way. It means close to nothing but if I’m building these habits now, they are going to mean something later. Remember they are people too, they have big feelings, and they can’t tell you their point of view on anything right now. Be gentle.
So, if your to do list is a mile long, you kinda feel like you might puke, there’s a dozen other things to do. Take a break. Take your toddler outside. Get some fresh air and share some laughs. Life will still be there in 10 minutes.
Enjoy your life, every day.