There are so many great moments when living with a toddler. At bedtime, my son recently said, "Mommy, will you rock me a little bit?" and I enjoyed being able to cradle a little guy who will soon be too old for it. His silly sentences and energetic hugs are also worth remembering.
But that doesn't mean I savor every minute of parenting a toddler.
It is a parenting truth that one of the cutest phases of childhood also comes at one of the most challenging times. Despite well-meaning people telling me to cherish every moment of life with young kids, there are some things I just won't miss about the toddler years. Here are eight of them:
1. Toddler Tastebuds
While I've heard of magical unicorn toddlers who are not picky eaters, I have not had one. My older child was finicky at this age, and my toddler is currently subsisting on two to three types of foods that must look a very specific way. It's hard to imagine a future meal where my kids happily scarf down halibut and kale and I think to myself: This is great and all, but those days when my child only ate mac 'n' cheese shaped like bunnies really were the best.
2. Car Seat Struggles
Strapping my toddler into his car seat is like wrestling with a young howler monkey. There is a lot of kicking and screaming and, ultimately, bribing. When my child can successfully buckle himself into the car without first climbing into the front seat or throwing a roundhouse kick, it's going to seem like a minor miracle.
3. Impractical Independence
Independence is a great quality, but most toddlers choose to assert their independence over something like wielding a chef's knife to cut their own chicken. I hope my kid maintains his independence as he grows, but I won't miss arguing with him over why he can't wear sandals in a snowstorm.
4. Popping Out of Bed 100 Times Per Night
Most toddlers don't go to bed without a fight, and at the end of a long day the last thing you want to do is keep returning a little body to bed. Some might argue that your toddler is staying up to give you even more moments to cherish, but you would probably like to spend some of your time actually sleeping.
5. Restaurant Meltdowns
These are typically triggered by something very traumatic...you know, like some sauce touching one of their noodles. Most parents probably won't yearn for the looks that nearby tables throw at them during these public meltdowns. Although I won't miss the struggle of bringing a toddler out to eat, I hope that when my kids are older, I will remember it enough to be empathetic to other diners with small kids.
6. Limited Communication Skills
The strings of words a toddler puts together can be ridiculously cute, and also completely confusing. I won't miss trying to decipher what my child is saying as he grows increasingly more frustrated by my failure to understand. (And I doubt he'll miss it either.)
7. Bath Battles
Bath time at our house is a prolonged ordeal because it takes time to convince my kids to get in the bath, and then more time to convince them to get out. If I had a nickel for every minute spent coaxing a kid in or out of a bath the past few years, I would have enough money to hire a nanny to give my kids baths. But those moments when they are happily splashing around in the bath are some of the ones worth remembering.
8. Collapsing on the Floor
When minor infractions like putting food on the dinosaur plate instead of the digger plate cause my son to collapse on the floor in a sobbing heap, it makes it hard to eat dinner. While I do sometimes laugh at the absurdity of the situation, I don't think I will miss this behavior. Twenty years from now, if I see a screaming toddler lying on the floor of the condiment aisle at the grocery store, I hope I can turn to their parent and say, "My kids used to do that too, and this is one of those moments you definitely don't need to cherish."