10 Ways Your Toddler Is Tops
True, the meltdowns can be maddening, but just when you think your parenting skills (and your mind) have reached the limits, you can count on a toddler to turn all adorable on you. We’re talking melt your heart, bite your finger, couldn’t be cuter cute. Here are some of our favorite things about the not-so-terrible twos.
Just as they begin to make sense of the world around them, toddlers let you in on the fun. When reading a book recently with my 2-year-old, we saw a picture of a snake. Our exchange went like this: “Him doesn’t have feet?” “No.” “Oh, I buy some for him.” See? Problem solved. And speaking of…
They have mad problem-solving skills.
No one is more inventive than a determined toddler. Chairs are carried, scooted or dragged into place as impromptu step stools. A shoe may be placed on the wrong foot, but if your little lady put the pair on herself, she doesn’t care. She’s totally ready to roll anyway. And if she wants to get to the playground faster, she’ll likely get out your shoes, too.
When you talk, they're listening, really!
“All the learning and imitating is fascinating at this age,” says Molly, mother of two. “It’s also an incredible mirror check of my own behavior. I’ve been teaching Sabina about waiting for ‘the green man’ when we cross the street, but I was in a rush the other day and crossed on a red light without thinking, and she protested. Oops!”
Everything is a delight.
Never has there been an easier audience to impress. Whether it’s the joy of eating pickles for the first time, as Angelina Jolie famously gushed about her first son, Maddox, or a little one maneuvering a rolling backpack, it’s all excitement all the time for toddlers. “I love to see the sparkle in their eyes when they are happy,” says Carrie, mom of 4-year-old Kendall and 21-month-old Karson. “Sometimes their happiness can be the product of a naughty behavior such as writing on the walls, but they are still very proud of themselves.”
Two words: potty training.
Gone are the days of changing diapers, and I don’t care what anybody says. Escorting someone to the bathroom is way easier (not to mention more pleasant) than changing a poopy diaper. End of discussion.
Things get super snuggly.
Right around this age, hugging becomes a very big thing. And hand holding. Or both. But as Sarah, mother of 2-year-old Kate, said, here’s the glitch: a hug requires two-person coordination and that’s not easy for toddlers to arrange. An unplanned hug tends to come off like a tackle; an unprompted attempt at hand holding is really just a yank. But once you coach them into giving each other a little notice first, two knee-high people hugging it out is one of the top 10 cutest things you’ll see.
It's a vocabulary bonanza.
The onset of new language skills is impressive and adorable all at once. The words they do pick up on (the ones you say constantly but might not realize) are fascinating too. My current favorite for the under 3 set is, actually. As in, “Actually, I think I’ll have some raisins.”
Caring and sharing become part of life.
One day your toddler wakes up and suddenly realizes that you are a person too. Well, sort of. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been offered an imaginary cup of tea, plus unlimited refills, delivered by perfectly doughy hands. When that wobbly cup and saucer come my way, I can’t help but smile. And this gracious outlook extends to unexpected places. Watching ducks in the park the other day Phoebe announced, “Him hungry too. Him hungry, Mommy! Can you make some lunch for him?” Then we walked home together for dinner, talking about what a duck might like on his cheeseburger.
Relationships of their own begin.
Ann, mother of two, says there’s nothing like watching your babies make memories with family and friends, and doing it on their own. Whether it’s through the miracle of Skype or real life visits, toddlers start remembering names and talking about the special things they do together. Then there are miniature friends. From playgroups to day care and nursery school, toddlers are generally social creatures. But the moment your little one develops a best friend (and names her favorite baby doll after her) that’s it. It’s pretty much cuteness overload.
The magic words start flowing.
Not only are toddlers finally able to tell you what they want and need, they start doing it politely. Really. With a fair amount of drilling, “please” and “thank you” in tiny falsettos become part of your everyday life. And of course, the first time they say “I love you Mommy,” you’re done for. As if you weren’t already.