Ah, the joys of motherhood. If you’re a FTM (that’s lingo for first time mom), you may or may not have delved into the toddler phase. This phase I loosely categorize from approximately age 1 until about 3. Many people like to talk of the terrible twos, but honestly, they were terrific twos in our house. My youngest daughter is a little over 18 months and I totally forgot until recently how much I adore this stage of parenting.
Here’re 18 reasons why I absolutely love 18 months:
- They’re so darn cute — from their sweet cheesy smiles to their messy, soft bedhead, toddlers are just adorable.
- The clothes — if you have a girl, watch out. The outfits are not only adorable (regardless if you’re a smockity smock person or not), but pretty affordable. And the boys selection is getting better and better as well. Don’t forget the cute, matching shoes, too. Or rain boots. Or hats. Or hair accessories. Gah.
- Every day they learn something new. It seems like it sometimes happens at warp speeds. Their sense of humor blooms, their words/language explodes, and they love babbling about it all to you.
- They’re not too sassy. Sure, they whine or cry, but it’s usually because they genuinely need you. Even their tears are cute.
- They don’t care what you dress them in. (good thing, because see number 2)
- They love to snuggle.
- They’re learning to eat (and appreciate) “real” food. It’s been SO FUN to see what textures my kids love and which ones they’re not too sure about. The love of (good) food starts young, so 18 months is the perfect age to explore yummy things.
- They’re growing more independent. Sometimes this might be a concept that moms think, “Wait; slow down!” But in our household, independence is highly praised (y’all, when you have 5 kids, they have to be self sufficient). So yes, please try to brush your teeth by yourself!
- They’re growing more curious. All of a sudden these toddlers start noticing the tiny details: sticky hands, bubbles in the tub, hearing a neighborhood dog bark. It’s fun to watch their face when they’re discovering something new. And they’re learning cause and effect; like, how many times will mom pick up my sippy cup when I throw it on the floor?
- They’re an awesome friend. I love hanging out with my 18 month old. She likes going to the zoo and Target equally. She doesn’t complain when I linger in the body wash aisle either. She babbles and points and smiles when we’re hanging out at home too, engaging in “conversation.” Thanks, darling, for noticing my haircut!
- Everything is a game. Spilled blocks? Let’s play the pick up game! Putting the groceries away? Play the put-away game!
- Distraction works! Don’t want your toddler touching older brother’s legos? Distract, distract, distract. This usually includes offering up something shiny or noisy, but hey, it works every time.
- You don’t need to hard-core discipline (yet). Toddlers are learning and pushing boundries, sure, BUT they’re still babies. Typically a firm NO, removal from a situation, or a 30 second timeout works at this age. It’s a blessed break from the discipline you’ll need to do when they are start lying and sneaking and fighting and oh, all the other stuff. I’ll take the relative ease of disciplining an 18 month old any day over my teenager.
- Toddler toys are FUN! I think I was more excited about the Little People Farm “Santa” brought for my daughter than she was.
- Toys are cheap. Not only are they FUN, but you get a lot of bang for your buck! Giant play sets, play doh cans, wooden puzzles, water tables; you name it, it’s cheap. Plus if you borrow, trade, or buy from resale sites: even cheaper!
- They nap 1-2 times a day and sleep through the night. Amen.
- They love it when you’re ridiculous. Love to sing? They love it too! Love to talk in funny voices or narrate your day? They can’t get enough. This is the age of imitation, so it’s even funnier when they (try) do the funny things you do. So go ahead, dance like your toddler is watching!
- They give the BEST hugs and kisses. There’s nothing quite like those tiny toddler lips touching yours and their tiny hugs holding on tight. It’s literally the best feeling in the entire world.