Toddlers. Terrible-twos. Trouble makers. Threenagers. Tots. Young children. This stage of childhood is overflowing with emotion, energy and excitement. No matter what sort of temperament your child has shown, this time period is bound to test some nerves and elicit quite a few stories. Toddlerhood is a time of huge change and growth, where month to month age differences can mean the leap from a stationary, cooing blob, to a walking, talking, motivated-to-do-things-with-gummy-bears kid. One common theme in all households with young children seems to be singing lots of ABC’s. So I thought it only fitting to place some of the unique characteristics from this age group into the alphabet.
A is for ATTACHMENT. Attached to you, or in my toddler’s case, attached to Daddy. Attached to objects. This started with a piece of fake ham from our play kitchen, and moved to rocks, a squishy lizard, library books, and a sprinkler timer. He is currently favoring a box of tea. These objects have about a 24 hour cycle of affection, before they are tossed aside by toddlers to make room for the next favorite item to covet, carry everywhere, lose, and throw a fit over.
B is for BUSY. Climbing, jumping, standing, spinning, non-stop balls of energy. From the womb on out. There is literally never a time my boys are still. Even when they (sometimes) sleep.
C is for CRYING. Between the three children, there is always someone crying. So much crying. Cuddles as well, to comfort all that crying.
D is for DESTRUCTIVE. Tiny human tornadoes, destroying everything in their paths.
E is for EMBRACING the chaos. This is what parenthood is all about. There is no plan, no predictability, and definitely no method to the madness, so we must learn to embrace every challenge thrown our way.
F is for FEELINGS. All the big feelings. Our highs are high and our lows are low. Toddlers are learning and growing all the time, and with that new knowledge comes a whole lot of intense feels.
G is for GERMS. Toddlers touch everything, and everything they touch goes into their mouths. They are walking, talking, germ spreaders.
H is for HUGS. The best full body, heart-melting, bear hugs you’ve ever felt.
I is for INDEPENDENT. Independent little people with minds of their own. Pouring milk, climbing into and out of chairs and car seats, or opening their snacks. They can do it all, and preferably without your help.
J is for JUMPING. On the ground, up and down, off the furniture and on the bed. Along with that, all the skinned knees, stubbed toes, falls, and bruises you could imagine.
K is for KISSES. Wet, sloppy, open-mouth kisses.
L is for LAUNDRY. So. Much. Laundry. Clothes to sleep in. Clothes to play in. Clothes to swim in. Clothes to eat in. Blankets to spill on and sheets to pee on. It is not uncommon for the third outfit change of the day to take place by 9 am. How do these little people create so much laundry?
M is for MESSES. Along the lines of household chores, let’s add a whole lot of messes to clean up. Five minutes is all it takes to destroy the hours of cleaning it took to pick up after these tiny tornadoes. That dish soap you left a little too close to the counter’s edge? Yep, all over the floor. Those markers you left out in the living room? Yep, all over the couch. Always. Making. Messes.
N is for NAKED. There must be something inherent about being naked that makes it so appealing. Putting clothes on is something we do multiple times a day. You’d think after a while they would get the idea and start to go along with this simple routine. Nope. Naked butts, no clothes, in the NUDE, all the time.
O is for OPINIONS! Toddlers have opinions, about everything. And they are always right. The sky is purple, pickles are a food group, and pants are always optional.
P is for POTTY LANGUAGE. Fart, poop, pee jokes and nicknames are constant. And on the topic of bodily fluids, let’s take a moment to talk about potty training boys. There is pee on our floors, the walls, and sometimes even in the toilet.
Q is for QUESTIONS. So. Many. Questions. What is real? How many nights are left until I die? Why is baby poop yellow? Where are my shoes? Those inquisitive little minds sure do keep us on our toes.
R is for REPEAT. Because everything you say will be repeated by your toddlers, like a parrot on a pirate’s shoulder. Song lyrics, swear words, you name it, they will say it. Luckily, my boys have trouble with the consonants ’s’ and ‘f’, so I have gotten away with saying certain niceties longer than most.
S is for SLEEP. Oh that elusive state I love so much. Our days seem to be centered around getting the perfect nap at the perfect time along with the perfect bed time. Because we all know that a ten minute car nap could mean the difference between a lovely afternoon with some peace and quiet, or, a high stress, no sleeping, screaming trip to crazy town. You’d think after three babies who fought sleep like it was their jobs, toddlerhood would be a welcome addition to the sleep conversation. Spoiler alert: The sleep struggle continues with toddlers.
T is for TANTRUMS. Knock down, drag out, face to the floor tantrums. All caused by a broken granola bar, an untimely hug, the word “no”, or not being allowed to have popsicles for breakfast.
U is for UNPREDICTABLE. You never know what will spark the next major meltdown. Sometimes we love swimming lessons and fall to the floor in tears when we cannot go. And other times, this very same activity will initiate such a protest, you’d think actual physical harm was being done. Some days we love grilled cheese. Other days it might be the worst food on the entire planet. A decision made after the $11 sandwich is ordered, of course.
V is for VOLUME. My house sounds more like a circus than anything else.The noise level is intense. All day, every day.
W is for WHINING. What is it with all the whining?? Is it a toddler conspiracy that they all speak with this ear piercing sound?
X is for X-RAYS. Toddlers put everything in their mouths. Where did that penny go? Is his nose broken? Let’s get an x-ray just to be sure.
Y is for YELLING. You yell, they yell, we all yell for ice cream. I was never a yeller. But something about a screaming one-year-old, a whining two-year-old, and a four- year-old who refuses to listen will bring even the mildest of mothers to their boiling points.
Z is for ZOOM. The actual speed of how fast this period of toddlerhood goes by.