Prior to having Eli, I spent a lot of time around other babies. I babysat some, I was related to others and some I worked with in my clinicals and job. I had determined through these experiences that 8-11 months was my favorite age for kids. It’s just an ideal age- they’re mobile but not everywhere, they have personality but aren’t demanding. It’s just a really, really fun age.
And you know what? 8-11 months was a really, really fun age. But I could not be more in love with toddlerhood.
Toddlerhood is loud. There are tantrums and yelling every day, often hourly. There are impossible demands and situations that you can’t even imagine until they’re presented to you. Earlier today Eli was playing with a puzzle and the pieces weren’t going in easily. He kept saying “please!” but when I’d ask if he wanted help, he very insistently shook his head no. After a while, I realized that he was literally saying please to the puzzle to make it easier. So what I’m saying is, it’s not without it’s volume control issues or frustration.
But he’s just this tiny little person and it’s incredible to watch him grow and learn. Today he was playing with a book that sings “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and as soon as it would end the song, he would start saying/singing something that sounded very, very much like “up above the…” and while at first I thought it was a coincidence, after the 4th or 5th time, I realized that he was singing along. This video is kind of terrible, but if you turn the speakers up, you can sort of hear some of it.
A few minutes later, he put two legos together and then, out of the blue threw his arms up and exclaimed “I did it!” As if that was just a phrase he always used. He occasionally tosses out a two word phrase like it’s no big deal and I’m just there, stunned.
The coolest thing about toddlerhood is that I can see him learning every single day. I can see him making connections all day long. He can answer questions with a “yea” or shaking his head no, and he’s remarkably accurate most days now. He knows what words mean and what comes next in his routines. It’s just amazing. My tiny little infant is now this kid and I find this period of increased awareness to be so freaking cool.
I miss that tiny infant from time to time, but nothing can compare to this little kid. He has preferences and desires and sometimes letting those play out is just the most fun thing in the world. I can’t tell you how many times we have sat in his tent and piled the plastic balls into our laps, laughing and clapping. I can’t tell you how many legos we have stacked, unstacked, restacked and hidden in different places (his current favorite: the dirty clothes hamper) and all the while, he’s laughing out loud and saying please when he needs help.
I can’t explain it, this essence of toddlerhood, but it is amazing. I know that the next few years are supposed to be trying ones and we already see some of that, but this little boy before me is so worth any amount of struggle. I feel lucky every single day that I get to be his mom.