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Seeing the Forest Through the Trees: Life with Toddlers

We have all heard it before, “the days are long, but the years are short.” Are they? Are they really?? I keep pressing the fast-forward button, but my kid is still three. I hear that three and a half is magical, and that children turn the corner from beast to beauty, but I’m still waiting…

I’m kidding of course. Little limit testers that they are, I love my boys more than anything in the world. As everyone keeps telling me, though, we are in the thick of it. Chasing around two boys is insanity. I’m pretty sure our au pair will be canonized someday because she must be a saint to stay on top of these two all day.

The Days Are Long. So, So Long…

Our youngest is 14 months old. That means he is a great communicator, full of points and grunts. He knows exactly what he wants, but hasn’t quite taught us his language. We are working on sign language, but the only one that is taking is “more”. He signals more for absolutely everything!

Childproofing is my new hobby. It’s amazing how different two kids can be. Our first didn’t find any of these grown-up things entertaining. Our second, on the other hand, finds turning the gas on the stove off and on quite fun in addition to sticking his hands in the toilet. Fun fact: it’s super fun to watch grown-ups try to turn on a child-proofed stove. Some days if I am feeling really mean I sit back and observe for a minute before I explain the latest childproofing gadget I’ve picked up.

And then there’s our oldest. On the one hand, we have this mini adult. The boy is smart. Like, really, really smart. Ask him how the earth rounds the sun and he can tell you- in great detail. And DO NOT utter anything you don’t want to be repeated. He has a mind that is a steel trap and incredible recall. On the other hand, he cries when we run out of ketchup, or when Daniel Tiger is over for the day. And cries. And cries. I tread lightly, not wanting to poke the bear if I am the bearer of bad news.

But the Years Are Short…

Suddenly, my older son doesn’t need me to hold his hand on the escalator. And when did he start going down the big slide? Did I mention he is going to Pre-K next year? When did my babies become tiny humans?

There is a beautiful struggle of motherhood. A push-pull between the tiny, needy little baby, and then the independent little person. You spend so long being their everything that it can be quite jolting the first time you realize that they don’t need you every waking minute now.

I sit and watch the boys play together, giggling and having fun. They are really starting to become friends—brothers. These are the beautiful moments—the reason we have two, and the joy of parenting. My older son is setting an example, teaching his little brother how to build with blocks, or showing him how to pet the fuzzy shapes in a touch-and-feel-book. This is the good stuff.

But Still…the Days are LONG…

I leave the boys for a moment. Because I can do that now—they are a toddler and a threenager, so they can be trusted to play together without major incident—right?! A minute later my older son, Will comes barreling into my bedroom with a devilish smile on his face. (His “Daddy face” as I have dubbed it). I ask him what is going on. I’m no rookie. He smiles, devilishly, telling me “nothing”. Ultimately he breaks down. “Ben got into the cat poops again!”.

The days are long, my friends. So very long…

This post originally appeared on I Dream of Naptime. It has been reprinted with permission.

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