The man standing beside me often comes last in our household occupied by two little ones. But all of that is about to change. We have said goodbye to the infant stage and this is where it’s all going to get easier — or so we thought.
The days of never-ending formula bottles, the nightly feeding, sleep deprivation, and constant tears for no reason are behind us and we are now parents to two independent, but still highly emotional and needy, toddlers.
I will say, this stage has been full of small victories. Instead of each of us taking a child and spoon-feeding them while we try to spoon-feed ourselves, we are all independently feeding ourselves now! The joy of being able to grill out in the backyard and have everyone (for the most part) be responsible for successfully spooning a piece of macaroni salad into their own mouth without interruption is pure glory. For a moment I thought we had arrived. I love the toddler stage. My husband voted to be done having babies because this was the life. Ice cream cones all around. We deserve a high five.
My husband and I had a little pep in our step as we cleaned up after dinner, played with the children in the back yard, and prepared for bedtime.
And then it happened. Our season of victory ended as quickly as it came.
On our way inside to prepare for bath time my son had stolen his sister’s sippy cup right out of her hand and she could not even begin to handle it like the mature toddler I thought she was. Instead, she was on the ground kicking and screaming as if her world had just ended. I furiously snatched the juice cup away from my son and gave it to his sissy. Now I had two screaming toddlers on the ground pissed off because despite there being two sippy cups everyone wanted only the one.
As my husband and I sprint inside to get the screaming hoodlums into the bath my son finds this moment to be a prime opportunity to rush ahead of me and pee beside the potty. As frustrated as I am he gets a pass. A for effort, kid. You just have poor bladder control and aiming skill. We will blame daddy for that one.
The volcano of emotions only continues to erupt during bath time. Toddler A is screaming because he has soap in his eyes (that he put there himself because if it’s on his hands he just has to touch his eyes) and toddler B has decided to empty her bowels (which by the look of it she has been preparing for this moment for a week) into the tub. We were supposed to be enjoying a nice adult dinner on the patio while celebrating this newfound freedom in our lives… but here we are: covered in poop listening to our 2-year-old continue to scream because the water is too cold for his toes and too hot for his booty. Yes, we have moved on from the soapy eyes to complaining about the different water temperature on various body parts.
Where is the wine?
What I have learned so far as a new parent is how unpredictable children (of any age) really are. I cannot plan and put all of my hope and happiness into a day’s plan going… well, as planned. I have to sacrifice my Type A personality and go with the flow. I have to meet my child where he or she is at and go with it. I am here to love and teach them — and this will come with a whole lot of chaos and unplanned obstacles. That is mothering.
So the toddler stage wasn’t as free as I thought. I have turned in my middle-of-the-night feeding and have received meltdowns and a whole lot of no’s. Who knew that a toddler back-talked so much?
Sorry babe, it looks like the toddlers will continue running the household, but thank you for loving us anyway.
Bye-bye babies, hello emotionally unstable toddlers. I love you.