For every struggle and frustration all parents have with their toddlers, there always seem to be twice as many great things. For me, it’s easy to list the annoying parts of parenting. The good things, often hidden in the little things my kids do, are fleeting. If I don’t pay close attention, those moments are gone, lost in the whirl of the day-to-day grind. But these things? Are pretty awesome…
1. Having ice cream for dinner and candy for breakfast. I’m not going to feed this to my kids on a regular basis because I want my kids to be healthy, eating a balanced diet of fruits and veggies. I don’t care about myself; my body is wasting away one year at a time as I get closer and closer to being 85. Sure, I want to set a good example for my children but, ice cream and, I can
2. Pre-school Christmas programs. There’s something about watching my kids stand on a stage looking like a deer in the headlights that’s endearing. Sure, they’re too terrified to shake their jingle bells but those antler headbands? Adorable.
3. Being the center of their life. If you think about the span of a child’s life, their toddler and preschool years are a very small part of it. These years are too short. Like the neck-wrap hugs, I try and savor every second. I know someday they have to break away to figure out who they are. But, for now, I’ll take being one of the coolest people in their life. I’m behind Daddy and both cats, but still in the top five.
4. Picking my kids up from preschool. Never are my kids more excited to see me than when I pick them up from the educational prison I dropped them off at x amount of hours before. For about twelve seconds, I’m a celebrity.
5. Playing with toys. Let’s face it, we all like to play with toys and having kids gives us an excuse to be a kid again. From Play-Doh to Playgrounds, it’s like a second childhood. Except without the middle school bullies and awkward school photos.
6. Hugs you can’t get out of. The best feeling in my life is when my two-year-old kisses my cheek, wraps her arms around my neck and won’t let go. This is just fine because I’d rather she didn’t let go. Ever.
7. Putting together Christmas gifts. Every year we have always put together one big gift for our kids in front of the Christmas tree, unwrapped—after four to five glasses of wine wrapping seems like such a silly and weird tradition. Also, we can’t operate the tape dispenser. No words can ever describe the joy I feel when I see my kids excited. It’s not limited to just gifts; it’s also when they go to a new place, meet new people or when I let them have candy for breakfast.
8.Toddler ballet classes. What’s cuter than a toddler in a leotard and tights twirling around the room shaking maracas? Maybe a hamster in leotards and tights twirling around the room shaking maracas.
9. Tax write off. As long as your child is born before midnight, December 31, you’ll be able to claim the dependent exemption of $3,900. That’ll be enough to cover diapers for a couple years.
10. Their imagination. Not only can I get away with not doing my hair—it’ll just get messed up in the couch fort—but, I can have a colorful conversation with my kids about nothing. We can get creative and crazy or be realistic and inquisitive with our thoughts and stories.
My children seem to grow faster and faster every day. They don’t have any more baby fat; they want to drink from a cup with no lid. Soon, the days of all I listed above will be memories. Though new memories will be made, I know I’ll look back and miss these years of tiny voices and tiny faces. My growing children are a reminder that life is short.
So maybe tonight, just this one time, it’ll be okay for us all to have ice cream for dinner.
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