As I trudge through the thick of terrible twodom, I find myself delving for reasons why my tot’s current state of tantrums, mood swings, and bossiness is way better than the good old days of tummy time and pincer grasp. Because during fits of temperamental madness, like when a staring contest concludes with being head-butted, pulled down, and spit on by a 2-year-old, I need all the reminders of sleep deprivation and teething I can get. And I’ve done such a good job figuring out why I prefer being wrestled to the ground by a three-foot demon to swaddling an angelic newborn that I almost believe:
1. When they fall down, it’s not so bad anymore. Infants are so much more fragile and they don’t catch falls like experienced toddlers do. Just the other day Dylan fell down cement steps, bled from his nose, and cried…because the cookie he was holding broke in half. Phew!
2. We understand each other…kind of. I’m not saying that the kid listens to me or follows even half of my instructions, but he very specifically tells me what he wants and can even answer questions like, “Are you hungry?” It’s nice not having to guess everything all the time.
3. More sleep for everyone!!! Announcing that it’s time for bed is how meltdowns are born. But once the dust settles and all 13,000 bedtime stories have been read, there’s a solid night’s sleep ahead for both toddler and mom. Take THAT, cute swaddled babies of the world!
4. I’ve grounded the chopper, mostly. Even in controlled environments, hovering over a baby is an inescapable reality. But with a toddler, I can sit down and watch him play at the park from a distance. I’m not saying that he lets me, but in theory, I have options.
5. Toddlers contribute. When I finish wiping Dylan’s ass, he throws his own diaper away. He also tosses his plates in the sink, feeds himself, and picks up his toys (if I ask nicely). But babies? They make you do all the work.
6. I’m less worried. Between their undeveloped immune systems and limited care options, on top of their helplessness, infants are a recipe for premature graying. But toddlers? They get sick, they get better, then they get sick again. And the cycle? It’s desensitizing.
7. Personality. There is a legitimate person in that little toddler body with a personality that’s unfolding daily. My tot pretends to be asleep for backrubs, crawls like a dog for under-the-chin tickles, dances to any hint of rhythm, and likes to say, “Good job mommy!” when I do something he approves of. Swoon.
So sure, I might sweat bullets and face public scrutiny as I power-walk home from the park with a screaming, protesting, evil 36-pound toddler under my arm, and I may have to justify a second serving of wine after dinner because “I earned it,” but at least I get a full night’s sleep, a bit of help, some conversation, and a little praise every once in a while. I mean, it could be worse. I could have a baby.
Related post: Three is More Terrible Than Two