Whether you are a mom, dad, step-parent or loved one who rides the roller-coaster called Parenting a Toddler, you already know it can be demanding. Yes, time flies and these moments will be gone in a blink of an eye, but trying to cherish the "now" -- especially mid meltdown in the cereal aisle -- isn't always easy.
But when you really think about it, there's a lot to love about toddlers, and here are eight reasons why I miss having one.
The Make-Up Hug
That moment when the exhausting, epic temper tantrum begins to wane and the flailing arms and rubber-legged portion of the battle subsides, it finally arrives: inevitable collapse.
It is then that the bleary, tear-stained face of defeat turns your way and those sad, red eyes meet yours signaling surrender. Now they are ready for the open arms and the swaying hug of mom and her reassuring words, "I know, sweetheart. I know. It's going to be okay, I promise."
I miss being able to make that promise.
The Heavy Weight
When they fall asleep in the car or you discover them in a crumpled slump on the couch in a deep slumber, and you hoist them up -- this still, heavy weight in your arms -- it allows for that rare moment to just hug, squeeze and slow dance with them to your heart's content. No wriggling or squirming or 'I must have that toy right now' demands from them.
I miss that slow dance.
After a long day, a meal of whatever you could get them to eat that night, a playful bath, reading three (or 20!) stories, you finally lay them down in bed before tip-toeing out of the room. There'a a moment of silence when you think they've rifted off, but then you hear it: that sweet sound of your baby lovingly cooing, babbling and singing to their favorite stuffed animal.
I miss that melody.
Discovering the Wonders of the World
Through their fresh eyes, you get to experience the whimsy, wonder and pure joy of each new and exciting discovery they make. Whether it's the foamy surf beckoning their toes and their screams of laughter as they retreat, or their first bite into a lemon, and that priceless reaction they have as you laugh at the fact they always come back for a second bite .
I miss the taste of that lemon.
Roly-Poly Running Babies
After the writhing, wriggling escape attempts from the dreaded bath towel are finally successful, comes the squealing and scurrying to reach the Naked Hallways of Freedom ensues. Any attempt at recapture thankfully brings on more jiggles and joggles only the round little bottoms, roly-poly thighs and chubby little scampering feet of a shrieking, naked toddler escapee charging through the house can produce.
I miss that chase.
The Boa Constrictor Hug
It could be something as silly as a cat's paw tapping them on the ankle or the sound of the dog barking that brings on a full charge of toddler happiness heading straight at you like a freight train. Their little arms are wide open, ready to wrap around your neck with at full strength. In this precious, spontaneous moment, all they want to do is share their delight with a hug so tight it momentarily cuts off your oxygen.
I miss that breathlessness.
Toddlers can get so happy; tickled to the point that they literally cannot stop that gleeful, exuberant laugh that comes straight from the belly. It magically continues each time you repeat the gesture or word that got that started in the first. And anyone within earshot cannot keep their shoulders from quaking or their sides from aching because your baby's laughter is so contagious.
I miss that magic.
Only 'Mom' Will Do
Knowing that only mom will do when there is a scuff, scrape or shove from a playmate, or when the dog snatches that last peanut butter cracker out of their hand. Only mom can set that world of ups and downs and happy and sads right again. Only mom can set their little world properly back on its axis. And once it's balanced again, and they give you that bright-eyed smile once more, you feel loved (truly), cherished (deeply) and undeniably appreciated.
I miss resetting that axis.
While you will likely remain the beacon of light in their lives for many years after the Terrible Twos, your children will, of course, grow up and the responsibilities and weight of the world becomes heavier on their shoulders. And the small window of time when they are yours and just yours will close. So, soak it all in -- the good, the bad, and the ugly tantrums -- and enjoy your toddler now. Plus, the tween and teen years, and all that thatbrings with it, will be here in a jiffy.