These Are The Best of Times

Max is 33 months old which places him close to the end of The Terrible Twos and in training for the Troublesome, Thunderous, Tantrum Threes.  The emotional roller coaster I am on these days is worse than the one I was on when I was 16 and in the throes of unrequited love.  My child, as much as I love him, is taking years off my life.

Parents of older children tell me that these are the best times and as I sit here, smack dab in the middle of these times, I wonder how they could rewrite history with so little respect for the truth.   I feel like I need to write some things down before I lose my memory like the others and maybe when I am older I will at least be clear what went down.

This week at The Bay, I wrestled Max into his stroller and strapped him in so that he would stop running away while I made a purchase.  I managed to get him in without injuring him but I got an elbow to the face.  By the time it was over, I was disheveled and in a full-on sweat.  Right now, this is our normal.

Max immediately and vehemently disagrees with EVERYTHING we say.  But he reserves the right to change his mind too.  He will yell “I don’t want to eat eggs!” I kindly say “OK.  Would you like some yogurt?”  He scowls and yells “No, I don’t want to eat yogurt.  I want to eat yogurt!”  Unless he is really grumpy and then he just yells “No Everything!”  At that point, I just want to run away.

My son has to completely disrobe in order to go the bathroom.  It’s winter in Calgary so if we happen to be away from the house when he has to go I have to take boots off, pants off, socks off, underwear off, keep it all from touching the floor of a public bathroom and figure out how to keep his skin from touching a public toilet at the same time.  When will this end?

If you were a fly on the wall in our home, you would sometimes see me walking behind my son making mean faces when he can’t see me.  Or sometimes you would see me pop into the pantry to privately and silently mouth profanities.  It gets ugly, folks.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that time is flying and there will be precious things about this stage of parenting that I will miss.  His little arm wrapping tight around my neck.  His declarations that I am his best friend ever.  His joy at a simple puppet show over the back of the sofa.  But, God help me, if I remember all of these stresses, I will forever look at mother’s of toddlers with eyes full of grace.

It's easy to be sweet when you are eating a Chocolate Ice Cream Cone!

It’s easy to be sweet when you are eating a Chocolate Ice Cream Cone!

 If you are or have been the parent of a toddler, do you think these are the best and the worst of times?

 

 

20 Comments

  • Dana says:

    I hear you Misty. Although I sometimes hold my kids and wonder what I’m going to do when they are too big to snuggle with their mom, there is a lot that I won’t miss. Like this weekend for instance where I spent the whole weekend cleaning up puke. And getting puked on. And then getting sick myself and still having to deal with sick kids. Nothing about that is fun.

    We need to figure out something better for those well meaning people to say. Something you really need to hear in those moments. Like “This age sure can be challenging. But you can tell your kid has a really great mom”.

    Something to build you up when you’re having trouble instead of adding to the feeling that you’re not good enough.

    • Misty Hamel says:

      Your weekend of puke sounds awful, Dana! And yes, I think that people need to be reminded that these little tykes are challenging and that parents need more support and less judgement.

      You, by the way, are more than good enough!

  • Michelle says:

    I don’t miss that stage at all. Well, except that everything is curious, innocent and amazing to them at that age. Now that I think back to it, I kind of do miss that stage, but not enough to go back. 🙂

    I LOVE the independence mixed with the still-so-sweet innocence of elementary school. To me, these are the best times, and they have been since kindergarten. I still get all the “Mommy, you are my best friends, lots of cuddles, love and FUN. They now have their unique personalities that make me giggle multiple times throughout the day. We do things together that I very much enjoy, like hiking, waterskiing, snowmobiling… I was not one who enjoyed dollies and lego or anything that involved a floor.

    Mine are now 8 & 10, and I think these are the best times.

  • Rilla says:

    This could very well be the reason I’m the parent of an only child. *ducks from flying tomatoes* I loathed the infant/toddler phase. Every moment of it (except for the endearing wonderful moments) were hellish for this extreme introvert. He had to be touching some part of my body every moment of everyday until he was 2.5 (mostly nursing) and the kid never stopped making noise. My recommendation? Preschool! Lots of it. LOL

    That said, I fell in love with parenting a 5 year old. They’re independent yet cuddly. They talk.a.lot. They are processing every.single.thought that goes through their mind, which is EVERYTHING. They are so random and crazy and funny. The good thing is they go to bed at 7 PM and sleep till 7 AM the next morning (at least mine did), and it makes you appreciate the quiet SO MUCH! Oh, and they go to school! 😀

    Now he’s 9 and I already feel him slipping away. He talks to his friends on the phone (mostly about Pokemon) until I tell him I need the phone, and he goes on longer and longer “playdates”. He walks to and from school and soccer practice on his own and doesn’t “need” me as much but wants my attention more (thus the reason for my personal Family Connection 2013 Challenge). He’s always game for a rousing card game or a snuggle on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and a movie. He’s my buddy, and he still declares I’m the best mom ever and loves me to the end of time.

    Here’s my tip for surviving toddler years. Well, other than the preschool tip (which I’m dead serious about… they have the proper set up for messy crafts and rough housing… circle time prepares them for school fantastically too). Playful parenting. Make EVERYTHING into a game. Putting shoes on, eating meals, taking a bath, walking through a mall. The sillier you are, the better they respond.

    Love you, my friend. This is ALL totally normal. LOL

    Rilla

  • Judy King says:

    I can only say I miss my kiddos who grew into adults without my permission!!

    Must say I enjoy them now though too!!

  • Tammy says:

    You very nicely documented my life! I look forward to 4. But at some point every day he hugs me and says “I love you so much mom” and it’s all worth it….

  • Amy St Pierre says:

    And I did this five times. Really. And every child is different so some of them were much easier than others, but toddlers nonetheless. My youngest is now in the dreaded terrible twos and believe me he makes up for all the stuff the others did not do. But after slipping into my bathroom and praying hourly, lol, for wisdom, guidance and more patience I am still here, attempting to raise them with loads of love, hugs and snuggles. None of us are perfect parents but we do our best and our babies know we love them…most of the time…lol!!! Love you Misty darling, miss you more…

  • Brooke says:

    I think that each age has great things and hard things about it. Right now, I am waiting and excited for the terrible twos because they can tell you what they want, and walk by themselves. Threes and Fours are tricky too. We will survive and enjoy!

  • Christine says:

    You sound just like my sister…who now has 7 kids (and she wonders why I don’t visit).

    I admire all you moms and even with 36 staring me straight in the face I have not decided whether i want kids. It is not that I don’t love them…I love all my nieces and nephews and sometimes after spending time with them I collapse in exhaustion – how, pray tell, could I be a mother.

    That being said, Max is so cute…I love reading your blog and we should do coffee sometime.

  • Erin says:

    Oh Misty. This sounds like life with my daughter right now. Last week I think she had a tantrum about how she had “nothing to wear!!!!” every single morning. And then she insists on a certain kind of shoes. And a certain snack. And this and that and everything. It can be so exhausting.

    There was one time when Gavin was 3.5 and had an epic tantrum at the Calgary Zoo. A woman actually came over and helped me get him to the car. Once both kids were finally strapped in I sat there and cried. When I thanked her for helping me, all she said was, “I have four of my own. I’ve been there.”

    So while I know I’ll miss this stage, I think that there are things about every stage of parenting that I’ll miss. And every stage will have its own challenges. We just keep plugging along…

  • aclewars says:

    Oh Max. How creative! Evan contradicts himself all the time. It is completely confusing and difficult to figure out what he needs/ wants sometimes.This one keeps me guessing. I think that this is a neat stage – so much development, so much personality coming out. But unless I get some me time, space to relax and recharge, it’s hard to enjoy it. I do often wonder why in the midst of the supposed best times it feels like the worst.

  • Anniemom says:

    Two is NOT the best of times, I don’t know why parents of older children would say such a thing. The problem with two-year-olds is that you’re too exhausted to enjoy them, even if what they are saying and doing is charming (and often it is not.)

    No, the best of times is 4, 5 and 6 — when they can start doing things for themselves but still desperately need mom and dad. They are curious and wonderful and there’s so much you can do and enjoy together. At 7 and beyond they stop needed you so much. My 10 year old still enjoys my company, but really, she’d rather be with her friends. 🙁

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