Toddler Time is...

So, I have a toddler. My third, actually. Though kids are their cutest during this time, it's also the time when they wreak havoc the most. So let me define toddler time to get some sense out of it... and hope that I get some lighthearted time out of, phew! stress-inducing moments and some wisdom too.

Toddler time is...

  • obviously, a terrible time. Toddlers aren't called the 'terrible two's' for nothing. Actually, they are most terrible around 16 months to maybe 30, when they can't communicate their wants and feelings, and so just resort to screaming, whining and worst, tantrums. Well, they think a house is not home unless it's messy. Any activity is not fun unless it's noisy, and not stimulating enough for their smarty brains if it doesn't resemble a storm.
  • extreme potty training time. It's that time when the price tag for diapers seem to be extra heavy, what with other costs of raising a toddler. So it's that time when parents often think is the best time to save those pennies and use it for a better cause. You put them on their potty and they sit down there for ages and you check, nothing. Then you make them sit down again. They fidget. You check, still nothing. So you decide that maybe it's best to wait a little more. So you let them stand and run around free for awhile and not even a minute pass by when you smell something. Something fishy is on the floor. Ah, they opted for a standing position and not the sitting one. Yucky time! (sigh) Cleaning time.
  • tantrum time. Toddlers think they have a license to throw a tantrum anywhere, everywhere... on the toilet floor, the supermarket aisle where everyone is their audience and when you have no hand to catch or carrry them off because they are filled with their diapers, milk and your daily dose of chocolates to save you from insanity.
  • sign language and regression time. You think you got them until they wail, and wail, and won't stop until you really GOT IT! So you ask, "What do you want? Water?" You bring water. They shake their head. You ask, "Baby doll?" They say: "Mo!" Is that supposed to be no? You bring a cookie. "Mo!" You bring a spatula. Still, "Mo!" But the no seems to be increasing in intensity. You bring their teddy bear, and they whine. Now, you are desperate. What do they really want?! You sound like you're whining too. You bring an apple. It's thrown on the floor. You clean, the whine turns to wail. You give them the dirty rag. They pause from whining, then stoop down to wipe the floor and happily spread all the dirt from the rag. Then they sing while they hang the rag back where you got it. If it's not tantrum time for you, then what is?
  • time out time. It's that time when they want to move, and to stay in one place is excruciating that they would rather stand on their head than do 'time out'. But to the time-out or thinking place they must go if you want them to grow and mature beyond toddler years. And if you don't want yourself to grow older faster than you already are, then a time-out would be good for you too. Just use it wisely, like, say a prayer?
  • humor time. Toddlerhood is filled with humorous moments and fun. It's a great time to remember that our God is all-wise, all-knowing and loves humor. Why would He make us toddlers first, who loves to giggle and chuckle, and not serious, stressed-out adults? And why would He give adults, who have forgotten how to laugh, toddlers, who thrives on moments of joy and laughter? God wants to laugh with us and enjoy our toddlers rather than feel pressured in parenting them. So when you catch your toddler squeezing out an expensive tube of lip balm given to you by a friend (which you never can afford to buy for yourself, ever!), and she's applying it on her mosquito bites, which just about covers most of her legs and arms, thinking it's that bug medicine that magically takes out all the itchiness; then remember, you are meant to see humor in it. After reminding her that she should not play with mom's things as they are not toys, chuckle and say, "Oh, my child. You are one BIG LIP all covered up with lip balm! Can I kiss you, big lip?" And the giggles may now start.
  • tender time. It's that time when you ask for a kiss and you get a dozen sloppy, wet ones... over and over again until you can't help giggling and gasping for air saying "Stop it, stop it, stop it!" when all you really want to do is to let them kiss you forever. And you can't help but say, "I love you so much!" And they babble something back which sounds like, "I love you too, mama" but, uh, you're not sure. So you beg, "Can you say it again, baby?" But they are already gone... toddling on their chubby legs and feet. Ah, love.
  • prayer time. As I have mentioned, when they are having a tantrum and you want to have one too as it seems like nothing can get through them, or when you are not sure whether to give the little one a time-out or just let it pass, then it's time for that whispered prayer. Toddler time is that time when you think you know everything about how to bring a child up and yet you don't know everything about your child. Well, who really does? Or when do we really know our children? But there's One who knows. And we can be assured God is ready to help us, even long before we call.
Ellen White, in her book Child Guidance, said, "The mother must realize that God is her helper, that love is her success, her power. If she is a wise Christian, she will not attempt to force the child into submission. She will pray; and as she prays, she will be conscious of a renewal of spiritual life within herself. And she will see that at the same time the power that is working in her is working also in the child. And the child, in the place of being compelled, is led and grows gentler; and the battle is gained."

Oh yes, toddler time is tough. Yet it is also full of tender moments. Of nose-to-nose rub love messages. Of finally hearing them sing to you during bedtime instead of you singing to them. Ah, they are only toddlers once. Let toddler time be... toddler time. 

And God bless you!

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