Surviving the terrible twos: what I wish I’d known

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Currently, and for the third time, we have a toddler right square in the middle of the “terrible twos.” If you had asked me for advice about this phase of toddlerhood with Parker (our oldest), I probably would have given you a laundry of things to buy that could help ease the pain. Now that we’re on round three my words of wisdom, if I have any to offer, are free so here goes ...

Have a sense of humor.

No really, I mean it. Kids are hilarious, and the things they do are downright zany sometimes. As a 34 year-old-woman, it would not occur to me to climb on top of our ottoman with a blankie and have a little R&R with my favorite Paw Patrol episode … but the kids love it. I’m pretty sure I also wouldn’t think to sit down naked on a box of trash bags in the pantry to eat my goldfish snack, but “hey buddy, whatever floats your boat!” I have been “Princess Rainbow Unicorn Mommy” more times than I can count, and if you’re looking for a crowd pleaser, just Google “interrupting cow knock-knock jokes.” My kids have an innocent sense of humor and can pull me out of even the funkiest funks - God bless them!

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Milk will spill, and Cheerios will crumble into your couch cushions - these are inevitabilities of parenthood. Is it aggravating and time-consuming to clean up mess after mess after mess? Of course it is! However, if I could go back and change ONE thing about my early mothering style, it would be to NOT freak out over every little thing. Y’all, I lost it over scratches on the floors, tearing up the pop-up books, spit up, excessive water splashing out of the tub … I was legit uptight. While I’m certainly no zen Mommy, I’m really glad that I’m now able to roll with the punches like a normal person and embrace the fact that my kids are little, and in the end, so are their messes.

Take pictures.

Whether it’s on your phone, on a camera, with a photographer or a Polaroid - take pictures! In 30 years, when the kids have flown the coop you will be thanking yourself for the gift of photography. In an instant, you’ll be transported back to the good old days of sidewalk chalk murals, Halloween costumes, play dates at the park, recitals, spelling bees, prom nights and so much more. Some days I feel like we’re living for the memories and I’m so grateful we're to document them. I have great big, giant goals of photo organization, albums, and memory books, but, for now, I feel safe knowing I will always be able to remember them “when."

While the twos can be terrible, they can also be terrific. It seems like these tiny toddlers operate like sour patch kids - first they're sour, and then they’re sweet. Cooper exemplifies this comparison. At least once a day he runs up, and head butts me in the leg (or worse), then looks up and says “I love you!” and begs to be picked up for a hug and a kiss. Cooper is salty-sweet, and I love it. There will come a day in the not-so-distant future when I will long for his mid-thigh head butting/“I love you” move, and I will miss his toddler-hood.

Jordan Schupbach is a mother of three living in the Houston area. She blogs at www.lattesandliving.com - sharing the good, the bad and the frenzied.

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