Having a two-year-old is both harder and easier than I ever imagined.
Hard. I knew toddler tantrums wouldn’t be any fun. But when you are the one with the toddler who is laying on the floor in a crowded airport, kicking and yelling as he blocks the path of rushed passengers navigating bulky suitcases? All of those naive, pre-kid “when I’m a parent, my kid won’t be allowed to do that” thoughts ring in your head, mocking you.
Easy. But I also couldn’t possibly have known how that little dude would melt my heart into a Huge Mom Puddle with a simple hug and a sweet “I sobby (I’m sorry).” Or how seeing his face light up when I walk through the door to daycare would be the highlight of every single day.
Hard. Before I had Ryan, I’m sure I must have imagined that raising a happy, healthy, kind, generous, thoughtful, determined, passionate human would be a challenge. But I didn’t know enough to predict that 20 times a day I would debate with myself whether this was the time to be firm or whether this was the time to teach grace or whether this was the time to enforce rules or to be flexible.
Easy. I also had no idea that sometimes, I would be able to just relax and follow his lead. I wouldn’t need to spend weeks over-thinking how to transition from a high chair to a booster seat; one day he would wake up ready for the next step because he is growing and maturing almost faster than I can even digest it.
What is finally becoming clearer to me is the fact that he is his own person. I can teach him manners, I can give him rules and limits, I can set a good example. But I can’t control the fact that new situations intimidate him, that loud noises scare him, that cheese just isn’t his thing. The same way I can’t take credit for the fact that he’s an amazing sleeper, a joyful little morning person, or that he loves for things to be clean and organized.
Maybe he’s the one teaching me.