I have a 21-month-old who is somewhere between the baby phase and toddlerhood, and there are moments I feel like ripping my hair out.
Yesterday was one of those days. He wanted to play on the counter. Then he didn’t want to play on the counter, and couldn’t I get him down RIGHT THIS MOMENT. He wanted cottage cheese as a snack, but what he really meant was that he wanted to throw cottage cheese around like confetti: on the wall, on the the picture frames, on the floor. I am so tired of cleaning up cottage cheese, I can’t even tell you. He wanted to go on a walk, but he wanted to wear his rain boots, and I didn’t put his socks on the right feet (eye roll). Then he decided he wanted to wear two pairs of socks, and he NEEDED to ride in his wagon…that he sat in for all of 10 seconds before abandoning it and sprinting off. He didn’t like dinner, and wouldn’t you guess it, he wanted cottage cheese. AGAIN. That veto resulted in a long winded temper tantrum. I’m still not sure if the temper tantrum or cleaning up cottage cheese is worse. My husband had an appointment that brought him home two hours late. I sent him an SOS text, but his phone was dead.
This phase is hard. Really hard.
By the time he got home, I handed him our son, went to our room, and screamed into a pillow. And just for kicks and giggles, we decided to take our son to the pool for family swim night. Taking a 21-month-old swimming is not for the weak. It consists of a child running all over kingdom come and two anxious looking parents sprinting behind, trying to keep the lifeguards from kicking them out and their child from drowning.
Let me say it again, this phase is hard. Really hard.
But there are glimpses, little moments, that also make me feel that we’re going to come out the other side (hopefully sooner rather than later). I love seeing his little mind figure things out, like when he learned how to connect two train track pieces or the day he realized that if he puts all of his pots and pans on his train table and jumps up and down, it makes a really loud noise. I love hearing him “sing” along to songs in the car or how he assumes I want a kiss every time I tell him I love him.
It’s my favorite when he does something really silly and throws his head back and laughs and laughs. I love that he still needs me to protect him and hold him when he’s hurt. I love every single thing about him, but that doesn’t mean I’m not ready to make it into the next phase.
To all the well-meaning moms and grandmas who tell you to enjoy every moment, I want you to know I’m enjoying most moments, and I’m surviving through the rest. That’s what motherhood really is, isn’t it? It’s only when you’re out on the other side that you can honestly say you loved every moment because when you’re in the thick of it, some moments are too tough to enjoy, and I’m OK with that.