Babies are Hard and Toddlers are Awesome!

Some people will say that young babies are easier than toddlers because they stay where you put them down and you don’t have to worry about discipline or tantrums. But that’s why I love this post from Dina – she makes some excellent points about how much easier toddlers are than babies! Hopefully this will give those of you with newborns something to look forward to down the line.

If you rattle around the parent internet for even a little bit, you’ll notice that toddlers have a bad rap.

You think that baby is hard? Wait until the terrible twos!” says someone.

“Oh two is nothing” some other very… ahem… helpful… person will say “don’t you know that three is the new two?”

And everyone knows that you can’t take a toddler out to eat because they are just the worst.

Ok so full disclosure: at the time of this writing my oldest is only two and a half so it’s completely possible that I will be shown my comeuppance in six months (I also have a 5-month-old baby). That said, I think we’ve had our fair share of tantrums turned up to 11. I’ve definitely stood on the sidewalk next to a child who has gone rigid with rage and thrown themselves on the ground. I’ve had to give a toddler a bath against her will – the kind of bath where both adults are required and come out soaking wet.  And even with all that, I would never say something like what’s written above.

Let’s be nice to (and honest with) new parents

When I say “it’s not nice” to tell new parents that it just gets harder, I also want to be clear that it’s not because we should keep this terrible secret to ourselves. I mean because it’s not actually true. Someone who does this either plain ole’ doesn’t remember how terrifying it is to be granted sole responsibility over a child for the first time or is just a jerk. Parents grow *with* their children. And the parents of toddlers who are obnoxious to new parents have simply forgotten how impossibly hard babies are.

Toddlers understand language.

They can usually tell you what’s wrong. You know that time your baby screamed for 5 hours before you finally thought to take them to the doctor and found out they have a raging ear infection? That sure was fun! A couple months ago my daughter woke up and said “mama ear hurt.” Oh it killed the mystery and romance of trying to guess which underworld God the kid was possessed with, but I’ve never liked surprises anyway. Now, obviously toddlers have their moments: when they don’t hear a thing you’re saying, when they have no interest in using their words (see: rigid with rage), when they whine about cookies for hours on end, etc.. That said, if my daughter is howling for a cookie, I feel comfortable ignoring the hell out of her because I know she’s not going to die.  When a baby screams like that, there’s no way to know if they’re just angry at the walls or if something is actually wrong. And with a toddler, there’s always distraction! Under most circumstances you can say “time for lunch” and your kiddo will cheerfully run to their designated seat. Which brings us to…

Toddlers can walk.

By 18 months typically developing children have taken their first steps and many are already quiet mobile. This means you’re not constantly balancing them on your hip as you do EVERYTHING. Welcome to being able to stand up straight when you brush your teeth!

Toddlers eat real people food.

You arrive at day care having forgotten your toddler’s lunch on the train/in your driveway/in the fridge? Well that’s unfortunate, you’re going to have to go to Starbucks and get her a croissant and a banana. You forget you baby’s breast milk or the one formula you’ve used since his birth/he isn’t allergic to/the pediatrician prescribed? You are so majorly screwed! Cue trudging back home and taking the morning off work!

Toddlers sleep at least sometimes.

Ok yes… even toddlers never sleep in, don’t understand proper behavior during day light savings time or when crossing time zones, and totally get the stomach flu in the middle of the night. That said, as the parent of a baby who spent more than a month waking up… every… hour… to nurse… every… night… I can tell you that no deeper hell exists in this dimension.  I swear, at one point that month all the color was sucked from the world and only shades of grey existed.  In the mean time, my toddler daughter was rocking the zzz’s for a good 11 hours most nights.

To the parents of babies – it gets easier

So if you’re reading this and you have a newborn who is causing your brain to slowly leak out your ears, know that it won’t always be like this.  It will get better when your baby will smile at you, it will get less stressful when your baby starts solids, and everything will be forgiven once he says “I love you” for the first time. So hang in there – it gets easier!

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Babies are Hard and Toddlers are Awesome!

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13 Comments

  • I find that each age comes with it’s own unique challenges. Some aspects are easier, some are not. For example, when my youngest was a young baby, it was awesome being able to take all my kids to the park because the baby would sleep quietly in his stroller while I spent time with the older boys. Now when we go to the park I have to try to give attention to the older two while also following my 2 year old everywhere (and he moves frequently and fast). On the other hand, I’m able to get a good night’s sleep now and every once in a blue moon, I can even take a nap! Which definitely helps with dealing with the tantrums….which seem to be more frequent due to having older siblings. They put on a show he doesn’t want to watch? Fit. They dare to try to play with him when he’s grumpy? Fit. They look at him the wrong way? Fit. 😛

  • Thank you. As a first time mom holding my 2week old sleeping son upright in my arms at 2am because it’s the only position he will sleep in, thank you. I look forward to the first smile, first laugh, and communicating with words someday!

  • I don’t know, maybe I’ll remember how hard babies are when our second is born this summer, but some days I would rather have a newborn than a screaming, shrieking, kicking, crib-escaping toddler.

    Oh, and as for baths that require two adults? Grab a lukewarm washcloth and give the kid a sponge bath in the middle of a chilly bathroom floor. And say if they’re too tired for a bath, they’re too tired for bedtime books. Works like a charm for us.

  • Recently I had to take my 3 year old to the ENT, along with my 1 year old. I remembered how much I loved the fact that by 1 kids can be entertained by food. So while my 3 year old was being tested by the audiologist, I plied the 1 year old with clementines to keep him quite. Getting older really does mean easier in many ways 🙂 Great article!

  • Such a beautiful family 🙂 Have you ever tried any products from baby deedee – curious how their sleepwear is – I heard they are the best sleep sacks on the market but I haven’t been successful in finding any blog reviews out there. Maybe you could do one for your baby!

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