You’re not my first toddler, so I know that this is a temporary, if aggravating stage
I’d write you a Words Unspoken letter, but you can’t read yet. You only just started saying a few words. While I’m happy for Tatty and Bubby that you’ve mastered their names, I’d like to point out I’m not, in fact, either a tatty or a bubby. I’m Mommy.
I didn’t recognize that you’d officially graduated to toddlerhood until I realized that my ability to do all the things I need to do during a day had significantly decreased, in direct proportion to your increased mobility.
You recently reached the “climbing on top of the table” milestone. Maybe it’s because I’ve gotten older, but I find this new achievement overwhelming. Yes, for the first few days it was very cute, but being stuck in a perpetual cycle of taking you off the table only to return 45 seconds later to find you gleefully dancing, or, to my horror, jumping, is exhausting.
I’ve learned new things because of you. For instance, I discovered that the dishwasher makes a creaking noise when I open it. Because you’re such a helpful child, you come running right away when you hear that sound. I’ve therefore learned to be much more strategic about this particular chore. Of course, I’m happy to let you help, but I really don’t need your assistance loading the knives, thank you anyway.
Practicing music has become next to impossible. The best time to play is when you’re sleeping, but that’s also the best time to load the dishwasher, do laundry, clean up, write, rest, and, besides, I really, really don’t want to accidentally wake you up early from your nap.
The other day, in a rare moment of inspiration, I sat down at the piano to play, but the keys were so sticky I had to clean them off, and by the time I was finished, it was time to make dinner.
And, speaking of dinner… You used to eat very nicely, but you don’t seem to have much patience for it anymore. Now it’s one or two bites and you’re finished. The other day, Tatty gave you a handful of cut grapes and you took them, with the sweetest smile, only to immediately throw them on the floor, still smiling.
You’re not my first toddler, so I know that this is a temporary, if aggravating stage. I know that all too soon, you will be off to playgroup, and then to school. So even though I really do miss being able to leave a snack on the table for my bigger kids, and I miss being able to throw a load in the dryer without help, and I miss being able to just run up or down the stairs without securing the gate, I also know I will miss the precious moments that only happen during toddlerhood.
I’ll miss the look of glee on your face when I come get you from your nap. I’ll miss the sweet purity of you mimicking me as I light my Shabbos candles. I’ll miss the wonder of how you kiss every book, even if it isn’t a sefer. I’ll miss the simplicity of how just taking a walk around the block is great excitement. I’ll miss how your siblings adore you completely, and how looking at your sweet face can shake off a bad mood. I’ll miss watching you “read” books, upside down and in your own private language. I’ll miss the wonder of watching you reach those exciting first milestones.
So thank you for keeping life interesting and keeping me on my toes. And while I’ll definitely breathe a sigh of relief when you move on to a slightly less chaotic stage, I’m determined to enjoy all there is about where you are now.
And again. My name is Mommy.
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 743)
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