A Tale of Two Toddlers


I’m not a huge Dickens fan, and to be honest, these days I struggle to make it through a People magazine cover to cover, but that doesn’t stop me from remembering the great literature I will find my way back to one day.  Even if you aren’t a book nerd like me, the first paragraph of A Tale of Two Cities is somewhere in your brain space. It popped into my head the other day and wondered if it was truly about the French Revolution or ghost written by a woman raising a toddler. This is for all you mamas living in the trenches of toddler ups and downs, fearing if it’s toddler Jekyll or toddler Hyde today, and wondering how it is possible to cry over your banana getting cut in half. 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, 

Toddler wit and love is unparalleled, but never forget they are emotionally unstable and moodier than a teenager. I was trying on shoes and my daughter dropped the mischief she was cooking up halfway across the store and ran over to me and yelled, “those are SO CUTE, Mommy!” Swoon. I let her pick a small toy for being so dang cute and sweet. 10 minutes later, in the grocery store, she refused to get out of the race car (kill me, btw) shopping cart, and screamed “NO NO NO” at the top of her lungs while she pointed her full juicebox at me and squeezed until it was all over me, her, the cart and the floor. 

it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, 

Toddlers will amaze you each and every day dropping new knowledge, but unfortunately the common sense component of wisdom is not so quick to develop. My daughter recently sang “Hello, Goodbye” by the Beatles in its entirety. She looked up at the sky on a walk and called a helicopter a “chopper.” At a restaurant, the server came by to light the candle on our table and she started singing “Happy Birthday.” But on the other hand, she still plays in the dog’s water bowl like she did when she first learned to crawl. Recently, I left her for 30 seconds in the bathroom and when I came back she had climbed the toilet and was sitting in the sink with the water on. I also caught her eating a straw wrapper. 

it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, 

The sheer confidence toddlers exude in their discoveries and thought patterns is a sight to see. My open purse was sitting on the floor (rookie mistake) and I watched her saunter up to it like a vulture, eyes wide. Her back to me, she threw receipts on the floor, sunglasses, and then she found the holy grail: my “break this glass in case of emergency” lollipop, reserved for public meltdowns (see above.) She grabbed it like she had just found the Hope diamond, held it in the air and said “Oh. My. God. I will eat this!” How could I say no? 5 minutes later I pried the soggy yellow stick from her hands as she wailed and told me it was not “all done” and then continued to cry in disbelief in front of the trash can. 

it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, 

This is just an obvious metaphor for toddler kryptonite: Daylight Savings Time. 

we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, 

How easy it is to reflect on the easier infant days of lore. The ability to eat in restaurants with a quiet baby. To leave the house without 3 baby dolls and a plastic dinosaur. Days we gave a bottle or a sippy cup and there were no demands to take the lid off and “do it myself.” A time of no wardrobe negotiations, and quick and easy diaper changes.  But these tiny dictators hold our hearts hostage, and before this exhausting yet magical stage we also had no spontaneous big hugs.  We had no heart felt, genuine “I love you’s,” delivered with eye contact.  There were no babies taking care of toy babies in the sweetest, most gentle fashion.  No exclamations of “Mommy, I missed you!” when you return from a 45 second potty break.  No sweet little stern-faced problem solvers refusing to give up on that last puzzle piece.  No snuggle monsters asking to be held and melting into your body.  No little ones losing their babyhood much too fast right in front of our eyes.


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