People love to warn parents about the toddler years.

There are the tantrums and the terrible twos. Even though my son is only two, I’ve already been warned three is worse and to watch out for the three-nager stage.

Certainly, there are challenges with toddlers. They want things their own way. They aren’t very patient. They will test boundaries.  

With all the hard things that go along with having a 2-year-old, the thing that has stood out to me the most is how much love my son has shown me during the toddler stage.

In the baby stage, he loved his snuggles from me and being held. He depended on me to take care of his every need because babies simply can’t do much of anything for themselves quite yet. 

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Now, he’s at an age where he doesn’t need me as much. He doesn’t need me to carry him everywhere. He can walk and run on his own to get where he wants to.

But that hasn’t stopped him from grabbing my hand to walk with him or sometimes still wanting me to carry him around.

He can feed himself.

But he still wants me right next to him while he eats and sometimes still wants me to feed him.

He can pick out what he wants for lunch.

But if I have something different on my plate, he wants to share what I have or feed me something from his plate.

He’s old enough to not need me to help him fall asleep.

But he still wants me to snuggle with him for naps and bedtime.

He’s at an age where he can entertain himself by playing with toys or flipping through a book by himself.

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But he still wants to follow me around the house and help (as much as he can at this age) with everything from the laundry to cooking.

He’s been able to sit up on his own for quite some time now.

But he still loves to sit in my lap to hear stories.  

When I do something that upsets him (like say he can’t have an unhealthy snack right now), once he calms down, he’ll be back to normal and wanting hugs and snuggles from me. 

He doesn’t hold grudges as I suspect he will do when he’s a teenager and I say he can’t do something.

On the days I feel like I’m failing, when I can’t keep up with everything I want to get done, all I need to do is look at my son’s smile to know I’m doing something right. I see the love he has for me in his eyes all the time.

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It’s been bittersweet watching my son gain independence. There’s been a realization that he doesn’t need me as much but also a reassurance that he still wants me around all the time.

These terrible twos haven’t been terrible to me. Yes, there have been hard things, but there are a lot more wonderful things I will miss about this age.

Kimberly Keys

Kimberly is a stay-at-home Mom to her long-awaited precious son who joined our family through the miracle of adoption. She loves watching her toddler discover new things, especially when exploring the parks around her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. You can follow her writing on Facebook at Kimberly Keys, Writer