The moment you put on your “I’m a parent” hat – I’m pretty sure a bell rings somewhere and everyone (EVERYONE I TELL YOU!) lines up to give you some advice.
Some of those pieces of advice are useful – for example, an older adult friend of mine encouraged us with the words “Don’t worry too much about being parents – people a lot stupider than you have been doing this for a long time.” Those pearls of wisdom my husband and I treasure amidst laughter at least once a month.
Another comforting piece of advice from a professor of mine “Everyone is a great parent during at least one phase of their child’s life. Some people are wonderful parents for babies, others make having teens look easy.”
Right now, with my 19 month old son, we’re making the transition to toddlerhood – and I couldn’t be happier. So far, everything about this transition has been a whole lot easier than simply making it through the first year – and we’re grateful.
As a parent to a baby a couple of my worst nightmares came true – What do you mean I have to wake up multiple times a night. Every night. For months… And breastfeeding in public was sort of like that dream about being naked in public – (even though it’s supposed to be totally natural.)
Now I’m finding out that my little almost toddler craves routines. Good, so do I. He loves to eat breakfast at his table right after we listen to Elizabeth Mitchell’s Little Seed, read the same truck books, play with the same toys, and watch his videos at the same time every day. This means it’s easy for me to plan cleaning, and study, around his routines. (Planning of course, is one thing – doing it is another.)
My toddler is easily distractable by those things he loves – Oh look! Instead of pulling books off the shelf – why don’t you play with this excavator instead!
And the total meltdown at the park/supermarket/library? Turns out, yelling, kicking and screaming is not that embarrassing when half the other people around you have children under five as well.
I’ve also found that (most of) the techniques the parenting books suggest for toddlers – actually work. Whereas all four of the sleep book I read left my husband and I with little actual improvement in our fight to sleep more, I can pick and choose techniques from the Happiest Toddler on the Block and find they work with an above average success rate.
Do I hope that my “best parenting phase” is toddlerhood? I don’t know – on the one hand – toddlerhood is an important time of life – learning social skills, Self-Control, Courage, and Drive. On the other hand, if my best parenting phase was when my son was an adult… it would last for much longer (and still involve plenty of sleep.)
How about you? Any parenting advice that has really helped you? Any particular transitions in parenting you’ve enjoyed more than others?