My Love-Hate Relationship With My Toddler

I had this post started in my head and then I saw this cartoon and thought I should just link to that and not actually write this out anymore. But part of the fun of having a blog is using it as a journal to have a record of our family that I can look back on someday. I wonder what stage our family will be at when I look back on this one.

Having an 18-month-old is rough. Emme has always been a pretty happy, easy going baby until recently. Eighteen months old is when baby fades and is replaced by little kid. There is so much to delight and take joy in as Emme takes on the world, but this new independence also brings a heck of a lot of annoying things along with it too.

Crazy Emme with pigtails in Los Gatos

Shall we start with the annoying things first?

1. Screaming

2. Opening up cabinets and taking things out.

3. Refusing to sit down in her seat and not lasting more than a few minutes in a high chair.

4. Screaming

5. Freaking early wakeup time.

6. Struggling to communicate and getting frustrated when she can’t, which leads to more…

7. Screaming

8. Wanting to play with brother, but really not being able to play very well yet.

9. Abusiveness, including but not limited to hitting, pinching and scratching.

10. Screaming

Screaming is obviously a key part of this phase and it’s not pretty. The world is an exciting, but very confusing place for a toddler, which leads to loads of frustration, which causes screaming. There are also some days where this girl just cannot be satisfied and everything ends up with screaming. Which leads to mama screaming. And then it’s all bad for everyone.

I remember this age being challenging with Reece too and I’m convinced my kids become the most challenging in the half-years. With Reece we had a pattern that still sometimes holds true now. We do pretty well with parenting for a time, then start to lose it as the challenges come, so I buy a few parenting books to get us back on track, which works for awhile until we start to lose it again. However, since having two kids, I feel like we’ve basically lost it all the time. Maybe because someone is always at a half-year?

I know she’ll outgrow this and before long she won’t care much about what’s in those cabinets (this happened with Reece at least–he stopped caring about ever trying to get into a cabinet right about the time we put all the locks on everything), but until then it will be mighty challenging.

Emme eating a lemon at Willow Street
Face owie courtesy of big brother

Fortunately, there are some pretty fun things about this age that keep us going.

1. More talking. I love how she tries to say just about everything in her cute little voice.

2. Singing. I love her “Ba ba ba” to sing “Ba Ba Black Sheep” and “Row row row row” for “Row Row Row Your Boat.”

3. Big personality. This age seems to be when personality hits big time and I love my silly, crazy girl.

4. Imagination. It’s been fun watching her imagination blossom and it’s getting even stronger now. Playing mommy to her babies and pretend cooking for me are some of her favorite things to do.

5. More understanding of the world. She’s really starting to get it now. How our days will go, who sleeps where in the house, where to put things away, etc. There’s still plenty she doesn’t understand, but she really seems like a little person now.

Just yesterday I posted a picture of her on Instagram and got a few comments about how big she looks. She really is growing into a big girl.

Big Girl Emme

Of course, I still think she’s amazing and I feel terrible for wishing these difficult days away, but I’m really hoping that two is a golden age for her like it was for Reece. Fingers crossed!


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Comments 12

  • Luke just turned 2 in April and I was totally nodding my head in agreement with this entire post. Such a challenging but fun age! And you are right, before you know it, they will be into the next phase. 🙂

  • Thank you so much for writing this. I no longer feel so alone about my frustration toward my 15 month old. I swear she is a crazy train and there are days when I just can’t do it anymore. But like you said, it is just a phase and there are so many awesome qualities about their bold little personalities. My 3 year old is mostly a delight to be around now (she went through a similar phase) and I know that soon my toddler will become a little lady too!

    • Yes, it will happen…just not soon enough! 🙂 It’s so hard when you’re in the midst of it, that’s for sure.

  • I remember 18m being particularly hard too- way worse than 2 so far! Hang in there mama!

  • Love/hate is a good way to put it lol. You’ve heard of the half-years being the tough ones too? My coworker mentioned this and I was like, “Yeah, he’s always tough when he’s a half age!”

    I think you and I being second-time moms helps make the challenges more doable. I remember thinking with my first that this will never end and we will always have to battle with him about opening the stupid cupboards or not wanting to take his socks off. Next thing you know they’re over it and walking barefoot around the house lol.

    • It’s definitely good to know from experience that there is an end to this. I’m not sure it makes it easier exactly, but at least there’s a light at the end of the tunnel!

  • Oh man do I know what you mean! There are so many wonderful things bundled in one itty bitty body that sometimes all the bad ones have to surface I guess! They are so so worth it though (as you know already) and it is incredible to watch them at both ends of the spectrum!

    • This stage is just crazy–crazy amazing and crazy annoying! There are so many awesome things about toddlers, thank goodness or else we’d go nuts!

  • What a great post. I just stumbled onto your site. My daughter is the same age and a major screamer!! But all of the amazing things about this age are simple incredible. I can totally relate.

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