Open Letter to My Toddler

Dearest Butterbean,

Thank you. You’re right.

I say that because all of the delightful, delicious, maddening, exhausting things you do teach me something. All of them. In a tasty, hilarious, infuriating, depleting way. Did I mention adorable? And exhausting, did I mention that?

Thank you for dragging the step stool over to the kitchen counter to help me. Every single time I try to do anything. You’re right that I was foolish to think I could do something without you. You’re right that your job is to learn, especially from me. You’re right that I need to find better horizontal surfaces to cover with all the stuff I don’t want you touching. Thank you for that reminder.

Thank you for reminding me about yoga. And manners. You’re right that yoga is fun, Butter Curl. You may not do yoga while you’re nursing, sweetie. Bridge and fish pose and chatturanga are all very nice except when you’re attached to someone else’s nipple. Then they are not nice. Please stop the milk-yoga. You may nurse or you may do yoga. Not together. Thank you for making me ponder our house rules on that one. I hadn’t thought of it before. What a gift.

Thank you for demanding your independence. You’re right that I don’t have to open that cheese or tie your shoes or zip your jacket or cut the bread by myself. Of course you need to learn by trying. I know it makes you happy to try and you’re willingly to let me finish if your sweet little hands can’t complete the task. Thank you for reminding me what the whole 18 month to 3 year process is about. You. Not me.

Thank you for headbutting me in the nose when I refused you something. You’re right that angry feels like hitting. We don’t hit, Bug Butt. Good thing I know that or your tiny little face would have a handprint on it. Thank you for the reminder that I need to take a break when someone makes me so mad I see black. Good job, monkey. You’re the best.

Thank you for delighting in playing with simple things. You’re right that we should pour water back and forth from cup to pot for a long, long time. You’re right that it’s fun to open and close doors dozens of times. Thank you for finally slowing down for two seconds to do these things, Butterpat. You’ve been whirling around for so long without stopping that I wasn’t sure I’d blink before you turned Two. Thanks for your new love of repetition (and for setting up my ability to share that love by running me ragged for a year.) Let’s go get the pots and the water, shall we?

Thank you for pointing out that, whatever I give you leaves one of your hands empty. You’re right. You have two hands. So of course you need two chips. Yes. Two bananas. Two sticks. Two halves of the sandwich. Thank you for noticing both halves of your body, Butterbug. Thank you for making me see all functional units in pairs.

Kind of like us, right?

Love you, sweet little man.
—Mama.

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13 thoughts on “Open Letter to My Toddler

  1. I love this post so much. Sweet and hilarious at the same time! (And the two hands thing? Priceless.) He sounds smart and delightful…just like his brother.

  2. I like to thank for the reminder that as soon as I figure out how to manage the little one, he finds it ineffective and makes me learn another tactic. Good to keep me on my toes – and always learning.

  3. @Kitch you would laugh your tiny ass off watching this kid. Never.slows.down. Never.

    @Ink yup, he’s adorable. Smart and a handful just like his brother.

    @Cathy I know, right? From day one. In the beginning they change every two days and no trick works for long. Now it’s about every 4 days, but dang, that seems like a cruddy ROI on figuring out the tricks in the first place.

    @ABDMama I wish I could remember. My brain is shriveled to the size and consistency of a prune. I remember that at this age the older one signed a lot more and told me whole stories. And would not could not play alone. This little ball of hilarious charges through the house like he owns it and only notices if I’m gone. When I’m there? “Bah. Unnecessary and, quite frankly, in the way.”

  4. There needs to be a “Love this post” button. Because I love, love, LOVE this post. You touch on all the sweetness and the frustrating and then back to the sweetness again. A fantastic reminder to all of us to enjoy and savor the simple, the helpful and the head butts. They are gone oh-so-quickly.

  5. I love your understatement, your restraint and humour. Awesome. Mine are 8 and 6 and every day I struggle to act on my belief that sarcasm is not a nice thing to do to children.

    • Chickadee, thank you for the kind words. Your avoidance of sarcasm is *completely* the realm in which Spouse and I live. Believe me, I come to the silver lining only because I blog. In the moment, I see a LOT of clouds.

  6. I would write this same letter to mine WORD FOR WORD. And the step stool with the insisted help? That’s only happened in the last week so it’s a good thing I only read this post now.
    Nursing yoga? Yes! Hysterical.
    So there with you friend, thank you for writing this!

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