It doesn’t take being a parent to know that toddlers are challening. They’re demanding and loud and unreasonable and pushy and prone to fits of pint sized rage over the family dog eating the cracker they just threw off the high chair tray. They cry when it’s bedtime, when they can’t have a snack before dinner, when you tell them “no hitting,” when it’s time to get strapped into the car seat, at every single diaper change, when Elmo isn’t on the TV right away. It’s easy to get frustrated, to get annoyed, to feel defeated and ineffective as a parent.
But every night, when JS and I are getting into bed, these things are the last things on our mind. Because toddlers are so much fun, too. When we talk about our days, we talk about the dance parties we have, and how funny Xander looks shaking his booty to the music. We talk about the hour after dinner he spends running after the dog, shrieking with laughter. We talk about the dozens and dozens of stories we read, worth the repetition if only because of the way he slowly walks backwards into our laps, determinedly clutching his book.
It makes me wonder what, if anything, Xander will remember from his toddlerhood. I can’t personally think of any specific memories before the age of 3 or 4, I’d guess. JS says he remembers some stuff from before that, he remembers a few impressionable things from being a baby. I find myself hoping so much that Xander will, too. That he’ll remember twirling in my arms, tilting his curly head back to watch the ceiling spin above him. The way JS walks him around the house to inspect any item he points at with interest. The way he loves to crawl after the dog with his head down, giggling with anticipation of the face licks to come. I want him to remember how we distract him from tears at changing time by blowing raspberries onto his thighs until he’s laughing so hard that tears stream down his face. The Victory Song we sing after every bath-time.
I want him to remember how much fun we have together. All of us, JS and myself included. I want him to remember how much we love him now, at this moment in time. And how much he loves us, too (the other day I came back upstairs from doing laundry and he was so thrilled to see me that his whole body shook when I picked him up). It wouldn’t change anything to know that he won’t; it wouldn’t make us try to get by with a little more coasting and less effort. It just makes me a little sad to think that these wonderful times that I will remember every day of my life may not be as accessible to him as he grows up.