Everyone warned me about the toddler years. The "terrible twos." The tantrums. The tears. The testing of boundaries. All the dramatics.
And right now, we're in it. We have officially entered the toddler years.
It's fair to say I have been thoroughly warned in every which way of the tantrums and the fits. It's the demanding, independent, but also so needy, sometimes defiant, tantrum stage. You name it, it's happened in this house. Most have told me this is the most "trying" stage yet.
But let me tell you a little secret about this "trying" stage we're in right now. This stage, this "terrible two" stage? It's my favorite so far. It's your daddy's favorite, too.
Because it's THIS stage where you first said the words, "Lub you too, Mommy."
It's this stage when you found the fun in wrestling Daddy to the ground in the living room, laughter radiating throughout the entire house.
It's this stage where you reach for Mommy's hand while watching cartoons, then turn towards her and give her a sweet smile.
It's this stage where you grab Daddy's face and pull his entire body in for a kiss right on the lips.
It's this stage where you sing at the top of your lungs in your car seat to all of your favorite songs.
It's this stage where you tell everyone you see at the store "Happy birthday!" because you're just so excited for your own birthday party.
Now don't get me wrong, this stage can be so hard. The day can feel long, the tears can seem endless. But the secret no one told me about the toddler years, is how much I could absolutely love it. Nobody's warned me about the beauty within the terrible twos.
Sweet boy, Daddy and I lie in bed at night and talk about how much we want to freeze you, freeze time. We want to freeze your sweet voice, your "still so chubby" thighs, your relentless love, your rambunctious personality. We even want to freeze your tantrums and your tears.
Because soon enough, you're going to grow up and you won't cry over Mommy taking two minutes to use the bathroom. You won't throw a fit over Daddy grabbing "the wrong cup" for you at dinner time.
Instead, your heart will face grown up hurts. You'll experience some of life's hardest trials on your own. The days of crying over spilled milk will be gone. So instead of wishing the hard days away, wishing for time to speed up... I don't want to even for a second wish these toddler years away.
Because these toddler years, these terrible twos....they're my favorite.
This article originally appeared on Messy Footprints.