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Toddlers or Older Kids? Which Stage is Easier?

I think anyone who is a parent has been told by well meaning grandmotherly types to “enjoy this time!”

“It goes so fast,” they say, smiling a wistful smile.  And just like being annoyed by being told that “you sure have your hands full,” we may have had to use extreme restraint to keep from knocking the cane out from under the old bag, uh, well meaning grandmother.

I admit that while in the midst of my children’s baby and toddler years, there were many occasions that I found myself wishing they were older and easier to handle.  I longed for the days when they could wipe their own butts, make logical decisions, and behave in public.  I was often exhausted by their energy and constant need for my vigilant attention to keep them from climbing the bookshelf or falling into the edge of the coffee table. It’s funny, though, my kids are now four and six, well past the terrible twos and unsteady new walker stage, and I’m finding that I MISS the toddler years.

It went too fast!  I didn’t enjoy those years enough!  Those darn well meaning grandmotherly types and their wisdom! I hate when I’m wrong and they’re right.

The things that I thought were so difficult about toddlerhood aren’t really as difficult as I thought they were-especially now that my kids are older.  Every age and stage has it’s own share of problems and rewards, but here are ten reasons that maybe the toddler years weren’t as exhausting as I thought they were…

(top photo credit)

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    Tantrums. We can all agree that no matter the age, tantrums are one of the most frustrating parts of parenthood-particularly public tantrums. For a two year old, though, tantrums are almost expected. Annoying and embarrassing? YES. My children's worst tantrums happened when they were four and five years old, though, and annoying and embarrassing just aren't descriptive enough terms when it's a five year old having a fit in the middle of the supermarket. MORTIFYING comes close. NOBODY ever told me that they'd STILL be having tantrums as they got older! (photo credit)
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    Toddler's mouths aren't as offensive as an older child's. As much as I would get flustered when my toddlers would tell me, "no," that was about the extent their sass. Older kids, WELL. They will WEAR YOU DOWN with their sass mouths. Sometimes they'll even throw in an "I hate you" or "life is SO UNFAIR," for full effect. Toddlers don't even know those words yet! (photo credit)
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    Toddlers are easily distracted. Little Timmy is crying about some nonsense, but all you have to do to get them to stop is redirect them with something shiny. "Oooh, look, Little Timmy, a ball/the moon/frosting/discarded banana peel!" Voila! The crying is over! Redirecting does not, I repeat DOES NOT work with older children. They can wail about the same nonsense for hours, days even. (photo credit)
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    Toddlers take naps. Need I say more? Well I'm going to anyway. My kids both gave up naps around the age of three, yet there are still days when they desperately need to nap and won't. Also, I miss those quiet afternoons that I had to myself. (photo credit)
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    Toddlers and their brutal honesty can be cute and charming. You know how you never get to go to the bathroom alone when your kid is two and they point out the cottage cheese on your thighs? It's easier to hear this from an innocent, little sweet jelly covered face than it is to hear from a six year old who accidentally walks in on you while you're getting dressed and blurts out that your boobs hang down to your knees. (photo credit)
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    Toddlers have terrible fashion sense, but it's cute when they wear mismatched socks, shorts, and a shirt that's two sizes too small. People won't snicker behind your back in public when your toddler is oddly dressed-they'll know they dressed themselves. This adorableness goes away with each year a child ages, eventually resulting in discussions about why wearing a shirt two sizes too small is not an appropriate outfit for school. (photo credit)
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    Sure you may have to wipe a toddler's rear end, but at least it gets clean. You can't always say that about a five year old's bottom. That's all I have to say about that. (photo credit)
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    Toddlers are more forgiving and forgetful. If you have one of those less than perfect parenting moments (haven't we all?), your toddler will quickly forget all about it and forgive you. Older kids aren't as forgiving and are even known to bring up past imperfections. "Hey mom, remember that time your eyes went all crazy when I dumped out all the cereal on the carpet?" (photo credit)
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    You can be vague when answering a toddler. When a toddler asks where babies come from, all you have to do is say is "Mommy's tummy!" The toddler is satisfied with the answer and you have easily escaped this conversation. When an older child asks the same question, the "mommy's tummy" answer most likely won't be sufficient enough and will lead to even more questions. "So, how did the baby get in Mommy's tummy?" "How does the baby get out of Mommy's tummy?" (photo credit)
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    Toddlers can't tell time! It's a glorious thing! If you have had a rather trying day, you can put a toddler to bed at 6 pm and totally get away with it! Older kids will balk when they see the clock and protest that it's too early for bedtime. (photo credit)
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