It Gets Better: Toddler Edition

Last Saturday I went to a party at a friend's house, and all of their parent friends and children were there. The majority of the kids were 4 and under. After about an hour, I looked around and thought, "I know I used to have kids this age, but HOW did I do this??"

The random crying/shrieking/whining. The bodily fluids everywhere. Sippy cups. Pick me up put me down. Constant need. Helping them navigate stairs. Trying to figure out what in the name of all that's holy they're trying to tell you when they point at the shelf and repeatedly say something that sounds like "murf!" The never being able to take your attention from them for a single second.

The constant

constant

constant

need.

And all these parents at the party were total champs, responding appropriately and seeming to not be sucked under by it all. But wow.

So I posted on Twitter about it this morning, that I genuinely do not remember that phase now that my kids are 6 and 9, and got a flood of responses from people in the middle of the toddler clustercuss. Based on those responses, I'm glad I've blocked it out. Seriously, how do any of us do this age range??

One responder asked for advice on making it through this phase. Since "Drink. A lot." is not really healthy or appropriate, I thought maybe those of us who have older kids could shine the light at the end of the tunnel.

So if your kids are older than 5 years and one month old (because that seems to be when the x-treme neediness combined with opposition ends), could you share some words of wisdom for people still in the middle of it? If you remember how you felt then, maybe compare that to how you feel now? Or talk about how the challenges now are different than they were then?

I'll start: Both of my kids are so much more self-sufficient. I can tell them to get dressed and they go find their own clothes in the drawers and put them on. They fix themselves snacks. They monitor their own hunger and thirst. I am completely out of the loop with their bathroom habits. I tell them to take a bath or go to bed or brush their teeth and they do it (grudgingly, but still).

My challenges at this age are helping them navigate socially and academically, and remembering that they are still little boys even though a lot of days it's like having two adult roommates who just like to snuggle a lot.

Who else has an It Gets Better for parents of toddlers?