5 Stages Every Toddler Goes Through -- That Bring Moms to Their Knees

Little girl poutingThe mere word "toddler" often causes grown men and women to cower ... and for good reason. When it comes to raising children, the toddler years bring more parents to their knees than any other, both figuratively and literally.

Starting around 18 months and ending somewhere around the end of the fourth year, it's a period of time that's filled with unbelievably adorable highs (their cute little voices spout out the most adorable things!), but also some of the lowest lows you can ever imagine sinking to as a parent (e.g., wanting to lie down and throw a tantrum alongside your screaming toddler-turned-demon-child in the aisle of Target because it seems like the only thing to do).

After (almost) seeing two kids through this period of time, I'm starting to find my sanity again and see a pattern in the madness. It seems there are five stages most toddlers cycle through. They go something like this:


1. Absolutely adorable.

They start toddling around on those chubby little legs, and giggle with delight at the silliest things. "Mommy, I wuv you!" melts you, and everyone ooos and ahhs over how cute they are. You wonder why on earth toddlers get such a bad rap. Maybe you just got a good one?

Just wait.

2. Their true naughty nature starts shining through.

They start learning the word "no," but it's cute to see them asserting their independence a little. They throw a little tantrum here and there, but they're still so small and cute, you have to hide your face so they don't see you laugh. You mostly get looks of sympathy as you scoop them up and quiet them down.

3. Their demons are fully released.

No one is laughing anymore. They want to do it THEMSELVES! They say NO!!!! to everything! There is no reasoning, no logic, no wine glass too big at the end of the day for mommy. The tantrums are no longer cute, and the looks of sympathy have turned to glares from strangers that burn "WORST MOM EVER!" into your forehead with their intensity. It's a wonder so many moms actually survive this stage.

4. Flickers of hope are sent forth.

Things start getting better. You almost fall on the floor when you ask them to do something and they do it without complaint. You actually let out your breath once in awhile in public and think you may avoid that breakdown after all, then WHAM! There's a tantrum out of nowhere, and the surprise attack hits you hard. You're always a little on edge, but at least there are breaks in the madness.

5. A human being emerges.

They're not always perfect, but you're starting to get reassurance that you did not give birth to Satan. They listen more often than not, and they're so funny and witty and amazing, and getting too big too fast! You never want them to grow up, and wish they could stay at this age forever

During which years have you most enjoyed raising your kids? Besides "all of them"?


Image via Julie Ryan Evans

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