One of the neat things about having kids is that you constantly wish you could freeze time. When they're cute little cooing machines that can barely even roll over, you just wish you could keep them at their age. Then when they're crawling all over the place and discovering those weird five-pronged appendages at the ends of their arm, you wish they'd stop there.
Just about every stage has its pros and cons and just when you think it can't get any better and you want to master time, you suddenly fall in love with the new stage.
At least that's how it's been with me and my two boys. Right now I am absolutely loving their ages (7 and 9), since we can have real conversations, play legitimate games, watch more grown-up TV together, etc.
But that doesn't mean I'm ecstatic to be out of all the other stages. In fact, there are plenty of things about both my kids that I still miss dearly. Especially from the toddler stage. Here's a look at 7 that really stand out in my mind:
Ball Pits - Yes, I know. They are complete cess pools filled with more bacteria than an average petri dish... but it was so much fun tossing my kids in a ball pit and watching them vanish beneath a rainbow of plastic balls.
Free Food - Every time I took my kids to the mall when they were younger, we'd stop by Dunkin Donuts. I'd order a coffee, put one of my kids on the counter and then ask for just one munchkin for my little guy. The cashier would always give a big smile, say something about how adorable he is, and then give us 2 or 3 munchkins on the house. Free is great, but the smile on my kids' faces was priceless.
They Really Toddle - Toddlers aren't called Toddlers for nothing. When they first learn to walk, it's just a complete riot watching them waddle back and forth. They always remind me of penguins walking.
The Toss - My kids are way too heavy for this now, but it was always a blast lifting one of them up and tossing them high in the air until they'd almost throw up form giggling so hard.
Shopping Cart Buddies - Yeah, I miss the days of grocery shopping (No really, I used to do it!), where I'd stick one of my kids in the little seat in the front of a shopping cart. Give him a toy or book or whatever I could grab off the shelf and he'd be entertained for almost the entire time. Nowadays, my kids either run off at random, whine and hang onto my legs, or sit in the big part of the cart itself, eating up 90% of the room.
Bath Time - My kids will occasionally take a bath in our large tub, but these days it's almost always a shower for them. But they used to have so much fun taking baths together. They'd literally be in there for like an hour sometimes, thanks to the giant bin o' tub toys.
Highchair Hijinx - If my kids (one in particular) can go five minutes through dinner without getting out of their chairs, it's pretty much a miracle. That's what was so awesome about the Highchair days. Plop the kid in, buckle him up and plop some food on his tray. Sure you'd get a lot of "let's see how many times I can get daddy to pick up my plate from the floor" games, but at least you knew your kid wasn't going anywhere!
What do you love most about having a toddler?
Photo via Qfamily/Flickr