Everyone warned me about the terrible twos. Moms at the grocery store. Total strangers at the post office.
Every time someone asked my son's age and I answered, I received the same response:
"Oooooh, the terrible twos! Watch out! I hope you're ready!"
I awkwardly smiled back, as I usually do when I receive unwanted, unsolicited advice or warnings of any kind.
Because here's the deal...
My kid is 2, and he's not terrible.
Sure, we have terrible moments and occasional terrible tantrums and sometimes even terrible days (we've had a few recently), but to sum him up in all his 2-year-old toddlerhood glory as being "terrible" would be a truly unfair assessment.
Every morning, my 2-year-old asks me if we can go "bye bye." He brings me his shoes with no destination in mind, no grand plan or ulterior motive. He simply wants to have an adventure. And whether we end up at the park or the bank, he is equally pleased, and says, "Dat was fun!" as we walk back to the car.
My 2-year-old's favorite phrase is "Dat cool!" and he uses it unceasingly over the smallest of things. See a tractor on the road? Dat cool! Watch momma crack an egg over a mixing bowl? Dat cool! Drive over a bridge? Dat cool!
Everything is cool to a 2-year-old. My confidence has never been so abundant.
My 2-year-old loves Hot Wheels and toy balls and jumping on the bed and being outside. He says "wow!" a dozen times a day, constantly amazed by simple sights that anyone older than 2 would find boring or irrelevant. He sings in the car, loudly, and dances without inhibition. He runs everywhere and gallops regularly, happy to use his skinny legs to their full capacity.
My 2-year-old says "hi" to every single person he sees, and will wave at them and repeat his greeting until he gets a response. Sometimes it breaks my heart a little bit when people don't hear him, but he never seems bothered by an unreciprocated greeting. He just says "hi" to the next person he sees, and the person after that, and the person after that.
Two is fun. Two is all about learning words and learning how the world works and learning how to communicate your needs and desires. I'm sure there are some terrible 2-year-olds out there, just like there are some terrible 3-year-olds, some terrible 17-year-olds and some terrible 45-year-olds.
But today, I'd like to speak up in defense of 2-year-olds.
They're not all bad.
They're not all terrible.
In fact, mine is pretty great.
So, the next time you find yourself in the grocery store standing behind a momma with a 2-year-old in the shopping cart, be kind to her and try this instead: "Two? Dat cool!"
This post originally appeared on Ashlee's blog. You can also follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.