05/28/2015 07:35 pm ET Updated May 28, 2016

Does It Really Get Better Than This?

Becky Tountas

When I mention that I love having a 2-year old, I often get the same response.

"It gets better, just wait," people tell me.

They say it with knowing smiles, thinking about their own kids who are teenagers or adults or middle-schoolers. I can see in their faces how well-rested they have become over the years. I imagine that they have clean houses and do not need to do laundry every day. They mention benefits like their children playing independently and being able to go out to a dinner without having to bring crayons.

Every time that I hear this phrase, I think to myself that they must be lying. I can't imagine how it could get any better than having a 2-year old.

I admit that the age of 2 brings challenges. My daughter has daily tantrums and bosses me around. She jumps on furniture and throws food across the room while laughing hysterically. It can easily take us an hour to get out of the door and running errands with her is occasionally a huge mistake. Sometimes, I want to tear my hair out when she makes demand after demand while pulling at my clothes. I find it exhausting to parent a toddler.

But, she is the best part of every single one of my days.

"Come on, Mommy!" my daughter calls when she wants me to join her in an activity. She still sits in my lap, snuggling her little head into my shoulder, and she gives me the best hugs and kisses. I can feel my heart melting when she places her hand in mine. How can it get better than this?

She has a vivid imagination and believes in princesses and magic. We have tea parties with all of her stuffed animals. She wanders around the living room in her dress-up clothes, twirling in circles until she gets dizzy and falls down.

We play outside for hours and at the end of every afternoon, she is covered in dirt and sunscreen and sweat. I find flowers in her pants and grass in her hair. She is easily entertained by stones and sandbox and watching her enjoy these simple pleasures reminds me to do the same.

To me, this is a magical age, full of innocence and simplicity and unrestrained joy. I love that she can still climb into my lap and I hold her there, wishing that I could stop time just for one afternoon. I breathe in the scent of her baby hair, run my hands along her little back and in these moments, I can't imagine how it could possibly get any better. And if it does, I can hardly wait.

This post initially appeared on Becky's Blog.

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