05/16/2013 10:14 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Life Lessons Learned From My Toddler

Toni Nagy

The years with your children may be short, but the days and nights are long. Toddlerhood is a challenging stage. My daughter has the newfound ability to express her wants, needs and excessively irrational, endless, countless, infinite demands with words, yet lacks the decency to keep it to herself. When she cried as a baby, her simple needs of being hungry, tired or wanting a cuddle were easy to satisfy. Now, every opinion my daughter has gets shared. Rather than the dictatorship of her first year, we are now in a constant state of negotiation while she pushes for democracy, which is exhausting for the sole decider. I am still the one who ultimately rules the land; I just have a lot of input from my citizen.

Frustrations aside, I love hearing what goes on in my daughter's mind. Getting to know her as a communicator has given me insight into the person she is becoming. For example, until she could talk and say, "Mamma, no. Please don't sing," I never knew she was such a musical snob.

The logic of this age is often backwards and absurd, but can also be poetic and highly imaginative. There are moment's when my daughters justification for her obnoxious actions are infuriating, and other times when her reasoning is so profound, I am temporarily convinced she is a miniature Buddha. I have learned a lot about the secrets to life, love and true happiness from my child. Here are my favorite lessons.

  1. If you don't want whatever is in your hand, throw it.
  2. If your tummy hurts, pour peppermint tea directly into your belly button rather than drinking it.
  3. When having a pretend conversation on a pretend phone, you still need privacy.
  4. Much like a computer, you should be able to charge a dead bug.
  5. The best way to insert yourself into a conversation is to interrupt and repeat your point incessantly until acknowledged.
  6. Sometimes, picnics are best had in the bathroom -- preferably in close proximity to the toilet.
  7. When sharing a sandwich, hold it vertically and proceed to bite as all contents spill on the floor.
  8. When your companion eats too many make-believe cookies at your make-believe tea party, it is totally reasonable to cry about it.
  9. If your monkey socks are too floppy, bang your head against the floor while weeping hysterically.
  10. The mantra "this is just a phase, this is just a phase" will save your life.