The Importance of Being Cute

As a mother of a 2 year old, when people say things to me like, “Isn’t this such a special time?” or, “These are the days you’ll really miss,” my gut reaction is to want to punch them in the teeth. Okay, but then I get over that and I forgive them, knowing that this is a prime example of the brilliance of the human species- the ability to forget the grief and torture involved in bringing a life into this world and raising it to adulthood, the memory lapse that makes room for only the fuzzy, warm feelings when looking back. I also refer to this as momnesia (or dadnesia).

It is what has allowed me to succumb to creating and incubating a 2nd fetus with every intention of birthing it the same way I did the first– with no pain medication. Enough time has passed that I can’t recall the exact burning sensation of the “ring of fire” or the particular pain of the pressure of what felt like a semi truck driving through my spine. All I remember is the warm, fuzzy feeling I felt after delivering him, and deep down, for whatever reason, I classify the whole ordeal in my brain under “good experience.” So I do try to restrain myself when well-meaning people (who have been there, raised that) suggest that I’m maybe not cherishing this time with my son enough, when they infer that I might, someday soon, “miss this.” (Also, LOL at all the sweet people who have suggested that perhaps my temperamental son, who is not running a fever, nor displaying a runny nose, cough, rash, limp or anything else to make me suspect he is ill, is merely under the weather. People, if I could vaccinate against the Tyrannical Twos, I would.)

Admittedly, there are days that can not come to an end fast enough lately. I’m not doing such a great job at the whole “be happy for this moment, this moment is your life” thing, but I’m trying, I really am. The thing is, this moment? My life? A little bit harder to be happy for while entirely sober and pregnant. Clearly, I didn’t think through the whole raising-a-2-year-old-whilst-pregnant thing enough. My husband asked me at the end of the night last night, after his 2nd beer, why Kendall was stressing me out so bad. I wanted to break the Budlight bottle over his slightly buzzed head. I’m not saying I need a flask to get through the day, but it would be a lot easier to unwind from the tyranny of a 2 year old with a glass of wine in hand.

I can’t say, though, that this time is entirely without it’s perks because he IS undeniably cute and funny, and blows me away with all the new things he’s learning and saying and doing. He counts to 14 and sings “Itsy Bitsy Spider” with coordinating hand gestures. He refers to me as “momma-baby” when he really wants things from me now, like addressing both inhabitants of my body will work in his favor to get that cookie he’s been begging for. When we announced to him that he would be getting a baby sister, he looked up and innocently asked “where da brudder go?”  Sooo…. guess he was hoping it was a boy. He lives to run after things (read: pets) and screams, “I chase you! I catch you!” and then tackles them with big hugs and kisses. And he cuddles… a lot lately.

He styles himself and plays a mean keyboard. Look out Elton John!

Part of me is quick to attribute this attitude change as of late to him being, well, you know, TWO. He’s all about pushing boundaries, pressing buttons, testing my patience. I hear this is common at this age, right?? Also, he has the mood swings of a 14 year old girl. “Don’t look at me! Wait… look at me but only to give me that cookie. NO! Not THAT cookie!! The OTHER cookie! OHMYGOD the cookie is DISGUSTING!! What did you do to the cookie? Wait, wait, don’t walk away. I’m smiling!! See!! PLEASE! I want another cookie. NO! You can’t do anything right. Wrong cookie again! I’m going TO DIE!!! I’m going to lay on the floor right here and die. It’s all your fault.” <<It is a DAMN good thing he is so undeniably cute in between level 10 meltdowns.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the level of cuteness increases as the level of toddler terrorism increases. I demonstrate my theory in the line chart below:
Toddler Cute compared to Toddler Terror

Again, another example of the brilliance of the human species- to make tiny toddler terrorists simultaneously adorable and hilarious so as to ensure the propagation of the species and prevent massive toddler abandonment at the nearest Walmart.

Now, another part of me really wonders how much of this has to do with the pregnancy. Maybe it’s just me trying to “diagnose” something that might be triggering these incessant meltdowns, but I can’t help but think that all this really started flaring up around the time I started showing… and picking him up less. I really don’t pick him up nearly as much as I used to. Well, for one, he’s HUGE. I mean, pregnant or not, carting around a 37 lb toddler was not going to work forever. Then, yeah, I just can’t do it that much anymore, being pregnant and all. And even if I can now, to a degree, I know I won’t be able to much longer. I’ve been trying to slowly wean him from all the picking up, despite his adorable and heart-breaking pleas to “pick-y up, mommy!” As I mentioned earlier, he’s been quite the cuddle bug lately, which is pretty out of character for him. He loves to sit on my lap whenever he gets the chance. Do you think this is all related? Have you been through anything similar with your child? How did you handle it?

I’ve been trying to spend more one-on-one time with him (while simultaneously trying to keep my head from exploding), and, of course, I’ve let him sit on my lap whenever possible. I even tried to take a nap with him today, thinking it might be nice to have some snuggle time, but that wound up to be a giant wrestling match that produced no sleeping.

Either way, whatever the reason, he IS cute and I DO love him so, so much, but holy hell, he is a straight up toddler terrorist these days, like the epitome of the “terrible twos,” I tell you. I wish I was alone, sort of, but I know I’m not… and I’m sorry for you if you’re dealing with this, too.

Kendall is 2 (I guess we covered that) and I’m…. losing track of how pregnant I am… 19 weeks-ish, I think?

50 Things to Do Before You Deliver: The First Time Moms Pregnancy Guide
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  1. I don’t think it’s the pregnancy because our little toddler terrorist is acting the same way! Sadly for us, he isn’t yet 2 either. When people say that 3 is worse I waiver between wanting to cry and wanting to punch them in the mouth. It’s not possible that there is such a thing as worse!

    I definitely agree with you on the cuteness factor really helping perpetuate the species.

  2. Babysitting my nephew when he was 2 years old is the reason I am NEVER having kids *closes legs tightly.* Just like Kendall, he was cute adn smart but evil. People keep telling me that it will be different with my own child (LIES). I choose to not find out.
    Good luck!

  3. You’re.not.alone. Our 18 month old has suddenly discovered the power of the tantrum, and suddenly it is like we’re living with a PMSing 14 year old…ugh. Didn’t help that she spent the night at Grandma’s last night and came home severely sleep deprived (so, naturally, she refused to nap) and as grouchy as ever. Can’t say I’m looking forward to the twos! But damn, they can be so cute, can’t they!??

  4. OMG – you just described my day and minset to a t. I was just asking DH over dinner tonight…”I know she’s a big pain in the butt, but you still love her, right? ‘Cause I do, somewhere deep down inside…I think.” Our two-year-old has become such a drama queen, and SO clingy. “Play, mommy, peeese!” And she doesn’t even want you to really play. She just wants you to sit on the floor in the room she plays in and watch her play, while you accomplish NOTHING.

    And the chart…LMAO. I can’t tell you how many times a timeout or lecture has completely halted due to my inability to keep a straight face. And the toddler has figured that out. She stares at my face, keeping eye contact, until I crack a smile. And then she knows she has won. Again.

    Anywho, I felt like such a bitch for being impatient and irritated with her today. And your post made me feel a million times better. Misery loves company, huh? Enjoy these few quiet hours before the little hellians wake and it starts all over.

  5. I currently have 2 year old tantrums and 4 year old MELT DOWNS. grrrrr…

    *big deep breath* (its been A DAY)

    its not your pregnancy. its the kid. it gets better in some aspects, and worse in others. All the way around- you hit it right on the head- its a DAMN GOOD thing they are so stinkin’ cute.

  6. YES! I breathe a sigh of relief when my 2 year old takes naps or goes to bed…seriously.

    My other two boys were AWFUL at 3, so I am hoping my current two year old will get it all out of his system and be an angel by 3. 😉

    Only 20 more weekish until a beautiful girl….and wine!! 🙂

  7. Ok…. You. Are. Not. Alone.

    I’ve been there… I am there… I will be there again. My chicken is 3. I’m sorry to tell you, but i think 3 is worse. It’s as though 2 was a warm up for 3. UGH! I feel like a horrible mother sometimes. I have to say that it is comforting to know that I’m not alone in this. You hear people tell you how they love this age so much… blah blah blah. I get it… they’re cute, they have funny little things they say, they’re learning so much. Yes, that’s wonderful… but they are also demanding, moody, and down right mean. My son said “freakin shit” today. I seriously don’t know where he got it. I will admit that I say “freakin”… a lot. But I DO NOT say “shit”. Ugh! Then, he called the cat a jerk…. yes, the cat. I try to make sure I find something pleasant from the day to focus on at the end of night. So I don’t feel like a failure. I love my chicken… and that’s why I haven’t run screaming for the hills.

    We’ll start trying for #2 in the spring. Couple of crazies we are.

  8. I don’t know, it could be the pregnancy. I remember when my nephew Asher was born, just a few months before Jadon turned four. Jadon had always been a chatty boy; he learned to talk pretty early and didn’t stop talking until the new baby arrived. Then he reverted to crying when he wanted something and he needed to be held frequently.

    Jadon will be fourteen come October, and will disown me if he ever hears about this, lol.

  9. I could have written this. Nathan is also 2 and I’m 21 weeks pregnant so I totally feel your pain. I just said to my husband the other day that it’s a good thing Nathan is cute.

  10. Totally not lying-but that is one of the main evolutionary psychology theories upon why baby animals (humans included) are cute; so that no matter how horrible they are, we just have to take pity on them because they are so darn cute. Guess I did learn something useful in college after all!

    Good luck with the tantrums though. We have it too…just wait until there’s a baby that you’re nursing while the toddler is melting down that you just can’t do a certain thing right that instant (for us it’s jumping on the trampoline. Just doesn’t quite get the shaken baby syndrome or maybe is hoping that will happen so he can be the only one again).

  11. I just can’t believe he’s 37 POUNDS!!! Your arms must be so toned! My 21 month old is probably 10 pounds lighter than that and after a few minutes of holding him I’m exhausted.

  12. It is so helpful to read this post. My little man is 2 and has been quite the challenge lately. I started to wonder if the real meaning of ‘child abuse’ was to be abused by your child. I’m amazed at how cool I can remain through every pinch, slap, and bite, yes bite. And he only does it to me . . . So if 3 is worse, will he be setting me on fire? : )
    Gotta love motherhood. We earn every tender moment.

  13. Ok, my son is 20 months (year-and-a-half, my husband would yell) and is into tantrums. He must think they’re cool. Because surely breaking down over not being able to watch a movie for the 4th time today is cool. Holy hell, what am I going to do with him for the next year if this keeps up? I get so stressed! I keep saying this mantra: Keep Calm and Carry On. Yeah right, I am certifiably crazy for trying for #2 right now, what am I getting myself into? Must drink all the beer I can before #2 inhabits my body…maybe that is my solution? Because I too certainly am trying to “savor the moments”, but those moments are few and far between. Except yesterday when he kept hugging and kissing me for 10 minutes. That makes it all worthwhile. Until he can’t find his nuks and WW3 insues.

  14. Oh, I remember the “Terrible Two” phase, it transitions into the “Tempestuous Threes” which then becomes the “F*cking Fours”…….



    That may not have been what you really wanted to hear.

    But, above all, yes, cuteness is a survival tactic, and a very effective one at that! (and lasts well beyond the toddler years!)

  15. How ironic. I just did a post entitled “Be happy for this moment, this moment is your life”. And yeah, it’s super sappy. But let me tell my a little secret. It’s called Zoloft 🙂 I believe it’s the major reason why I handled my pregnancy and two under two so well.

    We’re headed into the terrible twos in 6 days. Potty training full speed ahead!

  16. I have a 20-month-old and a 3-year-old and this afternoon I overheard my oldest yelling “Serenity Now!” – you know, from Seinfeld. Yes, he got that from me…I must utter that phrase at least once (ok, half a dozen times) each day when I need a minute to myself (you know, so I can pee or do something really fun like change a tampon without a kid asking “what is that?”)

    Both my kids thought it was hilarious when I put myself in time-out yesterday just so I could get a minute to myself. And my husband walked in the living room on Saturday to find me standing in an empty room couting to myself…his comment “Where are they and what did they do now?”

    The terrible twos give way to the tyrannical threes. You are right – it is a blessing that they are so darn cute!

  17. Unrelated to your post, but OH MY you and your friend Amie must have big twitter and facebook followings! I was trying to figure out who posted on both those sites about my hair bow frame today because my goodness my stats did a HUGE jump today! Finally figured it out!

    so HI — can’t wait to see you do it and post about it. It really is quite simple and holds a lot of hairbows, which are both completely great things when you have a baby girl on the way! (You’ve actually been on my Google Reader since your son was super-little back when you posted some on the austin bump.)

  18. I’m with you, Jill. And doesn’t it seem like it happened overnight, this terrible two thing? I swear only a couple of weeks ago, my two year old was sittin’ pretty, just got potty trained, happy as a clam. Now BAM! Nearly everything is wrong and worth losing her shit over. Especially wearing shorts. What’s up with hating being dressed now? At least she’s adorable running around in Tinkerbell undies.

    Side note: I think it’s amusing how you’re also coping with the huge toddler boy. My son hit about 40 pounds at age 2 and then was still about 43 pounds at age 4. Gained about a foot in height though. Little sister is a tall, skinny bean though. Go figure.

  19. We are in the same place. My daughter is 18 months old and I’m 20 weeks pregnant with the next one. She is SUPER clingy and has also developed a new desire to snuggle (which is great) but the constant holding is killing my back. And she’s only 20 lbs, I can’t imagine you carrying around 37 lbs! She has definitely become a terrorist, I really thought I was going to lose it yesterday morning. She’s at the point (well she’s been there a while) where she just gets up on the furniture (or whatever she knows she’s doing wrong), stands up and smiles that devilish little smile and says “sit,” just taunting me! It’s like she’s laughing at me, she knows she’s going to get a time out and she doesn’t care! I don’t know how you get through this but if you figure it out I’d love to know! I’m missing my glass (or bottle) of wine too!

  20. I was led to this post by your friend over at ‘Tales of the Mouse’ I love your graph! I empathize! We thankfully sidestepped the Terrible Twos with my firstborn, but recently someone came in the middle of the night and swapped cherubic #2 for a demon child. I am not amused and am thinking about offering a reward for the safe return of the previous incarnation of my son! I too was moved to blog about it a couple of weeks ago

  21. Ok, I had to quit blogging because I have a 2.5 yr old and 3.5 yr old, BOTH girls. My happy go lucky my kids are perfect and funny and I got this mommy shit down, turned into a cry fest of defeat and hey these little things we made are here to make my life suck just wasn’t fun to read or admit too in public. I will say I love em more than life, but somedays it’s hard to remember that. I’m holding out for ages 5 and 4. I here that’s when they wise up and life returns to bliss. I send you hugs and invisable combat gear because if you think 2’s are insane, gear up for 3’s. Seriously, we have hit nuclear levels up in here. Hubby says when we all cycle he’s moving out for a week. I get it, and fully support his decision.

  22. Personally, I LOVE the toddler stage – and I’m in it. I mean does she make me insane sometimes (okay, most of the time)? Sure! But I just love the toddler stage. They say the cutest things, they do the cutest things and I just love it. It is so fun!!! Now the five turning thirteen stage that my son is in? That I am not loving so much. 🙂

  23. I just want to say THANK YOU for writing this… especially the chart! My sweet angel did not hit the terrible two’s until just recently (he is 2 1/2) which makes me think that those 3’s everyone refers to is actually what he is pushing and it is as if he is saying “you were lucky, 2 was a cake walk 3 here I come” and hit the floor running! I have screamed “stop screaming” on occasion but now I count to 10 and sing “Jesus loves me”… sometimes I add “I want my baby back, baby back, baby back” (remember that little jingle?). God bless us all!

  24. “Just remember, you can sleep a whole night now, YAY sleep!!!!” says the mother of a non-sleeping-through-the-night 3 months old.

  25. Pingback: Signing Off and Heading Out to Blogher! | Baby Rabies

  26. I couldn’t agree with you more on the whole unable to drink and deal with a toddler thing. I keep telling everyone it’s the worlds cruelest joke being pregnant with a two year old and not being able to enjoy a glass of wine (or two or four) to take the edge off. It sounds like our boys are cut from the same mold!

  27. Just wait till he’s about to hit three, you don’t think it could get worse but it does. At least in my experience 3’s are worse than 2’s. But then you will have a cute baby to counterbalence things so it will work out.

  28. Pingback: #OMGToddlers | Baby Rabies

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