5 toddler habits you won’t miss when they’re gone

Feeling bombarded by the expectation to treasure every minute? Annoyed by all the “they grow so fast” and “don’t blink” unsolicited remarks offered to you in the checkout line at Target? Yes, these early years are amazing, and yes, they go by really, really (really) fast! While you will miss so much about the stages you pass, you may not actually miss these things about having toddlers.

1. They step on your feet — and it hurts!

Toddlers want to be on and around us all the time and tend to step on our feet while bringing us toys, trash, or the random pen cap they found under the couch.

2. They intermittently refuse to get into or out of their car seats.

Sometime around age two, nearly every kid I know goes through a car seat strike. Because they are two, no amount of begging, pleading (or conscious disciplining) can get them to get into that seat without a battle. One afternoon, on our way to the park, I found myself sitting in the front seat with one kid strapped in, ready to go and one naked, screaming, refusing to sit in the seat. After nearly an hour, we all surrendered and went back into the house, with the older child now screaming since his sibling ruined what would have been a fun outing.

3. They wipe their hands on you all day long.

All day, every day, you somehow become a perfect substitute for the napkin that they WILL. NOT. USE. This is what I call the “old shirt” stage, because you hang out wearing old shirts covered in who-knows-what for several years. Eventually, you become oblivious to the stains that represent parenthood, and a “clean” shirt becomes one that is laundered, yet full of kid stains. This passes, and I do not miss it.

4. They have no shame when it comes to snot running down their faces.

Toddlers get, on average, 10 colds a year. At seven to 10 days a pop, this means approximately 70 days a year of caring for a child who would rather have a face full of slimy goop than face a tissue. In fact, the mere mention of a tissue will send them running away from you. Never fear, the couch and your shirt are always good alternatives in the mind of a toddler.

5. They find the most disgusting piece of who knows what on the cement sidewalk and then pick it up.

If it doesn’t go straight to their mouths, it will often be offered up to you for examination. This object will always be dirty and nearly always sticky, resulting in stimulation of your gag reflex. Of course, your toddler will refuse the wipe you produce and instead run from you until you scoop them up, at which time they will wipe that dirty, sticky finger on your shirt.

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About Dr. Sara Connolly, Board Certified Pediatrician

Sara Connolly, MD, FAAP, is a Board Certified Pediatrician who practices in Palm Beach County, Florida. She completed her residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital at the University of Miami, where she served as Chief Resident. She has a passion for child advocacy and has worked on the local, state, and national level to increase access to care for children. Her interests include nutrition, breastfeeding, and parenting skills.


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