5 Traits We Will Love in Grown Children that Make Toddler Years Difficult

Every mom knows that toddlers years are hard. They gain strong opinions and want to do everything on their own. Some days we are lion tamers just trying to keep the peace. But what's difficult now can actually be a blessing later. Let's look on the bright side.

1. Making friends with absolutely everyone
When we go on walks we have to greet everyone. Yes, that includes garbage men, postal workers, lawn workers, and every neighbor we see. At the playground he falls into deep friendships with new kids, so much so, that he follows them to the parking lot to "go home with them". I absolutely admire his friendliness but sometimes I'm just trying to get in and out of the grocery store. 

Later, on his first day of college or work, this will serve him well. He may have lots of longstanding, deep friendships collected from every stage of life. He may have two dozen groomsmen and two million Twitter followers.

But for now, I'm trying to stop him from going into a strange van!

2. No sense of shame or embarrassment
Nothing phases this kid. Recently in just his socks, he walked out the front door in the pouring rain to pee on the front lawn. No reason, just felt like it. Midday he will come downstairs buck naked when I'm chatting with a neighbor. He will talk about anything and everything to Grandma, including that fight with my husband. He means no harm, it's just an obvious observation to him.

Someday, he may be a fantastic observational writer or comedian. His poetry may be poignant and moving. He'll be comfortable with his body and be able to "shake it off" quickly.

But for now, sometimes I wish he felt a little embarrassed after he's mean to his brother! 

3. Super strong sense of self
My older son once said to his brother, "You're naughty" and he replied, "No I'm not; I'm Will." This kid has it figured out; he knows who he is.  His wild personality was apparent from the first week when he refused to be swaddled like the other newborns. He doesn't like zoodles, onions, and mashed potatoes and no amount of convincing or cheese matters. He has decided and I must wait until he undecides.

If this sticks, he'll be a strong, magnetic man. Knowing himself and what he wants will be the best gift to himself. This trait may save him from a failed marriage, provide strong direction for a career, and make him a truly interesting person.

But for now, I wish he were a little more flexible to eating salad!

4. Fearless independence
Will never accepted pacifiers, seemingly because he insisted on comforting himself. He wants to buckle his own seatbelt and pour the milk. He wants to climb the huge, not-for-toddlers rock climb at the playground. He scales trees and jumps off the branches. He will walk off the playground because he sees an interesting squirrel on the neighboring yard. If I don't watch, he's liable to walk home when he thinks he's done.

I pray this continues. I encourage that he stubbornly pursues his passions. Maybe he'll move out in his early twenties. I hope he has courage to be an entrepreneur, invent something that solves problems, or research a medical breakthrough. I hope he does it even though the world doesn't make it easy.

But for now, I wish he would just do what he's told!

5. Too excited for life to sleep
Going to sleep is a struggle. He doesn't want to miss a thing. He doesn't want to nap. Bedtime always comes too soon. He demands one more story. 

Maybe in high school he won't sleep until noon. In his 20s he may not sleep the day away. Maybe he'll stay up all night writing code or building a robot. He'll wake up early to surf or hike with his dog. I hope he always has this zest for life and jump-out-of-bed excitement.

But for now, go the f- to bed!

I love this kid but I'm just trying to make it through each day. I can see these traits as positives... someday in the future. I'm trying my damndest NOT to squash his crazy, strong, huge personality before it blooms. Someday, he'll probably be the funnest, funniest, most interesting person I know.