Dear Parents of Lively Little Toddlers, Keep At It...

Dear Parents of Lively Little Toddlers,

Hi! My name is April, and I am the mother of a VERY lively, animated and stubborn toddler. He is the light and joy of my life.  He is also the biggest pain in my ass sometimes. He is just over two-years-old and insists on learning pretty much everything for himself. 85% of the time he is a very good boy, the other 15%... he is a textbook terrible-two toddler. His favorite textbook activities include...but certainly are not limited to:

  • Saying, "No!" to just about everything. Sometimes he even says it to ice cream cones!
  • Not listening when I say, "Come here, please!"
  • Staying awake well past bedtime. 
  • Using the kitchen drawers as stairs.
  • Trying to draw on the walls, TV, floor... any surface really, with any utensil that will work.
  • Opening the freezer to pull out a popsicle when I am not looking.
  • Washing a thousand cars in the bathroom sink.
  • Climbing anything climb-able.
  • Running away from me when I am trying to catch him.
  • Throwing a tantrum over something silly- think OSCAR worthy fish out-of-water flopping routine..
The list goes on, but you get the idea...

My toddler lives in a constant state of experiment with the world. Most times, he insists on learning things for himself, regardless of my opinion about the activity. Nothing is more frustrating for me than when my son repeatedly refuses to listen, and just do whatever he wants, especially over the same activity...

Just yesterday, he ran away from me, and refused to listen. Eventually, I caught him, had a talk with him, and hoped the issue was resolved. NOT EVEN CLOSE! The little shit ran away from me again within five minutes. This time I took him into the house and made him sit in his time-out chair. Would you believe, not a half hour later he was off AGAIN?!  I thought I was going to lose my mind.  Once again we had the talk, a time-out and this time, I took his favorite toy away and put it in time-out too.  Yet again, later that day, he took off, but this time when I yelled STOP! and, Come back here, please, HE DID IT!!  Holy crap!  He came back!  I squatted down and gave him a big hug, and told him what a good boy he was for listening. Both of us were beaming!

Now, will he run away from me again? Maybe... probably. But he knows better, and so far he hasn't.  Moral of the story: I kept at, stayed consistent with the rules, and even though I thought it was going to drive me crazy, it worked!  I see the light at the end of the terrible toddler phase tunnel. I know it will probably go away from time-to-time, but it's there, and one day both the kid and I will emerge.

I say it all of the time, parenting is hard. It takes unfathomable amounts of patience, hard work and perseverance, however, just like with everything, the hard work pays off, and the reward is so worth it.  Having my son listen when I ask him to do something is so wonderful. Yes, it came after hours of constant battles, but it came, and when it did, we both smiled and felt great. I realize he loves being a good boy as much I love it.

Parents, we are all in this together. I feel your pain, like I am sure you feel mine. It's all about keeping at it. We HAVE to keep at. We have to continue to reprimand and weather the toddler storm with patience and consistency. We have to continue to "parent", even if it's easier sometimes to let them raise hell and draw on the walls. It pays off. The yelling and constant reprimands slowly but surely are reduced. Even when a new experiment is tried, they know from past ones, that NO!, means, NO! and that when we give that look, or count down from three, if they keep misbehaving, shit will get real.

Moms. Dads. We will survive the terrible twos, threes and fours, and when we do, we will have some seriously badass children to show for it. Thanks to all of our hard work, patience and perseverance, those little badasses will be kind, considerate and well-behaved (for the most part) members of society, that will go on to make us proud. Sure, by then we may be completely grey, wrinkled and exhausted, but no worries, those shining little humans will take care of us one day, and when they do, that will be our chance to get them back for the all the hell they gave us!



April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit