My girls have only been 2 for two months and I have learned a lot already about toddlers. I know there is more to learn but here is what I've discovered thus far.
1. If you walk outside, take the keys. Fortunately, I haven’t had to learn this the hard way. But there have been many close calls where I’ve almost been locked out of the house (or have been but had the keys with me). They love opening and closing doors and their little fingers have just the right amount of fine motor skills to turn the lock. Even when we are all out of the house and I’m loading the car, I make sure to have the keys on me and not set them down in the car. Because there will be that one day that I get one strapped in, I close the door to walk to the other side and click. One of the other girls has climbed in the front seat (in 3 seconds flat) and hit the lock button. It is always a safe bet to keep your keys on you.
2. Toddlers are the most indecisive, yet demanding human beings on the planet. Conversations at my house go a little something like this:
Me: “What pants would you like to wear?” as I hold up three options to Toddler A.
Toddler A: “Guppies!”
Me: “That isn’t an option. You can wear any of these 3 pants.”
Toddler A: “Guppies!” and begins kicking and ripping off all clothes.
Me: “There are no Guppies shirts. They are all dirty. Don’t you want to wear the pink pants?”
Toddler A: “Noooo! Noooo! Noooooooo!”
Me: “You have to put on pants today. Which ones do you want? Don’t you like these pretty pink ones with the flowers on them?”
Toddler A: “Noooooo! Blue ones!”
Toddler B: “Noooooo! My blue ones!”
Toddler A: “Blue ones!”
Me: Trying to convince toddler B that she would really love to wear the pink ones and finally succeed. I begin putting the blue ones on and...
Toddler A: “No Blue, Pink ones!”
Me: “Aahhhh!” And then repeat with 2 more toddlers.
3. Trying to get everyone out of one room and into another room can be the hardest task known to man. I feel like I’m herding sheep most of the time. You finally get one through the doorway and the other two run past you the other direction. I have found that I literally have to shuffle back and forth behind them to keep them from all running in different directions.
5. The atmosphere in our house can go from calm and quiet to completely chaotic instantly. The other day, they were all three playing nicely in their playroom. I seized the opportunity and was in the very next room changing into my swimsuit to take them swimming. I heard Toddler A say, “Mama! Poo poo!” So I began moving in lightning speed to get dressed enough not to trip over myself as I run around the corner. Sure enough Toddler A had removed her diaper and Toddler B’s hands were covered in poop, complete with a poop hand print across the front of her white shirt. I calmly finish dressing myself as I open the baby gate and explain to them not to touch anything. They follow instructions and I get them to the changing area, when Toddler C runs in, grabs the broom off the wall and starts swinging it around almost hitting all 3 of us in the head.
6. Three quiet toddlers is bad. Quiet is really, really bad.
7. Just when you think you have mastered predicting what your toddler will do or say, they completely throw you off. My Dad said he wanted to take the girls to the circus. My first thoughts were, “Okay, but we most likely won’t make it to intermission with their attention span.” When we arrived at the circus, my Dad surprised us with 5th row seats right by the action and my thoughts were, “Great, we are going to have three screaming toddlers due to all of the up close stimulation and will have to leave after 15 minutes.” But those girls proved me wrong. They stayed intrigued and excited for 3 WHOLE hours. They loved it! I couldn’t believe it. They amaze me every day.
8. Toddlers are learning how to control their emotions. Essentially, they have almost no control right now, so as a parent, it is my responsibility to teach them the tools they need to control how they react in certain situations. If the tiniest, itty bitty, little thing rubs them the wrong way, they completely loose it and end up banging their arms and legs on the floor and rolling around for half an hour all while sobbing and screaming. So it is my job, over the span of the next 16 years, to teach them why that is not the correct response to just “We are going upstairs.”
9. Toddlers have already mastered the “fake cry”. Well I can’t say mastered, because I know when they are doing it. No actual tears and they stop to look up for a split second to see if anyone is watching their little show. Sometimes it is pretty amusing.
10. I’ve described most of the above to be on one side of the spectrum, and I think that is the side we see the most as parents. However, there is a soft, sweet, cuddly, cute side about toddlers. The way you can still carry them around like babies and they love to snuggle up to Mama. They also care immensely for each other. They hold hands, play games, and look out for each other. I’ve never known the bond between sisters, but watching it blossom before my eyes is one of the most incredible things to watch. They love each other so much.
11. As a Mom, you continue to be forgetful and make simple mistakes like skip #4 above. I'm going to blame it on the triplet mom brain.