RELIVING THE WONDER: Why Having A Toddler Is Good for the Soul

Today, after taking my 3 year old to the science museum, I learned that a mushroom is 90% water, a cactus is 85% water, and a tarantula is 65% water. Yesterday, after reading a book about animals, I learned that the white rhino is in danger of extinction. Last week, I learned to appreciate the novelty of snow, when my one year old erupted in a giggle-fest as he stuck his tongue out to taste his first snowfall. Day after day, I am awestruck, I am relearning, I am reconsidering, I am remembering and I am discovering things for the first time. This is the magic of having a toddler and why it is good for the soul. You get to relive the wonder every day.

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Baby’s first snowfall.

Toddlerhood is about revisiting existential questions we’ve forgotten to ask, with the most profound one being the-ever-persistent “why?” Recently, my three-year-old asked me to explain why we fix roads. Of course, I know the answer to that. Yet, somehow, the ensuing conversation was a series of “why’s” that eventually resulted in my final declaration: “I don’t know.” Having a toddler means coming to terms with the age-old Socratic declaration that we really don’t know much.

Toddlerhood is laughing at poo jokes and nonsensical punchlines. It is pushing boundaries, losing tempers, giving hugs and kisses, crying, laughing hysterically and all other exhibits of extreme human emotion. Yes, toddlerhood is about extremes. And it can also be good for the soul to practice the patience required to get through the maelstrom. 

Toddlerhood is about repeating the phrases, behaviors, mannerisms, habits, and talents of the adults- the best and the worst of us.

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Toddlerhood is an exaggerated mirror of our own idiosyncrasies, whether it be a nail-biting habit, an attitude problem, a snorting chuckle, or persistent use of the word “damn.” Toddlerhood is about repeating the phrases, behaviors, mannerisms, habits, and talents of the adults- the best and the worst of us. Times ten. And it can be good for the soul to take a good hard look at ourselves to see what needs changing and what needs cultivating. 

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Exploring different skills and careers is part of the magic of toddlerhood.

Toddlerhood is also about allowing us to retreat into childhood, with its boundless possibilities and sky’s-the-limit ideology. We get to be a doctor and a superhero for a day. We get to fight off zombies on unicorns in an enchanted forest and dance with robots on Mars while eating mint-chocolate chip cookies. We get to explode volcanoes and construct LEGO castles. Toddlerhood is good for the soul because it teaches us to color outside of the lines in our own lives. 

Nothing “just is” – all statements will be questioned, especially the rules.

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Every step is a first step into unchartered territory.

Yes, we often want to pull our hair out when battling toddler logic, but the truth is magical. Everything we take for granted is suddenly difficult to explain. Nothing “just is” – all statements will be questioned, especially the rules. Every step is a first step into unchartered territory. Toddlerhood is good for the soul, because it allows us to take that journey again. Only this time, we know what we’ve been missing. 

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Jamie Parganos 
started the Wonder Mommy blog to create a community for moms to share their stories and support one another. She is also CEO and Founder of Mommy Hacks, a subscription box service designed to help you win at parenting. Before founding her companies, she worked as a program director in the New York City public school system. A mom who wears many hats, Jamie is also a professional singer. She lives in NYC with her two children, ages 3 and 1. 

 

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