They say my toddler acts like a baby because she still sleeps with me.
They say my toddler acts like a baby because she still nurses to sleep.
They say my toddler acts like a baby because she “forgets her words” and whines.
They say my toddler acts like a baby for refusing to help out when I say it’s time.
They say my toddler is mature because she dresses and washes herself.
They say my toddler is mature because when she’s upset she *asks* for help.
They say my toddler is mature for stating she’s “ayn-chis” or “fustch-anated”.
They look in awe when she declares, “Iss hod tew wait but I am wade-ing.”
I say my toddler is a toddler.
I say what they say reeks of childism.
I say I see a new human being exuding growth and grace – and wisdom.
But it seems in our society
The only worthy traits a young child can possess,
Are those that allow for adult contentment -
And don’t add to our stress.
So we praise them when they use the potty and cheer when they learn to tie.
But we mock and turn cold when they hit, and call them babies when they cry.
The behaviors that belie their age we stifle and we scold,
And all that stifling does is put the behavior on perpetual hold.
I say be a baby while you’re a babe, kid.
I say don’t listen to what they say.
Whine and cry while Momma can hold you for too soon you’ll be on your way.
I’ll allow you the time now to grow,
And I know growing has its pains.
I accept you, tantrums and tossed toys and all.
I won’t rush you to change.
I want you as you are,
Because I know the behavior isn’t “you”.
It’s okay that you’re smaller.
It’s okay that you’re new.
It’s okay that you can write and button,
But can’t yet keep from hitting.
It’s fine with me that you know the words but at times resort to spitting.
I say you act like a baby.
I say you act like you’re three.
And when you’re no longer a toddler,
I hope you’ll say you found solace in me.
To my spunky toddler whose energy is misunderstood by many, and to all toddlers in the same boat. And to the adults who support them and who stand against childist ideals.