If You Give My Toddler a Marker

screenshot-2016-09-12-11-10-33 We've all heard about the "Terrible Twos", that lovely little time period where your sweet child morphs into a selfish, tantrum throwing monster who refuses sleep and food yet somehow has an endless supply pure, unadulterated energy at all hours of the day. TERRIBLE TWOS.

And let me tell you, I am THERE with my two year old. So there. Except, I'm trying to see the silver lining. Because there has to be one, right?

Now, I've talked about Talley's ways before. She's a screamer, full on. That has gotten better now that she's talking. She also hogs my bed. That hasn't gotten better, yet. But let me give you a little background on her in case you're new around these parts...

Talley is a full on toddler. In fact, I would bet she is the toddleriest toddler in the history of toddlers. Our entire house has been Talley-proofed. We have baby gates up everywhere, and we even built an actual mini wall with a door onto our family room to try to keep her contained when need be as an extra barrier including those baby gates. I put a lock on the fridge because she will open it up and squirt the whipped cream directly into her mouth and laugh maniacally. Whatever product has been created to keep little kids from entering and/or damaging property or themselves I have invested in it and installed it and even then, we still need to be watching her at all times because she will climb, flip, jump or all three at once off of any surface onto any surface. In the space of two minutes the other day she took the brand new roll of toilet paper off, stuffed it into the toilet, flushed the toilet multiple times, and then threw all the diapers from the diaper caddy into the garbage can then took her pants off and put them on her head.

If she is left on the deck to play with her water table she will squeeze herself through the slats (which is quite a feat given she is at the 97% percentile for height and weight, she's large and in charge for her age) and then run wild with abandon through the backyard waving her arms above her head and shouting about the fluffy clouds. She's a major runner. Give her even a small amount of room and she will try to see how fast she can cover it. If she escapes the cart at the grocery store she is off, leaving bewildered shoppers in her wake pointing me in the general direction they saw her streak past in. She has Houdini'd her way out of dressing rooms, toilet stalls, restaurant high chairs, nothing can contain her.

Basically, just imagine all the toddler situations you can get yourself in, and I experience those with Talley on a daily basis. If you give my toddler a marker, she will find a wall or clothing or her own face and will draw on it immediately and thoroughly. If you give her a goldfish cracker, some will be eaten but some will be reserved for crushing into a fine goldfish powder then mashing into carpets, carseats, etc. If you give her a freshly folded stack of towels on a bed, mess. A bin of Legos, huge mess. A carton of milk out, giant mess. All flat surfaces must be clear of any and all potential messes at all times, ALL TIMES and everything is a potential mess. What, you thought your wallet was safe? NOPE. That stack of mail you brought in? DON'T MIND IF I DO. That laundry basket you put at the top of the stairs? LET'S MAKE IT FLY. Oh, you dared to forget that lone bottle of nail polish in the bathroom? I SHALL CREATE MY MASTERPIECE.

The thing is, I sort of love it. Talley has single-handedly forced me to slow down (or in the case of her streaking down our front yard totally nude, speed up). While one side of me sometimes wonders how I can manage to take a shower with this blue eyed, blonde pigtailed Tazmanian devil of a child who refuses to nap and who FOR SURE makes me insane sometimes, I am also so unbelievably grateful for her and her energy. Strangers will stop me in the store and chuckle at her and say things like "She's a handful, isn't she?" or "You've got your work cut out with that one" or "Ma'am, can you please get your child off of the mannequin", and I want to tell them Yes, she is a handful, a handful of straight up sunshine, and she was sent to me to shake things up. She was sent to me to keep me on my toes as a parent, to remember to always be watching, always be ready to play, and to always be ready to run. She has taught me to embrace the chaos and dance even though it's 12:45pm and I'm exhausted because hey, let's dance. She has taught me to not care one bit what people think when she pitches the fit to end all fits in the middle of the store because she's two and fits happen. Deal with it, stranger. She has taught me to get my snuggles in while I can because soon enough she will be up and running again and that I won't always have the chance to hold her. She has taught me to appreciate the stillness and the quiet times when I can. She has taught me to go with the flow.

I don't want to reign in all this energy, I want to let her go full boar. I don't want to try to stifle her spirit, I want to let her shine. I don't want to quiet her voice, I want her to find it. And I'm sorry if that means she's going to scream bloody murder in the mall when I have to football carry her away from the play area and you want to stare at me, but this is Talley, and you're going to hear her roar.