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News from the Nest: Toddler attitudes can be roller coaster ride

My daughter is the epitome of a toddler right now. The terrible twos were apparently delayed a year with her. She turned three in August and ever since her attitude has been downhill. She has said I am yucky, hit me and told me to go away. Sounds like a treat, doesn't she? Many times I have wished for her to be old enough to understand how her words hurt me. But then she turns into pure sweetness, cuddles me close and says "I love you mommy" and I forget about all the harsh moments we just shared.

Even when she is at her worst, I still know that I am the most important person in her life. As a toddler she needs me, for everything. She can only turn her back on me for so long until she wants a drink of water or snack, then the apologies and love begins to flow. For now, at least, she is captive.

I think back to when I was ten years-old or so. My parents were the least of my concerns. I had friends and activities to occupy my time. My parents were always there for us, supporting us financially and emotionally, but I don't think I appreciated or welcomed the emotional part much. They provided food, clothes and transportation. Sure we shared some special moments, but for the most part in the teen years I didn't long to be with my parents, I longed to be with my friends.

We have some friends going through this stage and I can see how much it must hurt to not be needed as much. They are always reminding me to appreciate these young, sometimes mean, toddlers as they will grow up before I know it. Surely most parents go through what I am now with my daughter. But I'm happy to hear that the memories of when their kids were little aren't focused on when their child told them they were yucky, they just remember the good times.

Parenting is a rollercoaster; I don't think any parent would disagree with that statement. In the end you have to get over the lows, savor the highs and make the most of the middle.