For starters, I am in disbelief that I ever thought having a toddler was harder than having a baby. I said Natalie would get upset if she didn't get her way, and would start to throw fits about things, but I can't even remember that phase.
Not to sound annoying and brag like, but Natalie is growing into such a mellow, understanding, compliant and mature little girl. I attribute her demeanor partially to her personality, but of course credit goes to those raising her: myself, my husband and my in laws.
I feel she is so well behaved because she lives a very happy, comfortable life. She is given so much love, security, stability and attention. She thrives in the environment she's in.
(That doesn't mean I think kid's who misbehave are lacking those things, some kid's, most kid's, go through a rough/rebellious stage in life, be it in their toddler years, or teen years and it has nothing to do with the parents.)
Not saying she never acts up, but she rarely does, and it's not the shit show I thought the toddler years would be. If she doesn't like or want to do something I tell her to, I can usually explain to her why it's important to (like brushing her teeth) and she complies without arguing. There are of course tantrum moments, mostly when she's super tired, and she did go through a phase where she would hit me or pull my hair, but that's a story for another day.
Usually she's so sweet and polite. She's still a little bit shy around new people, but she is expanding the inner circle of people she likes and warming up to unfamiliar faces quicker than before. She still doesn't play much with kids she doesn't know, but she's not antisocial. She just likes to observe and watch other children at play.
She is so independent. She spilled some juice today while I was cooking dinner and asked me for a paper towel so she could clean it up, and told me she didn't need help because she's a bigger girl now and can do it by herself. She won't even drink from a sippy cup (hence then spilled juice) because she thinks she's big stuff. (Though I'd be alright if she gave up the bottle any day now!)
She also really loves to help others. No matter what I'm doing she wants to be included and always asks to help. If someone drops something she says, "I'll pick it up!".
She's so funny and creative and such a pleasure to be with all day. Like most parent's, Matt and I are so proud of our child and couldn't be happier with the girl she is growing into.
Whether or not she actually knows what "favorite" means, or if she's just answering my questions with the first thing that comes to mind, I have no idea, but it's fun to think that she does have preferences. Here's a list of what she said her favorite things are:
Favorite color: orange
Favorite animal: Giraffe
Favorite song: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Favorite shape: Circle
Favorite number: 2
Favorite game to play: Hide and Seek
What she wants to be when she grows up: Firefighter