Despite the many sleepless nights and numerous frustrations, your toddler could very well be the best friend you will ever have in your life. You might not be able to share a wild night at the bar, but you can certainly share a juice box and some cookies.
1. They Are the Best Dance Partner
Crank up the volume (to a reasonable level, of course) on just about any song and you'll be amazed at the moves a little two-year-old can bust out. From throwing their wee hands in the air to bouncing around with those tiny little knees, you'll never have more fun than dancing to the beat with your toddler. Good luck keeping up!
2. They Will Always Be Honest With You
Adults have an unfortunate habit of fibbing and telling half-truths, even if the little white lies only exist to be polite. When a toddler says something, you can be absolutely certain that it's the God honest truth. Not sure what to think of that new dress at the mall? Ask your three-year-old and she'll tell you if it's awful. No punches pulled.
3. They Are Your Biggest Fan
You are, without a shadow of a doubt, the very best person in the whole wide world... that is, if you ask your toddler. The incredible feeling of coming home after a long day only to be greeted by a toddler running with arms up in the air screaming, "Mommy!" or "Daddy!" just cannot be matched.
4. They Make You Laugh
The very best comedians in the world, from Jerry Seinfeld to Amy Schumer, can take years to master their craft. Yet they lack the uncanny ability to make you burst out laughing with nothing more than a little giggle or funny face. And doesn't everyony want a best friend who can make them laugh?
5. They Are the Best Teachers (and Students)
The best friendships are ones where you learn from one another. While parents may feel like they're the ones who are teaching their children (how to crawl, walk and talk), toddlers are just as keen to teach their parents about patience, honesty, and what it means to have fun. It's a beautiful give-and-take.
6. They Live in the Moment
Other friends may dwell in the past or get obsessed with the future. Not so with little children. They are more than happy to live in the here and now, focused entirely on what is in front of them at the moment. When you're with your toddler, you can alleviate yourself of the burden of past indiscretions and the worries of what has yet to come. Just enjoy those smiles and kisses right now.
7. They Give You a Legitimate Excuse
Ever get stuck at an uncomfortable or boring social gathering and wish you could just go home and put on some bunny slippers? Your toddler can help get you out of just about any situation. It's way past Timmy's bedtime. Little Sally isn't feeling too well. Erica needs to get to her Gymboree class. I had a lovely time, but sorry, I've got to go!
8. They Let You Eat Cake
Some friends might make you feel guilty for going back to the buffet for another slice of chocolate cake. They might gently remind you that you still need to fit into that dress for your brother's wedding. Your toddler? She doesn't care. If anything, she'll be the one encouraging you to go back for more cake so she can have some too. And the two of you couldn't be happier about it.
9. They Force You to Exercise
Just as your little one will let you indulge in just one more cookie or another helping of mashed potatoes, she will also make sure you have plenty of opportunities to burn off those extra calories. The energy level of a typical toddler cannot be matched. Between chasing them down and carrying them around, you can toss your gym membership.
10. They Follow You Everywhere
Want a true, honest, and loyal best friend? The way your child follows you around, you'd think that the two of you were tethered at the hip! Best friends spend the most time together because they enjoy one another's company. In the case of your toddler, for better or for worse, that could include following you to the toilet.
11. They Indulge Your Every Interest
To a young child, everything in the world is exciting and new. They don't know any better and it's up to you to help establish their tastes in music, sports, and in all sorts of other activities. Fascinated with flowers? Your toddler will grow a green thumb too. More interested in culinary delights? Your toddler will be your enthusiastic little sous chef.
12. They Make You Feel Young Again
The world can certainly leave you a little worse than wear and you might start to feel a lot older than your years may indicate. However, when you're with your tiny best friend, you get to feel young again because you can act like a kid. Roll around on the carpet and play silly games, or watch cartoons and have tickle fights. It's totally allowed.
13. They Look Up to You
Contrary to what other people may choose to say, the truth of the matter is that every now and then, everyone wants to have their ego stroked. They want to feel like they are strong, smart, beautiful, and great in every conceivable way. And in the eyes of your little one, you are a gorgeous genius and a magician with many talents and amazing abilities.
14. They Inspire You to Be a Better Person
Even though your little man or little lady might put you on a pedestal, he or she also helps you to be a better person. When you're about to have a fit of road rage behind the wheel, the kid in the car seat reminds you to restrain your anger. When you accompany him or her to a play date, reminding him or her that he or she needs to share is just as much a reminder to yourself to be more generous.
15. They Crave Conversation With You
Good conversation is at the heart of any great friendship. You may not be able to delve into the complexities of public policy or the nuances of thermodynamics, but you can certainly argue that Grover is clearly a better Sesame Street character than Elmo. Your toddler will be more than enthusiastic about talking with you about that, and also about just nearly anything.
16. They Love You Unconditionally
All children throw fits and tantrums. After all, they don't call it the "Terrible Twos" for nothing. But at the end of the day, they forgive awfully quickly and they are all too eager to wrap their little arms around you for hugs and kisses. Their love for you is conditional, just as is your love for them.
17. They Need an Afternoon Nap (And so Do You)
Life can be terribly exhausting, between rabid romps at the park and the 15th iteration of The Wheels on the Bus in as many minutes. Most children between the ages of one and three years old can expect to nap for about two hours in the afternoon, giving you an equally needed midday reprieve to catch your breath. What other friend can offer you that on a daily basis?
18. They Think You're Hilarious
Tickle fights. Blowing raspberries. Making animal sounds. Hiding behind the bathroom door, only to lunge out with an expressive "boo!" Just about anything you do can elicit the most explosive case of the giggles from your little one. And there's nothing more therapeutic than hearing a two-year-old laugh uncontrollably.
19. They Give the Best Hugs
Despite their obvious deficit in language skills, toddlers have this tremendous ability to sense how you're feeling. When you're looking down and out or when you're barely running on fumes, it doesn't get much more reassuring and reinvigorating than when you get a super affectionate hug from your special little person.
20. They Put Things in Perspective
It's said that the one thing that will irrevocably change your life far more than any major milestone-more than getting married, buying your first home, or getting your first job, is when you become a parent. They become your world and your everything. The first several months go by in a blur of soiled diapers and sleepless nights, but when they become toddlers, that's when the magic really comes.
Nothing else matters. They give you meaning, purpose and direction. And that's the greatest gift your best friend can give you.