Why 'Toddler' Is The Best Stage Of Childhood

Gemany, Cologne, Father and daughter smiling, close up
Gemany, Cologne, Father and daughter smiling, close up

Disclaimer: I love all of my kids equally. But, if there's one child who can wrap me around their finger more than the others, it's the two-year-old.

I don't think it's favouritism; it's just that, in my experience, the toddler stage is the best stage of childhood – and here's why.

Firstly, they're cute. That's just a fact. They have big eyes, they waddle around, they look all sweet like butter wouldn't melt. (It does, as you know, and dribbles down their chin and all over the rest of them.)

And, by virtue of the fact that they're cute, they're also not stinky. I love my two eldest children, but they're older now, and they're boys, and their feet aren't adorable any more, they're boy feet, which means they stink.

But my toddler doesn't stink; in fact, she even smells beautiful when she first wakes up. Even her morning breath smells kind of nice, whereas you wake up next to your spouse every morning and are repulsed by just how gross and pongy they are, breathing in your personal space.

The thing with toddlers as well is that, when they've just woken up, they don't mind being cuddled. And their cuddles feel great, those little arms around your neck, and if they've just woken up they're more often than not also clutching their favourite toy or blanket, which is threadbare and matted with months of sweat, snot and tears, but they love it and somehow get high off the smell even though it's a bit weird.

They also don't seem to mind when you nom their face and start gumming their little rolls of fat, because toddlers are just so chubby that you could actually eat them. And, sometimes, the urge to take a bite out of your toddler's thigh is overwhelming.

And then you get them dressed, and it doesn't really matter what they wear, because toddlers look great in any clothing, even if it doesn't match.

Once toddlers have woken up a bit they love to play games, which often results in them emptying every toy box in the house and causing a huge mess, but that's OK because you can blame your toddler for your own mess, and leave piles of washing around the place, camouflaged in amongst the chaos whilst you have your mid-morning glass of wine.

It's good for them to play, as you know, because toddlers are always learning new things, and when they master a new skill it blows their mind and it's amazing to watch. But they also love the TV, which means you can plonk them in front of CBeebies when you just want a bit of peace and quiet.

When I get home from work, my toddler is genuinely excited to see me, which is a nice touch when you've been sat in an office all day. Toddlers also mean it when they laugh, in that they are actually happy. Adults will quite often laugh when they don't think something is funny, or smile at you whilst thinking mean things. Not so with toddlers.

Also, unlike adults, toddlers always tell you the truth, and you can rely on them to grass up their siblings if you suspect there's been some foul play, and when they talk they sound funny, mispronouncing words and getting in a muddle.

That's if you can stop them from singing, which you don't want to because toddlers sing like they're in the final of the X-Factor, every single time, and why would you stop such enthusiasm?

Mind you, that level of enthusiasm is nothing compared to how excited they get at Christmas, when they almost explode in a mess of party poppers, wrapping paper and turkey at the prospect of a fat bearded stranger bringing them presents.

You also get excited, of course, but about weird things like potty training, which can be a chore but it's the only time in your life you can both cheer about peeing into a bowl. And why wouldn't you love it when they cheer? After all, toddlers have the most gorgeous smile, one which even the best photo can't do justice.

And, as a parent, you feed off their smiles, enthusiasm and cuddles – not just because they're beautiful, but because toddlers are so innocent that you can't help but love their cheerful outlook on life – and dread the day that they stop being cute and start being stinky.

Do you agree? Do you miss the toddler phase?

More on Parentdish: Why we love our toddlers