Last Updated on March 20, 2018

“Sweet Pea’s discovery of the day: if you put a bowl of Cheerios on the floor and give it a little kick, a few will jump out. Try it several more times. Then kick it really hard, and the entire bowl will flip over. I watched the entire thing while laughing. I’m a more relaxed mom this time around than I was 10 years ago, lol!”

My journal entry above was a moment of discovery for me. When my children were toddlers, I would have been frustrated by an emptied bowl of cereal. But now I laugh!

God blessed me with a poor memory. Had I remembered how toddlers could be so busy, adventuresome, defiant, destructive … I may have said no to opening our home to a foster baby and would have missed a huge blessing! I have to admit that I’m enjoying Sweet Pea, our foster toddler, much more than I ever enjoyed our older children during this stage. It helps that I have three older children to entertain and help with her — and that so many cool baby products have improved or been invented (Bumbo seat, no-spill snack cups, disposable place mats that stick to the table, to mention a few of my favorites!).

I am also older, wiser, and much more relaxed with this toddler. Experience has taught me not to get my hopes up because she can say the word “potty.” I now know that running to the pediatrician with a minor fever will waste two hours of my time, and the diagnosis will be “ a virus. Push clear liquids, treat fever only if necessary, plenty of rest, call back if more symptoms arise or if the fever lasts longer than three days.” A bath towel placed under the booster seat makes clean-up quicker. A pillow case makes an excellent changing pad in public, is thinner to carry, and is easier to wash. A toddler who gets plenty of rest is much easier to deal with. It’s easier to get out the vacuum at the end of the day than to nag her about every dropped piece of cereal.

Had I stuck by my plans of taking older children and said no to this baby over a year ago, I would have missed out on sticky toddler kisses, laughing at her yelling, “Pizza, pizza, pizza,” when eating lasagna, reveling in her new discoveries, and loving her birth family.

I think God gave us a toddler in our mid-30s to remind us to laugh more, take naps, not worry about our possessions (a toddler will mar them), and  treasure each stage our children go through — regardless of how difficult it seems at the time.

I feel like I’ve been given a “do-over.” And while it includes sleepless nights, spilled apple juice, and tantrums, I realize it’s a chance not many are given!

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  1. I have noticed something similar the longer I am a mom. Things that I used to get SO upset over or think were such a big deal I now realize just really aren't as big a deal as I thought they were. I love that you shared this!

  2. I love this and you're so right, Julia. I admit, I need to develop that because seeing crayon markings on my wall really does ignite something serious in me!!! My Walls!!!!! LOL But then I realize, both toddlers are just drawing on their giant easel. Help! lol


  3. I love this post! Yes, choosing to be a foster parent can certainly be a blessing, and a challenge! My husband and I just recently became foster parents and currently have two boys, brothers, age 9 and 10. We also still have one birth child at home, a boy, age 7. There have been many challenges, but it is sweet when there are no tantrums and "disagreements" to sit back and just enjoy the kids for who they are and who God created them to be. We see so much potential in these boys and are blessed to be a part of their life and able to pray over them and speak life into them and their birth family.

    1. Julia DesCarpentrie says:

      Those are the same ages as our kids, Jacqui, minus the toddler, of course! So thankful your family is willing to take the older and more difficult to place kids. Bless you!

  4. Cindy Bjerkaas says:

    I totally relate to the "Toddlers, Round 2" title. God blessed my husband and I with 4 children to raise when we were our early twenties and thirties. Then a funny thing happened and He blessed us again (we are now in our our late 40's & 50's) with another. While we was not prepared to begin all over again after being an empty nesters for a few years, we don't know what we or our family would do without our youngest God blessing (he is now 3 years old). He has brought us so much joy and we are kept young through him. My husband and I have both changed our parenting from that of our younger years. We have mellowed and are able to give more time to raising our son. We find that over time God has allowed us to discover what is most important and define the things that direct us in each of the life situations where God has us each day.

    Our older children make comments on how our parenting has changed and we just remind them that when they have children of their own, they will understand and that when you have one you parent differently than when you have 4. God is doing great things with us and we look forward to the plans He has set before each of us each day and for the future. We love having the chance to continue raising children who love the Lord and seek God's will as we walk the path of another toddler in our family.

  5. I feel that way often myself! My biological children are 9, 8, and 7 and we have 2 toddlers in the house. Our 2 adopted sons are 2 1/2 and 1 1/2. So often I think the same thing, that I am glad to have a chance to do it over again, and I enjoy things now that I didn't enjoy back then. And yes, it is nice now that my older ones can help me! 😉