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5 overlooked joys my toddler has taught me to appreciate

Your toddler’s perspective can be eye-opening.

5 overlooked joys my toddler has taught me to appreciate

Once a week, my daughter wakes up giddy because she knows…it’s trash day. She runs outside when she hears them, yelling, “Trasshh!” as she sprints out the door. She crouches down and stares like she is observing wildlife, as the mechanical arm catapults the trash can in the air. She yells, “Trash! Ew!” and, “Wow!” as nearly every trash can thuds.


While I don’t find this event quite as exciting as she does, I do my best to crouch down alongside, settle into it and enjoy the moment with her. As moms, we have more life experience and knowledge than our kids do. But kids have something we don’t—fresh perspective.

Here are five other joys my toddler has reminded me to appreciate:

1. The joy of staying awake

Every time I ask my daughter if she wants to go to bed, the answer is always a resounding “No,” even if her eyes are caving in on her. Unlike adults, kids hate sleep. Why? Because they don’t want to miss anything. They love just being alive and engaged with their surroundings.

While I value my sleep more highly than almost anything, I love this attitude. It’s like kids are secretly aware of how short our lives are and want to squeeze every last drop out of the day.

It’s a unique perspective—not to be overlooked.

2. The awe of…everything

Have you ever watched a child’s eyes during a fireworks show? It’s electric to observe their focus and amazement at the small explosions in the sky. I see this look in my daughter’s eye when she sees a flower, a new bug or—you guessed it—a trash truck. While I can’t say I always feel the same way, there’s something to be said for sitting back and watching our kid’s reactions to daily life.

There’s magic there.

3. Impatience

This may sound like a negative characteristic, and for the most part, you would be right. But again, there is a small part of the impatience that reveals the heart of passion for life. Everything is so crucial to them—and they are eager to grab hold of it.

4. Their need for us

While I’m aware the “I can do it myself” mode is coming soon, I’m noticing how often my daughter nuzzles up against me when she’s learning something new. I ask “Would you like some help?” The answer (for now) is almost always a resounding, “Yes!”

Whether they admit it or not, children know they have a deep need for help in their life. As adults, we almost forget this entirely, coming to believe we really can “do it on our own.”

It’s important to remember that no matter how old we are, we all need each other to get through life.

5. The joy of sugar

Yes, too much sugar is a bad thing. But on those special days when we get a treat, I just love watching my daughter’s face—it’s like she’s never tasted anything like it (and maybe she hasn’t). It’s truly a joyful thing to watch.

Looking at life through your kid’s eyes doesn’t come naturally. But doing so will give you greater insight into your child’s soul, increase your patience for their shortcomings, and remind you to take joy in the little things.

In This Article

    An expectant mama's to-do list can feel endless… but here's the good news: A lot of those tasks are actually really exciting. Planning your baby registry is especially thrilling: You get a say in what gifts friends and family members will buy for your new addition!

    But it can also feel a bit overwhelming to make sense of all the gear on the market. That's why we suggest mentally dividing your registry into two categories: items you need to prepare for your baby's arrival and items that sure would be nice to have.

    Here at Motherly, our editors have dozens of kids and years of parenting experience among us, so we know our way around the essentials. We also know how mama-friendly the registry-building experience is with Target, especially thanks to their recently upgraded registry and introduction of Year of Benefits. Just by creating your baby registry with Target, you'll snag a kit with $120 in discounts and samples. The savings keep coming: You'll also get two 15% off coupons to buy unpurchased items from your registry for up to a year after your baby's expected arrival. Change your mind about anything? The Year of Benefits allows for returns or exchanges for a full year. And as of August 2020, those who also sign up for Target Circle when creating a baby registry will also get the retailer's Year of Exclusive Deals, which includes ongoing discounts on baby essentials for a full year.

    Here are 10 items we agree deserve a spot in the "need" category on your registry, mama.


    A crib to grow with your baby

    Delta Children Farmhouse 6-in-1 Convertible Crib

    First-time mamas are likely creating nursery spaces for the first time, and that can get expensive. Adding a quality crib to Target registry gives friends and family members the option to join forces to make a large purchase through group gifting.

    $269.99

    A safe + convenient car seat

    Safety 1st OnBoard 35 LT Infant Car Seat

    The list of non-negotiable baby essentials is pretty short, but it definitely includes a car seat. In fact, most hospitals will not allow you to leave after delivery until a car seat check is performed. We recommend an infant seat, which can easily snap into a base in your car.

    $99.99

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    Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

    It's hard to beat a good playard when it comes to longevity. This item can be baby's sleeping place when they're sharing a room with you for the first months. Down the line, it can function as a roving diaper change station. And when you travel, it makes a great safe space for your little one to sleep and play.

    $99.99

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    4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

    A dependable swing can be a real lifesaver for new parents when they need their hands free (or just a minute to themselves). Because many babies are opinionated about these things, we appreciate that the mamaRoo has multiple modes of motion and soothing sounds.

    $219.99

    An easy-to-clean high chair

    Ingenuity SmartClean Trio Elite 3-in-1 High Chair - Slate

    Our best registry advice? Think ahead. It really won't be long before your child is ready for those first bites of solid food, at which point you'll need a high chair. We like one that transitions to a booster seat atop an existing dining room chair.

    $99.99

    A diaper bag to share

    Eddie Bauer Backpack - Gray/Tan

    When you're a mom, you're usually toting diapers, wipes, clothing changes, bottles, snacks, toys and more. You need a great bag to stash it all, and if you're anything like us, you'll choose a backpack style for comfort and functionality. Bonus: This gender neutral option can easily be passed off to your partner.

    $64.99

    A hygienic spot for all those diaper changes

    Munchkin Secure Grip Waterproof Diaper Changing Pad 16X31"

    We can confidently predict there will be a lot of diaper changes in your future. Do yourself a favor by registering for two comfortable, wipeable changing pads: one to keep in the nursery and another to stash elsewhere in your house.

    $29.99

    A way to keep an eye on your baby at night

    Infant Optics Video Baby Monitor DXR-8

    Feeling peace of mind while your baby sleeps in another room truly is priceless.That's why we advocate for a quality video monitor that will allow you to keep tabs on your snoozing sweetheart.

    $165.99

    A comfortable carrier to free up your hands

    Petunia Pickle Bottom for Moby Wrap Baby Carrier, Strolling in Salvador

    A wrap carrier may be about as low-tech as baby items come, but trust us, this product stands the test of time. Great for use around the house or while running errands, this is one item you'll appreciate so much.

    $39.99

    A full set of bottles + cleaning supplies

    Dr. Brown's Options+ Complete Baby Bottle Gift Set

    Whether you plan to work in an office or stay at home, breastfeed or formula feed, bottles are a valuable tool. To make your life as simple as possible, it's nice to have an easy-to-clean set that is designed to work through the first year.

    $39.99

    Target's baby registry is easy to create from the comfort of your own home. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with the Year of Benefits featuring exclusive deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

    This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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