Okay, I have to get something off my chest.

I don’t think three-year-olds are crazy or bad or out to get us.

Is that okay to think? To say? To be honest, sometimes I feel like we live in a world trying to convince us that our toddlers are scheming and plotting against us.

But they’re not. Seriously. Even if it seems like they have you under their magical spell when you find yourself *somehow* agreeing to one more episode of Peppa Pig and one more cookie as you have to repeat silently to yourself, “I am in control. I am in control.”

They’re very skilled—yes. But they’re not trying to take over the world (yet, anyway.)

I will say that if you have a three-year-old, you know that yes—some of the challenges associated with raising a toddler can be tough and frustrating at times. Of course. I mean, when I want to get out of the house quickly but my daughter needs to find four different baby dolls from all over the house, get an apple to bring with her, change her shoes and go to the bathroom one more time—it’s hard to stop and enjoy the magic and wonder that is three.

I totally feel you, hear you, see you.

I get it.

But—if we’re being real with ourselves, we know that we experience these types of challenges at all different stages of our motherhood journey—not just when three hits.

There’s no miraculous age of infancy or childhood that can be labeled ‘easy.’ Every age has specific hurdles to jump or fires to put out—but each stage also has very specific beautiful moments within it. The beauty can trump the chaos—if we let it.

And here are ten reasons why.

1. They’re confident.

They wholeheartedly believe in themselves. They know they’re awesome and they’re not afraid to let the world know it. They don’t care what people think. They don’t care if their outfit is ‘funky’ or if they stand out. They do what they want. They have a mind of their own. They have a bright light inside them and want to let it shine for the world to see.

My daughter reminds me to believe in myself and find my light, too.

2. They’re loving.

Their love is strong and powerful and passionate. They forgive quickly and feel deeply. They’re sensitive creatures. They proudly wear their hearts on their sleeves. They tell you they love you and give the biggest and best hugs in the world. They still want to cuddle and sit on your lap. When you’re sick, they want to take care of you. When you’re sad, they want to dry your tears. Their hearts are wide open.

My daughter reminds me to love with my whole heart.

3. They’re interested.

In you. In the color of the flowers that bloomed. In the temperature of the sun. In whether birds poop while flying or not. In the stories you tell. In the color of your eyes. In discovering your favorite foods. In spending time with you. In hearing your laugh. In learning. In discovering. In adventures. In what’s going on around them.

My daughter reminds me to find that zest for life inside me.

4. They’re fun!

And funny. They openly talk about vaginas and itchy bums and you know what—it’s pretty hilarious. They’ll laugh really hard at your corny jokes and loud burps and funny faces. This won’t last forever, people. One day they will shudder with embarrassment at this behavior, so take advantage of it now.

My daughter reminds me to lighten up and not take everything so seriously—especially myself.

5. They’re intelligent.

They can negotiate with the best of them. They can argue their point like the best lawyer in town—and they fully believe in what they’re saying. Such conviction! They know they can get away with saying a ‘fresh word’ out loud because they follow said ‘fresh word’ up with the clarification that yes—that’s, in fact, a ‘fresh word.’ “Mooom! Lightning McQueen just said ‘stupid’—but that’s a fresh word!”

Out of nowhere, they can tell you what a herbivore is or how male seahorses are the ones that get pregnant, not female seahorses. They are sponges—and they’re soaking everything up.

My daughter reminds me to appreciate the joy of learning.

6. They’re adventurers.

They are brave and daring. They like to explore and make discoveries. They enjoy seeing new places. They crave excitement. Yes, they do often thrive from routine, but sometimes, they want to ditch the plan and just wing it—to see what life brings them.

My daughter reminds me to take risks and to embrace spontaneity.

7. They’re pure.

They are open-minded and see the world as a positive, beautiful place. They (hopefully) haven’t yet experienced suffering or pain. They haven’t been knocked down by the outside world. They’re optimists. They want the best for everyone around them. They believe everyone in their world is kind and caring. They have faith in you. In themselves. In your family. In life in general.

My daughter reminds me to see the best in people.

8. They’re observant.

They take everything in. They pay attention (OK, OK—when they want to.) They notice things. Your new hairstyle, that you painted your nails, how people look different from one another, that some people are old and some are young. They’re inquisitive and they’re always watching.

My daughter reminds me to pay attention. To really see people.

9. They’re imaginative.

I’d love to take a peek into the mind of my three-year-old. The creativity and busyness inside there must be wild! She can go from pretending to be an astronaut on a space mission to Doc McStuffins fixing her toys to a paleontologist searching for dinosaur bones in a matter of minutes. They can come up with fun, exciting ideas on a whim.

My daughter reminds me to think outside of the box.

10. They’re enthusiastic.

They smile with their whole face. They cheer for you like they’re the proudest person on the planet. Their laugh is infectious. They want to tell you everything about anything. They get excited about the simple things in life.

My daughter reminds me to do the same. It’s the small things that matter most.