10 reasons not to give your toddler to the zoo ... yet

Is your toddler driving you up a wall? Before you turn your little one over to the local zoo, remember these reasons little kids are so rad.

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  • I tried to clean my house today with my kids awake... Rookie mom mistake. My middle child just hit the "terrible twos" with a vengeance, and he's my master mess-maker extraordinaire. Toddlers are a handful, that's for sure. But something about them is just so darn lovable in spite of the chaos they initiate. Life with a toddler is a little loud, a lot messy and kind of crazy, but here are 10 reasons why you just have to love those little goobery faces.

  • Toddlers are still easier than babies

  • It may not seem true as you're chasing your toddler through the grocery store, but toddlerhood is easier than the newborn baby stage. Usually, toddlers are sleeping more consistently, eating normal table food and some are using the toilet.

  • Toddlers still aren't big kids yet

  • Most toddlers haven't perfected the art of "back talk" yet. That will come later. Also, even though they're growing, toddlers still have those wonderful squishy bodies that make for perfect tickling.

  • Toddlers think the world of you

  • Say what you want about the terrible twos, but toddlers love mom and dad in a huge way. From sticky kisses to teddy bear hugs, enjoy this cuddly stage with your kids. You are the hero of their world now, and their everything revolves around your care.

  • Toddlers can tell you what they want

  • Talking has its good and bad sides. No parent likes hearing "no" over and over, but at least toddlers can tell us when they're hungry or tired. No more guessing at cries or worrying if your kid is uncomfortable.

  • Toddlers are curious

  • Curiosity gets toddlers into some trouble, but the sheer power of wonder your child possesses is beautiful. The world is still open and exciting to little kids, and you are their tour guide.

  • Toddlers keep you feeling young

  • All that youthful exuberance has a way of rubbing off on parents. Want to feel like a kid again? Spend the afternoon playing with your toddler. You'll relearn all about the magical world of make-believe.

  • Toddlers are increasingly independent

  • While it's frustrating to wait for an uncoordinated toddler to dress himself, this early sign of independence is a really good thing. This is your child's first foray into caring for himself, so allow for some extra time and let him do his thing.

  • Toddlers are innocent

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  • What? That little terror ripping through your house is innocent? Really, toddlers do very few things maliciously. They are just testing out ways to get their own way — though we might not always like the ways they express themselves. However, rest assured that your little one isn't driving you crazy on purpose.

  • Toddlers are teachable

  • This age group is incredibly excited to learn about the world around them. Unlike older kids, toddlers are very good at being beginners, so it doesn't faze them when they fail. This is a great time to introduce new skills and concepts.

  • Toddlers love to snuggle

  • There will come a time — too soon, in fact — when your kid will no longer fit on your lap. Your toddler probably fidgets unrelentingly, but take advantage of your size and force some snuggle time, whether it's reading books together or rocking before bed.

  • Oftentimes, toddlers get a bad reputation among parents. Their antics and newfound means of expression can be puzzling, but that doesn't mean that this stage comes without benefits. These 10 reasons to love your toddler are just the beginning. Your child has his own unique characteristics to love. Spend time with your child each day, talking and playing the games he wants to play. As you get to know your toddler, he will amaze you.

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Heather Hale is a fourth-generation Montanan and mom to three crazy boys.

Website: http://moderatelycrunchy.blogspot.com

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