On Sunday, it was scorching hot around here. (Sorry to my Southern friends. By “scorching,” I mean mid-90s. But that’s hot for June in Missouri!) But on Monday, relief arrived in the form of 72 degrees and a mild breeze.

Yesterday’s air held about 110 percent humidity; the day was gray and oppressive. By Saturday, we’ll be back to sunshine and perfect temps.

The thing about bad weather, the thing that I try to remember, is that without it, we wouldn’t really appreciate the good weather. If we didn’t have to suffer through heavy humidity or brutal cold or pouring rain, we wouldn’t know just how good we have it on the days when the sun shines, the breeze blows and the temperature is just right.

Yeah, yeah, I hear you: Are you seriously talking about the weather? For a whole blog post?

Nope, just working my way up to a good, old-fashioned analogy.

I’ve seen several conversations around the blogosphere lately about which stages of childhood are the hardest, the most difficult, the most irritating, the most exhausting. Is it colicky crying infancy? Is it the terrible twos or the torturous threes? What about 6-year-old girls or 11-year-old boys?

My parenting resume is only 20 months long, so I realize I’m nowhere near an expert. So, please, please know that my thoughts are based only on my limited experience.

But it seems to me that if it wasn’t for the difficult stages of childhood, we wouldn’t appreciate the good times nearly as much.

A couple months ago, Annalyn learned how to be naughty overnight. Like a switch was flipped or something. She learned to say NO, she realized the power she holds over us with this thing called free will, she decided that all the things off limits (the stereo, the stove, the computer) were the most interesting things in the house.

She became . . . a toddler.

She also gave up eating good meals – stopped eating pretty much all veggies (which she previously loved and ate by the cup), started craving crackers (which encompasses anything crunchy and carby).

And did I mention the sleeping issues? The waking up in the middle of the night, sometimes to play, sometimes to scream, sometimes to eat (because, oh yeah, she only wanted crackers the day before)? Yes, there were sleeping issues.

And I can’t forget to mention that my darling, brilliant daughter is Still. Not. Walking. And while it’s not her fault that I’m now dealing with doctors and specialists and programs and therapists and red tape and phone tag, well, it just ices the New Toddler Cake.

It’s been a rough few weeks.

But on Sunday, we caught a glimpse of the sun. After feeding Annalyn three Oreos (double stuffed, of course) for breakfast, we had the sweetest, cutest, most fun day ever.

I’m sure it had nothing to do with the cookies. Nuthin’ at all. (Please, don’t everyone rush out to nominate me for Mother of the Year.)

So, we survived another difficult phase, and now the sweet moments seem just that much sweeter.

Things like this:

Or this, when she actually DID eat a good dinner:

And sometimes, even the ornery looks cute:

Now, don’t get me wrong. I fully anticipate that I’ll be howling again in a week, in a month, in a day – whenever the next difficult stage arrives. But until then, I’m treasuring these good times.

You might even say that life is so bright, she’s gotta wear shades . . .

What’s your favorite stage of childhood? When are they the cutest, the most fun, the best ever?

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