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Life Lessons from My Two Year Old

Life Lessons from My Two Year Old

When my firecracker of a daughter, Annabella, aka”Bella,” turned two, I marveled at her energy, her zest, and her strong will. This phase of parenting is often referred to as the “terrible twos,” but this stage was a profound teacher for me. I learned so much about life by witnessing Bella in all her two year old glory. Here are some of my favorite lessons:

Sweetpea Annabella!

Sweetpea Annabella!

–    Celebrate EVERYTHING: This is one of my favorite things about being Annabella’s mom. She celebrates e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, no matter how small or large. Drinking a smoothie? Clap your hands with glee. Made it up the stairs all by yourself? Shout with joy, “I did it!” Have a friend coming over to play? Run around and do the happy dance! Couldn’t we all celebrate more? Isn’t it wonderful when we acknowledge our wins? Let’s take this tip from Annabella and start noticing and focusing on our wins, accomplishments, and when we feel GOOD. Relish your joy!

–    Persistence Is Key: Watching Annabella learn to walk and talk is fascinating. She has an amazing relationship with failure and persistence. Can you imagine if we approached new things with the persistence and enthusiasm of a two year old? Fall down? No big deal! Fumble that word? Try again. And again. Oh, and be gentle with yourself in the process. Failure is no big deal. Wow!

–    Singing Really Does Make Life More Fun: Annabella often begins her day with singing. We’ll hear her on the baby monitor singing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” or “Itsy Bitsy Spider”. She can frequently be found walking around the house humming a tune or singing “la, la, la” to her own beat. And truly, I see the healing power of music in her and the vibration of the entire house is raised. Try it for yourself and see what happens.

–    Say NO With Conviction: Being on the receiving end of a firm “NO!” isn’t always fun, but I have to admire the sheer will and conviction of Annabella knowing what she WON’T do and what she DOESN’T want. Imagine if we were able to simply say “no” when we don’t want to do something. Especially for women (who are masters at saying “yes” when we really mean “no”) there is power in saying a clear “no” and sticking to it.

–    Make Friends Everywhere You Go: My husband and I took Bella on the subway recently and she was hilarious. She made so many people smile and laugh – she literally made friends on the 20 minute BART ride. It was wild, and it reminded me of the magic of being open to new people, places and things.

–    Wearing Your PJs Out In The World Is Fun: Need I say more?

–    Hug, Cuddle And Say “I Love You” As Often As Possible: When Bella is having a bad day, hugs and cuddling are the cure-all. And I must say, I feel like we don’t value it enough as adults. Take it from Bella and ask for a hug when you need one. Add to that, Annabella recently learned how to say “I Love You” and she loves saying it. She’ll look at you, smile and say a big “I love you” at the most unexpected moments. My heart melts every time. So, my friends, get a hug, snuggle with your loved ones and express your love loudly and often. This practice will change the world.

Like this article? Then say so!  Please post a comment below. Thanks!



By | 2017-05-25T10:26:36+00:00 August 27th, 2009|Coaching|42 Comments

About the Author:

Amy Ahlers is the creator of The Women Masters and the CEO of Wake-Up Call Coaching.


  1. Brenda August 27, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    These little insights came to me at the right moment! Somethings I just needed to read! Celebrate everything…such a simple thing, yet brings amazing satisfaction! I made it out of bed today and saw the sunshine! I can already breath easier! Thank you!

  2. Jen August 27, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! this article! I experience the same joy…singing smiling socializing…with Alison and she DOES make us all smile!

  3. Suzanna Gratz August 27, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Loved reading this. Oh, I really love going out in my pjs, if even to get the mail – I feel so rebellious! Having met your Bella, I can picture her so easily. Thanks for reminding us grown ups the basics of a happy life.

  4. shayne August 27, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Ames-I love that you wrote this, it is so perfectly amazingly true. I have it printed out and put up in my office as we speak and will make a copy for home as well. Oh…and I Love You!

  5. Patty Tesmer August 27, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Thanks so much for the great article!Found myself chuckling a lot and saying “Awwww” even more! Bella’s photo is adorable and it sounds like she has a personality to match! And those lessons are invaluable.
    Even though my children are now 18 & 20 yrs.old,I remember those precious days long ago.(Amazing to think they’re both in college now.)But they’re precious at any age, aren’t they? They continue to inspire and teach me valuable lessons even now.
    Life have changed dramatically,(am in the final stages of divorce with their father and am facing the task of getting a house ready to sell,finding somewhere to live and full time work as well. However,I have a really big smile on my face. It comes from knowing more and more each day that absolutely awesome things are coming my way–especially new love!(My life coach–of exactly one year today–,has been a huge help.)In fact I feel like one of the luckiest (or blessed) gals in the world. Might just take a cue from Bella and do a little happy dance!
    Thanks again for the great article!

  6. Carla Ferrara August 27, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    That is why it is so important to stay connected to kids (and older people for that matter) all through your life!

  7. Sandra Lay August 27, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    Loved the article and your awareness of each of these wonderful
    responses of your little Bella. She sounds bubbly and perfectly
    natural like her Mom. You both are such a joy to the world.
    Thanks for sharing.

  8. Victoria Loveland-Coen August 27, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    I loved your article. Great insight Amy. I miss the 2-year old stage! I would love to reprint your article on my new site, which is a brand new community site for moms to share their parenting stories. Reprint would, of course, be with your bio and link back to your site.

    You can reach me at

    Thanks for the insights!


  9. Boppa aka Bella's grandfather August 27, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Wonderful article about an amazing two year old can make you realize what’s important in life…how to make each day special.

    Of course, I get a chance to have Bella personally teach me a few things too.

    Boppa (Russ )

  10. Laura Comiskey September 10, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    I loved reading the article! I am not nor will I become a parent, yet I still saw so many of the parallels between what we humans need and want as children, and what we continue to need as adults.

  11. Jen December 17, 2009 at 10:18 pm


    Thank you for sharing Bella and her lessons with us~I pray she never stops doing those things. =)

    The reminder was good for me~I’m naturally like Bella, but sometimes being an adult drags down that beautiful child-like joy that we all have when we are young. She inspired me to dig down deep and let the joy bubble up again.

  12. beginners singing lessons January 26, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    The information presented is top notch. I’ve been doing some research on the topic and this post answered several questions.

  13. Margot March 3, 2010 at 6:46 am

    Dearest Amy,

    Yeppie for Annabella, and shame on us for forgetting the life lessons all of us Mothers learned as we have watched our children. Thank you for the reminder.

    Warmest Regards


  14. Sophia March 22, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    You know, this is the second message to make me think.

    First, about being babies and expressing our needs:comfort, diaper change, hunger, fear, etc. (Courtesy of zenvc). Why do we sacrifice our needs now as adults? What happened?

    Now, your blog. Your daughter letting her light shine. How beautiful.

  15. Eliz March 22, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Great tips. These are the very things I do since I have been in my mid-60s. I’m now 78 and people see me and call me the lady who sings. I’ll walk into a store and be asked to sing by the employees. I clap with delight and hug just about everyone. The other night a man was standing waiting while I was being attended to. When I finished I walked next to him and asked, Did you give me my hug yet?” He looked surprised as he looked down at me and then shrugged his shoulders and said, “Why not.” and gave me a big, long hug. As I walked away he told the man behind the counter, “This world would be so much better if people hugged more often.” The salesman agreed. I’m not off in the head, I just love life and enjoy making people smile, laugh and be happy. Best to you all and keep smiling.

  16. Rose March 22, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Thanks, Amy, for the ‘Wake up, Call.’ I enjoyed reading it, and I’ll be smiling for awhile.

  17. Tvisha March 22, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    I really like the article. I ll definitely put it into my life.

  18. Ethel Rosen March 23, 2010 at 4:44 am

    Dear Amy
    I read your wonderful article Thank you
    I am 73 years old and have moved across
    the country to CA to be with my soul mate
    I to hug people and pet dogs wherever I go
    I tell my soul mate many times a day how much
    I love him and how lucky we both are. He agrees
    It is much easier to laugh and bring joy then
    be depressed
    Your daughter is a joy.
    PS I have known my soul mate for 47 years We were
    old friends I am so lucky

  19. Tara Burner March 23, 2010 at 5:10 am

    soooooooooo true
    hopefully more will read and APPLY to their lives 🙂

  20. Janine March 23, 2010 at 8:14 am

    This is a great reminder for me to embrace the innocence and authenticity of my almost-2-year-old. She already is at the top of my inspiration list!

  21. Ann March 23, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Loved this article! Bella is too precious. Makes me excited to join the Mom Club which I will be this fall. 🙂 Thanks for the words of inspiration.

  22. Julia Joy March 23, 2010 at 9:06 am

    I love Annabella and I love Ethel Rosen (the 73 year old who commented above). Authentic lovely humans are a joy at any age!
    Thanks for being you Amy!

  23. Barbel March 23, 2010 at 9:36 am

    Hi Amy,

    Thank you for sharing about Bella…she reminds me of my Miriam who just turned 30 the other day…my children (Miriam & Timothy) are the angels who were my profound teachers on love (and still are)…they made this journey worth it…now my focus is to re-parent my inner child, especially my inner mean girl…thank you for being the teacher on part of that journey…hugs, kisses & “I love you’s”…keep being RadiantlyU, Barbel 🙂

  24. Virginia Simpson March 23, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    It’s clear to me that children come into this world to teach us — not the other way ’round. All we know is past, and as we get more “grown up” and farther from the openness of childhood, we become less and less able to even imagine the future — but our children will shape it and invite us to come along for the adventure. Bella’s lessons are wonderful and will add great joy — but another lesson comes from Bella’s mom — be open to all your children can teach you!

  25. Maria March 23, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Thank you Amy, thank you Bella!

    I’m struggling with the upbringing of my two children (5 & 8 years old) but this reminded me of the importance of hugs and “I love you”:s! 🙂

    Love & Light from France,

    : ) Maria

  26. Käroli March 23, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Lovely 🙂

    Light and bright,

  27. LuAnn March 23, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Absolutely love the message! I am doing my happy dance!


  28. Juliette March 23, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    Wonderful insights…great of you to see them from her perspective and yours… and share them with us! Thank you!

  29. Loma April 6, 2010 at 6:39 am

    The beautiful thing about Annabella is that she’s just naturally living from her own inner knowing, uncensored, unedited. We all still have that inherent wisdom and innocence deep inside, but it’s been shushed and shaped and stuffed away in order to fit into these odd cultures that we’ve created over hundreds and thousands of years. What a beautiful lesson to lighten up, drop the fears, and simply enjoy the wonder of being alive! Thank you so much for posting this.

  30. Carol Pranschke April 7, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Hi Amy,
    I have so much to learn from little ones. Thank you for this article. I’ve been taking 2 years of singing lessons and am taking a break right now. I’ve been wondering if I’ll ever go back, but then an article like yours comes along, and I know that I will, sing in the house, sing at lessons, sing wherever I can. THANK YOU! Carol

  31. Amy Lee May 17, 2010 at 4:29 am

    Hey Amy,
    Love this! I live this everyday as I have a 2 1/2 year old son! Our kids are simply brilliant!

    Besides the kids, thank you for writing this. I am especially grateful for the saying NO with conviction part. I am recently filling overhelmed by his No’s, wanting more Yes’s. But I am realizing it’s all about how I turn it around. Allowing my son to say No is a gift!

    Oh and by the way, I signed up for this through SARK’s dream boogie class after listening to your Dream Doer Innerview.

    Wishing you much celebration in your day today,
    Amy Lee

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  33. sherry Sheldon December 3, 2010 at 11:09 am

    This was a very welcome bright spot. There needs to be an antidote to an atmosphere that can be toxic if we allow it. Please keep sending into the atmosphere these healing gleams of light. Love, sherry

    • Emily December 24, 2010 at 2:00 pm

      I totally agree with you on the thought of an antidote to toxic situations. Right on the mark, and well put.

  34. Emily December 24, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Just read this post for the first time, and it turned my blah day into a bright one. I just made my first from-scratch apple crisp, and it turned out great! I didn’t think to celebrate it though! Now I am grinning and thinking how wonderful it is. It is an important accomplishment, and I shared it while still warm with a neighbor.

    I am celebrating! 🙂

    Also, “no” is a word that has been getting stuck in my throat for some time now. Sophia made an interesting point above. As babies, we learn to express our needs very clearly. Why do we now sacrifice them as adults? What happened? I think we get used to letting other people cram us into their agenda.

    I, for one, am singing la la la right now, and it makes me grin from ear to ear. Celebration and singing….how wonderful. I am going to focus on celebrating the small stuff in my life. As I think of it, there have been quite a few good reasons to celebrate lately that I completely missed. Think I will celebrate them right now!

    Thank you, Bella! And thank you, Amy!

  35. Kari January 24, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Great insights…thank you for sharing! Reminds me of the scripture that talks about childlike faith! What a blessing to see life through a childs eyes, it reminds us that we should live like that ourselves even as adults! What a joy to sing, make friends and dance and live life to the fullest!

  36. Claudia January 25, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Thank you so very much for sharing this with me. It is so true that we need to be more child like and not take life so serious and enjoy the journey more.

  37. Angelica Bober April 9, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Dear Amy,

    My Bella is now 32. One of the things she taught me is that miracles do happen. I only had one ovary and tube prior to her conception and I spent the majority of my pregnancy in hospital. I think we are doing our children a disservice if we do not model a commitment to making the world a better place. Lara(with the help of her friends) started a recycling program at her school. At fourteen she had participated in an AIDS walk and said she knew there was an AIDS comity with a drop in centre. I was a Counsellor(spelled with two lls in Canada) and knew that her hoping volunteer there every Sunday afternoon for three hours might not fly but an appointment for an interview was made and she completed training with all of the adults for three consecutive weekends and volunteered every Sunday until her last year of High School.

  38. Jennah July 6, 2011 at 5:32 am


  39. Elfi October 25, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Thank You Sooo Much for Sharing This Hearttouching Wisdom Of The Greatest Teachers on Earth … CHILDREN … THEY KNOW AND THEY TEACH IT BY EXAMPLE SO THAT THE LESSON IS SHOWN AND CAN’T BE MISUNDERSTOOD 🙂

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