I love the concept of 'parenting stages.' I think it's so freeing - thinking about letting go of the nastiness that comes with a particular stage, and embracing the challenges that will come with the next. "Oh, she's holding her breath when she doesn't get her way? Well deal with it, but it's also just a stage..."
There's freedom in knowing that many of the details that drive my life crazy won't defining my parenting experience in 6 months to a year (parenting protip: it's often not the details of your response, but the attitude of your response, that will have the greatest parenting impact).
On the other side of the coin, it's also always helped me cling to the good things: "Why, my son climbs in bed with me every night? I'll embrace it (and him), because it's just a stage, and eventually, he won't want to hug me! This is precious, and gosh - he's also cute." (A king bed has also helped me embrace this stage.)
But there's one universal stage I've come to dread with my kids. It happens any time between 18 months and 3 years - and it comes about when your toddler realizes she can destroy your tooth-brushing routine by simply biting the brush.
It's delightful! It's hilarious! Look at dad's frustration! Feel the push and pull! Oh, the wonders!
Ah, this kid! Let go, dang it! There's only like 10 minutes till you're asleep, and I'm free! Don't delay this! Your teeth will rot out! LISTEN TO ME! Gahhhh!
It's gotta be the worst stage.