The books will define toddlerhood as a phase that starts at 12 months, but so long as mine has his squishy cheeks he’ll always be my baby. That said, there are hilarious differences as we navigate year two – the first year of this thing called toddlerhood.
You know you have a toddler when:
- Instead of asking to nurse every 20 minutes, they’re asking “What’s Dat?” every 20 minutes.
- Toys finally get played with – many of them, at least. Instead of them learning to simply grasp objects and delicately hold them in their laps, they start practicing their professional baseball pitches, throwing toys as land mines for you to step on.
- Evidence of parenthood is no longer hidden behind closed doors; it pours into your yard with chalk graffiti all over your driveway and all kinds of things with wheels taking over your garage.
- You’re no longer the one crying every other day because of things like spilling breast milk or watching them roll for the first time. Now they are the ones with big emotions, crying daily over things like getting the wrong colored sippy cup. How dare you?
- Strangers act scared of you. With a baby, they congratulate you, smile and sometimes offer to help get the door. You’ll know people recognize your baby as a toddler when they generally start to avoid eye contact while joking that you have your hands full.
- Your biggest fear is no longer navigating infant sleep, it’s realizing that your baby will one day be sent off on a yellow school bus and it instantly makes you want to cry.
- Play dates could not be more intensive as you keep up with their energy, fearless exploration and boundary-pushing. What used to be lying babies side by side while you kicked back with company and coffee is now a legitimate workout with your friends involving too many layers of sunscreen and bug spray.
- Everything out of your mouth has to be presented strategically. You don’t just leave the playground. You must offer clear warnings of when you will be leaving the playground because the tiniest decisions become monstrous negotiations.
- You finally get to take baths free of hearing your baby cry because they are now either pounding on the bathroom door or opening it and climbing into the water with you.
- They finally start doing their share around the house: pushing the vacuum, un-doing all your piles of folded laundry, unloading the dishwasher as you’re loading it, and rearranging things in places that you never think to look.
And while you’re adjusting to all of it, your coffee will still be cold.
And you wouldn’t have it any other way.