It all happens so fast. Somewhere between the cooing days and the first true meltdown, your baby becomes a walking, talking, and dare I say, exhausting toddler. In the blink of an eye, you are packing up the burp cloths, bottles, and onesies. In comes the Disney themed tableware, sippy cups, legos, and big kid clothes. Let’s be honest, the baby phase is sweet and precious, but the real fun is when our children start interacting, learning, and amazing us with how quickly they are growing into a little person, with their very own personalities. It’s not as though we have a celebrated date for the beginning of toddler life. We don’t wake up and think to ourselves, “Today is September 28th and little Bobby becomes a toddler”. Nope. The day you realize, that your world is completely consumed by the tiny and adorable tyrant(s) in your house, is the day you’ve officially entered toddler life. Here are 10 signs that day is upon you.
1. Toys become much more parent involved. Where did the squeaky, soft, lovable and easy toys go? You know the ones that we could just whip out of our diaper bag, and baby would be entertained. Pretend keys, board books, and carseat toys no longer make the cut. Now we’ve got toys that require eight batteries (never mind how those batteries constantly die), and come with ten page instruction manuals. Suddenly toys require thought, math, and geometry. The thing about spending hours putting together little Susie’s life-size doll house, is that in a week, she will be over it. Your Saturday mornings are now dedicated to the newest toy in the house, and that fun instruction manual.
2. NEVER, EVER, have you disliked public bathrooms so much in your life. Because when your toddler has to go, and the two of you enter the bathroom stall, its on like donkey kong. Here is your conversation.
Don’t touch anything! Don’t touch that toilet seat! Don’t take your pants and underwear off, and then throw them on the floor! Why would you do that? Do not open that shiny little box next to the toilet.Those are not toys inside. Don’t touch the sides of the toilet seat. Don’t flush the toilet handle, because Mommy will do it. Hey.. I know you like to look at your poop after, but can you not lean in so far and simultaneously flush the toilet, because the water sprays all over you, and it’s not funny. It’s disgusting! Don’t touch the baby changing station. Yes, that brown mark you are pointing at is actually poop, but mom is trying to speed pee, so DON’T touch it! Can I just pee!? Hold on..wait!! I’ll give you a sucker if you don’t sit down or touch anything. Ughh, can you PLEASE not sit on the floor, it’s covered in pee and gross stuff, which now means you are!!
A public bathroom is your WORST enemy! Note to new mom’s – Carry a travel potty in the trunk of your car, and embrace nature pees, when you can!
3. Sleeping eight, or even five hours without a single interruption is a thing of the past. No seriously, you would pay big money for a solid nights sleep. It was such a tease when your little one starting sleeping through the night. You thought, “Hey this isn’t so bad, I’ve got this”. No, no you don’t, because that was just a dirty rotten trick that your precious baby played on you. Enter –> Toddler beds, nightmare’s, and potty training. All three culprits have arrived and are doing a fantastic job at demolishing any and all hope for a normal night’s sleep. Time to invest in quality eye cream and a larger coffee pot.
4. Cooking a meal that should take you 30 minutes takes you 2 hours. You will never understand this, until it finally happens. To put it in perspective, it’s like cooking in a kitchen full of puppies. You’re trying not to trip over the toys or small wild animals running amok in the house. You’re interrupted at least ten times because the adorable, but wild animals are either fighting, have emptied all the finger paint on the floor, need a snack, water, or potty break. My advice – Invest in a slow cooker!
5. You never, ever, have enough band aids. When you see them on clearance, buy all of them!
6. Remember when your little one first said “Mommy”, and you just about cried with joy. Now you hear, “Mom” 85 times a day. If you’ve ever had the urge to hide in a closet after the 63rd, “Mom, can you..” , “Mom, I need..” , “Mom, he hit me..”, don’t worry because you are completely normal.
7. Picking your battles has never been so important. It’s no use crying over spilt milk, right? That famous quote has never rang so true. It’s time to pick your battles with your toddler because they want to challenge you, and your patience, on EVERYTHING!
8. If you could enter a food competition for the fastest eater, you would surely win. Sometimes you wonder if you actually tasted the food that you just inhaled. In between each bite, you were packing lunches, wiping butts, dressing kids, and cleaning scrambled eggs off the floor. Come to think of it, you probably haven’t sat down for breakfast or lunch in years.
9. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. You constantly have conversations similar to mine below.
Me: “Get dressed, Audrey”.
Audrey: “Okay Mom”. Audrey continues to color her art project.
Me: “Audrey, get dressed!” Audrey ignores, and runs to take her little brother’s lego car from him. Little brother has a meltdown and is looking for revenge.
Me: “Audrey, if you don’t get dressed this second, then you lose dessert tonight!”
Audrey: “I heard you, Mom!” Audrey goes in room and sees clothes on bed, but instead decides to start jumping off the bed over and over again.
Me: “Audrey, if I have to come in that room and you aren’t dressed…” Audrey hurries to take pajamas off. I walk by and see Audrey finally putting her shirt on, and sigh with relief! Unfortunately, she is quickly side tracked by a necessary head stand, but back on track when she sees my glare. After a few more somersaults, the pants and socks are finally on too.
Audrey: “Mom, I’m ready”. Mom is relieved. She walks in room, and sees that everything is on backwards. Audrey grins proudly, and Mom contemplates letting her go to school like that.
10. You have officially touched, smelt, and felt every sort of possible toddler body fluid possible. It’s no longer spitting up formula or breast milk, it’s throwing up last nights spaghetti dinner all over you. It’s runny noses being wiped on your shirt. It’s catching your toddler with boogers on their little fingers, looking for a place to wipe them. It’s pee-pee on the floor or undies filled with poo-poo. You would hope, just as yourself, these things would gross your toddler out, but instead they are fascinated by all of it, so be prepared.
Life with toddlers is wonderful. It’s hilarious, honest, and exciting, but it’s also exhausting and down right dirty at times. I wouldn’t trade any of it. Okay, I’d trade the potty training stage, but that’s it. What I love the most about toddler life, is the raw vulnerability each child holds. To live life through the eyes of a child is a beautiful gift that we are blessed to experience as parents. Happy toddler life all!