If you search, “When does a baby become a toddler,” Google will provide 17,600,000 results. The top result is a joke about how it’s not so much as a defined number but 10 signs that you’ve arrived. Well, today I saw a glimpse into what I thought was my future to only realize that I’m already there. Tommy is a full blown toddler yet he just turned ONE!
Over the past two weeks, so many things have changed and this is now my new reality (as always, I wouldn’t have it any other way)…
1. Nap time? What nap? Sleep is unpredictable again.
Allegedly toddlers transition from 2 to 1 nap between 15-18 months but Tommy this weekend, I thought he was ready early! He decided he was too cool for napping. He protested the usually trustworthy morning nap Saturday and Sunday to only sleep for 30 minutes once he finally did go down. The afternoon nap also happened to be about 30 minutes long, one in the stroller. I’ve learned that there no longer is predictability when it comes to sleep. This week he’s been pulling 2+ hour-long naps. I think this may be more related to teething than anything for the moment.
2. Do not take the toy away from the baby, I mean toddler.
If he’s holding something, do not take it out of his hand unless you want your ears to ring. I no longer can take a toy from Tommy without him getting dramatic. A month ago, you could take whatever you wanted from Tommy and he would not care. Now, he has this death grip on anything he is holding. You try to take it away from him, you will regret it. I’ve seen big kids try to take toys from Tommy and they can’t seem to win. He is so strong, I have trouble taking things out of his hands. I knew this was coming and wasn’t sure when it would happen. For us, Tommy started getting upset when you would take a toy away from him between 12 and 13 months.
3. I thought we did a good job child proofing the house. We did not.
I can’t expect to leave a roll of toilet paper where it belongs if I don’t want it to become unraveled on the floor. Our bathroom is mostly child proof with this exception and it speaks for itself. I didn’t think our night stands could tip over, one of them can and my cat reflexes saved him from getting bonked. Even dirty laundry is fair game. For a kid that doesn’t use a lovie, he sure loves to walk around holding clothes, dirty or clean, his pants or my underwear.
4. Play dates with other children now double as a workout for me.
When playing around other children, I’m always on defense. I can’t sit back and relax. I have to act as a blocker or safety net, ready to catch one or two children as Tommy goes in for bear hugs which really look like football tackles.
Tommy loves other kids. He loves to give big bear hugs and even kisses. It is so cute. However, he doesn’t realize that often his hugs lead to him almost suffocating smaller children or falling over. His way of saying “Hello” is currently a love tap on the head as well which most kids don’t enjoy. I’m always right there and can’t sit around with my phone waiting to take a cute picture.
5. Every day starts with a dance party.
Seriously, baby dancing is the absolute cutest. There are a ton of things in the news to be sad about right now, but Tommy’s ability to groove always cheers me up. Each morning we start with a little groove session to Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop The Feeling.” If he’s not in the best mood, this usually helps change his attitude.
6. We can finally snuggle and chill together again!
Tommy went through a phase where he would not sit still. He still doesn’t usually sit longer than 5 or 10 minutes, but it’s nice to be able to relax together for a change. Our go to is Sesame Street or one of his favorite books like The Little Blue Truck. It’s been almost 9 months since I got to enjoy some good snuggles.
7. I’m officially no longer the mom I thought I’d be when it comes to food.
I guess I thought Tommy would love healthy food like me. But alas, you can’t just give the baby steamed vegetables and expect him to enjoy them. Is a diet of cheese and puffs nutritionally sound? Tommy knows where we keep his food, a cupboard right next to the refrigerator. When he’s hungry, he goes and bangs on the locked cabinet and wails. I open it up and he goes right for the Happy baby Munchies. He knows how to open the top with his teeth and digs his hand right in. He puts 3, sometimes 4 right in his pie hole. When I try to give him something with more nutritional value, he again, fake cries.
Cheese used to be a big hit but recently he has begun to shun that too! I know you need to give children a food like 10 times before he will actually eat it so we are experimenting but it’s frustrating when his old favorites are no longer sure things.
8. I need to invest in a good pair of ear plugs.
Tommy has discovered his “voice” and by voice I mean the highest pitched scream I’ve ever heard. He uses it for fun, when he’s excited, when he’s sad and just because. It’s made me rethink my upcoming plans to fly with him…
9. The communication struggle is real and frustrating.
I looked into baby sign language because allegedly kids can pick up a sign or two a week where as it’s harder to learn new words for speaking. We really don’t do more than the signs for “more” and recently “water” but man is it frustrating when your kid is upset and trying to tell you something and you have no idea. At the park, Tommy walks over to the swing if he wants to get in. It’s great when they can point or walk to something they want but it’s not always as easy at home. Add in the new screeching and I can see why moms love wine so much. No longer can I solve his problems with a diaper change, nap or meal.
10. You mean I actually have to discipline my child?
I sort of winged the first year using apps and one sleep book (half read) for expert advice. The rest of my guidance came from my family, friends and our pediatrician. Oh, and of course google. I read somewhere to be careful not to overuse the word “no” so now when I don’t want him to do something I say, “please don’t do that” and he looks at me like I’m a moron and keeps doing it. Nick taught Tommy to throw which is great for me when we are in music class and he walks around chucking maracas in the direction of little babies.
As Tommy learns to use his voice and communicate, I’m not off to learn how to make great tasting baby food and positively discipline my child.
Do you have a book suggestion for the next year ahead? Let me know your favorites below in the comments.