It was just after my son’s first birthday last year when a stranger asked how old he was. When I told her he’d just turned one, she politely said something about how “he’s a toddler now.” She may have said something more, but to be honest my mind stopped comprehending after the T word. It hadn’t crossed my mind. Not even one time. Could it really be? Could my sweet little 8 pound 8 ounce nugget from just 12 months earlier really be classified as a toddler?
I fought with this for a few months, refusing to accept the fact that time was possibly moving quickly enough for us to have transitioned a whole life cycle from baby to toddler. As much as I tried to hang on to it though, with every unprovoked tantrum, every time he took off sprinting away from me in a public place, and as those two glorious naps transitioned into one, I knew we were officially there.
Now that we’re knee deep in this new chapter, I have to admit it’s much more awesome than I was expecting. Some of the things I find myself saying and doing everyday make me laugh out loud… Alone in my house… With just my kiddo and my dog… And they are things I don’t ever want to forget. So, in honor of this new toddler status, here are a few sure fire signs you are officially a toddler mom:
There Are Things EVERYWHERE
And I’m talking everywhere. Even places you didn’t think of. The OCD in me takes a good 10-15 minutes each night to clean our toy room, but by 9 am the following morning, it looks like a bomb exploded in my house. Not only are there toys spread out all across my main level (who wouldn’t want a tractor in the bathroom with them?), but tonight I actually found a sippy cup in a basket of throw pillows. We’re talking every cupboard is open, snacks are out, Tupperware strewn about, trucks and balls are covering every inch, and you can barely find enough floor to walk. Forget ever knowing where your TV remote is, and don’t even get me started on my poor toy box/snack dispenser of a car.
You Now Speak An Entirely Different Language
When you are spending 24-hours-a-day hanging out with a 20-month-old, you become an expert translator. This one pulls on my heart strings, because there will come a time in the not too distant future when everyone will be able to understand what my son is saying and what he means when he says certain things, but for this flash of time, I get to be the one who speaks his language and gets to be his translator to the world.
No one else would ever know that “ma” could mean numerous things, depending on the context, but is not limited to man, more, muffins, or mower to name a few. And someone on the street that hears him say “dada” when he sees an airplane may think he’s crazy, but he’s really telling you that dada flies on airplanes a lot, because he travels for work.
You’re Not Swerving Because You’re Drunk, You’re Just Trying to Keep your Kid Awake in the Car
As a mama, there is nothing quite like nap time. For me personally, I NEED nap time. Not as a selfish ploy, but because even an hour alone makes me feel reenergized and recharged and makes me a better mom. Not to mention, no matter how our day has been or what’s been going on, I miss my kid after about 5 minutes regardless of why we’re apart.
That being said, there are two things that are VITAL as a toddler mom: getting out to do activities and nap time. And usually those go back to back, and if your kid is anything like mine and his toddler homies, if he falls asleep for even 30 seconds in the car he WILL NOT sleep for the rest of the day. No questions asked. So, if you see an SUV swerving around 11:30 am on a weekday, with a fabulous dry shampoo mama behind the wheel, she probably hasn’t been doing shots at the park… She’s probably tickling her kid’s head and dancing like a maniac to Baby Einstein Pandora to make sure said kiddo stays awake until they get home.
You Are Still Home Base
Embrace this one. Regardless of what our day holds, what we’re doing, or where we are, I know I will randomly get snuggles and have a mister crawling into my lap and resting his head on my shoulder. He’s gaining his independence day-by-day, but he still wants to make sure I’m watching and know that I’m there if he needs me.
“It’s only a short time that your child can fit all of themselves onto your lap… And an even shorter time that they want to.” – Anonymous
As a first time mama, I could not believe how quickly this whole baby to toddler thing happened. It literally seems like I put him to sleep one night as a baby and the next morning he’d lost some of his chub on his cheeks and legs. Like every stage of parenthood so far, I blink and it’s over. It’s like he’s reminding me that I need to be paying attention, because just because he’s done the same hysterical thing everyday for the last 2-weeks, that may be the last time I ever see him do it.