I’m going to throw this out there – 18 months, not my favorite age. Don’t judge me.
I’ve been in denial, but I finally have to admit that my baby is not a baby anymore. Not even close. She is a toddler.
I think I first realized Elisabeth was really and truly a toddler, as opposed to just kinda/sorta a toddler, when I cut her banana in half and she had a complete meltdown. A banana. In two pieces. Meltdown. TODDLER.
Now there is the crying for apparently no reason at all. I take that back; it’s not crying. It’s more like high-pitched yelling interspersed with drawn out moans of, “Mama! Mammmmaaaaa! Mammmmaaaa!” as if I am the source of all woe in her life.
And there is the sudden inclusion of, “Mine!” and “No!” in her vocabulary. Are these words just instinctual to toddlers?
And there is the refusal to let me help her eat. Which leads to food all over the floor, all over the walls, all over her, and naturally, all over me. This goes hand-in-hand with a sudden rejection of most food I prepare for her. If ever I serve her a meal that doesn’t please her, she will either a) meltdown or b) pick up the offending food, slowly and deliberately move her hand over the high chair, shoot me a look of defiance, drop the food on the floor, and laugh evilly. Nice, Elisabeth. Nice.
And there is the inhuman strength. That death grip on anything she holds dear (mommy’s wallet, mommy’s phone, mommy’s expensive sunglasses…) that I try to take away. How she goes completely rigid when I try to put in the car seat or stroller. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t get her to bend! How did she get so freakishly strong? She’s only 25 pounds!
Oh, and there is the pounding on the laptop keys when mommy is trying to blog.
And of course there is the getting into everything. Everything except the baskets full of toys that clutter our living room and are there solely for her amusement. Why would she bother herself with such things when she can pull every book off the bookshelf, empty every drawer in reaching distance, yank out power cords (annoying and dangerous! Fabulous!), crawl inside cabinets and throw out every stored item, climb, disappear, and so on and so forth.
Yes, I just wrote “disappear“. I consider myself a fairly responsible adult, but this toddler is making me seriously question my parenting skills. I don’t know how someone who has only been walking a few months can move so quickly. I turn around and she’s gone! Then I go through the mental check list: Baby gate – locked. Bathroom door – shut. Backdoor – locked. And then I kind of panic. OMG Did Elisabeth just disapparte? How else could I possibly lose my child in my own home? On the first floor!
If I’m lucky, I find Elisabeth sitting silently under the dining room table with guilty eyes, holding my iPad that she inexplicably reached. (Damn those growth spurts!) Or, you know, she’s inside those cabinets again. Or maybe I actually didn’t have the bathroom door shut (whoops!) and she’s throwing things in the toilet. That’s a fun one.
Sure, she’s still pretty cute. She has this kind of maniacal laugh which is a little creepy, but also makes me laugh right along with her. Besides “Mine!” and “No!” (or “Nonononono!”) she’s expanding her vocabulary daily, and I swell with pride each time she’s mastered a new word. (Her affection for “shoes” particularly excites me). She is super friendly and gives great hugs. Her excitement when she hears the word “cheese” is precious. “Cheese? Cheese?” she asks, full of hope and anticipation. Anyone who loves cheese that much can’t be all scary toddler.
But still. She’s a lot of scary toddler. She’s headstrong, mischievous, and a dichotomous mix of independent and clingy. I keep reading this is normal behavior. But if this is 18 months, what the heck is 2 going to look like!?Read More