Since my daughter was a baby, whenever I interacted with family, friends, co-workers, or strangers, they always say the same thing:
“They grow up fast, enjoy every moment.”
Well “duh”, I always thought.
From the moment we took her home from the hospital, to the first time she rolled over in her crib: her growing up fast was always obvious to me.
But the moment she transitioned from baby to toddler, it totally and completely caught me off guard.
It caught me off guard like poopie diaper smell: your kid just pooped one out right under your nose, but the scent only gets activated when they move away from you.
Toddlerhood is that poop smell.
In looking back, I’m trying to pinpoint a specific moment or point in time where she went from, innocent bumbling baby, to mischievous tyrannical toddler.
However, I realized that there wasn’t one moment, but rather a collection of telling signs.
I’ll spare the obvious and conventional stuff…you know the milestones that Babycenter or any other parenting newsletter/app tells you in a weekly email notification.
No, I’m talking about the other factors that books and experts don’t tell you.
So without further ado, here is my list of ways to tell that your baby is now a toddler.
1 – You’re Yelling More and Swearing Less
When she was a baby, my wife and I swore like drunk sailors. Being a new parent was hard, so excuse me if I let my tongue loose. But then something remarkable started happening: our daughter started to copy every sound that came out of our mouths. When we became more aware that a parrot was living among us, we suddenly cranked down our advisory rating from rated-R to PG.
On the other side of things, I also noticed that I started to yell more. When my daughter was a baby, she didn’t know any better, cause well…she was a baby. But when toddlerhood hit, I realized she knows exactly what she was doing. She’s been testing both my wife and I like some sort lab-coat scientist testing monkey behaviour. The parents are the monkey’s of course, and she knows just how much to push or prod.
Every time we say ‘no’ to something she’s not suppose to do, she’ll challenge us by repeating the same action in a slower and sneakier manner to see if we’ll yell.
And 9 out of 10 times, I’ll start yelling or be frustrated with her.
So if you’re finding that you are now swearing less but yelling more, chances are your sweet innocent baby has hit toddlerhood.
2 – The social media likes are fewer
This is something that my wife actually pointed out.
When your kid doesn’t guarantee an explosion of social media likes, that’s when you know they have entered toddlerhood.
At this stage, I’ve come to accept the fact that my kid is no longer a cute chubby baby, but now an awkward looking stretched out oblong thing. The same things that were impressive as a baby– like pretending to wipe her mouth with a napkin– is actually possible, and expected now for a toddler.
So nine months ago when your baby was holding a toothbrush pretending to brush, it’s no longer as cute because now, your toddler should be brushing their teeth.
What’s worse is, as parents, we don’t see it. We still think they’re cute, so we think people are now rude jerks for not liking our pictures.
Those likes from before when they were newborn, are just courtesy likes, then when they hit the 6-12 month range, that’s true cuteness. But anything after that the truth comes out: your kid is no longer cute.
Don’t believe me? I challenge you to find a picture of your baby when they were a few weeks old, and I would bet that you now thinking they’re an alien from another planet.
She really wasn’t that cute.
3 – You’re Having More Fun
Babies are boring. Yes, most of them are cute and stuff, but in essence they were kind of lame from an interactive standpoint.
Sure keeping them alive was rewarding and self-fulfilling, but it was boring once you got past that.
Babies are basically the black-out-drunk-guy at the party, and toddlers are the totally-wasted-but-so-cool-guy at the party.
They start doing and saying such silly things, every day you’re rewarded with something tweet worthy.
One of the most memorable interactions I’ve had recently was with my 21 month old daughter:
I was out on a walk with her telling her that dog poop was gross and we shouldn’t step on it.
She immediately walked away from it and said, “Poo, no this.” *Waves at it*, then says, “BYE!” and blows it a kiss.
Only toddlers can pull off blowing kisses to dog poop and make it seem normal.
If it were the baby version of her, she would’ve just put it in her mouth.
(Okay, that wouldn’t have happened, because as a competent dad, I would not let her get that close…really, I’m a good dad…Don’t tell my wife.)
4 – You’ll Start Feeling Old and Get the Feels
This last one is perhaps only relatable to just me.
But more and more I’ve noticed that I stop and reflect upon who I am as a dad, and where I fit in in this world. No no, it’s not an existential crisis or anything, rather it’s me realizing how purposeful life can be. I’ve noticed that more and more I am proud of all of my daughter’s accomplishments (even the crappy artwork), and I am also a little proud of what both my wife and I have done so far.
I’m positive 90% of what she learns, she picks up from the awesome teachers at her daycare. But the remaining 10% I feel like I had some influence – that’s the stuff that gets the waterworks going.
This was actually a failed photoshoot attempt from last month. The lighting was off, the composition was uneven, and we just couldn’t get the right poses for the multitude of shots I wanted. However as cliché as it sounds, the journey really was more interesting than the actual destination. When I look back at this photo years from now, all I’ll see is just me and my daughter being silly and having a good time. I can edit and photoshop all I want, but at the end of the day it’s all about having fun and learning to be goofy and happy. 😊
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I know this is only the beginning of a lifelong journey into parenting, but toddlerhood is like seeing the sprouts grow from the seed that you planted (in your wife…lol).
So on that inappropriate note, those were four unconventional signs that your baby is no longer a toddler. This is not the typical list, but just a list of the more real-life indicators.
I’m sure there are other indicators, but when you’re in the thick of things parenting a child, you really don’t realize your kid is changing this fast.
And as if hearing it 1000 times from a stranger isn’t enough, just remember:
They grow up fast, enjoy every moment.
For those readers who have kids, what were some unconventional signs that your baby was no longer a baby?
I would love to hear your take in the comment section below!
Thanks for reading!