When exactly does a baby become a toddler?…
When I asked around at Mumli HQ, the opinions were mixed. Some said it’s technically when they’ve completed their first lap around the sun, others suggested it’s around 16 to 18 months and that I would “just know” when it happened.
After noticing some gradual changes in my own 14 month old son, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s more of a #vibe and there are some distinct telltale signs that your sweet little angel has gone over to the Darkside…
1. They’re hangry all the time
Meal times are no longer about sensory play and cute photo opportunities, no no. They are now a means of survival.
It starts when you notice a direct correlation between your toddler’s mood and how long it has been since their last meal. Soon you won’t be able to get food on the table fast enough. Both meal frequency and food volume will increase, and you’ll be stunned at the amount of food they can fit into that tiny little body. And yet they have the audacity to be very picky about which foods they’ll stuff those annoying, adorable little cheeks with.
No longer will you be able to eat literally anything without sharing (or suffer a meltdown – see further down on the list).
This is also the point of motherhood where you receive your first promotion from milkmaid to junior snack b*tch. From all of us at Mumli, congratulations.
2. They learn how to express their preferences
This may start relatively innocently with the foods they eat and the toys they play with, but oh my god the pain when they show a preference for a parent AND IT’S NOT YOU. (My 18 month old niece pushes her mum away in favour of a cuddle with her daddy. Brutal.)
The kicker: these preferences may change on the daily, or even hourly. So good luck keeping up.
3. They need to be busy all the time
Do you know when the peak of parenting bliss is? When your baby is old enough to sit independently but can’t crawl yet. That is fucking living. When they can crawl and walk and climb though, is the peak of parenting anxiety, my friend.
Toddlers need to be busy all the damn time, which means you’ll also be busy all the time. Which leads me to my next point…
4. You live in the eye of a hurricane
Another new preference your toddler will express is the preference for all your clothes/tupperware/books/electronics to be dumped out onto the floor. Or in the bathtub. Or in the toilet (keep that lid CLOSED at all times). You’ll probably start by cleaning up after them as they go, resetting the house every time they go down for a nap. My advice? Embrace the mess early on. Resign to not buying anything new or nice for the next few years, put away the pot plants and get child locks on all the reachable doors.
5. Tantrums: the rumours are true
Have you seen that meme that says: Toddlers… WTF? That sh*t is based on a true story. You will begin asking yourself this same question multiple times throughout the day.
You’ll start to wonder whether you’re still in charge or if they have taken full control when the fear of enduring another 30 minute meltdown becomes too much to bear and you give in.
What are they upset about? No one knows*, not even them. All we know is that snacks (for them) and wine (for you) can ease the severity.
*All jokes aside, we love Big Little Feelings for helping to understand and respond to toddler tantrums.
Toddlers are f*cking savage. They really are. But if you’re a mother to a sweet infant and you’re reading this hatching plans to sell your child on Etsy, or go on a two year vacay and skip this stage of “personal growth”, know this: Toddlers are also really, really fun. Your bub might seem possessed by the devil at times, but they’re also developing heaps of new skills, learning how to communicate and they still smile at you like you’re the best thing since sliced bread (unless they see bread, then they’d probably choose the bread, sorry).