Entering a New Season: Life with a Toddler

Drake, checking out the dessert menu
Drake, checking out the dessert menu

For my birthday last week, my husband took a few days off to spend time with me. (Insert “aww” here.) On Thursday, the plan was to walk around East Village, have lunch downtown and just spend some quality adult time together (with Drake, of course) while the girls were at school. We took the stroller, snacks and water for the little guy, and I even threw in his blanket and binky in case he felt like a nap was in order.

Now, this whole idea would have been executed flawlessly just a few short months ago. But we have a toddler now. A curious, opinionated, talkative, persistent, lovable, adorable little toddler. It didn’t take long to realize that a babysitter would be essential for the days we long to peruse the antique stores, enjoy a quiet lunch at a new restaurant or dawdle downtown.

This experience on Thursday made me really sit and ponder what all has changed about our handsome little fella, Drake. I’m sure as you read through these, you will be nodding your head and reminiscing of the exact moment you realized the same was true for you and yours!

We can no longer…

*Give him things we may want or need in the future.

For instance, the remotes to our Xbox and DVD player are missing. We tend to give him these things to keep him entertained and distracted from wanting our phones or something we are not willing to give up. However, we have no idea where they are now! And, there is no way we can ask the suspect where he may have left them. All we can get out of him are grunts, “Ah! Ah!” and adorable grins and giggles. Lost cause.

*Take him shopping.

Unless we are content with walking at his pace, going wherever his little heart desires and looking at things that are only at his eye level.

*Giggle at his naughty, albeit goofy, behavior.

He interprets laughter as encouragement. Like when he hits his sister in the face when she gets too close, when he jumps on the couch, when he does anything he isn’t supposed to and flashes a big, toothy grin. I am the first one to crack a smile at his antics; but it has become clear to me lately that I can no longer show any signs that I am amused by his naughtiness.

*Leave the sliding door (or any door or gate) open for any period of time.

Good thing he hasn't figured the gate out yet!
Good thing he hasn’t figured the gate out yet!

For one, he can open the screen door. Silently. Like a tiny, curious, determined ninja. Sneaking out onto the deck, letting out a loud squawk as his victory cry. And two, if the gate blocking the stairs is not (nearly) bolted into place, he will find a way to get around or through it, and you will not realize it until you analyze the silence and survey the stairs… where you will find him at the top, proud and free.

*Give him a plate or bowl with his entire helping in it.

He will either a) shove the entire serving in his mouth, no crumb left behind; OR b) if he decides he doesn’t like it, he will dump the bowl/plate on his tray and wildly rub his hands back and forth across the tray, flinging toddler sized chunks of food all over!

*Give into his tantrums.

He is a smart little man, and he preys on our inconsistency. We have to be firm with our “no” and ignore his fits. Or we will rue the day!!!


It has been quite awhile since we have had a bright, spunky toddler in our home (about five years). I am slowly but surely relearning all of the can’s and can’ts of parenting this age. I love watching him grow more independent and learn more about his surroundings. He continually fascinates me and keeps me on my toes!

Taking a walk, at his pace, letting him lead
Taking a walk, at his pace, letting him lead

Can you pinpoint that game-changing moment with your toddler? When was it obvious that you had to give up the old, easy-going ways of an infant and dive into the active lifestyle of having a toddler?


  1. For us with Lucan, they started around 17 months and haven’t stopped … Lu is 26 months old now. He’s into everything and doing everything from “helping” me stir hamburger or drilling holes with his dad. So busy!!


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