kids

10 things all mums of toddlers have experienced.

S-26 GOLD® TODDLER
Thanks to our brand partner, S-26 GOLD® TODDLER

My oldest child took her first steps at mummy’s work. Dragged in to visit me in the office by her dad, desperate for occupying outings, my beautiful, ginger one-year-old stood, wobbled precariously, gave a gappy grin and tippy-toe danced across the carpet to a chorus of oohs and aaahs from a circle of gushy, young women, most of whom were not yet parents.

It was a beautiful moment. A true milestone. Captured by phone for eternity or, at least, until rendered obsolete by a software upgrade.

Faces turned to me, expecting tears – my little girl was mobile! – but there were none. I felt no pangs of sadness that the crawling, rolling baby years were behind me. Watching my little girl grow and learn and delight in the things she couldn’t do yesterday that she can today has always been a source of joy, not melancholy for me. And now I get to go through it all again with my boy.

Holly with her young son. Image: Supplied.

There are the toddler milestones that are in all the books and then there are those we didn't see coming. The ones we didn't even know were the lasts and the firsts, and that only stick out with hindsight.

Milestones like…

1. The first time they draw on the wall. 

You swear your child will never, ever do that. "Only on the paper" has become a broken-record catch-cry of yours. And then, there you are, in the kitchen, when things have gone all quiet in the other room. Your Spidey-senses tingle and it's time to investigate, right after one more biscuit... That's it, your mini Michael Angelo has gone all Sistine on the hallway. And you can't remember if you did spend the extra on the wash-off paint. How to explain this to the landlord/mother-in-law/mother's group.

ADVERTISEMENT

Your mini Michael Angelo has gone all Sistine on the hallway. Image: iStock.

2. The first time they critique your cooking.

They used to just spit it out, which hurt, but could be put down to all manner of learner-driver food moments. And then, there's that time you put down the Bolognese with all the carefully grated vegg and you they say, "I hate that, Mum." Why thank you, Sweetie.

3. The first time they don't mind when you leave them.

They've been clinging to your leg for as long as you can remember and then it happens. That time you drop them to daycare and they immediately get engrossed in a game. So engrossed they don't notice you sneaking out of the front door, fuelled by the encouraging eyes of the workers. Just go, now, while you can. 

4. The first time they run.

Who's got a runner? The one in your friendship group who's always insisting any play date location has a fence. She's been burnt; her knee hasn't been the same since.

ADVERTISEMENT

We have a runner! Image: iStock.

5. The first time they tell you they love you.

Say no more. Are there any more beautiful words in the English language than, "I wuv you, Mum," whispered though a sticky, cracker-filled mouth. There should be more poems about that stuff.

6. The first time they tell you they really, really don't like you.

And then. "You are NOT my favourite," is the first insult my son learned to sling, before he was two. Cuts to the quick, people. To the quick.

"You are NOT my favourite". Image: iStock.

7. The first time they break your confidence.

"You said that lady was mean." Yes, parents, you need to remember that the little person in your house can understand you. And repeat you. You're not sharing all your confidences with a tiny speechless baby any more. Trust no one.

ADVERTISEMENT

8. The first time they go in the pool without you.

You've been in Baby Bubblers forever, half-freezing in your togs in front of strangers every week, singing the hokey-cokey. Suddenly, they've moved up to the next level, and you are free to sit on the sidelines and, sorry, gaze at them in admiration, as a real, actual swimming instructor puts them through their toddler paces.

Learning to swim can no doubt be a very challenging time - for everyone. Image: iStock.

9. The first time they embarrass you at the playground.

Remember that time that mean boy pushed your precious toddler over near the swings? Now it’s your little monster doing the pushing. And it's even worse.

10. The first time you take them for a play date with a stranger.

Day-care and preschool means your tiny person is making friendships that don't involve you any more. It's only a matter of time before you get asked over by a parent you've never met before, "because the boys get on so well". This is a big moment. We meet many of our life-long friends this way. You'll know as soon as you set foot in the house.

Watching your little person grow is one of the very best things about being a parent. Seeing them move beyond the world of your four walls into other homes, the first small steps into little lives of their own. It shouldn't be frightening, it should be thrilling.

Embrace the ride. Embrace the embarrassment. Embrace the smells.

This is parenthood, and it's changing every day.

What are some of the best toddler milestones you've experienced?

00:00 / ???