There is no disputing it. Woodie, now 14 months of sticky, co-sleeping, farting deliciousness is gaining speed, attitude, and words. The first birthday – a tame affair with more balloons than people, featured his favourite things – cake, boobs, his Granny, and the two elder terrorists. We’d just done the first house move and I impressed myself by finding the 1st birthday candle. Marginally less impressive was my failure to find the bag of 12 to 18 month clothes but sure we’ll not worry about that for now. Fast forward just two months later and the boy has transformed. The babypause is happening and my baby – my last baby, is being replaced by that second most feared of childhood creatures. As observed from the scientific setting of the hall carpet, here’s the 10 signs that the baby is becoming a toddler.
1. We’ve graduated from the mundane football and cradle breastfeeding positions, to a new class of gymnastic contortions. My man’s current favourite is the ‘spinning nipple tweaker’ with a side offering of face / groin kick depending on what way he’s facing at that particular second. It’s a joy let me tell you. A real joy.
2. Words are coming. Dada didn’t get a look in this time (ha!) and it’s been all about the baba and the mama for a few months now. Just this week though he’s found possibly the most useful word ever – ‘tha’ – or as we used to say on the Southside, ‘that’. It’s a handy word in fairness – although I’ve mixed feelings at 3am when the salivating toothy grinned menace advances towards my nipple, shouting ‘tha, tha’. With just three words in his vocabulary I can already tell this fella’s a real straight talker.
3. When it comes to his grub, my guy’s a spitter. These days it seems like more gets chewed up and spat out onto the floor than gets eaten. Luckily I’m too experienced (read: broken) to care, and smart enough to set aside the seven second rule and ‘recycle’. Discards re-appear pretty quickly round these parts and are then re-flung. Handily enough he later obliges by eating off the floor. It’s kind of like having a family pet.
4. Defying the laws of physics then, it’s a miracle that the unfed child can produce such packed smelly nappies. The by-product of some serious red-faced grunting and pushing, these multi-sensory assaults could clear a room. We are in the era of man-child poos.
5. You’d have thought that a smelly nappy would be the most offensive thing in the world, but my genius has decided that having his loaded nappy changed is in fact way worse. Gone are the belly blasters and smiles at nappy time. Instead there is much screaming and desperate attempts to escape. The noise eases somewhat when he gets unfettered access to his willy but when I cruelly put his tackle away, it all kicks off again.
6. My emerging toddler has of course new favourite toys. His current faves are: the toilet brush (made much worse by the fact that it’s not even ours as we’re living in my brother-in-law’s house!); the teeny tiniest parts of the small Lego kits; knives from the dishwasher; and cat food from the saucer in Granny’s house. Basically everything that’s not an actual CE-stamped toddler toy.
7. For months The Others have begged him to ‘to something’. Now he’s doing plenty and they spend their days shouting ‘Stop him! Stop him!‘. The novelty of the toddler is already wearing thin. Little do they know the ride hasn’t even started.
8. Getting the child into a car seat / shopping trolley / sling is marginally easier than persuading Mariah Carey to play a gig in Whelan’s. He has mastered tummy control to a level his mother can only dream of and with a stiff belly and locked legs getting him into any confined space is a challenge at the best of times.
9. There are afternoons when he demands to stand / crawl / feed / play – all at the same time. He shouts and fusses for hours frustrated that we don’t know what he wants – or because we unreasonably refuse to let him have that shiny sharp breadknife he’s shouting for. Then the little turn-coat claps and squeals with delight when Daddy walks in the door leaving a bemused mother and siblings in awe at his amazing acting skills.
10. And for the mama of the changeling, there’s the characteristic pangs for those newborn days mixed with the lovely peace that comes knowing my baby days are coming to an end – a peace that’s enjoyed with a large glass of wine before being shattered by the inevitable ‘he’s destroyed our Lego castle again, muuuuummmmmm‘.
Yes. Another highly opinionated, angry and mobile person is exactly what we needed in this house.