“Mom!!!” He yells out to me every morning when he wants me to grab him from his crib. The days of calling me “mama” are long gone. He’s heard his sisters call me mom and noticed the difference right away. While one of his first words was “mama,” that word seems to no longer be in his vocabulary. I answer to mom now.
He will turn two years old early next year. He’s the baby of the family and possibly our last child. I’ve been hanging on to these moments with him. Making those of the baby stage last a little bit longer. But we all know it’s out of my control, and as much as I’d like to stop time or have it slow down all together, it’s impossible. I have to embrace what’s coming.
My baby is becoming a toddler — and here are the telltale signs:
1. He knows what to do with a crayon (which includes drawing on the walls).
He asks me to color all the time. He’ll sit at his little art table and move his hand quickly back and forth as he watches in delight as the color transfers onto his paper. It’s only once I start to step away and do my own thing that I find his hand has gone from the paper on the table to the wall next to him. He’s still getting the hang of the whole “we only color on paper” thing. I’ll give it time.
2. He won’t let me hold him anymore.
It’s gone from a thing of necessity to one of pure desire to not wanting anything to do with being in my arms. I’m lucky if he even holds my hand. This kid wants to walk everywhere on his own now. As toddlers do.
3. Everything I used to do, he has to do himself.
From picking out his clothes, to getting into the car, he has to do it all on his own. He just recently figured out how to fill his water cup using the water dispenser on the refrigerator. He’s a big boy now, so he’s got to do it all on his own.
4. Mealtime has gotten 1,253,736 times harder.
He used to try every puree of baby food that I gave him. Now, as we sit down for dinner, he immediately sees what’s put in front of him and will say a quick “no”. My guy who used to eat everything is now a picky-eating toddler.
5. Technology is at his fingertips.
And he knows how to use it. It always amazes me how quickly kids learn technology. He sees my phone and immediately swipes, then tries to type in my passcode. Thankfully, he hasn’t learned that quite yet.
6. His opinion matters. To him anyway …
He’s quickly realized that he cares about things, and he wants people to know. He doesn’t want to wear a coat outside? He’ll let you know. He doesn’t want to go to bed? He’ll let you know. He’s got an opinion and he knows how to use it.
7. “No” is his favorite word.
He says it all the time. Even when he really means “yes,” it’s much more fun to answer “no” to everything.
8. He’s perfected the art of a tantrum in public.
And I’ve perfected the art of walking away.
9. We don’t walk, we run.
No need to go to the gym, I’m too busy running after this guy who insists on running everywhere we go. It’s a workout chasing after this kid.
1o. He says the three most important words unsolicited: “I love you.”
And that, above all, is the best thing about entering toddlerhood.
I denied it as long as I could. Partially because I wanted the baby stage to last forever and the other part because I wasn’t ready for what was next. But after spending time with my little boy day after day, I know that the baby memories will be held near and dear, and toddlerhood will bring many more wonderful memories ahead.