Toddler Milestones (that you won’t find in parenting manuals)

My son just had his 15-month assessment with Plunket.  Before each appointment I take some time to write down what they’ve been doing of late, and I am always struck by just how much they have accomplished in a few, short months.  Since his last visit, Chip has learned to walk (and run!), started talking (lurt=light, ooof-ooof=dog, pump=heat pump, baby=baby…), and has five new teeth.

While these milestones are huge, I think the little ones that often go by unnoticed are just as important.  Like realising I hadn’t had to put a dribble bib on my daughter in quite a while, or that my son was capable of holding onto our swing unaided.

Here’s a glimpse of what my 15 month-old boy and 2 & 3/4 year old girl are up to.

15 month old:
  • Trail of destruction.  At this age, nothing is safe.  Your toddler has a compelling urge to empty the contents of any sort of container they find, be it the washing basket, a box of tissues, your 3000 piece puzzle, and your water bottle.  10 seconds after you cleaned up their last mess, you will turn to find this in their wake…

  • Ouch!  At 15 months most toddlers have no concept of what it means to physically hurt someone.  My son thinks that getting Mum/Dad/Sister to say ‘ow’ is hilarious.  It’s so funny that he currently likes to hit us (not hard) and say ‘ow’, followed by lots of giggles.  Obviously it’s our job to teach him that hitting and hurting anyone is not okay, but don’t be surprised if this is a lesson that takes a while to learn.
  • The Moving Finger.  (Kudos to anyone who gets that reference).  Your toddler wants to know the name of absolutely everything.  Their index finger goes into overdrive as they point to whatever it is that they are interested in.  It’s cute the first few times, but after the 1,675,234th time, it gets a tad draining.  But hey, everyone needs to know what a book dust-jacket is called, right?
  • Water, water,  everywhere, nor any drop to drink.  If you want to keep a 15 month-old amused, just add water.  At this age, they are like hippies strung out on LSD…water is like, soooooooo amazing, man.  Chip likes to stand at our bathroom sink and splash water merrily, play with the plug, splash some more, figure out how the plug fits in the plughole, splash some more, tries to eat the plug, splash some more, tries to turn the taps, splash some more…He’s been known to do this for up to 20 minutes at a time, which, as everyone knows, is 2.3 weeks in toddler-time.
Two and three-quarter years:
  • James Joyce got nothin’ on me.  If you want long, rambling, stream-of-consciousness stories, then bend an ear towards your almost three year-old.  Sausage can tell unbelievably complicated stories, that are dripping with pathos, and filled with a colourful set of characters.  Unfortunately, almost none of the plot points will be connected to each other, so you may find yourself knee-deep in snow on a rescue mission at one point, only to be abruptly swept away to an in-depth treatise on ‘how I don’t like beans any more’.  You have been warned.
  • Welcome to my world.  Following on from rambling conversations, you will be invited to enter into dimensions that you never knew were contained in your ordinary house.  My yoga mat makes an awesome ‘tent’, post-it notes scattered randomly on the floor become a hopscotch game, my parent’s fernery in their backyard becomes a fairy castle that Grandpa is not allowed to enter, and a fallen tree branch becomes a ferocious dragon that requires calling for a knight to slay it.  Phew.  And you thought nothing ever happened on your street.

    accurate portrayal of your toddler's brain (image credit)

    accurate portrayal of your toddler’s brain
    (image credit)

  • I am not [insert child’s name here]!  Anyone who hangs out with us at the moment will know I have spent the last THREE weeks answering to ‘Dashi’, who is a character from The Octonauts – a British cartoon that Sausage loves right now.  She is ‘Kwazii’, Daddy is ‘Peso’ and her little brother is ‘Pinto’.  God help you if you get that mixed up.  This sort of pretend play is lots of fun, but it’s funny how much I miss being ‘Mummy’.

What are your tots getting up to right now?