As you watch your little one blow out their first birthday candles, your baby is officially a toddler. Gone are the days of the first smile, the first words and the first steps. It’s time to tackle the realm of toddler tantrums, toilet training and transitioning from cot to big bed.
And you are ready. Or so you thought.
Turns out, there are plenty of toddler truths that don’t make it into the parenting books, get left off the mother’s group conversation list and somehow slip off the social media radar.
Here are a few surprising toddler facts every parent needs to know.
Toddlers and shoes
It is physically impossible for toddlers to leave the house without trying on at least three pairs of shoes. Fact.
Toddlers and car seats
It is also physically impossible for a toddler to sit in a car seat for longer than 15 minutes without falling asleep or asking for food or pooing.
And, if you’re lucky, you may get hit with the triple threat.
Toddlers are not mini adults
Toddlers are incapable of understanding some very simple concepts. Like sharing. And patience. And why we don’t pee all over the carpet or lick the dog.
“No” is not the most used word
Contrary to popular belief, “No” isn’t the phrase you will hear 8 gazillion times a day. You will most likely only hear “No” 7 gazillion times a day. So what trumps “No”?
“Me do it.”
No matter what you are doing, you can expect your toddler to announce, “Me do it” before attempting to do it himself. And failing miserably.
Toddlers and food
Toddlers are mini food critics in disguise. They are put into your kitchen to critique your ability to cut sandwiches correctly or make a decent bowl of Weet-Bix. And they are not afraid to vocalise their opinions on their specific food standards.
Sandwiches must be cut into triangles. Apples must be cut into little wheels. And cheese must be cut into hearts. Tomorrow, all of these requirements will change. And they will also probably decide they hate cheese.
Toddlers and temperature
Toddlers don’t feel hot and cold. Or, so it would seem by looking at their choices in attire. In a toddler’s world, a bathing suit is a perfectly acceptable outfit for a cold windy winter day.
Toddlers and sleep
Toddlers don’t really give a fig about whether they sleep in a cot or a big bed. Their preferred place to sleep is on top of your head. Or, as physically close to you as possible.
Toddlers and nappies
Toddlers have an uncanny ability to hide their nappies. One minute you have strapped a fresh nappy to their little butts. The next minute they are doing a nudie run through the house, with no nappy in sight.
Check the washing machine, the dishwasher or the laundry basket. Nine times out of ten, this is where it will end up, ready and waiting to be placed in a tub of water, where it will expand and explode little balls of crystalised nappy all over your home.
Toddlers are ambidextrous
Yes, it’s true. Most toddlers can use both their right and left hands for different activities. A preference for one hand over the other usually doesn’t take shape until around the age of three.
What this means is that no matter what hand your toddler is holding the permanent pen in, it is going to end badly for you.
Toddlers are busy
Your toddler’s step count is literally off the charts. Ten thousand steps a day is the goal for healthy, active adults. But considering the average toddler takes around 176 steps each minute, you can pretty much expect your step count to soar when chasing a toddler around all day.
If we did the maths (which I have), using this amount, a toddler does about 10,000 steps an hour. 10 hours of toddler chasing equates to 100,000 steps a day.
Anyone else suddenly get a strong craving for coffee?
Toddlers and tantrums
Toddler tantrums don’t end in the toddler stage. Oh no. The tantrums can (and probably will) continue for many more years to come. But the good news is that, with time, even the most uncontrollable toddler will soon grow up to learn that lying on the floor in the middle of Coles or banging his head on the cot doesn’t really do much good.
So, from one mum to another, we hope these toddler facts help you navigate through this amazing but often exhausting stage of parenting. Take one day at a time and focus on the positives.
Make sure to browse our previous articles for more good advice about living with toddlers, including why you should never ignore their snoring.