The shift change from baby to toddler happens very slowly at first. So slowly, you don’t even realize it's actually happening. Maybe you're once tiny bundle, fresh home from the hospital starts to coo. Next she’s rolling over. Before you know it, she’s crawling, singing and pointing.
Disguised as milestones, the infant you once had morphs into a lively child. Which is so exciting! And It goes by so fast, as cliche as that sounds.
You might absentmindedly refer to your baby as a baby… but is there a time when you should probably switch over to the word “toddler” to better describe where they’re at?
If you’re unsure, go ahead and grab a tissue and come have a seat. Here are seven signs your baby is not so baby anymore. (Sorry in advance!)
They Babble in Conversation With You
In the early days your baby talking gibberish is a bit random and unpredictable. Still, you play along and acknowledge those little sounds and talk back.
“Ooh, is that right? Tell me more!” Moms chirp back.
But one day something clicks. Baby babble takes on some facial expressions, hand gestures and what appears to be some sort of opinion.
The baby talking milestones are so cute and sweet with a “hello” or “mama”. But when your little one is having a full fledged conversation with you in their own language, you know you’re not dealing with a baby any longer.
Diaper Changes Have Turned Into a Wrestling Match
At around six months old you might think your then squirmy baby can fight a diaper change. But rest assured, when the baby phase fades, diaper changes are left memorable as ever.
So memorable that some moms might even develop a small fear of changing a poopy diaper. Why? They’ve seen the acrobatics on that kid… the swings and moves are unmatched.
When your toddler suddenly hates diaper changes, they morph into a tiny jiu jitsu black belt. No diaper cream or changing table caddy stands a chance against those powerful chunky leg kicks.
Of all of the sweet things you might miss about baby life, the lack of diaper fights might be the greatest of them all.
Survival Tip? Have a small, very interesting toy on hand to distract them.
They Are Way More Independant
Between playing with their toys alone, taking hold of their own spoon or attempting to get their feet into some baby moccasins, you for sure got yourself a toddler now!
Your very free, opinionated little one can do it all. They can pop their arms through coats when lightly assisted and handle the velcro on any toddler shoes, any day. Basically, they’re ready to take on the world.
Some tiny tots might even swat your helpful hand away because they’ve got this!
Don’t worry too much though. You’re still very much a key player. But it’s great to have a little help now that your tot can share the workload!
Bedtime Is a Bit Easier
This one could really go either way. But by the time you have a solid toddler bedtime routine, the overall experience has fewer surprises.
Maybe it's just that you’re a super mom who’s done this a million times? That too, of course!
Overall, now that your not so little one is able to communicate better, they have a better grasp on what to expect. Bathtime, brush teeth, read a book and then lights out. It’s such a refreshing change to the unpredictable early months.
Sure, there will always be toddler bedtime battles because there’s just so much playing to do. But at least we know they’ll sleep more than just a few hours at a time once they get to bed. At least they’re supposed to!
They are Heavy
Have you found yourself letting out an unbecoming groan while hauling that 20 plus pound load of cuteness into your arms?
You can blame your age but your munchkin should also take most of the credit, too.
Wasn’t it just yesterday when they used to fit so snugly in that swaddled little cocoon you once made? Now it feels like you're lifting a linebacker when taking them out of their crib.
Sorry to say, this is a sure sign your baby is ready to be promoted to toddler.
They Have a Favorite Song
And you know exactly what song that is. In fact, you can sing it forwards and backwards right now.
You may have noticed the same noisy toy would keep playing the same little jingle. Perhaps it's the ABCs or the classic “Itsy Bitsy Spider”.
But as you pay close attention, you realize the other songs aren't getting any air time.
This is where the headache begins. Ok, maybe that’s a pinch dramatic. But from this point forward, your child is likely to favor three or four songs a year that they will listen to around the clock.
The best part here is that they are recognizing cause and effect, which is a huge deal. They can count on that toy to play their jam and will likely throw in some fun dance moves as they feel the music.
Don’t worry. After about a thousand plays, you’ll warm up to whatever song has been chosen!
They Give Hugs
The first time your little one gives you a hug, your heart will melt. Nothing can top seeing your baby (because they will always be your baby) place their little head on your shoulder and snuggle.
They see how much you have loved them and have cared for them, even when we didn’t realize it. And now it’s their turn to show you affection.
This next chapter will bring on a different set of challenges but loads of special moments. Pro tip? Soak it all and enjoy the best part of being a toddler mom!