Your toddler’s development from 18-24 months, and why it ruins your life.

 You know how in Jurassic Park , there’s that famous scene where the velociraptors figure out how to open doors?

I can really relate to those terrorized humans.

It has been amazing and incredible to watch Ryland’s growth and development over the last few months. She is becoming a little person and learning every day. It makes me so proud as a mom to see her gain new skills and confidence.

It is also ruining my life.

Okay, I kid, kind of. But seriously they don’t warn you that the smarter and stronger and more adept your child becomes, the HARDER it gets. Sometimes I feel like a really desperate hostage negotiator in my own home, pleading with my child to PUT DOWN THE GLASS VASE. Or LET GO OF THAT KNIFE (AND HOW IN THE HELL DID YOU EVEN GET IN THE KNIFE DRAWER!?!).

Or for the LOVE OF GOD DO NOT DROP MOMMY’S PHONE IN THE TOILET.

Basically there is a constant stand off around these parts between me and a 2 and a half foot tall drunken terrorist.

I thought I would go through the typical development between 18-24 months, and share a little of the magic it brings to a parent.

Self feeds

There will be food, all over your floor, all the time. There will be food flung into every corner of your home, into crevices and nooks you didn’t even know existed. There will be rice stuck to the dog’s hair that you will find weeks after the last time you served rice. There will be cheerios shoved into your pillow case, peanut butter residue all over anything in your house that is white. ​ Fruit purees will be used for abstract art.  You will never have a 100% clean pair of clothing on (your child or you) at any time, maybe ever again.

“Reads” on her own

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I love the sight of my daughter reading to herself, even if she just flips pages and talks in gobbledygook. It’s the sweetest thing. You know what isn’t sweet? The frequency with which she flings every single book we own off its shelf. She loves book alright, and she also loves nothing more than to weaponize them.

“Helps”

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Ryland LOVES to help. She helps me unload the dishwasher by removing every utensil and licking it. She loves to help cook by clinging onto my legs and trying to climb me whenever I’m at the stove. She helps me clean by following behind me with the vacuum and pulling the plug out. She helps me fold laundry by tossing clothes around in the air. She helps with grocery shopping by screaming loudly and demanding I open fruit pouches for her right there in the store. She is a FANTASTIC helper, like a deranged personal assistant with a total lack of coordination or impulse control.

Tests things out like a scientist

Ryland loves to experiment, like figuring out what happens to wood furniture when in constant exposure to water. Or what objects will break when thrown off a loft. Or what things in mommy’s makeup drawer can be spread onto fingers and walls. Or if candles taste as good as they smell. Life is one giant chemistry set to her, an evil chemistry set intended to blow up the world, or at the very least her parent’s house.

Becomes a better problem solver

,I used to be able to hide things from Ryland pretty easily. Because one year olds are not that smart. I could put something on the kitchen table and it was safe. But then she figured out how to climb onto a chair to reach things on the table . So I moved those things to the counter. And then she figured out how to move the chairs, and push them across the floor, to the counter, where she could climb up and get whatever was up there. Her growing intelligence has become problematic. She problem solves people, just like those damn velociraptors who figured out how to open doors and then KILLED EVERYONE

Toddler problem solving is a fantastic skill in preschool and life in general. However, it is not a good thing when you are trying to keep fragile or dangerous objects away from her. Literally as I was typing this she walked into the room with an antique china dish from my grandmother. I thought it was out of reach. She used another item of furniture to get to it.

​She watches us and remembers. Everything. It’s like living with an illiterate, miniature, sloppy Russian spy.

Runs and climbs
Yeah, so our house looks like the set of American Ninja Warrior if all the contestants took a dozen shots of tequila before competing. There’s a lot of this.

And this.
And this.
Somehow she trips on EVERYTHING. She will be across the room and somehow manage to trip on my foot. Or she will run down the hall and out of nowhere go flying into the air, her little limbs sprayed out beneath her. I never knew until I had a child just how trippy (for lack of a better word, and not like the cool 60s trippy) they are. They are like 99% limbs, always akimbo.

Asserts her independence 
Oh, perhaps the most charming milestone of them all. Like when she insists on getting out of the stroller to run down the sidewalk (and try to steal decorative rocks out of the neighbor’s yards). Or insists on going down the stairs by herself, even though it takes about an hour and sometimes mama just does not have the time for that business. Or shuts the closet door in my face when I find her in there pulling all of daddy’s ties off the rack. Again. Her new favorite word is “bye.” She does it when she’s annoyed at me and wants me to leave her alone. Complete with a sassy wave.

Can follow along with movies
This is the reason we have watched Sing 765 times. I am not at all sick of it. Matthew McConaughey’s koala voice definitely doesn’t haunt my dreams. I don’t see Gunter and his sparkly red body suit when I close my eyes.
“Experiments with aggressive responses to disliked things” (this is a real milestone, I’m not making this stuff up)
I’m not saying I’m scared of my 1-year-old. But I’m also not not saying that. If you catch my drift. Let’s just say that every morning I start my day with an affirmation. I look in the mirror and repeat, “Liz, you are the boss of your child. She is NOT the boss of you.” And when she asks for her third fruit pouch of the morning, I remember that affirmation. And when I say no, and she looks at me like this:
I hold my ground. Every time. At least half the time. Definitely 30% or more of these situations I do not cave. At minimum 2 out of 10 times I don’t give her what she wants…

So yeah, there’s a lot of really fun development that goes on between 18-24 months. If by fun, you mean having your house and all your worldly possessions always just a step away from total annihilation and being completely OWNED by a tiny person with no sense of reason and violent mood swings.

Now excuse me as I go clutch a bottle of wine and repeat the immortal words of John Locke (the Lost guy, not the philosopher, although I’m sure he would have some good advice on the matter at hand too).

 

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