Adjusting to Toddlerhood

Who the baby? No. Me. My 14 month old has just started fully walking these past few days. I know, I know… she turned a toddler long ago, but now I really can’t hide from this fact. I finally have to let go of those cherished images in my mind’s eye of a baby spending long moments quietly nursing at the breast, or moving and crawling around on all fours exploring this and that. These deeply treasured memories are now being replaced by a whiny, babbling, teething toddler on 2 unsteady sea legs, tottering around in a seemingly drunken state…

Are things easier after a year? A few moms have assured me that it does get easier after baby turns a year old. In some sense, I can see why this is true. For one, I (and baby) have survived breastfeeding! What a relief! I no longer feel the pressure to pump, store and keep up my breast milk supply, and can just let my supply naturally drop off. And I get to sleep through the night now without having to wake up to pump! Baby has also been now more or less already potty trained, and so there’s less dirty diapers to contend with. Lately, I noticed that baby is also now able to put herself to sleep and back to sleep more easily with less patting and less night/nap wakings (assuming there’s no teething pain and no illness!).

The main reason I think things get easier after a year, though, is this. Baby and I can now communicate better. Baby understands more of my words (eat, sleep, poopoo) and hand signs, and is able to point, shake/nod her head and make some signs back. So there is less frustration trying to figure out what she wants or needs in the midst of a crying fit. If only those crying fits and meltdowns disappeared altogether…

But in some ways, it doesn’t seem to get easier. Though baby has a greater ability to handle more textures and can self-feed herself more, she has also become more choosy about what foods she will or will not eat. A friend said that she noticed her son’s will got much stronger after 2 years of age. I have to prepare myself: the terrible two’s and neophobia are probably coming! Baby is also now more active, moving everywhere, walking about and exploring. Of course, I’m sad as well to say goodbye to breastfeeding and that special connection we shared.

Someone once remarked that each stage of baby’s development and growth presents its own challenges. How true! Since I can’t turn back the time (and I’m not sure I want to…), I should probably just enjoy this fleeting stage before it’s gone!

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