39 things you’ll understand if you are parent to a toddler 

Family life
parent to a toddler

Toddler. That age between one and three when your child is no longer a baby but not quite a pre-schooler. A time when they learn to walk, talk and so much more… My third child, Toddler Boy I (previously known as Baby Boy I on this blog, but I don’t think I can keep calling him baby for much longer!) is now almost 20 months old, so we are well into the toddler zone. Third time round, and having witnessed lots of toddler friends too, it struck me that there are so many traits that toddlers have perfected. So here are my 39 things you’ll understand if you are parent to a toddler. How many can you relate to?!

  1. Every day you wonder how they got so big and where the baby days went.
  2. That burst of pride and excitement when they take their first wobbly steps…
  3. …until you realise it means that they, and therefore you, never get to sit still.
  4. You live in fear of mistakenly cutting toast into triangles instead of squares.
  5. Or putting it on the wrong colour plate.
  6. You think back fondly to a time when your baby used to lie still during nappy changes rather than running off round the house, nappy half off, bottom not yet fully wiped.
  7. Taking photos is so much harder because they never stay still and won’t smile on demand.
  8. How cute it is when they can’t quite say a new word they’ve learned.
  9. But how mortifying it is when that innocent mispronunciation sounds like a swear word and they say it loudly and repeatedly out in public. “I’m Dick Man, I’m Dick Man, I’m Dick Man, that’s meeeee.” “She means Stick. Stick Man. It’s a book. I promise.”
  10. You dread the day they drop their day-time nap and you lose that hour of precious down time or, if they have siblings, a reduction in the number you are responsible for.
  11. You know just how impossible it is to put an uncooperative toddler into a car seat or buggy. Rigid backs, kicking legs and flapping arms: you are regularly outsmarted by an 18 month old who can’t even say his own name properly.
  12. Having to read the same book before bed for weeks and weeks in a row.
  13. Toddler pace. Taking five times as long to get anywhere because they stop to admire every dandelion and pavement crack and sometimes insist on walking in the wrong direction.
  14. Their eagerness to help with whatever household chores you are doing, even though their attempts to use the dustpan and brush are more of a hindrance.
  15. They way they liked something yesterday and every other previous day, but today they act like you are trying to poison them with it.
  16. That independent streak – letting them do something even though you know they won’t be able to and you’ll end up having to do it anyway, but knowing that this is quicker than dealing with the tantrum that will follow if you try to do it for them in the first place.
  17. Trading in lazy coffee shop meet-ups with your mummy friends for an outing to soft play, where you climb up and down after your toddlers and don’t manage to finish a grown-up conversation for the whole two hours you are there.
  18. Telling them no but them testing the boundaries and doing it just to see how you’ll react.
  19. Encouraging them to learn to share but their favourite word being “Mine!”
  20. The mortification when your toddler takes a toy off another child you don’t know or pushes them over.
  21. That pride when they start to say please and thank you without being promoted.
  22. The tear-in-the-eye moment when they say Mummy/Daddy properly, rather than mumumum or dadadadada.
  23. Although you soon change your mind when they are excitedly and repeatedly calling it out at 5am.
  24. How little they look when they go from their cot to a big boy/girl bed…
  25. …but knowing they get could get out and escape at any moment.
  26. Potty training: washing countless pairs of pants, cleaning up puddles on the floor and the fear of them having an accident while out in public.
  27. Not being able to turn your back for even a second because you know they’ll end up climbing on something they shouldn’t.
  28. The terrible twos actually begin a lot sooner and that even though they can’t properly speak, they can still voice their opinion (aka a meltdown about something).
  29. That they always save their best meltdowns for when you are out in public and some busybody will cast you a look of disgust that makes you feel like the worst parent ever.
  30. How beautiful it is when they voluntarily give you a hug or a kiss… or tell you they love you.
  31. Getting dressed in the mornings is suddenly as a lot harder as they express an opinion about what they want to wear no matter how suitable (sandals in November and wellies in the summer) and run off around the house in various states of undress.
  32. Bath time has gone from being a relaxing baby massage followed by a gentle wash in the water to a complete splash fest which leaves you and the floor soaked – and your toddler in fits of giggles.
  33. Always having half-eating toddler snack bars in the bottom of your handbag.
  34. Realising the hard way that the child safety locks on all your cupboards don’t quite live up to their name when you discover your toddler laughing with glee as they throw bags of flour on the floor, or you catch them drawing on the walls with your best make-up.
  35. When you have to start moving breakable things higher and higher up the shelf unit so that the toddler can’t reach.
  36. Finding yourself humming the tune from their favourite toy or TV show while out in public.
  37. Admiring how your toddler has no inhibitions about themselves or their body and wishing you had their confidence.
  38.  Inwardly rolling your eyes when parents of newborns tell you how exhausted they are. “At least your baby, and therefore you, get to lie down and stay still all day,” you think to yourself.
  39. Looking at that half-dead dandelion they picked for you and knowing that even though it’s a weed, it was all that they had, and they chose to gave it to you. Knowing that unconditional love makes the hard days all worth-while.

Do you have a toddler? Can you relate? Let me know in the comments section below, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page, or you can tweet me on @cardiffmummy

You might also like this one: 50 classic tantrums you absolutely must have before the age of 5 or The rules of the toddler shop.

parent to a toddler

21 Comments to 39 things you’ll understand if you are parent to a toddler 

  1. Haha – brilliant. Definitely relate to so many of these, even with E being four now. Oh the horror when I peel a banana for him and it accidentally breaks… and I just spent the drive home from nursery having to sing the star wars theme tune. Repeatedly. That’s certainly stuck in my head for the next few days now 🙂

    Hope you and yours are all well x

  2. Haha this is brilliant! But at the same time equally sad! Every aspect is true but it comes with the fact that it’s no longer the case. That being said it also opens up the world to more fun and excitement.

    • Cardiff Mummy Says

      It’s amazing how much they develop as toddlers, isn’t it? So many skills to learn and knowledge to acquire, it’s fascinating x

  3. The L's Mum

    Oh I can relate to pretty much all of this. My little boy is almost 2 and a half and drives me round the bend on a good day but I wouldn’t change it for the world because deep down it’s so exciting watching him grow into a little person.

    • Cardiff Mummy Says

      Yes, it’s so exciting, isn’t it? Tantrums aside, I am in awe of how quickly they learn things and gain knowledge and new skills. x

  4. I’m pretty sure I can relate to all 39 of these lol! I love it when you do posts like this. Number 38 is my bug bear!! Looking back now on having a newborn I honestly don’t know what I did with all that spare time lol x

  5. I can so relate ti this post – loving Dick Man – Sebby’s faux pa at the moment is horse, we are fairly rural and see them by the school and he shouts “HOARE” – it’s quite embarassing lol

    • Cardiff Mummy Says

      Hahaha! Oh no, that could be awkward in public! One to remind them of when they are older anyway! x

    • Cardiff Mummy Says

      Haha, yes, I know that stage well from my eldest two! Goodness knows what they will be like as actual teenagers!! x

  6. Totally have related to most of those in the past, my youngest is five now so we are a bit past the toddler stage. Toddlers are so awesome though but I’m glad that stage is over now 🙂

    • Cardiff Mummy Says

      I feel like I have been in toddler mode for ages with having three in four years. As soon as one leaves toddlerhood, another one arrives! x

    • Cardiff Mummy Says

      Haha, yes, I have been in that stage for a little while now with my first two children! Soooo many questions all the time! x

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