Life with a Toddler

by Anise Flowers

Tucker is enjoying life as a toddler and he is as adorable as ever!  I cannot believe the number of people who said that once he started walking “your life will be over.”  Those exact words!  My life would be OVER.  And I heard that at least 50 times during his first year.  People are so foolish.  The truth is that once he was crawling and pulling up, Tucker was already “into everything.”  When he started walking on his own, life was actually easier because I didn’t have to hold his hands and guide him from room to room.

My dream life started when Tucker was born and I can’t see any developmental stage as putting a damper on our happy existence – no matter how challenging.  Of course, Toddlerhood definitely has its challenges.  Things that used to be simple, like diaper changes and dressing him, have become very tricky.  Even though I can put on a shirt and pair of jeans in a matter of seconds, Tucker definitely objects to the interruption.  He continues to be very busy with the task of exploration.  My friend Elaine (who gave me the idea to start this blog) recently said in a keynote address that the task of the brain from birth to age 4 is to “explore everything.”  So, Tucker’s brain is right on track!

Tucker loves to climb.  If the gate to the stairway is open, he makes a beeline for the stairs.  If you help him walk up or down the stairs, he places one little foot on each step, just like the grown-ups (no baby stair walking for him!).  Tucker also climbs out of the bathtub on his own.  Uncle Shawn & Aunt Kelly gave him an elephant for Christmas.  Tucker loves to push her around and bounce on her.  And he decided last week that he could also stand on her back! We are trying out gym classes for toddlers so Tucker can put these great motor skills to use and learn new tricks.

Mealtime with a toddler is an adventure too.  Tucker throws the food he doesn’t care to eat on the floor.  I have tried to model eating some finger foods to show him how delicious they are.  Tucker’s response is to hand me his portion, as if you say “if you like it, then please, have mine, Mommy.”  I taught him a few signs to communicate at mealtime like “more” and “milk”.  And Tucker created his own sign for “I don’t want that!!!”    Last week Tucker became a big fan of waving.  He loves to wave so much that it is not necessarily directed at a person.  Spontaneous waving!

Tucker likes to walk around the house holding 2 random objects, one in each hand.  And he wants anything I’m holding.  So he wanders around with tubes of toothpaste, hairbrushes, utensils, etc.  Tucker is happy at the grocery store only if he is allowed to hold each item before it goes into the cart.  He is the food inspector!  At home, he wants to stand inside of the refrigerator any time the door is opened. 

Most of all, Tucker loves to crawl out the doggie door.  He has loved to be outside since he was an infant.  So anytime the door is open, Tucker quickly heads across the room and crawls through in an instant.  We’ve had some nice warm February days recently.  So I’ve left him wander in the backyard.  He likes to play with Darby’s red balls.  She plays soccer with them, pushing with her nose.  And Tucker likes to carry them around – see their movie:

At the park, Tucker made up his own game where he tossed a ball over a small ledge and then went back and forth to retrieve the ball.  I was amazed that he created a game for himself!  And it reminded me of my Labrador niece, Callie, who used to play fetch with herself by “accidentally” nudging her tennis ball into the swimming pool.

So toddlerhood may have new challenges but overall this is such a joyful time.  I enjoy seeing all of the new things Tucker is learning.  You may remember that his Donor Dad loves the outdoors, including mountain climbing and rock climbing.  So it is no wonder that Tucker is adventurous and fearless.  I’m just staying close by to catch him!

On February 14th, Tucker turns 14 months -- My sweet boy and much loved Valentine.

Wishing you lots of love and adventure, too.