I wasn’t ready for the day that our youngest started walking. I should have been on the fact that I had gone through it once before.
But times were different then. We lived in a different house and only had one set of legs to try and keep contained to a particular area of the house. And even then our oldest skipped crawling and went right to walking at nine months. We lived in a home where the entire home was one level and didn’t have stairs to compete with (more on that later).
The moment our youngest stood up and walked meant much more than just passing some milestone. It meant that our lives were just about to get more active than a kindergartener’s calendar of play dates, ball practice, school fundraisers, and birthdays.
There are many ways that you can prepare your home for that wonderful moment your child takes his first step, but it is at that moment that everything in your life will change, anything on the floor is free game, their curiosity is at the highest level, and you are in for one long workout.
When they stand up on their own for the first time, you might not exactly realize what you are in for. If this is your first child, then you more than likely REALLY don’t know what you are in for. That is why as The Rookie Dad, I took it upon myself to help you make it through what will soon be one of the best times in your parenting career.
You Thought You Baby Proofed
I believe that all soon-to-be-parents should invite a family with a toddler into their homes for 24 hours before they have a kid to see just how baby proofed your home is. It might not even take that long for them to find everything that they could get into. You can cover all the outlets you want, secure all the cabinets you want, cover every corner of every piece of furniture but there is no doubt in my mind that a toddler will find something that you had not thought of.
So here is my advice, hire my kid and me to come and see what all he can get into. Trust me he is into just about everything and has learned where we keep the vanilla wafers and is mad when we secure that cabinet.
Who Needs A Diaper?
Really, diapers are for babies. I say this because either you have figured this one out by now or you have trained your toddler that once you put them on the changing pad, it means diaper changing time and no fooling around. If you have figured that out, I commend you, and I will trade you babyproofing services for no fooling around during diaper changes lessons.
Diaper changes become exponentially harder once your child learns that they can roll over, or that they can hold onto their feet and poop, or think that it is funny to watch you try and hold them down while you are changing their diapers. My only piece of advice for this is to make it fun. Make your toddler laugh during it. Sure, they are going to want to see just how far they can push your silliness during diaper changes, but if you can get them to laugh, it will force them to sit still just long enough for you to rip the diaper tab starting the entire process over… again.
Your Kids Will Fight… Trust Me
If you have only one child, just skip this, or read this, so you realize that maybe having one kid is really the way to go. Part of me feels for my oldest.
The iPad, Legos, toy cars. To our toddler, they are all fun toys to play with. The iPad especially when our oldest has earned time to play on it. But to our toddler, he doesn’t understand that if you touch the screen the moment you launch Chuck on Angry Birds, it’s going to fly him high into the sky missing those little piggies. To our oldest, this is a problem, and he does get mad at his younger brother.
I realize that some day these sort of “fights” are going to escalate. As our youngest doesn’t understand the need for alone time, it is important for us to let our oldest child know that his little brother is learning what it is like to be a kid, and he the biggest example of that.
If we can prevent that sibling rivalry now, maybe it won’t be so bad when they are teenagers.
Your New Stairmaster
It is probably one of the most hated machines in the gym, and now your toddler will bring that machine home if you happen to have stairs in your home. As mentioned before, this was something new to us this time around. Our previous home was a single story home with stairs to an unfinished basement that we could close off with a door. This time around, we have open stairs to our basement and up to our bedrooms. Those stairs are not really a big deal until your toddler learns that they can climb them… and then can make you climb up the stairs to get them… over, and over, and over, and over again. Before you start calling me a rookie, yes we have baby gates. One on top of the stairs, and one blocking the stairs down to the basement. But I refuse to put a baby gate on the bottom of the stairs because who wants to go through one baby gate at the bottom of the stairs and then another on top. So I’ve taken to using my toddler as the new Stairmaster, just so I can stay in shape while I am a stay-at-home-dad.
How many steps did I take?
To piggyback off the Stairmaster, I like to wear a step counter. For one all the cool kids these days are doing it but also because now that your toddler is walking, well that just means that you are going to be walking more. I’ve often wondered how cool it would be to attach a GoPro to my toddler, but more often, I’ve wondered how many steps they take in a day.
If you are looking for a good way to get in shape, or even a good reason to get into shape, now is the right time because your roaming toddler will be sure to keep you active.
The Best Time As A Parent
When your infant makes that transition to being a toddler, not only are you in for some significant changes, but your toddler is about to come into his own. Once your infant finds his/her new freedom in walking, everything changes, including their personality. Your toddler’s personality will become more apparent. Your toddler will be smiling more because they realize that whatever they are getting themselves into they shouldn’t be and they know that they won’t get into trouble because well, they are the baby. You will look into the eyes of your toddler and see that they are making you not only into a better parent but into a better person.
You might start to complain about how much of a hassle the diaper changes have become, times you have to run to keep your toddler from eating dog food, and how many times you have to climb up the stairs. But one of the things that you will learn is that in the big picture, these small things don’t matter when you see the person, no matter how little, your toddler is about to become.