Toddler era caught me by surprise

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By Christina Rainey,
Oregon mom

Shortly after Lauren’s single birthday candle was blown out and the strawberry cake was gobbled up with pink plastic utensils, I realized that I was the mom of a toddler – and things will never be the same.  Of course, I should have known that already, every day is different at our house, it seems.  That is, however, what I love most about being a mother, there is always something different.

Where is the road map to child-rearing?

Did I miss the “Welcome to Toddlerhood!” sign?

I don’t remember the specific day that I woke up with the realization that I don’t have an infant anymore.  Now my 15 month-old girl is a fun, curious, sometimes frustrated, determined and creative child. 
One moment she is toddling away, testing her own independence, the next moment she is rushing back to me, clinging to my leg.  It’s a constant balance of setting limits but also allowing for exploration.  How do you allow for normal curious driven exploration while teaching self-control? I enjoy both the moments of her own self-discovery and the quiet reading time we have together.  Quite literally, each day and each moment are learning experiences for her.

She is fully mobile now and since she has discovered her new walking skill, she is always on the go. Everywhere. She shares new words almost every day.  Well, she mostly mimics the sounds of words that mom and dad make. She is also communicating with sign, expressing commands such as “milk”, “more” and “eat”. To see her breaking through this barrier and starting to communicate is extremely exciting and rewarding.

Lauren is a delight just waiting to grab your heart.  She is quiet and deliberate, easy going and happy.  She is content by herself but prefers hugs, kisses and cuddles.  It’s easy at this time of the year to become quite reflective. Times past, memories cherished, and new experiences to look forward to.  I wonder, where will we be this time next year?