The toddler years are pretty crazy times. The things your child will learn how to do will baffle and amaze you. You’ll wonder how someone so small and so young can figure out how to work your electronics better than you, or grab books or snacks off of the shelf that’s too high for them to reach.
Before long they’ll be able to open every door and baby gate in your house—including the ones that you struggle with every single time. In order to help you get some idea about what to expect in the coming years, here are 15 ways that your toddler is going to scare you to death.
15 The Escape Artist
Ginne was enjoying what was supposed to be a nice shower when the front door opened and triggered the alarm. Dripping, towel-less and with speed most parents don’t realize they have until such a time as this, she raced out of the house and grabbed her 15 month old daughter before she could wander off too far.
Stacie wasn’t lucky enough to have an alarm when her three-year-old snuck out of the house early one morning. While she was sleeping, he got hungry. Being the thoughtful child he is, he didn’t want to wake his mother to ask for some treats so he decided to walk to the store and get some for himself.
14 Silent Silhouettes
Sometimes it isn’t the dangerous things they do that scare you. Sometimes it’s simply the things you aren’t expecting at two in the morning. Like what Rebecca’s son did the first time she learned he could climb out of his crib. After successfully escaping his sleeping arrangement he wandered over to where his mother was sleeping and stood there waiting for her to wake up and notice him. As she can assure you, when you first open your eyes you do not expect to see someone’s face two inches away from yours.
13 The Climbers
My son in a climber. If it looks like it can be climbed, he will try to climb it. This includes fences, book shelves (we no longer have the bottom three shelves on any of our cases), baby gates, the kitchen table, and his toy box. Normally mom or dad is there to grab him and keep him safe, but since we can’t read his mind we’re not always fast enough.
Like last summer, when he decided to jump off his toy box and hit the bottom of the couch, he had just turned one the week before. Lots of blood and three stitches later he’s got a nice scar to remember his adventure as Icarus.
Thankfully, climbing things doesn’t always end up in stitches, but it does usually end up with you heart in your throat. Like when Rebecca noticed the “ladder” her two- and three-year-olds had set up in the kitchen to reach the cookies. The pulled a dining chair up to the pantry, and when that wasn’t high enough they grabbed their toddler sized chair and placed it on top. Since the cookies were still out of reach they grabbed the kitchen stool to finalize their tower and claim their prize.
12 Cute Couch Cannonballers
Since his stitches, my son seems to be more careful when he climbs things, or at least when he jumps off of them. One time I watched him throw all of the pillows and blankets off of the couch. It’s a fairly common occurrence in our house so I didn’t think anything of it and continued to bring dishes to the kitchen. I came back just in time to watch my son jump off the couch onto the pile he created, giggling like a crazy person when he landed.
Needless to say, I’m much more wary when I see him tossing pillows off the couch.
But at least he decided to create a rather large pile. Michelle’s daughter tried to cannonball onto her stuffed animal from the kitchen bar stool. However, in her wisdom as a toddler she did think to move the stool to the middle of the room before she attempted her leap.
11 I’m a Big Kid Too
One of the main ways children learn things, is from watching others including other children. So if you have older siblings beware, your younger one might try to keep up with them in ways he or she simply cannot. This also happens with random children at the park.
My son and I were there with one of his friends when some older kids showed up. They started swinging off on the bar on top of the slide to give themselves some extra speed as they went down. Ollie’s friend (who is 21 months) tried to copy the older girls, but she was too short to get a good grip on the bar and would have tumbled off of the equipment if I hadn’t of been standing where I was.
Sandra’s son Caelan is the same way. Whenever he sees the other children on the playground he has to climb up to meet them. It gives his mother a bit of exercise though as she runs around the structure to try and prevent him from falling off or catch him if he does.
10 Timing is Everything
Melanie is a Doctor Who fan, and like many parents, that means her children get to experience it too. Sometimes, they pick up more than we expect. Once soon after watching the “Empty Child” episode of Doctor Who, Melanie’s toddler decided it would be fun to talk like the child in the show, and slowly shuffled around the corner saying "Mummy, where are you Mummy?"
9 All in the Name of Fun
Movies and other forms of media often portray the mother as the parent who is strict, loving, and cautious. Whereas the father is often the “fun parent:” the one who is willing to bend the rules. Sometimes this happens in reality too. One day Jodi heard some thumping around upstairs, which was followed by a sliding noise and a bunch of giggles coming from her stairwell. Her heart skipped when she peeked around the corner and watched her children slide down the last few steps on their mattress toboggan. When she found her voice she asked them what possessed them to try this. “Daddy showed us. Isn’t it cool Mommy?”
8 I’m a Monster!
Boxes are always fun to play with. For toddlers they are even more exciting when they are filled with stuff that’s normally out of reach because it’s moving day. On a particularly memorable moving day Stacey heard her three-year-old son giggling and growling by the top of the stairs. Because of that familiar feeling of dread and “what’s going on now?” she decided to go and find out what he had gotten up to. Blood was dripping down his chin. Beside him was the bathroom box and the razor he thought was a tooth brush. Unperturbed, he growled at her, “Mommy, I’m a monster!”
7 Eating the Inedible
Nancy was visiting a friend when her two-and-a-half-year-old came in and asked for some more grapes. Nancy hadn’t given him any grapes, and neither had her friend. She asked her son where he got the grapes from. “Upstairs.” When she asked him to show her where he found the grapes, he brought her to the bathroom, and matter-of-factly informed her that the oranges tasted bad. They weren’t oranges or grapes; they were bath ball oils. The staff at the poison control centre (here are links to the Canadian and American websites) and the hospital were quickly able to get him all fixed up.
6 Up the Nose Is Where It Goes
Shortly before he turned two, Brittainie’s son discovered how much fun it is to shove things up his nose: pizza crusts, crayons, you know whatever fits. One time his obsession landed him in the ER after he shoved a slice of pepper up there and his parents were able to blow it out or grab it with tweezers.
5 Some Like It Hot
Cooking with the oven is always a little apprehensive when there are toddlers around. They’re just so curious and love to help out. Sometimes their curiosity is incredibly dangerous. Amber can’t take her eyes off her daughter for a moment whenever she’s trying to bake something in the oven, because her daughter thinks it looks like a super cozy place to crawl into.
4 The Way Things Bounce
Perhaps it’s because we play games like “Zoom, Zoom Zoom I’m Going to the Moon” or “This is the Way the Lady Rides,” but children love to bounce. My son used to use his larger toys to trap the exercise ball against the baby gate so he could bounce up and down on it.
Sherine’s daughter is also addicted to bouncing. Her favourite place to bounce is the arms of the couch. Even getting a fat lip from falling hasn’t dampened her desire to bounce.
3 There’s No Need for the Railing
Some toddlers also love to bring all of their toys with them wherever they go. Naturally, because they’re big kids and can do it themselves, Mom and Dad are not allowed to help them in any way. Like Kari’s son who constantly tries to climb up or down the stairs with all 17 of his favourite cars bundled in his arms at once.
2 Eating All of the Things
Mealtime at Marissa’s place takes a bit longer than other houses. Not because her daughter eats so slowly, which is sometimes the case with toddlers, but because she can only give her child one item at a time. Otherwise, everything on her daughter’s plate will instantly be in her 18-month-old’s mouth, which has occasionally caused her to choke.
1 Winning at Hide-and-Seek
Ginne once called the police to help her track down her son. They had been playing hide-and-seek, and she couldn’t find him so they all assumed he wandered off. I understand completely. Once when I was a child my siblings and I were playing hide-and-seek when we lost my younger brother. We looked for him everywhere, (or so we thought) including the creek that was off-limits. As my mother was picking up the phone to call we heard him giggling from the room that was temporarily holding the new kitchen cupboards. Being the smallest, he was able to squeeze between them, open a door and crawl into one of the cupboards that the rest of us couldn’t reach.
Obviously I can’t list all of the ways your child is going to turn you prematurely grey, but at least you can know that you’re not alone as you’re reminding yourself to breathe and trying to get your heart to stop racing.