There is nothing better than a brand new baby.  We all love smelling their hair, stroking their soft cheeks, and the way they quietly drift off to sleep in our arms.  They are precious in every single way, except for the “up all night” part which gets old after awhile.

baby lizzieThis morning, as Lizzie and I looked into the mirror I said, “Look at the baby!”  As I looked at the reflection staring back at us, I didn’t see a baby.  I saw a barefoot, bruised-leg, snaggle-toothed TODDLER.

10.  Your $200 carseat will suddenly look like a train wreck.

You painfully researched every carseat in search of the safest seat available.  Maybe you even bought it in the newest trendy fabric.  One year later, you will find yourself in a parking lot with your child throwing a tantrum because she wants her squeezy applesauce.  Against your better judgement, you will give it to her.  She will apple squeezy on her legs, down her dress, on the straps, and you will find sticky gooey applesauce in places you never knew existed.

9.  Every meal is an opportunity to explore her artistic side.

At your baby shower, you received a dozen monogrammed, chevron bibs in every color of the rainbow.  Maybe you even bought a fancy baby food maker and purchased a set of personalized dinnerware for your bundle of joy.  Once they become toddlers, it’s “all by myself” or “hunger strike.”  Concerned about her developmental placement on the growth chart, you reluctantly allow her to feed herself and quickly discover that yogurt = paint.  Mashed potatoes = paint.  Oatmeal = paint.

8.  The kid’s got a great pitching arm.

Doesn’t matter what it is.  Sippy cups, dinner plates in the middle of a busy restaurant, vegetables… you’ll quickly discover that she can throw the heater.

7.  Diapering becomes a contact sport.

On your registry, you upgraded to the deluxe changing table and bought covers in all your favorite minky colors.  Only the best for baby!  All of your diapers & wipes are organized next to a basket full of lotions and creams for each routine diaper change.  Fast forward to age 15 months and the wipes are on the floor {remember the pitching arm?} and while you reach for a new diaper, she’s ready to parachute off the table using last night’s pajamas.

6.  A stroller walk in the park becomes anything but…

Taking the baby for a walk is simple.  Add a blanket and you’re good to go.  Walking a toddler is different.  There’s a small chance that you’ll get her to sit for a spell, but then she’ll want out.  If you let her out, she’ll run, and it’s always towards traffic.  You’ll snatch her, she’ll scream, and contort her body until you finally give up and seek an alternative form of exercise.

Toddler Lizzie

5.  The church nursery is starting to look good!  

Quickly after her first birthday, your “aww, I could never leave her” turns into “got the stickers printed – going to sign her in”!  That hour long service might be the only hour you get to yourself all week.

4.  You may never shower again.

Infants have all kinds of contraptions that they can sit, lay, or play in while you shower.  Toddlers?  Not so much.  They are clever criminals with an affinity for household poisons and throwing things in toilets.  You’ll find yourself begging your husband to please watch her so you can shower.  Otherwise, you’ll have to wake up at 4 am just to feel the luxury of hot water without interruptions.

3.  Your curtains are not safe.

Infants have no interest in curtains.  Toddlers will hide in them {adorable!}, use them as napkins {deplorable!}, and for target practice.  Never forget the pitching arm.

2.  They are completely unpredictable.

Were you blessed with a baby who napped regularly and nursed at even intervals?  Welcome to toddlerhood.   If you’re still nursing, be prepared to have her “help herself” in the middle of  Post office line?  You betcha.  Yesterday she loved Cheerios, today she’s feeding them to the dog.  You’ll find yourself saying, “but I thought you liked that?” all too often.

1.  Shopping will never be the same.

I envy moms walking peacefully through Target with their Starbucks and a sleeping baby in their unspoiled $200 carseat.  So sweet.  {My toddler is the one running through the store barefoot because her 25th percentile self slipped out of the cart straps and leaped into my arms.  I would have put shoes on her except that she threw them in the dishwasher.}  When shopping with a toddler, a twenty minute shopping trip turns into two hours, and you’ll leave only with four new gray hairs, bananas, and a pack of yogurt.

Can’t forget that yogurt… she *is* a budding artist after all.