To make up for the fact that she has successfully prevented her mother from getting adequate sleep for almost 16 months now, Hazel has been blessedly slow on the independent-moving-and-exploring front. She was reluctant to scoot or crawl, and when she finally did, she mostly used her new-found power to make sure I didn’t go to the bathroom unattended. She’s thoughtful like that.
So the monicker “Toddler” hasn’t quite fit her. Until: that quintessential “toddler” moment, with the mother shaking her head and swearing “I only turned my back for a moment…” I was 5 feet away from Hazel, browning some meat on the stove, while Hazel played in my baking drawer with measuring cups and spoons and a pastry blender – and, apparently, a poorly contained bag of powdered sugar:
Oh, and not just playing with it. As I snatched up the camera, she dipped a measuring spoon into the mess, licked it, and declared it “MMMMMMM,” which is the pre-verbal equivalent of 5 stars. And then threw some up in the air, just to see what would happen (with the predictable result of getting into her hair, all over her face, down her shirt, and into her ears – a successful experiment if there ever was one).
The next day, Hazel took her first “real” steps. That is to say, she successfully made it from one prop to another, without falling and just because she wanted to, not because some conniving adult let go of her and forced her to take a few stumbling steps to keep from face-planting. And then she turned around and went back to her original position, and then an hour later, she did it again in a totally different place, so I could no longer deny that she has the capability to walk.
And so I have to come to terms with this new phase a life, in which my baby is still MY baby, but to the rest of the world, she’s one of those stumbling, bumbling, babbling creatures who are just a few motor skills and basic math facts away from going off to college…
In other words, I have a toddler now.
And, boy, am I in for it.