8 Things I Couldn't Wait To Teach My Toddler

I've always been a little scared of the post-baby phase. I adore squishy, tiny babies, and always have, so I'll happily take care of a newborn any day of the week. However, now that I have my own daughter, I've realized there are more than few reasons to look forward to toddlerhood. In fact, there are things I couldn't wait to teach my baby when she became a toddler; things I really hoped would make life less exhausting or terrifying, like how to not fall off the couch or how to ask for more hot dogs instead of just whining, "Eh! Eh!" while jutting her chin in the general direction of the thing she wants.

Babies are still my favorite age, but about eight months in I really started to look forward to having a toddler who would learn and, let's be honest, obey a little more than my squidgy baby. While toddlers definitely make bigger messes at a rapid rate, when they do listen and learn it's absolute bliss. My daughter recently learned how to say "please," and it's by far one of the cutest words she says. Somehow it's so much more satisfying to give her whatever she wants when it's preceded by her clasping her little hands together and pleading, "peas!"

Of course, my daughter still has a ways to go when it comes to mastering other skills and completely growing out of her baby phase (like not flinging herself off the playground structure without considering the powers of gravity). However, I do think there's light at the end of the tunnel, and I'm excited that she'll be learning a few more of these important tricks soon.

How To Ask For More

Honestly, that "Eh! Eh!" noise was and is one of the most annoying noises to me, so teaching my daughter how to sign first, and then how to say "more," was such a relief. Sometimes "more" has just replaced "eh," but at least I know vaguely that she wants more of something. Then we just have to narrow down what the heck that might be.

How To Say Please

Once "more" was in the equation, it started to get quite demanding very quickly. And, of course, for a toddler a shortage of cheddar bunnies is practically the end of the world, so having my daughter say "more! more!" all the time needed a little softening.

Thankfully, she's now mastered "please" and it is awfully sweet. I hope she always uses please with such earnest.

How To Not Fall Off The Couch

Since she could crawl, my daughter has wanted to be up on the couch with the big people, crawling around and flinging herself over pillows with absolutely no understanding that she could go flying off the end or the side at any moment. Of course, she did go flying off a few times, luckily landing on the rug below that's capable of softening her fall.

Now that she's a toddler, we've managed to teach her that "fall off" is a bad thing, and she can almost always "save herself" in some way. No need for my go-go-gadget arms anymore, which is awesome.

How To Go Down The Stairs

Freaking stairs. They are the worst with babies. If your baby is anything like mine, going up stairs is easy but going down is totally incomprehensible. I could not wait for my daughter to be old enough to take some direction on how to get down safely. She still likes to take the last step like a grown-up, but at least she can scoot down backwards for the higher steps.

How To Not Terrify Me On The Playground

I'm still waiting for this one to fully catch on, but I know it's coming. Whoever designs playground equipment in our neighborhood does not understand how much panic they've put me through over the last year. There are so many places where my daughter can just slip through or fly off without any guard to stop her.

As she's gotten older she isn't so excited about having me holding onto her arm at all times, either, and I'm starting to wonder if I can orchestrate a soft fall to show her the consequence of stepping before looking.

The Concept Of "Hot"

My parents live in an old farmhouse in the middle of Maine, with a wood stove in the middle of the kitchen. It's hard to gate off, and all I wanted last Christmas was for my child to understand the concept of "hot," as a temperature, so I could reasonably trust she wouldn't just walk up to it and put her hand on it.

Finally, she caught on to what hot meant, and now understands she can't go reaching for anything hot. Score.

How To Eat With A Spoon

It may not be pretty, but at least I'm not sitting there in front of my daughter with a spoon anymore, right? She can get most things to make it to her mouth, which is such a relief.

There's more clean-up afterward, but at least I can make dinner or do something else while she's eating.

What "Gentle" Means

It's so awkward when your kid is the one who wants to bash other kids for the fun of it, and seems to have no understanding of what gentle means. Thankfully, now that my daughter is a little older, she's grasped how to be soft and gentle and we're no longer the pariahs of the playground.