Newborns are by no means easy to handle, but they aren’t a disaster waiting to happen like toddlers.
The beauty of tiny babies is you can plop them down on a play mat on the floor, turn your back for a minute and when you look back they will still be where you left them.
Do the same with an older baby on the cusp of becoming a toddler and they could have reached the corner shop down the road by the time you check on them again.
It’s surprising how quickly my baby is developing. It’s also shocking how little I remember of the rapid changes that occur from six to 12 months given the fact my eldest is only two-and-a-half.
The trouble is while they’re getting really good at reaching all manner of things around the room, they still have zero sense of danger. They have no idea a cup of tea is hot, they have no idea that swallowing tiny things could cause them to choke and they have no idea their curiosity is actually pretty stressful to manage.
Luckily our house is already child-proofed, but you can only go so far and you always forget something.
For example I left my purse on top of my bag on the floor the other day to find every bank card had been removed, chewed and dribbled on only minutes later. Luckily the baby hadn’t figure led out how to open the coin section, but it’s only a matter of time!
So as we enter the danger zone, also known as being a toddler, here are the things parents have to fret about as babies grow up:
Babies discover things by touching them and then sticking them in their mouths.
Unfortunately they have no sense of what happens when stuff you can’t chew gets stuck in your throat.
As they learn how to feed themselves they gag on pretty much everything. It’s a nerve-wracking time.
Poisonous berries, old and mouldy bits of bread they found down the back of the sofa, the cat’s food, those little batteries you get in musical cards. Your baby doesn’t care if it’s deadly, they will try anything.
That is unless it’s an actual meal you have spent hours preparing for them. Then they won’t touch it with a barge pole.
Zero spatial awareness
My little girl rolls from corner to corner of the room with no thought about the furniture her head can clobber against.
This leads to lots of bashing of the head and frequent bouts of crying.
Reaching for and grabbing everything
Do not leave anything breakable or valuable within reach of a baby, they will grab it.
Also pieces of paper that flutter to the floor and hide in corners will be found by your baby. They will then eat as much of it as possible while pulling faces that show they hate the taste, but they keep chewing on it anyway.
My little one is like lightning now if she sees something interesting on the other side of the room. She rolls everywhere, like her sister did, but it’s only a matter of time before she’s crawling.
It means that while I was relaxed about having the stair gate across when she was upstairs before, I now rush to close it as soon as she’s on the loss.
Learning how to pull up to a standing position leads to lots of excited smiles and laughs.
It’s not such a happy moment for you or for your baby when they tumble down head first.
Poking the tiger
Babies have no idea how annoying they are to older siblings.
They think nothing of pulling hair and stealing toys. Unfortunately older siblings hit and slap back in retaliation.
As a parent you are often left feeling like a referee desperately trying to make one child stop annoying or hurting the other.
The scary thing for me looking at this list of tales from the danger zone is that I have two kids under three. That means I have double the potential for disaster.
Should I just surrender now and cover my home with bubble wrap? I think it might be the only way we all emerge unscathed.
Do you have a little one who’s in the danger zone? How do you cope with their fearlessness?