Hannah Scribbles

7 Things I learned about Toddlers from my Nephew

In Positivity on July 19, 2014 at 10:17 am

This post has been a long time coming.

When I moved to Pittsburgh in April to sublet an apartment for two months, I didn’t think I would be so busy.  My job, as I chose to accept it, was to spend time with my nephew , Bucky (not his actual name), while his mom delivered and cared for his little brother.  There would be plenty of time for work and personal blogging. After all, toddlers take naps, too. Right?

Toddlers take naps, but don’t count on it.

My nephew fell asleep – or got crankier than an old man with footsteps across his yard – at 1 p.m.  I never knew how long he would stay asleep, though.  Some days he slept three hours, and I feared for his bedtime.  Other times, he only slept 45 minutes.  Halfway through compiling data for a report (or, if I was reprehensibly irresponsible, a Jane Austen mini series), I would hear the telltale signs of him waking.

Toddlers sense distraction.

Bucky excited about his brotherAnd they’ll take advantage of it.  I learned pretty quickly not to work with Bucky in the room.  Not only can he smell distraction like a bloodhound, but he knows it’s the best time to strike.

He doesn’t mean anything malicious by it, but any time I worked on my laptop he found himself attracted to my power cord, my glasses or my computer bag. To his delight, the bag contained folders upon folders of paper with multicolored paper clips.

Other items toddlers enjoy include wallets, coins, pens and car keys.  Never leave your purse unattended near a toddler, or everything inside it may disappear.  Yay!

Toddlers like breakfast. A lot.

Some toddlers are picky eaters. Some are voracious, but the thing they all have in common is an uncanny love of breakfast.  Nothing quite matches the glee on a toddler’s face when you tell them it’s breakfast time. It’s as if your words opened the gateway to Narnia.

My brother used to recite breakfast foods in the crib.  Let’s just say the stem didn’t sprout far from the branch.

Toddlers test their limits.

Bucky is Not a Carnival BarkerSometimes they find them, like a wobbly drunkard finds an off-kilter bar stool.  Sometimes they find your limit, in which case you’d better draw that limit farther ahead or prepare for disciplinary action.

Case in point, which one of these do I not put up with?

  1. Throwing hula-hoops across the living room
  2. Ripping work papers
  3. Impromptu dance sessions
  4. Raucous games of Roll the Ball
  5. Tupperware reorganization sessions
  6. Gnawing, breaking, biting
  7. Running up the stairs without abandon
  8. Standing on tables and/or chairs

It’s a trick question! I taught him (or significantly influenced) the first four as alternates to the No.s 6-8.  The fifth is borderline, and the final three limits are set in the stars for both his safety and my sanity.

Toddlers are oddly specific.

Toddlers know what they mean. They sincerely, honestly want to communicate but are flummoxed that we silly grownups haven’t learned to use their words.

Early on, I told Bucky to throw ideas at me.  I told him I was an open book, but judging from my blank stare when he offered his opinion my book must be pretty empty. He even pointed and repeated, which led to a five minute guessing game.

In my defense, he kinda just pointed toward the other side of the room.  How was I supposed to know “Where’d it go?” meant the toy we hadn’t played with in half an hour?

Toddlers are freaky smart.

I know it’s cliche that parents say their two-year-olds are child prodigies, but when you spend time around toddlers you understand.  Toddlers are a developmental goldmine. They learn and comprehend on a level that makes me jealous.  My stupid old brain cells are set in their ways.

It’s hard not to be impressed.

Toddlers find the joy in everything.

Bucky in a BoxAnd I mean everything (unless they’re tired).  With their world expanding by the day, toddlers are always discovering the extraordinary in the mundane.  Chairs can be moved? Push onward, teetering tot!  The dishwasher opens on a hinge? Swing that sucker shut! The furry dog is watching you eat? Offer it cookies!

Everything is a miniature adventure to a toddler. Even mundane chores like running to the store provide a sensory delight.  The excitement is contagious, too.  I’ve never been more excited to shop at Wal-Mart than I was when Bucky came with me.


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