Who Are These Crazy Toddlers and Where Did My Babies Go?

I’ve been taking Alexander and Nathan to Baby Storytime at the public library since they were six months old. They’ve experienced a few milestones since they’ve been going. The first time they could sit up on their own instead of being propped up in my lap. The first time they could stand up and catch the bubbles. The first time they could clap and dance along to the songs. Lately, though, we’ve had to take a break from storytime. The little babies who used to just sit in my lap and listen are long gone. Now they’re up running around, trying to unplug cords from the wall, pulling books off of the reader’s podium, trying to get into the supply closet. I get one settled down and sitting and the other runs off. At our last storytime, overwhelmed and a little embarrassed, I scooped them both up and we left early.

This all happened way too fast. I used to look at the kids running around the room and thank God mine were still little and still. I didn’t expect how quickly they would become the busybodies that wouldn’t sit and listen, so I wasn’t prepared. What do I do when they’re not being “bad,” they just won’t quit moving? Do I deprive them of an experience they’ve enjoyed for so long? Do I keep taking them and stop trying to force them to sit still and be quiet when they’re only a year old? I’m really not sure.

I thought our house was “childproofed.” Then I went to the bathroom and came back to find that Alex had climbed from the couch onto the end table and was standing up to reach a high shelf – what used to be our “hiding things from the twins” shelf. This newfound ability to explore, climb, and reach things scares me. Now I’m thinking of all the ways they can hurt themselves that they couldn’t before. What’s more is they seem hellbent on exploring every dangerous possibility, jumping off the couch or moving barriers to climb into the fireplace. Every time I think I’ve made an area twin-friendly, they find a way to prove me wrong. It’s frustrating.

And what about discipline? The twins have shown me that they understand commands like “stop” or “no” or “put it down.” Sometimes they obey, but sometimes they blatantly defy, often watching me as they do. So how do you discipline a one-year-old? They seem too young for timeouts or spankings or any traditional form of punishment, but they seem old enough to understand when they’re doing something wrong. Again, I’m at a loss. What do you do when your tiny one won’t listen?

I don’t have answers. I feel like I just got the hang of having two babies, getting in a good rhythm with feeding, sleeping, playing – and now we’ve got a whole new set of issues for me to grapple with. I know how to be a baby mom, and now I feel like I’m starting over again, totally lost, as a toddler mom.

Moms, help me out. How did you handle that tricky baby-to-toddler transition?

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