My baby was not an early walker. She took her first steps a few weeks before her first birthday, and then slowly progressed, getting more and more mobile as time went by. Suddenly, around 18 months old, something happened. Her physical skills accelerated quickly -- learning to run, climb, and dance.
She’s on the move.
Now, as a two-year-old, she is extremely agile and fast. When we meet people in playgrounds, they invariably say, "Wow, your kid is FAST!" She can confidently climb ladders and kitchen stools, and she throws herself down giant twisty slides without fear. As each day passes, she gets a little bit more confident, and conquers new physical skills. I spend my days constantly chasing after her and trying to find the right balance between protecting her and giving her freedom to grow.
Learning how to have fun together.
This balance is a fine line, particularly as my toddler doesn't want help. If I put my hands under her as she climbs a high ladder, she pushes away. If I try to put her on my lap on a particularly tall slide, she yells, "No!" The happy medium is ever elusive. I climb equipment with her if it's for older kids, and follow in her shadow, not letting her more than arm's reach away, just in case. I try to go to playgrounds with her that have equipment for toddlers as well as older kids. At the toddler playgrounds, I can give her the freedom she so desires, letting her play independently without fear of injury.
One benefit of having such an active toddler is I get a total workout with her every day. And while it's totally exhausting, it's also fun. Running around the park and climbing on playgrounds are some of my favorite things to do with my little one. I’ll even admit there are times when I’m sore after a full afternoon of having fun with my little girl. I can't wait to help her harness all that energy towards sports when she's a little older. Who knows, she might even become an Olympian one day!
Christine Knight is an Australian expat and mother of one enthusiastic toddler. Now living in Brooklyn, NY, she is co-founder of brunchwithmybaby.com, a site dedicated to helping parents navigate the NYC and Sydney food scenes with their offspring.