Given the standard issue puffy eyes, disheveled hair and shirts stained with spit-up, it’s always easy to spot a new mom. But I thought once Tori passed infanthood, my momness would become less apparent. I was wrong. It’s easy to tell I’m the parent of a toddler—and here’s how.
Whatever my toddler ate for lunch ends up wiped on my shoulder. I thought spit-up was bad. Turns out those stains are easy peasy to get out compared to chocolate pudding and strawberry jam.
I am a booger picking machine. Not my own, of course. But when I see one of those little green buggers peeking out from Tori’s nose? I swoop in for the kill—even if we’re sitting at the table in a nice restaurant (I kid. I can’t remember the last time I saw the inside of a nice restaurant).
I know all the names of the Sesame Street characters by heart. And not just the obvious ones, like Elmo and Big Bird. No, I can name minor characters, like Slimy, and Barkley. And even the humans (Maria has the best singing voice).
8 a.m is sleeping in. I never thought I’d see the day when I automatically woke up before 7 a.m. But now that I’m on Tori’s schedule, I do. If I open my eyes at any point after 7:45, I feel positively lazy. I don’t think I could even force myself to stay in bed till 10 anymore.
I automatically cut food into teensy tiny pieces. And not just Tori’s. Nope, every time I sit down with a fork and knife in my hands, I find myself chopping things into micro-bits. So far, I’ve refrained from cutting up my adult companions’ food for them. But I’m afraid there will come a day that I forget.
I walk with a slightly lopsided gait. Holding the hand of a 32-inch person while keeping your posture even isn’t possible—even for a shorty like me. Now I often find myself stooping ever so slightly to the left, whether she’s with me or not.
My purse holds everything but lipstick. Right now, I’m carrying a small book (featuring Elmo, of course), a sippy cup, two smushed granola bars, and a few stray crayons. There’s also a couple boogered tissues, a half-eaten cookie and a rock that she picked up during a walk. But my lipstick? Is usually in my computer bag.
I don’t know the words to any of the songs on Billboard’s Top 20, but I have a favorite Wiggles song. It’s “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing,” in case you wondered.
I have a new appreciation for a closed bathroom door. I never realized how nice it was to be able to take a leisurely poop in private—without a toddler screaming “MOMMMY!” like her heart is breaking. Now every bathroom trip is done as speedily as possible—preferably during a long Sesame Street segment.
I have added amateur wrestler, terrorist negotiator and translator to my resume. Somewhere between getting her dressed in the morning, coaxing a few bites of food down her throat at lunch and identifying what stuffed friends need to bed down with her at night, I have added a whole new skill set to my repetoir. Those terrible twos? Are definitely a learning experience.
Those are all the ways I know I’m the parent of a toddler. What are yours?