Not quite toddlers yet, but firmly out of the baby camp, one year olds are tiny bundles of wonder who will keep you entertained for hours on end. As they improve their motor skills, develop their understanding of language, and work on their mobility, they are a force to be reckoned with. They are on the fence between daring and scared, they are adventurous one minute and reaching for your arms the next. This is where it all begins, your baby is growing up, and it all starts here.
As you find yourself transitioning into the next stage of parenting, here are 10 of the best things about one year olds:
#1: They Toddle
They do not yet have the solid footing required for steady walking, and so they teeter along precariously. Perhaps just for a few steps before collapsing in a heap at your feet, or maybe your one year old can get most of the way down the garden unaided before falling onto that cushioned bottom.
They walk at an irregular pace, sometimes marching forwards, other times walking so slowly they are almost going backwards. They stop frequently, bending double at the waist to inspect something (anything) on the floor, before slowly reaching back up and continuing their toddler for a few more steps until they discover something else in need of inspection.
#2: Nobody Knows What They’re Saying
Apart from you. Obviously you know what he’s saying, you’re his mum! Or, os you pretend when you’re out and about. You will chat back to him as he babbles away, responding to his noises, while groups of old ladies look on in wonder at your in-touch parenting skills.
Of course, in reality, you haven’t got a clue what he’s saying either. Sometimes you wonder whether he’s even attempting the same language or whether you have perhaps somehow switched babies with someone from another planet at some point without realising. He gables on endlessly while you try, and fail, to work out what he’s trying to say.
#3: Pasta Looks Good On Them
When they get a bit older, pasta becomes less flattering smothered on the face of a child, but at just one year old, they can totally pull it off. They can have chopped tomatoes clumped in their hair, sweetcorn implanted in their nostrils, pasta shells poking out of their ears and a goatee made entirely of pasta sauce, and they still look adorable.
And thank goodness, because this will be their outfit of choice for most of the year.
#4: They Are Affectionate
Long gone are the days of singing and chatting away to your newborn who stares at you with a bemused look before simply falling asleep. These days there is no doubt whether your baby loves you, because one year olds are openly affectionate and loving. You will be coated in sloppy kisses, dragged down for cuddles, and know that you are absolutely loved unconditionally. What could be better than that?
#5: They Are Little Scientists
Your one year old is so busy becoming smart and worldly, pretty much everything she does is an experiment or research study of some kind. Yes, even when he throws his food on the floor. Hey, that’s an investigation into gravity. He loves nothing more than exploring, and everything he comes across will be thoroughly investigated in the lab.
He will touch, smell, bite, squeeze and explore new objects to try and work out what they do. You may think he’s dawdling, but he’s busy taking in the world around him, inspecting unusual stones and analysing fallen leaves. It’s important stuff.
#6: They Are Adventurous
You take your one year old to the park and suddenly he’s off, admittedly very slowly but hey, that’s just because he’s still toddling. As soon as he masters walking, he’ll be off exploring new places all by himself. He will climb to the top of the (scarily massive) slide, and then slide down with a ‘Weeeee!’ while you take deep breaths to steady your nerves. He sees stairs as a challenge now, and always rushes over to tackle a new one.
He will climb up bravely, as you stand just below him arms outstretched in case he stumbles (which he never does). As your one year old grows braver and more adventurous, you can feel yourself growing older as you spend your days trying not to worry about his wellbeing.
#7: They Have The Moves
One year olds have amazing dance moves. Babies seem to respond unconsciously to music, swaying their limbs and bodies to the beat. With one year olds it’s even better because they can stand up, jiggle around and really lose themselves to the movement. And one year olds will do this everytime they hear music, no matter where they are, making it even more entertaining for you.
#8: They Are Like Tiny Businessmen
You know the stereotype of angry businessmen and scary bosses often seen in movies? They’re almost certainly based on one year olds. One year olds talk with passion, shout angrily, dribble and spit a lot, use wild and exaggerated gestures, point a lot and make absolutely no sense. If you stick them in a suit, they are furious businessmen.
#9: They Still Fall On Their Bums A Lot
It’s not that you want your baby to fall over and get hurt, of course, it’s just that it’s so adorable when they bump down onto their cushioned bottoms. One year olds have pretty big bottoms anyway, but nappies add that extra layer of adorable padding, especially if you use modern cloth nappies, allowing your baby to take regularly tumbles onto her bottom. And when it happens, he will have an adorable surprised face.
#10: You’re Still Their Favourite
They may be bigger, brave and more badass than ever before, but your one year old stills needs you. And he isn’t afraid to let you know. He will wander off at playgroup, leaving behind him a trail of destruction, but as soon as he encounters a dreaded Bigger Kid, he’ll be right back on your knee. Your one year old’s face will still light up when you enter the room, leaving you in no doubt that you are his favourite person in the world.