- Randomly shrieking at the top of their lungs
Remember when your baby first realized she could make that super shrill noise and did it all the time? Well, be prepared for a repeat — only worse. Now she knows that it gets your attention (especially if you're in the bathroom, on the phone, or trying to sign for a package) and remains blissfully unaware that it is driving you up the freaking wall. Sure, you can try teaching little Susie that we use our “inside voices,” but a word to the wise: hiding in the closet with earbuds and chocolate works better.
- Putting everything in their mouths (and up their noses)
Once your toddler is mobile, frozen washcloths and teething toys aren't going to cut it. Why chew on a safe object specifically designed for that purpose when you can go lick the fridge, drink out of the dog's bowl, or eat birthday candles? (No worries on this last one. The doctor assured me they'd pass right through.)
Children of this age are also becoming more aware of their own bodies and are ready to take that shape matching game into the real world. Can this pencil eraser go up my nose? Yes! Cool! How about in my ear? Score here too! Oops, the marble is too big for the nose and ear, back to the mouth we go. For your own sanity, I recommend removing objects that are small enough to be choking hazards or insertable into body cavities and then remind yourself that some exposure to germs makes kids healthier.
- Obsessing over their privates
You're at your in-laws' house, and everyone is oohing and aahing over how big your little one is getting. Then the room gets all awkward, and everyone has to check their phones at the exact same time. You look up to find that precious toddler with his hand down his pants, or worse with his pants already off and fondling himself. Awkward? Yes! But also totally normal. Just like your kids is figuring out that marbles don't fit in her ears and toes only stretch so far, she's also realizing that there's this whole unexplored territory that has been here-to covered with the diaper she can now get off.
Lucky for you, this also extends to all things poop and pee. Explosive newborn diapers are bad, but you haven't seen anything till you've walked into a room — after leaving for a whole 2.5 seconds — to find your toddler naked and smearing brown “paint” all over the walls and toys.