You’ve documented every little tooth, smile and babble since birth. But once your baby can stand and walk, things really take off (literally!). We’re celebrating the endearing milestones of toddlerhood, from making friends to leaping with joy. Scroll down for 6 milestones to look forward to (or remember fondly) during the toddler years.

A Step Toward Independence

During that first year of life, your sweet baby looks to you for, well, everything. And then one day, they don't. The stage fraught with determination and a can-do attitude has earned a reputation as the terrible twos, but it's pretty wonderful too. And those first steps toward independence deserve to be celebrated. Your child feels secure enough to start to step away and find their own way.

Three Little Words

We've been loving on these little munchkins from before they were born, but somewhere between 24 to 36 months, they verbalize their feelings for us with three simple words: I love you. Even if you aren't easily moved by milestones, this one will give you all the feels. 

Discovering Dirt

The smell of a newborn is intoxicating. The scent of newness doesn't linger long, but we still think babies smell pretty great long after that addictive odor wears off. However, once your baby can mobilize, they're perpetually grimy. Your toddler explores his or her world by touching all. the. things. And while it's amazing to watch their world grow, we suggest having a pack of wipes for post-dirt play. 

Making First Friends

When your toddler hands a prized toy to a perfect, pint-size stranger, you see the first glow of a friendship form. Empathy, that spark that allows us to connect with other humans, begins to emerge at around two years of age. Watching your child learn to make healthy bonds with those outside the family: priceless. 

photo: iStock

Running & Jumping with Abandon

When your baby first began to walk, they toddled and toppled. But by around 27 months they can jump with both feet. By age three, they can run without falling over. At this point, it might be time to swap a stroller for a pair of sneakers so you can keep up!

Revealing Their Inner Artist

Your child's first marks might look like chicken scratches, but by 36 months, those scribbles become frame-worthy. Watching your budding artist communicate through color and paint is reason to celebrate with your first fridge gallery. 

—Meghan Yudes Meyers

 

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