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Messy One Year Olds

From the Parent Cue
I’m not sure what captivates me more . . . the spontaneous belly laugh or the drool-mouthed wonder on their angelic faces. I can fall in love with a one-year-old faster than they can stink up a room with a saggy diaper. The cherub cheeks and adorable fat thighs draw me in, almost enough to make me overlook their incessantly snotty nose and the jelly they just smeared in their wispy new-grown hair. Almost.

It’s the mess that gets me. Their little fingers are drawn like magnets to anything they can break or mangle. The moment their hands become sticky-gooey, an internal signal screams somewhere in their little bodies, ‘Wipe yourself on something clean and white. Right now!’
Sitting at the dinner table, I see the same look on my granddaughter Mollie’s face that I saw on her daddy’s face so many years ago. It’s the look of curiosity that drives a toddler to snatch and smear, squish, then shriek with delight. I glance across to see the look on her mom’s face. It reads, Could I just eat a meal without being completely grossed out, maybe while the food is still reasonably warm?

It’s hard to believe, but yes, that day will come. But not until Mollie has discovered how much pasta her ears will hold or what a bowl of applesauce feels like as it drips down her face, neck, and eventually . . . to the floor.

Sweet discovery is what this phase is made of. It’s what makes patience and endurance such prized commodities for the parents of this age. You are helping your one-year-old navigate the mess of discovery

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