But first, the cute factor: In the videos that Jill posted without captions, we see two full minutes of an adorable little dude making his way over to the couch to grab a marker that his mama is holding. Jill seems to be doing everything right — she has Israel set up on a soft blanket with picture books and a few toys to keep him entertained. Israel even starts to climb up on the couch in the second video with help from his dad, Derick. Israel's new videos were filmed during the couples' long-term mission trip in Central America, where they have been serving since August.
After you take a moment to wipe that chubby little baby sparkle out of your eye, you can guess what the Dillards are in for next. This is the long-awaited moment every new parent yearns for and soon comes to regret. You can't wait for your first baby to hit that first big milestone of crawling and then walking — until you realize those first baby steps mean even more energy required from an already exhausted new parent.
In translation, the moment your baby graduates to a toddler is the moment you're going to have to crank it up to 11. If you thought you were tired in those newborn days — well, let's check in with Jill in a few months and ask her how she's feeling by the time bedtime rolls around each night.
As Jill just showed us in her too-cute-for-words video clips, there's a stage of development between baby and toddler that almost no parent is prepared for, falling right at 7 to 9 months. Once you make it through those rigorous first six months of Parenting Boot Camp, you make the mistake of thinking you're in the clear. The sleepless nights have finally settled down, and you've figured out a feeding and playtime schedule that works for your family. But as soon as you relax, your baby pulls a fast one on you. Developmentally, 7 months is the time when babies are first "set in motion," making great strides in balance and coordination that quickly propel them from rolling to crawling.
It's in this time frame that most parents learn the hard way how difficult it is to truly babyproof a home for a toddler. It's no longer about what your baby might find to swallow on the floor, though that's still a concern too. Now you also have to worry about hard floors, sharp edges and dangling cords your curious toddler might pull on when your back is turned. For those lightning-fast babies in the crawling stage, not anchoring furniture to the wall, installing a pool fence, covering outlets or using a baby gate on the stairs rank among the most common childproofing mistakes.
Raising a toddler is undoubtedly one of the most exhausting and most rewarding things a parent will ever do. Anyone who has made it through the toddler years in one piece can send Jill their positive vibes as she prepares for the next stage — right about now, she needs all the help she can get.
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