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4 Major Toddler Milestones

Once my daughter Anna became a toddler, my husband and I found we had to adjust our expectations constantly. We would see our little girl trying to ride a trike, or put on her own shoes, or hold her own in a conversation, and wonder: Are we asking too much of her? Or not enough? Because Anna, like all young kids, changed so quickly, we found our answers to these questions changed nearly every day as well.

The developmental leaps and bounds that begin to occur at around 18 months are surprising, exciting  -- and sometimes a little unnerving. Even though you're bound to greet each accomplishment with fanfare, these new skills will present their own special challenges as you learn to adjust to them. One day, Anna would hold out her arms to have her shirt put on; the next, any help from me would mean a meltdown  -- and we'd have to start the process of getting dressed all over again. Says Mary Kate McTeigue, a mom of four, ages 3 to 11, in Great Barrington, MA: "You feel you have to reevaluate the whole parenting package."

Sound familiar? Here's a look at some of the major milestones of toddlerhood, and what you can do to get you and your child through them with more smiles than tears.