Last week, Tiny Tin Bird turned 18 months old. I’m not sure why this feels like a big milestone, but I’m pretty proud of how he is doing so far. He is both easy peasy and really challenging but generally our days are enjoyable together and he seems to be doing some impressive (to me) things.
I think it’s amazing just how child like he is these days. I catch him doing things and I have to catch my breath a bit when I think that that little boy over there is the same baby I carried in me, and who was so tiny and dependant on me. Now he sits cross legged to read his books and can use a fork and a spoon. Incredible. Pregnancy and birth and growing up are the most natural things in the world but I actually find it very magical, mind blowing and incredible.
At the moment, TTB is very chatty and he is really coming on well with his speech. He has always known/been able to recognise more words than he can say and a lot of his utterances are based around a sort of “a-da” or “oh dear” sound but are identifiable if you know to listen for it. If he can’t pronounce a word he will revert back to that sound pattern and use a different emphasis. I’m trying to get him to say “please” but he can’t make the actual sound so (I like to think) he says “oh dear” but with a different tone that is unique to the “please” usage. “Oh dear” generally means “something is not the way I want it, please make it so” ;-)
Words he consistently says include: mama, grandma (mam-maah), daddy, raa-raa (Auntie Rachie), Pa (both Uncle Patch and Postman Pat), door, dog, duck, cat, deer, ele (elephant), all gone, book, bath, light, drink, cup, tea, no, ball, hiya, hello, bubble, Bop (from Abney and Teal), choo-choo train, truck, car, digger, down, out. Also he knows the names of some of his friends which is nice. There are probably more but they just sound like oh dear. He likes to point at things and have us tell him the word. He has put together a couple of words too, he went into our room expecting Andy to be there (he was at work) and said “dada all gone!” in a sad little voice. Aww!
I am trying to take him swimming every week now and it’s great to see him growing in confidence. The first two times we went, he didn’t want to let go of me but the 3rd time he was happy to walk around the pool by himself and do some splashing. It makes me happy to see him doing that and I would really like him to be confident in the water so I will definitely keep taking him. I’m itching to go and have a proper swim myself really but at the moment I’m just making do with bopping around the toddler pool on my knees and keeping him from going under.
He makes me laugh a lot. He has started laughing at jokes that people make, not because he gets them but because he thinks that’s what you do. He also likes to make you laugh on purpose: when my mum and sister were here last week, he copied a sneeze and saw that we all laughed at him doing it, so he did it over and over and laughed at what he was doing and laughed because it was making us laugh. I love seeing his understanding of things and how he tries to make sense of everything.
I actually find his making sense of the world and how he understands things to be fascinating. He makes connections that I wouldn’t have expected him to, like he knows what a door is and can recognise it in books but he also knows that a car door is a door despite it looking totally different and us rarely going in the car. I didn’t teach him that, he just worked it out himself. And he knows which way up to read a book! That kind of thing. He can follow a plot in an episode of Postman Pat or Abney and Teal, and will say “oh dear, oh dear!” in a concerned way when something upsetting (well as upsetting as an episode of Postman Pat is, you know what I mean) and then be chipper and wave when the issue is resolved.
He gets excited when he recognises something when we are out, like today there was a painting of a dog in a cafe and he was excited to know that it was a dog. He found a free magazine that my mum left here and sat down with it like a book. He turned the pages until he found something he recognised and excitedly told us all about the cars he could see.
I try to remember all the little funny things he does too but I think I forget more than I’d like. After months of being scared of the hoover he now wants to join in, but mostly he likes to stand at the back of it with his hands each side and put his face above the bit where the air blows out so that his hair puffs up in the air. He likes to put on any shoes and socks that he can find, and also trousers and tops but he always puts them on his right leg. He comes up to me all proud because he has put a tshirt on, but it’s just on his right leg!
I said that my mum and Rachel visited us last week. He really, really, REALLY adores his Grandma. They arrived during his naptime, and so went to get him when he woke up. He was SO thrilled to see them that he just could not stop hugging my mum! And then he got down and went to hug Auntie Rachie … but oh no, he couldn’t stop hugging Grandma and just HAD to have more hugs!
When Andy fills his coffee machine, he lets TTB sniff the bag of coffee. A couple of weeks ago he unpacked the bags of shopping I’d left on the floor and found a new bag. He picked it up and held it out to Andy for him to sniff! He likes to do things like that to you, that you have previously done for him. And then the other day when Andy was doing his coffee, TTB ran up to him and stood next to him sniffing loudly! He had seen what Andy was doing and he wanted to smell the coffee! He will also stand next to plants and flowers and sniff/huff loudly and dramatically as he thinks that is what you do with them. Makes me smile loads.
It’s not always easy having an 18 month old. I don’t know if it’s an age thing or just a him thing but he is very strong willed and determined and also very strong. He strops quite a lot and makes a big fuss if something isn’t his way. It’s a balancing act trying to time everything right so that he has enough activity in the morning but also isn’t so tired that he can’t eat lunch. He is a bit fussier with food than he has been previously but I think he is still quite good. When he finds something he likes, he will eat a lot of it! Sleeping is a big problem for us still and I’m about to do some research into it because it’s getting harder to cope with. He and I co sleep each night on his floor (thank goodness for crocheted blankets – I sleep on the cashmerino ones I’ve made and they are lovely and soft.) because he can’t seem to sleep without me. It seems like separation anxiety mixed with teething pain. I didn’t mind too much to begin with but the floor is getting less and less comfortable and I miss my bed. If it wasn’t for this he would be the perfect child!
I don’t want to end on a bad note though! He really is wonderful and he lights up my life. He is so curious and cheeky and fun. I love his interest in everything and being by his side as he explores the world feels like the biggest privilege. When I see him doing something that I have taught him it feels very special. He is so loving and gives the best hugs and has started doing real big kisses on your cheek and trying to say I love you “a la la!” when you say it to him too.
I didn’t think much beyond “having a baby” when I was pregnant (just deal with the job in hand I say!) and was a bit apprehensive about the toddler stage whenever I spent time with any toddlers. Truth is, you grow with your child and I find it a lot easier and more enjoyable than having a small baby. People say things like, “oh you will have your work cut out now!” when your baby starts to crawl or walk but actually I think it gets easier the more they can do for themselves. Sitting up, crawling, walking, amusing themselves with independent play and books and such like, it’s great. I’m all for independent play! It’s much more freedom for me. I remember how difficult it was to cook while holding a baby! Now he can stand next to me on a chair and “help”, or just potter around and amuse himself. Sure, I have to chase him more and stop him climbing on things etc but it’s far preferable to having a baby I think. He is so much fun to be with! It’s enjoyable for both of us and he is a superstar. I tell him this and he goes “ssssusssusssaaaa!”