We’ve arrived at toddlerdom. Fourteen months old and walking and clambering, making clear attempts to communicate, deeply curious about his world and eager for exploration.
It’s a great age, he’s such a cool little person, so much fun to hang out with. He’s hilarious, with a really cheeky sense of humour, always looking for a fun game (like “launch out of my carseat before I’m buckled in and climb across the back seat of the car so mum can’t get me”). His personality is coming through strongly now. There’s something so monotonously generic about very small babies. It’s delightful seeing him blossom from that little milk-bellied bundle into a funny cuddly rascally little kid.
Seeing him do something new for the first time. The pride on his face, the pride in my heart. Seeing his understanding grow day by day. The moment when he pauses to figure something out, then masters the new skill.
Interacting on his terms, inhabiting his world, playing the games he wants to play and letting go of adult ideas of time. Today we spent half an hour playing with some crayons, I thought it might be cool for him to try drawing; he thought it might be cool to put them in and out of the packet repeatedly then roll them across the floor, collect them, and put them back in the packet. And so on. It was actually totally fun.
When he climbs into my lap for a cuddle. Just a little recharge cuddle, then back off to explore. Hey mum, cool you’re around, let’s have a hug before I go check out that fascinating metal park bench which appears to be some form of giant drum.
That he goes to sleep more easily now.
Picking him up from creche – I’m ready to give him my full attention after a day away from him at the office, and he is happy playing when I arrive but always greets me with a beaming smile.
Growing confidence in my parenting approach, feeling more relaxed about just being a mum to him and not worrying about how I should be doing things. There are things I’d have done differently in the early months and there were some really bad days, there were times I felt like I was a sleep deprived shadow of the mother I wanted to be. But it’s ok. Little children are very forgiving of their parents.
His desire to go off and explore. If I don’t shut the front door quick smart he is off up the stairs to the driveway. What’s your plan little dude? To reach the top? Where would you go next?
His absolute trust in the world around him and in the adults who care for him.
When we’re out and about and he waves and smiles at people and wants to engage with them.
That when I sing “if you’re happy and you know it” he claps his hands.
Whenever music comes on, he starts bobbing around.
His laugh. My oh my his laugh. What a laugh.
He does not want to lie still while I change his nappy.
Trying to wean him – he doesn’t want to give up the first feed in the morning or the one before bed at night. I’m ready to stop until I look at his sweet angel face while he’s having his milk and then I know I’ll miss it when it’s over.
Preventing him from antagonising the cat. Trying to teach him “gentle strokes, no pulling”.
Keeping him out of harm’s way given the bent for exploration and the many many things that are yucky/dangerous.
Why must he always throw his food and his sippy cup whenever he is in his high-chair? Why? Why?
Trying to do anything else while he is in the house and there’s no other adult around. If I want to go to the toilet I put him in the empty bath with a banana. It’s not ideal but it appears to be the most effective option for preventing him from getting into mischief.
Getting ready for work in the morning. Finding time for myself. Doing the chores. Finding a good midpoint between the pull of work and the pull of family stuff. Finding time for my husband and I as a couple. Doing the chores. The daily grind. Doing the chores. All the stuff that has to be done. He makes so much mess. Doing the chores.
The greatest challenge is trying to live in the moment when it comes to the good stuff, while keeping a long-term view about the hard stuff. Being buoyed by the wonder without being weighed down by the grind.