Toddlerhood is all about adaptations – not just for your baby, as they start to figure out that, hey, those feet are useful as well as tasty!, and that interesting things don’t stop happening once they’re tucked up in their cot at 8pm – but also for you as a parent.
Take this for example. Three months ago, SB started pulling all the Xbox games out of the TV unit. She litters them around the floor, claps them together and just generally makes a mess. When she started this, we’d sit with her and patiently tell her ‘no’, take the games away from her and put them back. Six weeks ago, we started just telling her ‘no’, and refusing to take them when she offers it out to us. Tonight she pulled them all out and D and I just sat there, accepting it. It’s one of those destructive toddler-y quirks that we really just accept, because it would be pointless to try and resist it.
Adapting to her not just sitting there and doing whatever we get her to do is difficult too. Gone are the days when she’d happily sit there and let us rub bonjela on her gums. Thankfully she hasn’t needed teething gel for a while, despite more molars than I can count currently poking through her little gums, but brushing those brand new teeth is a different ball game. She has learned to clamp her mouth resolutely shut, puckering her lips and tilting her head back. She’s strong too – once she’s decided we’re not brushing her teeth, that’s that. I’ve just ordered a variety of different toddler toothbrushes – hopefully at least one of them will work. I’m not holding out much hope for the gummy finger brushes, as if I mistakenly pop a finger in her mouth, either when I’m brushing or just checking her teeth, I get a very very sharp bite for my troubles. Those teeth may be new, but they work!
There’s lovely bits to get used to, too. She’s really finding her feet now, and I can’t get used to the sight of her toddling around, beaming from ear to ear with pride. It’s so weird to see my once-tiny baby toddling about – and trying to stop myself from rushing to her every time she stumbles, as she needs to know that that is part of learning to walk – and hearing her chatter away. Most of her babbles are still indecipherable, but ‘Mama’ and ‘Dada’ are so clear now. She says ‘Row Row Row’ when she wants us to sing Row Row Row Your Boat for her, and said ‘Aunty’ yesterday, so more and more words are becoming clear. I’m loving this stage more than any other so far – she’s just like a sponge, soaking up everything. We watch her discovering things and it’s like you can actually see the cogs turning in her little brain.
Of course, that’s the mushy bit over and done with. Don’t get me wrong, she’s the sweetest little thing, but she can also be an absolute monster. Oh, you’d never believe it to meet her. She’ll flutter her eyelashes and give you the most adorable beam, so that you fall completely in love with her… but then she’ll steal your food (and it doesn’t matter that she’s got food of her own that is exactly the same, she needs yours), and if she even so much as sees you touching the TV remote, she has to have it (we have learned how to very quickly remove the batteries so she can pretend it’s a phone to her heart’s content, without us having to worry about her switching the TV off , halfway through a DVD.
Still, it’s so much fun. Every day is an adventure, and seeing it through her eyes, where everything is brand new and exciting, makes me feel younger (not that I need to feel younger, let’s face it…). Her personality shines through.
There’s no denying it now – SB is well and truly a toddler.