It has been a continuing pleasure to watch my two daughters grow and move through various phases of development, seeing their own quite different personalities emerge as they get older. So far I have enjoyed most parts of each stage, the baby, the emerging toddler, the full-on walking talking toddler and the not-so-terrible twos and the slightly-more-trying threes. Each has had frustrations, the lack of sleep that seems to spill from the baby to the toddler stages, watching the sheer frustration of trying to get their bodies to do what they want when learning to walk or to make themselves understood as they start talking, the defiance that starts to rear it’s ugly head around 2 and the attitude that appears out of nowhere when they turn three. But aside from these it is a wonderous delight to watch a baby grow into a full-blown little person. This Top Five I’m going to reflect on the 12-18 month age that Miss One is currently in. It’s a beautiful age and here’s why…
1. Learning to talk, playing with sound and language.
Perhaps it’s because of my love of language that I find this the most exciting and fascinating thing to watch. Miss One has only just started really trying to actually say things. There has been sounds, mum mum mum and dad dad dad, nan nan nan etc for a while, but now real words in context are appearing. She says ‘this’ (well really it’s ‘dis’) holding something up in the air as if ‘hey Mum, look at this!’ And ‘that’ (or ‘dat’) pointing at something that she wants, but can’t get. There are lots of other almost-words, you can just see her ready to burst forth with a barrage of language and I can’t wait to find out what she has to say. I’d like it even more if she could tell me why on earth she won’t sleep.
2. Taking pleasure in eating anything and everything.
Food still has something of a novelty quality for Miss One and she loves nothing better than to explore the taste and texture of whatever I put in front of her. She eats really well either on her own or with some help and is an absolute pleasure to cook for and feed. I so, so hope she stays this way!
3. The development of preferences.
By this age you can start to see the likes and dislikes. Miss One likes balls, things with wheels, the toy piano (complete with microphone for impromptu karaoke sessions), necklaces or anything that could be substituted for a necklace and the farm set. Her favourite activity is pulling things out – the duplo out of the box, the toys out of the toy box, the clothes out of the washing basket or the plastics out of the cupboard. She has just figured out how to play peek-a-boo and is very cute trying to hide behind her hands. Unlike Miss Three she adores animals, especially our cat and dog who are very patient and forgiving with her attention. And she grooves and claps along to anything with a decent beat.
4. Getting up and running…. well walking first perhaps.
Both of my girls have been a little on the late side when it comes to getting mobile. First time around I couldn’t wait to see Miss Three learn to walk and encouraged her in anyway I could thing of. This time I’m perfectly happy with Miss One taking her time to master this skill, but she is right on the cusp now. She’s been cruising furniture for a while, has now started moving from one piece of furniture to another as long as it’s within reach and very recently has mastered walking while pushing something. We have several ride-on and push-along type toys that are perfect for this stage, instead she pushes one of the little chairs or even the little toy kitchen around the house, scratching up the floors as she goes.
5. Look at that!
Up until this age Miss One didn’t pay all that much attention to the world around her except perhaps the people in close proximity to her – she’s quite the charmer it seems. Now she points at things and engages in her environment. She is confident enough to crawl off to explore her surroundings (though the separation anxiety did pick up a notch when I went back to work last week) and loves being outside. Leave the back door open for a split second and she’s out before you can stop her. It will be much better when she can walk, crawling on concrete is pretty hard on knees and clothes!
Liz has gone through her bottom five veg this week, take a look.