Monday, 28 July 2014

Toddler triumphs & tribulations

For one of this blog's starring characters, he's not had a post all to his own for a while.  So please allow me to indulge myself, and all my proud mummy instincts, and tell you how The Boy is getting on.  At the ripe old age of (almost) 21 months...

He's a real people-person.  He lights up whenever he sees any of his doting relatives, neighbours, friends - even the friendly bin collectors!  In turn, he has the unknowing ability to light up whichever room he enters, and bring a smile to the most hardened of toddler-haters.  He (unlike his mum) has a fabulous recall for names and faces, and will always remember who belongs with who.  For example, if you mention two family members we are on the way to visit, he will quickly pipe up with the name of the third.  

He's a confident boy.  As long as Bubby (that's me) and Daddy are a few steps behind, he is quite happy to march straight on in: to parties, to trains, to parks, to strange houses, shops, anywhere!  He can (in a matter of moments) work out exactly where the mischief and fun can be had in any given situation and activate that mischief immediately.

Which leads us on to his laugh.  His naughty, cheeky, wicked giggle that ranges from a wry little cackle to full-blown, body-convulsing, head-tossing, hysterics.  It is impossible not to join in.  

The Boy is a natural entertainer, and loves nothing more than inventing new ways to make us laugh with him.  If he falls over, it's funny.  If something spills - hysterical.  It's hard to view these misfortunes negatively when our boy thinks they are the funniest things ever.

From the moment he wakes up in the morning, he is "on".  He arrives in our bedroom, at any time between 6 and 8am, all ready for the day's fun to begin.  And waiting for Bubby and Daddy to rub their bleary eyes and haul their tired asses out of bed is so frustrating!  At the moment he likes to climb aboard a sleeping person's tummy shouting "see-saw, see-saw!"

He has a growing band of toddler friends.  A fledgling gang of mischief-makers.  He has one particular girl friend (he calls her "Chaz") who he is alarmingly obsessed with right now.  Every morning, he will talk about her and wonder when he is going to see her next (luckily for him, he normally does see her every day).  He also loves his cousin (8 weeks his senior) and will distribute hugs and kisses liberally.  When does a sweet toddler kiss deteriorate into a snog??

He is at that stage where certain objects hold a lot of fascination.  The highlight of his week is the Tuesday morning rubbish and recycling collections.  He is fixated at the moment with lorries - ranging from small flat-beds to concrete mixers, dumper trucks to Eddie Stobarts.  The grannies are currently competing in some sort of arms race to present him with the best, most realistic, most coveted lorry-type toy - so his collection, now fuelling the obsession, is growing by the week.

Apart from lorry types, I do try to teach The Boy useful things that might set him on his education path: colours, numbers, shapes, that sort of thing.  He humours me, but plainly he will remember what he chooses and thinks me a fool for those repetitive counting songs and the like.  Instead he always manages to surprise me by coming out with something I haven't tried to teach him.  So I've started not to worry so much, and allow him to tell me what he's interested in knowing about.  With words such as "What?" and "Why?" gradually entering his vocabulary this is becoming easier!

For example, with his language development, he will often pipe up with something I haven't actively "taught" him but which he clearly just likes the sound of: "see you soon!" added to every "bye bye", for example.  "Ready" yelled up the stairs when he is waiting to be taken out to the park.  

Which leads us swiftly on to...

The downside of this spongelike language accumulation is that he also picks up words you'd rather he didn't... "Oi!" is the worst at the moment.  I was indignantly trying to work out who the culprit for this was, until the husband pointed out I was shouting "OI!!" to the cat who was attacking my feet.  Oops.

The Boy's sociability is a joy, but he hasn't quite yet acquired the people skills to go with it.  When "Chaz" comes around to play he will pet her and kiss her, but then isn't able to read her signals that she would rather he didn't smash his hands into her face and push her into a shrub.  Oh dear.  For every adorable toddler cuddling moment, his parents are standing guard, ready to intercede when necessary.

This vigilance applies especially to his encounters with other people's babies.  He loves all babies, doesn't really matter that they might only be a month or two younger than him.  But with really little newborns (especially precious first-borns!) we have to watch him like a hawk: he loves to point out their little "nose", "mouth", and "eyyyyyyyyyes".  There have been few local babies fortunate to have escaped an eye poking by this over-enthusiastic baby-observer.

Finally, a word on clinginess.  The Boy is more than happy to go off and play with anyone, just as long as Bubby or Daddy are somewhere in the vicinity.  He will happily go run and hide behind a tree, but he will pop out in seconds to check we are still there.  This is something I treasure at the moment, as I know this "circle of security" will only grow and grow until by the time he's 17 he's travelling the world and neglecting to call home!

The Boy is so full of life and fun, that my heart swells when I think of all the good cheer he brings to the world - and the future that awaits him in it.

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