Friday, 27 April 2012

From baby to toddler

So, a month back, I posted about how my daughter had taken her first step.  Remembering my son's steady progression from that first step to walking all over the place in two or three weeks, I eagerly anticipated a similar burst of determination from my daughter.

Not so much.  Although she's always been more ambitious than her laid back brother, she has never been pushing to walk.  Simply discovering the ability to take independent steps was not enough to inspire her.

After giving the matter some thought, I came to the conclusion that the big difference in circumstances for the second child is that I wasn't going at her pace.  With her brother, I could arrange my whole day around him, taking things as slowly as I like and letting him crawl alongside me or stagger around holding my hand.  With the second child, I'm rushing to get things done in between the school runs or trying to keep up with the toddler instead of slowing down for the baby.  I've been carrying her a lot more, and she has had absolutely no objection to that.

So starting Monday, I changed my habits, remembering to slow down wherever possible and to do handheld walking as much as possible.  On Thursday, something clicked and she started walking.  Not exclusively, but she's gone from crawling as the default mode to walking (until she falls over) as the default mode.  The change was dramatic enough that my husband noticed the difference between when he left for work in the morning and when he came home that night.

I've also rediscovered just how much of a jump in interaction walking makes--and how much better I am at toddlers than babies.  Also on Thursday, she knocked over her brother's glass of orange juice.  I gave her a paper towel to clean up the mess, and she promptly started wiping at it (with remarkable effectiveness).  I then asked her to throw the used paper towel in the bin and (after a couple of repetitions) she toddled to the kitchen and did so, giving me frequent looks for confirmation and a big grin when she realised she understood what I meant.

One of my mild concerns is that I've not done much in the way of giving directions to her, so I am genuinely delighted she understood me.  And lest anybody think I've got some sort of miracle child, I did have to clean up most of the spill myself--she just did a better job with her paper towel than her brother did at that age.

Speaking of spills, she's recently got the hang of drinking out of her doidy cup so I've started giving her a glass for occasional drinks, in true Montessori style.  I found one at a thrift store a few months ago, that was small but surprisingly heavy.  I'm hoping this means that it can survive a trip to the hardwood floor (so far untested), but the weight encourages her to use both hands to lift it and focus a little more on what she's doing with it.  She's a lot more inclined to just knock things over for fun than her brother ever was, so this is something very intermittent.

But I've moved their table to the window, where it's a little closer to the shelves for carrying practice.  I think I'm going to try and have them eat there more often when we're not having a family meal (i.e.  snacks and lunch).  She's not mastered the art of getting on and off the stools yet, but it'll be a step closer to independence when she does.

Basically, I'm in a wild burst of enthusiasm for having a toddler again, especially since my son's left that behind for the mentally draining 3 year old stage.  For the first time, she's easier than he is!  Yet of course, as much as I've been waiting for this, there's that bittersweet thought: "No more babies, soon she won't crawl around at all...."  I don't do well with babies, and I'm tired of how all her leggings are grey and dingy at the knees, but.... still.  She's been a very cute baby.

Also, she cut three teeth almost simultaneously: two molars and a canine.  That explains the grumpy mood towards the end of our holiday.  I am still waiting on the other canine to poke through, but she's got tired of me poking into her mouth, so for all I know it's there already.

Dampening my burst of wild enthusiasm is the sick day my son's had today.  After a complete lapse in behaviour yesterday, he threw up twice overnight and then again after lunch today.  So far he's kept dinner down, so fingers crossed.  At least he's been much more cheerful today, and I was able to keep him occupied by building a gigantic train track all across the living room rug during his sister's morning nap. 

I probably love that train set more than he does.  I am not looking forward to when they outgrow it....


  1. It's both amazing and a little unsettling how much influence our actions can have. I mean, she would have walked anyway, but it sounds like you got her at a really important moment! It's good to hear people enthuse about toddlers. I love my little one at pretty much every stage, so far, but I do miss the pure babyness of a baby.

    1. I kind of think that if I'd done the same thing a month or two earlier, it would have had the same effect. Doubt it will make a blind bit of difference to her long-term development, of course... but life is already easier now she wants to be on her feet.

      I heart toddlers with a vengeance, but I admit I'm not very good at babies who still fill me with a vague sense of panic. I'm always jealous when people say how much they loved the baby stage... I mean, I love that I had the experience and I have fond memories of my children as babies, but I, myself, was a bit of a wreck throughout the period.