There has been a lot of navel-gazing here of late and while I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the ‘me, me, meeeeeeeee’ time this place is well overdue a Little E update. Here’s what my beautiful, impy, manic, cherub is up to, at 22 months…
Imaginative play. This started in a La Tasca about 6 months ago while he sat waiting for food with no toys (rubbish parents forgot to pack any. Again. Tut). Being deprived of stimulation he turned to the nearest object – a wedge of lemon – and began ‘walking’ it across the table. Oh how mummy and daddy laughed! Then he lobbed it across the table. Again we laughed. His imaginative play now involves feeding his teddy (‘Indy’ cat) real cat biscuits, he also talks lots on the phone, cares for his ‘baby’ (Sammy the seahorse), slings bags over his shoulder and waltzes out the room with a determined “BYE!”, plays with his action figures (and feeds them ‘medicine’?!) and spends ages driving and bashing and crashing his cars and playing with duplo.
Feeding his ‘Indy’ cat biscuits
Tv. The boy can’t get enough of it. I hate this. We’ve had many a run-in about it and I’m pretty sure that when I refuse his requests for Baby Jake the neighbours think I’m torturing him. Who knew it was possible to get so upset and throw so many toys in a snotty, dribbling huff just because you can’t watch shit TV? His favourite thing to watch in all the world right now is Toy Story 3. I have to skip past the ‘scary’ bits (the freaky monkey banging the cymbal and the mean frog) and I always end up in a snivelling heap at the end when Andy leaves home for college.
Pushing boundaries. Wow, has he got this down to a fine art. The trigger times for Little E losing it are, in no particular order: nappy change time, dinner time, going in the pushchair time and the inevitable crash and burn after hyper-mode. Nothing particularly unusual there and being the oldest of 6 kids growing up (soon to be the oldest of 11….yeah, you heard that right…E.L.E.V.E.N) I’m well versed in the dynamics of ‘tantrum’. However, nothing prepares you for the almighty melt-down of your own child, especially when it happens in public. I try to do the usual: staying calm, responding with humour and tickles, but often we just have to take a deep breath and ride the tantrums out.
Once he hit the one year mark Little E became very active and now he’s a big fan of whizzing around ecstatically, getting far too excited and refusing to calm down before going over the edge. When this happens we have a cuddle (if he lets me) and, if needed, he has time out. However, staying calm is easier said than done when you have a child who would rather tear around the garden come rain or shine, ‘ride’ the cat or play chase than sit quietly with a book. Quiet time does happen but only when I leave him to his own devises. He doesn’t like being coaxed into calmness, it’s like he knows what I’m up to!
Talking. Little E loves to jibber-jabber. Life has a running commentary when he’s awake and his speech is getting much clearer. It’s so sweet and a real insight into the way his mind is developing; I love listening to him creating order and making sense of his world.
Needing more ‘daddy-time’. There’s not much cuter than Little E’s excited face and his squeals of delight when he hears J coming home from work. He literally throws himself towards the door for a big cuddle, yelling “my daddy! my daddy!” Up until the age of about one he was content for it to be just him and I (and I have to admit I did love it) but now he wants daddy-cuddles more often…and for mummy to stay hell out of the love-fest. Initially this rejection took me by surprise and I was a bit miffed, but now I love having a few minutes to myself!
Sleeping well. On the whole we’ve been lucky with sleep, generally he’ll go from 7-7 but there are always blips. I was under the rather naïve assumption that eventually babies grow into perfect sleep patterns. Now I know his sleep will always fluctuate depending on his health, whether he’s teething and what he’s done in the day. So while he may be sleeping like an angel for us now there is no way I can guarantee that next week will be the same…to be honest if I ever dare to say that he’s sleeping well it often goes a bit pear-shaped.
I’m a bit anxious about the inevitable lack of sleep that will occur once Bean emerges. I know it’s just going to be another of those ‘grin and bear it’ situations, but those exhausting early days with Little E are slowly coming back to me! We managed with the sleeplessness when it was just him but the prospect of a teeny newborn who needs to be shhhhushhed and patted to sleep alongside an unsettled toddler is quite daunting. We’ll ride it out whatever happens, but I think it might be painful!
Sporadic eating. If the handover at the end of the day is to be believed, Little E is a lot pickier with his food at home than he is at nursery. He seems to get on better with the hustle and bustle of eating with a roomful of people (whether that’s at nursery or when we eat out) than eating with J and I. He will sit down and eat with us, but his concentration span is very short and he always wants to get down from the table before he’s finished. At the moment I think he’s still a bit young to be kept in his chair screaming and thrashing about while we finish our food but at some point we’ll have to start being a bit firmer. We’ve recently sacrificed the family meals so that Little E is fed earlier, thus avoiding melt-downs, and J and I get some time to eat and talk together…it’s been so lovely!
One of his favourite meals is still fishfingers, smiley faces and beans. Healthy. He’s also a big fan of man-food; think pies and roast dinners. But the absolute winner is brocolli. Weird.