So, having a toddler is awesome.* Even a toddler who doesn't sleep through the night, often refuses to go to bed until 9pm, and won't sleep longer than 40 minutes for his nap unless I sit with him (which I do- yay snuggles!)
And having had plenty of practice dealing with a busy, no-napping, stubborn and shouty baby, I've been fairly well-prepared for some of the several challenges that arise as a baby moves into the toddler-zone (carseat struggles, nap-resisting, active nappy and clothing changes and the like), and have knocked some of my toddler- mum paths for six.
That doesn't mean it's easy, cos boy is it exhausting, but OH, I am so much better** at it * than I was at having a baby.
What do I love about this age?
1- Burgeoning communication skills
Watching Toby learning to speak and sign is hilarious, delightful and such a privilege. He is currently in one of those language explosion stages, with new words every day, and seems to have been finding more pride and satisfaction in picking up words over the last week or so. He's more likely to use words to point something out to us, or request something, or just actually communicate rather than just naming things here and there. I wish I could bottle the look on his face when we finally get it right. He practices improving his pronunciation ("boos...boods...boords, birds") and his hand movements, which I just adore. His favourite words today are star, moon, bowl and egg, and he is loving animal noises.
2- Toddler dancing
Baby dancing is cute full-stop, but add walking, squats, and hip wiggles and I'm just dead.
3- Being able to DO stuff
Entertaining T was really tough for awhile (4-7ish months?). He wasn't content to sit still, but couldn't do anything much else. Wanted to be carried around so he could grab things we didn't want him grabbing, but didn't want to be worn in a baby carrier. Was strongly opposed to lying on the mat with other babies, but also opposed to sitting on Mum's knee. Didn't want to sleep, but didn't much want to be awake either. Things got easier and easier as he got older and more mobile and the sun came out, but now that he's been walking for a few months, things are really pretty good. He can play on (some) playground equipment, enjoy visiting petting zoos, enjoy the bouncy castles at the indoor playground, dance and sing at Mainly Music, and go for walks. At home he can hang out in the garden, do "art projects", set up messy play, "help" with chores, "bake", and really play "with" his toys. This is not only good for the obvious reasons, but also because it makes this control freak Mum feel more in charge of our days. If I'm feeling a bit afloat, I can de-funk by planning a fun activity for my next Toby-day. I feel more like a "Mum" than just an exhausted and confused pile of exhausted hopelessness.
Sure, the constant "Mamamamamamamama" gets exhausting, but it's worth it for the sweet "Ma-ma"s, cuddles using his arms, open mouthed kisses, and the pitter patter of wee feet running towards me after a day at work. I'm also loving seeing him bond with the other people in his life. He loves telling me about his afternoons at Gran ("Gar") and Opa's ("Bou-pa") house, and looking at his far away relatives in his photobooks. His face lights up when the nanny arrives, and he gives her a big kiss and cuddle when he leaves.
There are more things I love, but that's enough gushing for now. Please excuse the sunshine and roses post. It's (definitely) not all like that, but it's nice to enjoy the bright side sometimes.
**still not much good at it, but better at least!