So, quite unbelievably, I am now the proud owner of an 18 month old! I cannot believe how fast the time has gone. In a way, looking back to those early days when I felt like I was glued to the armchair and just one big feeding machine, it feels like a lifetime ago. In other ways, it doesn’t feel that long ago at all and all of a sudden I have this boisterous, energetic, curly haired toddler!
Everyone said how much fun it is when babies get to the toddler stage and they weren’t wrong. It is so fun seeing Josh develop. Recently the stacking cup addiction has increased ten fold and he’s in some sort of weird OCD phase of organising things by colour, or stacking things up in a certain way! He is also a godsend when it comes to tidying up; every night once I start to wind everything down, he starts gathering up all the balls that have fallen out of the ball pit and putting them back in! It’s wonderful.
In Josh’s first year, I did quite regular updates on here and spoke about his milestones and what he was reaching. But now he is at an age where it is almost tough “tracking” them, because I am falling into the trap of comparing Josh to other toddlers the same age. And I hate myself for that. Because it makes me think negatively and that is not something I ever want to do when it comes to my child.
The main area this has been a concern, rightly or wrongly, has been with his speech. We have several little friends of Josh’s who are similar in age and a lot of his little buddies and chattering away. In fact one of his friends who is 3 months younger is chatting away loads. She is a girl, and I do hear that girls tend to chat earlier than boys. But the fact he is now 18 months old and not saying much beyond “Mama” (which, in fairness, he says a million times a day) and a lot of baby babble, there hasn’t been much progress when it comes to speech. I chat to him all day long, we read every day, and I know I am doing all the right things. And I do try to repeatedly remind myself that all children are different. I do wonder if the fact that Josh is so energetic, constantly playing or running around, perhaps he is putting all his energy into that side of his development.
I know I probably have nothing to worry about, I just would love to help Josh and encourage his speech so I’ve done a bit of research, I’ve bought some flash cards (anyone got any experience of using these – are they any good?), and I would love to hear how you’ve dealt with this sort of situation if you’ve had it with your little one.
The other way in which Josh is challenging, as all toddlers are, is with food. What is it with these fussy little people?! One day they love pasta, the next day it is filth and launched at the poor unsuspecting cat mid dinner! I have to admit, although I’d never want any other Mums to feel my frustration, it is a HUGE comfort when I’ve spoken to other Mums about this and they’ve said “yes me too, one day he loves bananas, the next day they are rejected with a look of disgust”! I have had dinner times with Josh that have literally driven me to tears; I’ll have made a lovely healthy dinner, something that he normally wolfs down, and instead he will refuse it, throw a paddy and enter meltdown zone! The both of us end up stressed and upset and I then have the added worry that he’s going to be so hungry when he goes to bed.
A lot of people have said to me that if he’s hungry he WILL eat. And I keep reminding myself this. I am also fortunate in the sense that, let’s face it, he’s got reserves! I’ve got a proper little chunky monkey and he has always been around the 95th percentile; so he is by no means underweight. I’ve also learnt quickly that if is a couple of days where a tooth is making an appearance than all efforts are out the window. Josh, like many other toddlers, doesn’t want to be eating lots, especially off a spoon, when he has sore gums. The way I’ve decided to deal with it is to just follow Josh’s lead. He makes it very clear when he does or doesn’t want to eat and I am just trying to make sure when I do get him to eat that he’s at least having decent stuff. This week he has developed a charming habit of eating something (or so I think) and then holding it in his mouth before spitting the whole lot out! “It’s just a phase, it’s just a phase” right?!
Despite the challenges I’ve spoken about here, seeing Josh at this stage is a joy. Yes he loves a good tantrum sometimes, don’t they all, and he can be very difficult with his friends; he is bigger than a lot of them, and a bit overly enthusiastic with toys (especially one’s that other kids have) which can make for some awkward situations with Mum friends. I often have to apologise but it’s pretty much always met with “don’t be daft, he’s just a kid”. But he is also so funny. He laughs so much, he is such a happy baby, and he’s full of beans; exploring, sitting proud as punch in his trike, running around like a nutter when it’s supposed to be “wind down time”! He is changing every day and I am so proud of the little boy that I am doing a pretty bloody good job at raising.
It’s a bit scary to think that in just 6 months time he’ll be 2! Goodness only knows what is in store for me then, but I am sure it’ll be full of smiles, laugher…. and food being thrown!!!
PS. If you have ANY advice with regards to speech I’d love to hear it. Please drop me a line <3