ast weekend, Max officially turned 18 months old, and I turned 172. Or that’s what it feels like, anyway.
A year-and-a-half of parenthood has both passed in a flash, and crawled by so slowly I’ve sometimes wondered if time was going backwards. It feels like just a few weeks since I was heading to the hospital, with my collection of badly-packed bags, but, at the same time, it feels like at least 7 years since I got out of bed this morning, and it’s currently only 11am. So while I don’t want to be That Person who’s all, “Oh, the days are long, but the years are short!” I totally AM going to be that person, because OMG, THE DAYS, THEY ARE LONG. Reeeeaaalllly, reeeaaalllly long.
The years, though, are most definitely very, very short: so that part’s true, too. This time last year, for instance, we had a baby. Now? Now we have a little boy: a fully-formed little person who can walk, talk (Well, after a fashion…) and absolutely rock a cord blazer, not even joking:
he changes that have taken place in the last few months – or the last few weeks
, even – are still pretty amazing to me, as a first-time mum. In the post I linked above, for instance, which I wrote when he was six months old, I was just blown away
by the fact that he could sit up. By himself! Unsupported! Like, A BABY WHO CAN SIT, YOU GUYS, CAN U EVEN?! This morning, meanwhile, I had to stop him running down the driveway with a shovel, (Don’t ask…) and he’s currently at his grandparents’ house, where I know he’ll be mostly spending the day getting in and out of a tiny toy car, whilst quite literally running rings around my parents. Yes.
By far the biggest – and most exciting – development, however, has been in his speech, and general communication skills. He’d been saying single words, like “mummy”, “daddy” and, we, “banana” (Or “nana”) for ages now, but while we were in Florida last month, it was like some kind of switch flipped in his brain, and he suddenly seemed to be picking up tons of new words every day. By the time we got home, he was starting to join words together, and, now, just a few weeks later, he’s able to construct (very) simple sentences, like, “Sit with mummy,” or “put on shoes” etc, and will try to mimic almost everything we say – sometimes with hilarious results . He knows that your heart is “in ya body!”, that your brain is “in ya head!”, and is pretty good with colours, although we did go through a phrase where everything was either purple or yellow, and there was no convincing him otherwise.
One of the most interesting aspects of his speech development, though, is when I pick up a book we haven’t read in a while, say, and he’ll start pointing to things and saying their names, thus proving to me that all of those nights spent reading ‘Goodnight Moon
‘ were not in vain, and he WAS actually paying attention: he just didn’t quite have the right words yet. (Speaking of books, he’s now able to make requests for his bedtime story, which he normally puts in at bathtime. His requests are almost always, “MOON” or “PUPPY
,” but still: helpful!)
Now, however, he has ALL the words: and, OK, I’m pretty sure Terry and I (Plus his grandparents) are the only ones who really understand them most of the time, but the fact that he’s now able to tell us when he wants something (“TV ON!” was this morning’s request, so, yeah, doing really well with the whole ‘no screen time’ thing, obviously…) certainly makes our lives a whole lot easier. If he’s tired, he’ll point to his cot (Which he sometimes refers to as “home”: awww!), and say “sleepy”, for instance, and he woke up from a nap last week and instantly started yelling, “FOOD! FOOOODDD!” (I mean, I do the same thing myself sometimes, to be fair…), so there was really no mistaking what he wanted, and it’s a relief to be able to take most of the guesswork out of parenting, for sure.
His little attempts at communication might be handy, of course, but they’re also heart-meltingly cute. “HIYA, MUMMY!” he said when I went into his room this morning, and it almost made the crazily-early start worth it. Almost. (To be fair, Max really isn’t a particularly early riser, by most people’s standards. As someone who spent the decade before he arrived working from home, and sleeping as long as she wanted to in the morning, though, it still seems like the middle of the night to me, and 18 months of early starts hasn’t made it any easier, I’m afraid. Still, I fully expect to be able to get at least one long lie in by the time he’s a teenager, so that’s something to look forward to, no?)
or us, meanwhile, this stage is… well, it’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times, really. On the one hand, seeing him start to communicate, and to fully interact with us, has been absolutely wonderful, and it gets better with each new word, and each little piece of his personality that starts to show. He truly is the most amazing little person, and I STILL can’t quite believe he’s real sometimes. With all of that said, though, I have to admit that having a toddler is haaaard work: everyone talks about newborns, and how exhausting they are, but toddlers? Toddlers are worse. Fantastic fun, obviously, and an absolute delight to be around – when they’re not throwing a tantrum because you wouldn’t let them eat Play Doh or something, obviously – but still: exhausting
. Because they need as much attention as babies, really, but they can RUN. And also jump, climb, and get into all kinds of trouble, really. And then they’ll throw themselves into your arms and smile up at you while going, “Mummy!” and you feel like your heart will actually burst
. It’s a wild ride, for sure: and then there’s the tantrums. Oh lord, the tantrums
This morning, Max completely lost his mind because he wanted to wear my shoes, but couldn’t get his feet into them. Last week, I found my toothbrush in the toilet. I feel like I spend 90% of my days right now just following him around the house, picking up the things he’s thrown onto the floor, and doing my best to keep him out of trouble (The remaining 10% is spent either removing Play Doh from his mouth, or watching him repeatedly open and close the office door. Yes, STILL.): in fact, I’ve started to wonder if I’ll ever be able to walk fully upright again, or if my body will just remain in the awkward, hunchbacked posture I adopt when chasing after him forever more. (Endearingly, he’s currently going through a bit of a clingy phase, where he wants one of us with him at all times, so when he wants to go somewhere he’ll come and get me, saying, “Mummy! Hand!” and I have to take his hand and let him lead me around. It’s super-cute, but last week I realised I’d started putting my hand on my back and letting out a little sigh every time I stand up, and I’m 98% sure that’s why…)
So, it’s hard. And exhausting. I’ve read a grand total of one book so far this year, and I’m finally getting around to finishing this blog post at 10pm, having started it at 11am. My life is totally different from how it was a year and a half ago, and at least one hundred times harder. But then there’s this face:
(His lip is continuing to heal really well after his fall a couple of weeks ago
. You can still see the mark in these photos, and he will definitely have a scar, but we’re hoping it’ll just be a small one, and, so far, the signs are good, so fingers crossed…)
He’s obsessed with doors, mango (the fruit, not the clothing store), and Moana, and for the last three nights in a row, he’s fallen asleep clutching a little wooden sheep (‘Ba Ba’) that we bought for him long before he was born. His hobbies include herding people from room to room, watching videos of himself on my phone, and tipping the contents of my desk drawer onto the floor. At 18 months, he’s already the funniest, cutest, sweetest little person I know, and it’s absolutely impossible to even imagine life without him.
If he could just tell us where he’s hidden the remote control, though, that would be awesome…