All parents with more than one will tell you that there are differences between their children. Some of then are obvious, boy vs girl, or blonde vs dark haired, others are more subtle like the fact that one has a sweet innocent smile and the other has the wickedest grin you’ve ever seen on a kid so small. I want to share some of the differences between what my girls were/are up to between the ages of 12-18 months and hopefully you’ll have a giggle along with me.
||Sat on bottom until 12 months, then did a funny kind of bottom shuffle. Pulled up and cruised from 12 months, but only in one direction otherwise she’d get her feet tangled. Finally walked at 17 months
||Traditional crawler, skipped the pulling up and cruising stage entirely in favour of toddling. Regresses to crawling when she needs to get somewhere fast (e.g. to steal a toy from her sister)
|Addressing family members
||Dad, sista, Ted (referring to both of our dogs)
What happened to mum?? Well, mostly I’m just referred to as dad
|Curiosity about objects
||what dat? what dis?
|Learning to share
||Looks slightly baffled that toy is gone, finds another toy happily
||Makes a sound best described as the sound played in quiz shows when you get the answer wrong. Snatches toy back.
||Learned to say variations on please (eez, weez) early. Prefers someone else to feed her, so it all gets into her tummy faster.
||Snatches from nursling 1 and forages dropped food. Will say ‘ta’ if needed. Prefers to self feed. Will spit out food three times before accepting it and gobbling it down.
|Commonly used words
||Gok (meaning milk, clock, or any other thing she didn’t have a word for) Neng and Faff (yes, they’re both completely made up, I’ve no idea what they mean)
||Uh-oh, Yay and Hee Wah Wah (Here you are – usually accompanied by a gift of some sort)
||Loves to suck on jumper cords, and play the in/out game, which involves shoving jumper cords in an adults mouth and then removing them
||When asked to take an object somewhere, will do superman arms with the object held out in front of her whilst powering towards her destination
Both of my nurslings love their solid food. Nursling 1 has even sailed into toddlerdom without becoming too fussy about food. Most of the time this results in the satisfaction of empty bowls and messy grins. Other days my diet it determined largely by what nursling 1 has refused to eat.
Last night nursling 2 signaled the end of her dinner with her daily “oh no, my tea is all gone and I am very sad about it” yell. Which I fixed with some milk while nursling 1 tucked into her curry. With both girls fed I fetched my own dinner, which was raided by nursling 1 as well.
How hungry can one toddler be?
Obviously very hungry, because after raiding my dinner she promptly as for more. So I fetched her a snack of nuts while grabbing a pear for myself. At which point both girls decided they wanted my pear for themselves.
How many mouths can one pear feed?
Three apparently. As I doled out chunks of pear to nursling 1 and chewed up portions to nursling 2, and tried to get a few mouthfuls in edgeways for myself. This left both girls happily satisfied, and not long after husband returned with frozen yoghurt sticks which left me happily satisfied.
This morning nursling 1 made up for her food pilfering by generously feeding me grapes as I pushed her and nursling 2 in the trolley back to the car (paid for before we started eating them!). Before once again sharing my lunch then demanding more grapes. Today is another hungry day. And so it continues.
Long gone are the days of transferring nursling 1 into her bed when she falls asleep in the car or the rocking chair. Evidently she has decided that she’s too big for this. Luckily she has also evidently decided she is too big to fall asleep in the car or rocking chair anyway, and happily talks herself to sleep in her cot.
Nursling 2, however, falls asleep in the car on almost a daily basis, and when the circumstances are right the transfer is successful. Achieving the right circumstances is a finely balanced thing with a toddler in the house! It goes something like this:
- Arrive home.
- Unload the toddler, the nappy bag and any shopping out of the car. Carefully avoid hitting the toddler with any of the bags as you open the front doors (she likes to be where the action is).
- Explain that you’re just going back out to the car to retrieve “sister”. This should prevent any freaking out so long as the toddler isn’t too hungry or tired herself.
- Gently, gently untangle the baby’s hands from her car toys.
- Gently gently undo the straps and pop them over baby’s shoulders.
- Carefully pick up the baby, avoiding snagging her legs on the tethering strap of the rearward facing capsule/travel system.
- Tuck the baby’s face into your shoulder and pat them back to sleep if whinging occurs.
- Juggle holding baby in cradle position and opening both doors. Even though you only shut one, the toddler is sure to have shut the second. Avoid hitting the toddler with the door, as she’s probably still standing behind it.
- Sneak quietly down to the bedroom and carefully wrap the baby.
- “Shhhhh” the toddler, tell her “sister is sleeping. Repeat this step as often as necessary. Hope she doesn’t decide to start shouting.
- Lay baby down in her bed and shoo the toddler out of the room before she wakes up the baby.
Sound simple enough, right?
Just when you have all this mastered (and feel a bit like supermum) the toddler will throw you a curve ball. Cue the noisy toy.
Yesterday, I’d just finished wrapping up nursling 2, who successfully stayed asleep (hooray!), when nursling 2 picked up and started blowing on the tin whistle, that up until that point I had no idea was on the bedroom floor. Nursling 2’s eyes flew open wide, with a rather shocked expression on her face accompanying this rude return to the land of the awake.
Oh dear. Time for some quick thinking. I hurriedly confiscated the tin whistle from nursling 1. Handed her a shoe which was lying around to distract her from the confiscation and stop the inevitable crying. Luckily nursling 1 absolutely loves books, so I had very little trouble convincing her to go find a book for mummy to read her, and using the time she took to find a book, managed to pat nursling 2 back to sleep, lay her in her bed and dart out the door before nursling 1 could return.
We read the book of choice. Nursling 2 stayed asleep. Two happy girls and one happy mum. Hooray!
Last night nursling 1 could be heard running around the lounge room announcing “I am NOT ticklish!”
In the last few months her vocabulary has expanded hugely and her love of books has grown just as much. Currently her favourites are anything Spot or Hairy Maclairy and friends. Most evenings I can be found with nursling 2 sitting on one knee trying to grab any book (or any other thing really) that I am holding and nursling 1 bringing me a book, snuggling into my lap to be read to before getting up to find another book. Aside from reading the several Spot and Hairy Maclairy books that we own over and over and over and over, we also borrow from the library, and you guessed it, the latest borrowing included a book about tickling.
It is really quite astounding how nursling 1 can remember and repeat so much from the books we read. Another new skill she has picked up is making the connection between things that are alike. If there is a minuscule circle somewhere, she will find it. Milk is still quite important to her, and so the other day when I was occupied feeding nursling 2, she wandered over to daddy, pointed to daddy’s shirt and asked, “Daddy milk?”.
Sadly, “daddy milk” brings only disappointment. But the wait for “mummy milk” seems to still be worth it, and ends with a happy, satisfied toddler.
With a toddler in the house, objects turn up in the strangest of places. There are, for example, the multiple instances of pieces of food turning up days later all shriveled and dried up in toys that open and close or just have holes of appropriate sizes. I once found a plastic spoon in my mop water, and clothes pegs of course turn up just about everywhere you could think of.
Shoes seem to be a particular favourite of Nursling 1’s to stash stuff, whether it be nicely squishy food, or hard plastic toys; either way not so fun when you put the shoe on and aren’t expecting it! Recently she’s also taken to putting “fluff” (aka: anything I picked up off the floor including hair, actual fluff, small pieces of paper, sticker or other grot) in the bin which is quite sensible, except that other things end up there as well, like pegs and shoes.
We have a great toy library near us, so I’ve started borrowing the types of toys that we don’t have any of ourselves for Nursling 1 to develop different skills. Most recently we borrowed a set of big building blocks, which are awesome. At the end of the day I did my normal check to make sure all pieces were there. Shock, horror, one piece was missing. ‘No worries’, I thought, we’ve got 4 weeks for it to turn up, and after checking all the bins in the house, I was pretty confident it would turn up eventually.
Two days later it unexpectedly turned up in my ugg boot as I was putting it on. Ouch!
All pieces present and accounted for.
We have officially reached toddler hood with Nursling 1. While this is a wonderful age full of discovery it definitely comes with its own challenges, especially when it comes to food. Foods that were favourites yesterday, and literally disappeared off the plate before you can say ‘Amen’ are left to go cold and eventually end up in the bin the next day. Foods that have been asked for are then rejected when offered, only to be asked for and rejected again. Yoghurt has to be interspersed with precisely the right amount of Weet-Bix. One day the whole bowl full of food is downed and then some, and another day hardly any is eaten at all. Food is also often used as a toy and shoved into the crevices of any actual toys that it will fit in, leaving a trail of crumbs in its wake.
And yet, despite all the fussy, messy changes of mind there is one food that is never rejected.
Yes, you guessed it… breast milk!
Nursling 2 and I are now home from Helen Mayo House (thanks again wonderful staff!) and back at home with Nursling 1 and daddy. For the last few days before we came home though, we thought it would be a good idea for daddy and Nursling 1 to join us overnight to ease everyone back into the normal routine.
When we’re at home, Nursling 1 sleeps in her own room, and Nursling 2 sleeps with daddy and I. Due to to the set up at Helen Mayo we needed to fit all four of us in my luckily fairly roomy for a hospital room room. Still with an extra cot added to the double bed, single bed and pram that were normally in there for Nursling 2 and I things were getting a bit tight. And how would Nursling 1 sleep, we wondered, being in with the rest of us? She’d probably get distracted and wake for any little noise, we thought. Cue some creative thinking from daddy.
Fortunately the cot was on wheels, and even more fortunately it fit in the bathroom. So Nursling 1 slept in the bathroom while daddy and I trundled down to the visitors toilet overnight if needed. This all went brilliantly well the first night, and everyone slept well.
The second night daddy and I took Nursling 2 back out to the lounge with us while Nursling 1 settled herself to sleep, and when Nursling 2 was down and sleeping in her pram we wandered on back to quietly get into bed ourselves. We’re just settling in as we hear, clear as a bell (bathroom acoustics are rather good after all), “good girl, good girl!” coming from the bathroom. Is she awake? No, it turns out she’s just such a chatterbox that she talks away rather clearly in her sleep. And it seems we’re also raising a confident and self assured little girl.