I can’t quite believe it but today you are 25 months old! Each month seems to go quicker than the last and I really want to slow down, live in the moment and enjoy our precious time together. I am excited to see what we’ll get up to, what quirks you’ll develop and what new things you might learn/pick up. So, how was your 24th month?
— Behaviour —
We’ve had a few challenges this month in terms of your behaviour. The ‘terrible twos’ seem to have well and truly kicked in (although I still say that you’re such a good girl really, you’re just cheeky and perhaps the word ‘naughty’ could be chucked in there as well) and you’re pushing the boundaries. It’s important that I know how to deal with you when you’re like this so boundaries are defined but I’m not consistent in how I discipline you at the moment. I feel like I’m struggling sometimes, to be strong, to stick to the same way of managing your actions.
At the moment you’re biting me or others when you don’t get your own way. You think it’s funny. I firmly ask you to stop whilst you sink your teeth in to my arm. When you’re tired you’ve been pulling at my face, really really hard. You dig your nails in to my cheeks. Again, I firmly ask you to stop and tell you that it’s hurting me. People say ‘oh but she’s tired’ but I need you to know that you can’t do that just because you’re frustrated. That’s not an excuse in my book. You’re really verbal, you talk in full sentences and I feel like you could get this across without trying to rip my face off but I do understand. It’s not always easy for you to communicate your needs at such a young age!
In terms of managing your behaviour, I found myself becoming a little too ‘shouty’ at first. There was a week or two where I was raising my voice in the stress of everything (it’s been a hard month for our family) and I quickly reevaluated as that’s not going to help anybody. It’s just the natural response sometimes you know?
I try and get down to your level to speak to you. I try and speak calmly and ask you to stop whatever you’re doing or if it’s something dangerous I’ll remove you from the situation. I was asking you whether you wanted to go to bed because I’d have to take you there if you carried on but you’d reply ‘yes’ which wasn’t the answer I wanted as it’s two sets of stairs upwards every single time so I’ve learnt to only ask you questions with answers that I’m happy to follow through with.
If I did follow through with it you’d get upset at being in your bedroom by yourself and I worried that it wasn’t helping your sleeping situation so I won’t put you in your bedroom anymore if your behaviour isn’t very good. I don’t want you to associate your bedroom with somewhere you go when you don’t do as you’re told. I want it to be happy, serene space where you can relax, sleep/nap and play with your toys.
If I ask you to sit on the stairs you’ll happily put yourself there but then you’ll cry and take yourself off. If I ask you to return you’ll stamp your feet and refuse. If I put you back you just come off again instantly as soon as I turn around. That doesn’t really work for us and I don’t think it has any benefit to you or your behaviour. I want to be with you to help you understand why I’m asking you to stop or why you can’t do something rather than leave you to wonder what’s going on.
Things that are making a difference? Counting backwards – 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Most of the time, you’ll come over to me before I reach the end. If you don’t, I remove you from whatever you’re doing that you shouldn’t be and make you stay with me so that we can talk about it so you know why you’ve been removed. If you’ve hurt me or somebody else I ask you to apologise and insist that you do because I think it’s only right that you learn to say sorry.
We’ve also implemented a reward chart so that you’re being praised for your good behaviour. It seems to be working fairly well and I’ll write about it shortly once we’ve given it a good go for a couple of weeks.
— Sleep —
To get you to go to sleep we’ve resorted to leaving you in your room following the bedtime routine. We’ll ask you to get in to bed but you’ll refuse. You’ll cry when we’ve read lots of stories and we tell you that it’s time for sleep. You’ll often say ‘goodbye’ but still be frustrated and upset as we go downstairs. We try to close your door but you won’t let us so we just close the stair-gate across your bedroom as we leave. You’ll instantly turn your light on. You’ll get angry and perhaps cry a little and call for us. You’ll say ‘Mummy & Daddy gone’ which is like a dagger through my heart. Before we leave I’ll tell you that we’re just downstairs, that we’ll see you soon, that we’re not far away if you need us.
Within just a minute or two you’ll get in to bed and pull your covers up and it doesn’t take long for you to nod off anymore. I used to sit with you but you wouldn’t sleep properly be up for hours. It isn’t what I want to do, leaving you, but it works because you’ll have a minor paddy about it being bedtime and then you’ll go to sleep which is something you really need to stay healthy and happy. If we stay with you then the temper about bedtime intensifies, you’ll continue to refuse to get in to bed and you become hysterical. I would never leave you to cry if you were really upset but I’ve become comfortable with our routine because you’re just showing displease for bedtime more than anything else and you’re in bed quietly by the time we’ve reached the bottom floor. I’m glad that we’ve finally found a way that works for us all and I’m hoping that if we stick with it long enough you’ll be happy about going to bed again.
You usually wake up when we come to bed and you’ll spend the rest of the night with us in our room. It’s wonderful waking up and seeing you cuddled up with your Dad or wrapped up in my arms. Quite often you’ll end up horizontal so I have your head and Daddy has your feet. We’re both clutching on to the sides of the bed because you’re taking up all of the space but we don’t mind. We usually just laugh with each other and try and turn you round without waking you!
We know when you’re tired because you’ll put your dummy in and start stroking your hair. That’s your way of comforting yourself. You do this at night when you’re trying to get yourself back to sleep and I end up with you hitting me in the face accidentally or I find myself eating wisps of your curls. I try and stroke your hair for you but you’ll push my hand away so I’ll just stroke your back or wherever I can instead.
— Development & Character —
The way you’ve progressed from this tiny helpless baby to this clever, amazing toddler in just two years is seriously mind-boggling. I can hardly believe it most of the time. And you’ve done it all by yourself, I haven’t done much to influence you.
You know all of your colours, I still feel so proud when you get them right even though you’ve known them for a while now. You’ve been counting to ten since about 15 months old but now you’ll mix them up, I’ve no idea why. 1, 2, 3, 8, 12, 7, 8…that’s how it always starts. You seem to really like the number 8. I wonder if it’s because it’s always been my lucky number with you? Every now and then you’ll check I’m looking/listening and you’ll rattle them off perfectly in order like you’re trying to reassure me that you do know them! You know all of your main body parts and shapes and since you got your Doctor’s set you’ve been pointing out where you heart is too – ‘It’s in here Mummy’. ‘Bom bom, bom bom’.
You’ve always been a talker and we have full conversations. There’s only a couple of times a day where I wonder what on earth you’re going on about but it’s just words you haven’t learnt yet. I eventually figure out what you’re getting at and I’ll teach you how to say it properly.
You can get dressed and undressed with some minimal help (obviously you can’t do your buttons or anything like that) but you’ve not taken to the potty yet. I’m starting to try it with you more often and I’m sure you’ll pick it up when you’re ready.
You love jumping (in muddy puddles!) and playing catch with your beloved ‘strawberry ball’ (I think it was from the £ shop, it’s this pink ball with a smiley-faced strawberry on the front that used to smell of vaguely of strawberries) and you like playing with your skittles too. You’re getting the hang of rolling the balls nowadays rather than lobbing them! You also like putting your head on the floor and saying ‘I’m upside down!’.
You like to go out every day and start asking to go for a walk fro the moment you wake up!
You’re asking for your dummy or ‘dodi’ quite a lot at the moment but I imagine that’s because so much is changing for you and it must be an overwhelming time. You’ve never been allowed to have it unless you’re trying for a nap or overnight so I won’t bend the rules there unless you’re unwell or distressed. I think you might give your dummy to the ‘dummy fairy’ soon but we’ll see how you get on.
— Food —
You’re eating like a horse at the moment and have been for a couple of months. I can guarantee that the phrase ‘Mummy, I’m a bit hungry’ comes out of your mouth well over a hundred times a day and when I ask what you’d like the response is nearly always some sort of fruit or just ‘fruit’ in general.
You’ve been the master of your fork and spoon for a while now so I’ve just introduced a small children’s knife that came in one of your cutlery sets from Boots which you’re starting to try and use properly.
You’re still having a bottle of milk before bed (whole milk) and sometimes you’ll have a bottle in the night if you wake up. You still won’t take to a beaker for your milk and we’re going to start giving you an open cup instead as it’s not overly important that you have the milk nutritionally nowadays. I don’t have a problem with you still using your bottle because it’s a comfort for you. Nobody frowns (or shouldn’t anyway) at children being breastfed at your age so why shouldn’t you seek comfort from your bottle if you need to? Same goes for your dummy and it’s never held your speech back (nothing has, you’re hardly ever quiet which I love, you’re a right chatterbox!).
You eat well and in the mornings you’ll ask for a second bowl of cereal most days! You never seem to look particularly podgy though, always shooting upwards, those little feet becoming bigger and bigger (your new boots are a size eight) I don’t know where you put it all!
— Favourites —
Toys: Gaston (the tiny ladybird that came with your Ben & Holly figurines for your birthday); your Melissa & Doug castle (another birthday present); your Grimm’s pastel rainbow (which you try and use as a wobbel board, now I have an excuse to buy one!); your Clanger’s whistle, playdoh, your Orange Tree skittles, your Chad Valley iron, your Plan Toys beehives.
Cuddlies: Gaston #2 (the plush ladybird Grandma bought you around Valentine’s Day), your Celebration Bear, puppy dog (another £ shop special), the dinosaur Aunty Lele bought you from Wilkinsons and Patch, the dog on the lead Grandma bought you from Blackpool. Also the twin purple and green dragons Grandma and Grandad bought you which you just call ‘cute’.
Foods: Strawberries, grapes, apples, ice cream cones (by themselves), pasta (you are definitely my daughter!), baked beans, fish goujons, cheese, blueberries, toast.
— Toddler Wishlist —
This month I’d like to get you a new plate and bowl as yours are getting old and the plastic is a little worn. I want to save them in the memory boxes before they get completely destroyed! Here’s what I’ve got in mind…
I’d also like to get you some Grimm’s Semi-Circles to expand play with your rainbow and ‘do up’ your dolls-house with some sticky paper for the walls, furniture and accessories.
Lastly, I’d love to treat you to ALL of the books mentioned in ‘How To Build A Feminist Library For Your Toddler‘ by Hannah at Hi Baby Blog but I think we’ll get them a few at a time as we go along. I need to go through your books as some of them are too basic for you now and, I didn’t think I’d ever say this, some of them are just plain rubbish! I’m tidying your room tomorrow so we’ll have an overhaul then.