This time next week, our wee guy will be two years old. Two!!! He’s not my little baby anymore 😦 I can’t really be sad, though, and I don’t miss those early weeks/months (much) when we have so much fun these days.
He’s a bright, busy, boisterous, boyish boy, which still amuses me quite a bit. He loves noise and action and mess, and all of them at the same time. I’ve learnt the names of construction and utility vehicles alongside him – just as well we know a few technical ones, when ‘truck’ is most often pronounced ‘f***’! Every toy library visit has to result in a train set coming home, and “Mummy/Mama/Auntie J, play trains?” is a constant cry. Car trips are an exercise in listing all the vehicles, motorbikes and diggers we pass, and “see boats in the harbour” is a frequent request.
“I see the harbour” was actually one of his first sentences with correct pronouns, coming towards the end of last term. His language really took off just after we started a weekly music class – not sure if it was a direct cause, or good timing. In early September, we listed over 350 words in his vocabulary! As well as music, I’m sure reading many, many books has affected his language. We love discovering which lines from books he know by heart – like “Mommy, Mama and Me”, “Each Peach Pear Plum”, and most of “The Giant Jam Sandwich”. And he makes up the most adorable little stories of his own, usually beginning with “one day…” Story time is often snuggle time too – as well as the noise and action, we do also get a lot of cuddles, and T. has a real penchant for soft, fuzzy blankets and stuffed toys (my dressing gown rates almost as highly as his minky!)
Socially, he’s doing a lot of learning too. He’s quite a sociable kid, and he’s very attached to particular friends. The eight letters of the alphabet he knows are from almost all people’s initials – and the reason he became interested in learning them in the first place was from seeing his best buddy point them out! He has an enduring and rather intense love for this best buddy, BB, and her mum too. We often hear him talking himself to sleep with many repetitions of their names or crooning songs about them. He loves to sit on BB’s mum’s knee and drag her to look at/play with/do things. I like seeing him do this with a handful of adults we see most weeks, and I like knowing that he trusts and is comfortable enough with them to do so. Their own children tolerate his ‘borrowing’ of their parents to various degrees. Unfortunately, his feelings towards other children aren’t quite so laidback, and he can go from dancing with delight at seeing someone to whacking them on the head very fast. Especially girls. And younger kids. And younger girls. A friend’s nanny suggested this could be an early form of pigtail pulling…!!
It’s tricky, this social learning, for him and for me. I’ve found the Playcentre courses I’ve been to on Positive Guidance and Child Development very useful, and I aim for a low intervention/empathetic approach to conflict, but it’s often difficult to achieve in public, especially when the parent of the kid he’s hitting isn’t thrilled with his behaviour (and who can blame them!!). I feel like I need more tools in my repertoire for this new stage… But the most reassuring and grounding idea I’ve taken away from the Playcentre courses is the thought that this social learning needs as much patience and repetition as all other learning – we don’t get upset when our kids forget a number while counting to ten, for example. So we just keep at it.
The best bit about this almost-two business is the moments of did-you-know-he-could-do-that? that happen with increasing frequency now. Watching him learn and grow and become so distinctly his own person is an exercise in embracing wonder (and that, in itself, deserves its own post, I think). Showing him new things and taking him places that he can explore and run free and be uncomplicatedly joyful are the rewards of this parenting gig, without a doubt.
Bring on Year #3!