Since Elsie turned two last month I’ve noticed a number of shifts. Perhaps the most marked has been her frustration. When her language fails her she gets worked up and cross. There were a couple of weeks full of tantrums and then, as is normally the case with my children, a period of calm followed along with an explosion of new learnt words and phrases. Last week she said “mouse” and “bawbry” (strawberry) for the first time which was just about the sweetest thing I’d ever heard. New words are picked up daily and she is getting better at expressing herself. She can string words together now and tell me what she wants; “socks on”, “shoes on”, “coat off”, “we there mama?”, “read story” and so on. When we read story books together she can identify a lot of the things on a page by pointing to them when asked or by naming them. She is also getting braver in the playground, climbing, sliding and running around happy as a toddler should be in this carefree period of her life.
She’s striving for more independence and when she accomplishes a task it really pleases her. When I wash my hands she asks to too and when I brush my teeth she likes to sit on my lap and brush hers at the same time.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing for me is her desire to be out of the pushchair when we’re on a walk. She will go straight and rigid when I try to strap her in and if I let her run free she’ll suddenly stop and wait and play games which can mean we’re late. I’m trying to build in more time to allow her this freedom and to take walks with her specifically so she can potter – when we have nowhere to be and no time pressures.
Her fussiness with food seems to be peaking. I’m taking a no nonsense approach – if she refuses her food she has to wait for the next meal. It’s a bit of a stand off at the moment but I’m hoping things will get easier. I’m exploring lots of new meal types to help build in plenty of variety to her diet and discover new favourite foods she’ll devour happily.
The way she is playing has deepened too. She is currently obsessed with a hareem of baby rabbits gifted to her and her brother by various friends at their birth. She’ll carry them around the house wherever she goes and load them into her little pushchair to wheel them around the kitchen island. We have to count them into her bed each night and often one will magically fall through the spindles on her cot and cause me or her daddy to come back into her room to retrieve and replace it. It’s her favourite game and we indulge her in this one, if for nothing else than to hear the sound of her giggling with glee when it’s returned to her loving arms.
I’m enjoying mothering her in this stage. It’s hard work, tougher than a couple of months ago. She’s heavier and my back can feel it at the end of the day, and there is more negotiation involved, but she’s so full of character and sass that the rewards are plentiful as her mother.
I know only too well how quickly the passing of time is through each year and can remember clearly how huge a leap the transition from 2 to 3 years is – the finite end of babyhood. In the meantime I’ll cling to the cuddles as long as possible before she becomes a wriggly worm like her brother.
Elsie wears the Matilda Floral Pinafore by Hello Minouche