Well my sweet little Rainbow Princess, your very first year is drawing to an end. This was the month your babyhood ended, and your toddlerhood began. Seemingly over night, my quiet, placid baby has been replaced by an exploring, adventurous, walking, talking, noisy toddler. But you are still every bit as wonderful and I love watching you as the person you are going to be emerges.
It didn’t take long after you first steps at the very end of your 9th month for you to be well and truly off and toddling. By 10.5 months you could move from sitting or crawling to standing up by yourself without needing to use a toy or furniture to pull yourself up on, and you could not just walk across the room, but from one end of the house to the other. It’s strange, and unbelievably cute that someone as small as you is walking, and I’ve been fielding compliments from strangers all month, at the park, the play centre, the shopping centre, so many that I feel I should hang a little sign on you shirt that says,
“Yes I am cute, yes I am tiny, and yes I walked at only 10.5 months”.
Part of me is super proud of you, I didn’t expect you to become a toddler so soon, when you have taken longer to master most things than your biggest sister, who walked at 12.5 months, but part of me is sad to see your babyhood over so early , and the kindergym teacher in me is wishing you crawled longer, it has so many amazing benefits for your coordination skills. So instead we have been playing crawling games with you, you like to crawl behind the curtains, you love to chase The Sunshine Princess if she crawls with you, and I think I might get you a tunnel to crawl through too.
I had you pegged as my late bloomer, which I was quite content with, but this month you’ve not just come out of your shell, you’ve smashed out. I am amazed by how much you have learnt and changed this month and how differently you interact with me, your sister and others, and how you manage and play with your toys. This month you’ve realised that you are completely separate to me and you have absolute autonomy over the control of your body (which is why you hate having your nappy changed and getting dressed so much). But you also know that I am the same as you, you use your hairbrush to brush my hair, like I do to yours, and put your food in my mouth. You pick up my socks and try to put them on your feet, and touch your shoes to my feet (if only I could wear shoes so ridiculously cute). You’re still obsessed with in and out, putting toys in and out of boxes, pulling things out of the draw and putting them back in, and you’re understanding how to make the toys work. You hit your xylophone with the stick now, instead of just bashing it with your hand. You pick up toys and use them as phones, babbling away as you hold them to your ear. You copy the “twinkle twinkle” part of the song when I sing to you, waving your hands above your head. You can now turn the pages of a book individually, with purpose, rather than just several at a time with an arbitrary grab.
You’re choosing favourite songs now, lighting up and dancing when your song of choice is played. At the moment you are enjoying the Frozen soundtrack, although that could just be self preservation, as you hear it at least several hundred times a week, The Sunshine Princess knows how to play them on my phone. Yes, the joys of having a four year old big sister.
You are a fabulous eater, a little pro at feeding yourself because you’ve always done it, and when I try to think of a food you don’t like I come up blank. Favourites include muesli based cereal, and raisin toast with cinnamon. Something you do have in common with your biggest sister is the ability to eat ungodly amounts of food, and remain tiny.
Your babbling has gained momentum this month too, suddenly you are talking non stop, your favourite words are mum, dad, yeh and bum. That’s right. Bum. Another advantage of having a big sister who has just hit the potty humour phase. Oh my darling children, you make me so proud.
This month has had some really hard moments, for a little while your sleep was hugely disrupted as your little brain adjusted to your new walking skills. My normal affirmations of “this too shall pass” and “she’s just a baby” didn’t help much this month as I sat with you, awake for hours in the middle of the night, relentlessly, for nights on end. What did help was the support of my amazing mothers group, a group of very kind and understanding ladies, who are quick to offer help and empathy without judgement. Your sleep has never been much of a problem for me, I’ve been content waiting for you to grow into longer stretches of sleep, and learning to settle without assistance, but it was definitely hard this month, with you resisting my efforts to help you settle, but screaming if left alone. As the month went on, things calmed down, and now, have improved so much that I can look back on this month and find it validating, for my attempts to parent you gently. “Don’t babywear so much” they said, “she’ll never walk!” As I watch you toddle across the play centre, I’m so glad I didn’t listen. “Don’t rock her to sleep, she’ll never fall asleep alone” they said, but this month you learnt to do just that. At times it wasn’t easy, and this month has been emotionally hard for me to let go, as you rebuked my efforts to be comforted to sleep, but now, at 11 months old you are falling asleep on your own at bedtime, and most nights waking just twice, once for a cuddle and once for a breast feed. Such a big step in such a short amount of time, you’ve been cuddled, rocked, bounced or fed to sleep your whole life, and you’ve adjusted well and quickly to falling asleep in your cot, at first with me beside you, and now on your own. I wasn’t expecting you to be ready for that so soon, and it’s a little bit sad in some ways. Some nights you need me to help you, and I enjoy the extra cuddles.
At the end of this month was another huge milestone, mummy left you with a friend for the very first time. I’ve spent time apart from you before, when your daddy is home he often watches you and your sister while I sleep, but this was the first time I actually left the building, that you were far enough away from me that I couldn’t immediately comfort you if you got distressed. Mummy needed to go to the dentist, and one of the beautiful mothers in our mothers group, who you adore, offered to watch you. You waved goodbye to me as I left and happily played for the 1.5 hours I was gone without crying once. I’m so proud of you baby girl, you are growing up way too fast.
Next month will be your first birthday, and we are celebrating with a party, rainbow themed of course. I love you so much my Rainbow Princess, here’s to a wonderful toddlerhood- it’s unbelievable to me how quickly you are growing up.