Monthly Archives: February 2007

There’s A Monty Python Gag In There Somewhere

A few nights ago, my husband had the unexpected good luck to stumble across an imminently-closing eBay auction of a child’s train set – the kind with wooden pieces of track that slot together, and lots of little wooden accessories like cars, buses and buildings.  He put in a last-minute bid and picked it up at a bargain price.  It arrived today and, this evening, when I got home, we took it out of the box to show Jamie. 

He was most interested, looking carefully through the little vehicles ("Sma’ car.  Bi’ bus") while we assembled pieces of track.  Then he discovered the joys of pulling the assembled pieces of track apart, which was such fun he promptly demanded that we put them together again for a repeat performance.  Then he worked out how to put pieces together for himself.  After some minutes of this, he found the little bag of road signs and I opened it up for him.  It was at this point that I made the tactical error of showing him the miniature painted traffic lights.  Jamie regarded these with fairly limited interest at first, and then something seemed to click in his brain. 

I hope it will not violate the fiercely-guarded anonymity that I maintain with regard to the precise details of our whereabouts if I tell you that there is a traffic light visible from one of our living room windows.  Jamie has never, so far as I know, paid that part of the view any great attention before, but, with the trigger of the toy traffic light, he suddenly seemed to make the connection: Hey, that’s that thing with the button and the bright lights!  He pointed emphatically towards the window in, indeed, the right general direction for the traffic light, and insisted on me opening the curtain so that he could look out.  He solemnly regarded the blurred red pedestrian light, several yards away from us, that was all that we could see through the window.

"G’ee’ ma’?" he inquired, after a few minutes.

I broke it to him gently that we could not expect any green man sightings in the immediate future.  It was a cold and dark night and, although we might get lucky, the odds of any pedestrians wanting to cross in the next few minutes were probably not all that great.

"G’ee’ ma’," he insisted firmly.

"Sorry, little one!  Nobody’s there to press the button."

"Pre’ bu’on," he mused thoughtfully.  He picked up the nearest remote control, aimed it at the traffic light, and pressed a few likely-looking buttons.

I had to admit that there was a certain logic to this, at least through the eyes of a toddler, even if the laws of physics disagreed.  I felt quite bad having to explain to him that, no, the remote control to our old digital video would not actually have any effect on the local traffic light and, by the way, he wasn’t really supposed to be playing with it anyway.

"Pre’ bu’on g’ee ma’," continued The Child With The One Track Mind, attempting to scramble up my legs in the direction of the windowsill and thence, presumably, the traffic light.

"Tomorrow," I told him firmly, falling back on that good old parental standby as I surreptitiously sneaked the remote control into a less obvious spot.  "Tomorrow Jamie will get to press the button and see the green man."

And thus it continued on through the evening, until dinner gave him something else to think about.  The train set lay forgotten, apart from the tiny painted wooden traffic light, symbol of his greatest desire.  Oh, well.  Fortunately, tomorrow we have trips planned to the health centre and to Tumbletots, so we will have enough Press Button Green Man opportunities to gladden the heart of the most single-minded of toddlers.

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So, um… probably not speech dyspraxia, then?

This is, as best I can remember, a list of the words Jamie came out with on Saturday:

Moo’.  (Moon.  While pointing at the crescent shape in one of his First Words books.)

Noo-Noo.  (The Teletubbies character of that name.  He was watching it on the computer in the car, as we travelled up to visit Barry’s parents.)

Bi’.  (Bird.  In the parking lot at the place where we stopped for lunch.  I took him out of the car to change his nappy just as several birds – they looked like seagulls – were taking flight, quite close to us.  Jamie was enthralled.  “Bi’!” he announced, flapping his hands enthusiastically the way he does to indicate flying.)

Be’ tawk.  (Beanstalk.  While reading In Wibbly’s Garden in the car, just before we arrived.)

’No.  (Snow.  This was a particular favourite of the weekend.  He’d briefly seen snow earlier in the week, but it melted before he could go out and play in it.  But Barry’s parents live in North Wales, so there was quite a bit more of it available.  He first came out with this word as we approached their house, and it took me a while to realise what he meant, as he was making so many different noises at the time he sounded like the world’s smallest voice coach – No!  Na!  Nee!  It wasn’t until later on, when he had the chance to encounter it closer up, that I realised what he meant.  This also led on to…)

’No’ ball.  (Snowball.  Which he did indeed make.  Just like the Teletubbies.)

Bi’ and ’maw.  (Big and small.  In description of the Lego models that Barry had brought in Woolworths.  He later started using these as names for the toy frogs my MIL has for him to play with in the bath – “Bi’, ’maw, ’maw,” he recites solemnly, as he places each in turn carefully on the edge of the bath.)

Nana.  (Barry’s mother.  (For those of you reading from the US, it’s a well-established British alternative to Granny.)  He kept rushing into the kitchen while she was busy cooking dinner, demanding further attention from Nana, not to mention more playing in the ‘no.)

Dog.  (I don’t actually know how he pronounced this or just when he came out with it, because I wasn’t there at the time and MIL only reported it to me the next day – by which time he’d also apparently had a stab at saying “Ro’”, for Rosie, her name.)

Pi’ ba’.  (Piggyback.  When he got out of the bath and tried to climb on my back as always and I asked him “Do you want a piggy back, Jamie?”, he repeated it to me.)

Those are the ones I was sure of (there were other times when I thought he was trying to copy a word I’d made, but couldn’t be certain) and that I remember (as you can probably imagine, it was reaching the stage when it was hard to keep track.  I’d leave the room for half an hour to have a shower and come back and he’d have more words.)  And then there have been more since.  Plus he’s now producing the coveted Two Word Combination, that landmark in speech development: "More ‘no!" (a frequent command on the Sunday since, alas, the snow had mostly melted by then and we had some difficulty convincing him that, no, it really wasn’t going to be there if he went out to check yet again) and "Bi’ ‘no’ball" (an even more frequent comment over the past few days – having an extra-large snowball rolled for you by your Uncle Simon is clearly quite an event in a toddler’s life, and the treasured memory still lingers on).

As Barry says, by the time we get to the appointment with the speech therapist he’ll probably just toddle in and announce to her "Honestly, I don’t know what the problem is.  My parents make such a fuss over nothing."

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Speech assessment

Jamie has had his speech assessment.  For the benefit of anyone who’s interested in what happens at a toddler speech assessment (um, that would be me), here’s an account of it. 

When we arrived, we were shown into a large, fairly bare waiting room with rows of plastic chairs and a playhouse in the corner.  Jamie made a beeline for the playhouse and started checking it out with great enthusiasm while we waited.  It was fascinating to watch him, because he doesn’t have much interest in pretend play normally – he’s far too busy with finding buttons to press or books to read or trying to have a go on the computer – but he certainly loved the playhouse.  He pretended to drink out of the little plastic cup, and then he pretended to eat the corn-on-the-cob.  As he was pretending the corn-on-a-cob was a drinking straw for drinking out of the cup, Tracey (the nursery nurse doing the assessment) arrived. 

We extracted Jamie from the playhouse with some difficulty, and brought him through to her room.  She got him to sit down at a little table, and asked us if he had any speech at all, and we told her that he had a few words and had picked up quite a lot more in recent weeks since the daytime relinquishment of the dummy.  Meanwhile, Jamie, never one to settle for sitting quietly when there were interesting-looking items in view, was busy trying to get to the bag of toys he could see just behind her.  We persuaded him, with a little difficulty, to sit down at the table again, while Tracey put out one of those puzzles for small children with pieces that slot into holes.  She handed him the pieces one by one – a teddy, a house, a boat, a car, a lorry – asking him "What’s this?" as she gave him each piece and then getting him to put it in its hole.  After he’d put a few in, she tried asking him where each object was to see whether he’d point to it.  In amongst this, she asked us about what words he could say and how he pronounced them, making some notes about them on a piece of paper.

As we could have predicted, Jamie managed to fit the pieces into their slots with a bit of difficulty (the puzzle had more slots than he was used to, so finding the right one was a bit tricky, but he did it with a bit of prompting), and had no problems at all pointing to them when asked, but he couldn’t name any of them.  Tracey tried showing him the picture of the ball since I told her that was one of the few words he could say, and then tried showing him a real ball, but he didn’t name either of those either, although, when she asked him where the ball was (it had rolled under a chair during proceedings) he understood and found it straight away.

Tracey told us that she thinks he might have dyspraxia.  This surprised me a bit, as, from what I’d heard of dyspraxia, it affected physical co-ordination, but Tracey told us there was a form affecting speech.  Of course, at this stage it’s quite possible that he may be just developing in his own time.  However, she wants him to have a formal assessment by the speech therapist to decide on the best way to proceed. 

Jamie, meanwhile, was getting into quite a paddy over the fact that, whatever we’d promised him, the toys in here weren’t nearly as interesting as that playhouse, so eventually we let him go back out with Barry keeping an eye on him while I finished talking to Tracey about the plans at this point.
She’s going to refer him to the speech therapist and also ask the
health visitor to do some sort of Schedule Of Something-or-other on him
(I forget the name, but it’s a sort of general assessment for
children’s development).  While we’re waiting for the speech therapist assessment, she wants us to encourage him to use his voice more by
offering him choices and insisting on him making some sort of sound to
indicate what he wants instead of just pointing – an approach that I can
see being potentially frustrating.  She also recommended this website, although I think she it’s a fair bet that she actually meant this one (which was actually not that helpful either – it’s a website for an association for parents of children with speech problems, but doesn’t have much information on specific conditions such as speech dyspraxia, which is what I was really after at this stage).

Having once again torn Jamie away from the playhouse, where he was having a great time cooking the plastic corn-on-the-cob in the toy microwave and was not in the least impressed by having to leave, we went home.   This of course meant that I could look up ‘speech dyspraxia’ on Google, so here’s what I’ve learned about it:

Dyspraxia is a dysfunction in the motor autopilots that enable us to perform activities such as walking or writing or talking without ever having to think in detail about which muscle has to move next and how far.  Just as stored programmes in our computer tell the computer to make
particular letters appear on the screen when we type that letter on the
keyboard so that we don’t have to draw each letter individually by hand, stored programmes in our brain tell our muscles to perform particular series of actions when we want to do a familiar activity.  People with dyspraxia can’t store these programmes properly, so they don’t have the same smooth and effortless transition between wanting to do a familiar basic activity and actually doing it. In the case of motor dyspraxia, this leads to clumsiness.  In the case of speech dyspraxia (which can, of course, co-exist), the problems are with talking.  People with speech dyspraxia just can’t easily tell their mouths and throats to produce a particular sound combination.  This leads to delay in talking and a lot of difficulty with fluent verbal expression. 

Children with speech dyspraxia need speech therapy over a period of several years in order to give them a chance of ever talking properly.  However, with this therapy, the prognosis is excellent.

It’ll be really interesting to see whether this does turn out to be the diagnosis.  It would explain quite a few little things – such as why he mastered the word ‘three’, yet can’t yet say ‘one’ or ‘two’ even though those should be much easier words.  He can’t seem to transfer sounds he knows in the context of one word into the production of other words he knows (hence the continued non-appearance of ‘Mummy’ despite the fact that he has long since made similar sounds to indicate ‘milk’).  He loves those imitation games children play, where he makes sounds and Mummy copies them back to him; but it’s always that way round.  He rarely or never copies my sounds.  He often seems to freeze completely on a word he knows, like an actor blanking on a familiar line in the glare of the footlights.

However, I’m trying not to jump the gun here on the labelling.  It’s still quite possible that he’s just a slow talker developing normally in his own time, because there is no doubt that he’s been making major strides since we got that dummy out.  (He is definitely saying ‘blue’ (‘boo’) and ‘red’ (‘rrr’).  Yesterday while I was at work, he started saying ‘book’, which he actually seems to pronounce fairly well.  Yesterday evening, when I was changing him after I got in from work, he started pointing at the Bagpuss puzzle pieces scattered on the floor and announcing ‘Bah puh!’)  So I’m looking forward with great interest to the speech therapy assessment.

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Speaking of…

A couple of weeks ago, the health visitor suggested to Barry that Jamie’s dummy might be slowing down his speech and that it would be worth cutting down on the amount of time he spends using it.  So, Barry and I made a few mildly assiduous attempts to leave it behind and distract him from it during the day, without ever making a big deal out of it when he really wanted it or getting into a struggle over it, and, after a few days of this, I suddenly noticed that he’d been through the whole day and only had the dummy at naptime and bedtime.  The same happened again the following day.  After that, we decided to make it official. 

We don’t make a big thing out of it, but, when he gets up in the morning, whichever of us is taking care of him sneaks the dummy away in a moment of genuine or manufactured distraction (his morning swig of milk is a prime opportunity) and leaves it in his bed or ours, somewhere out of sight.  Then it gets given back to him at naptime and removed similarly at the end of naptime, until the final countdown before bedtime, when, at some stage, it will find its way back into his mouth again.  On one occasion a day or two ago, when he was clearly a bit miserable and just seemed to need a moment of lying down with the dummy and a cuddle, I let him have it for that time and then took it away from him once he wanted to get up and run around, which then required taking him downstairs to distract him from it.  But, overall, he has given it up during the daytime.  And done so with astonishingly little difficulty.  I think he must just have been ready enough only to need the smallest of nudges.  I must say, it’s a bloody relief not to always be trying to track the damn things down or rinse them off when he’s dropped them on the floor.

Not only is this a notable and unexpected milestone in its own right, but it also appears to be having the desired effect.  In the past couple of weeks, Jamie has come up with more new words than he did in the couple of years before that.  His choices are somewhat idiosyncratic, and quite an intriguing example of his interests.  Here’s the list so far, in the order he started saying them as best as I could remember it, with the intended word followed by the Jamie version in brackets:

Three (Three)
Four (Hoor.  An unfortunate mispronunciation, as Barry points out, although not as unfortunate as Tertia’s son’s pronunciation of ‘truck’.)
Five (Ffff)
Ball (Ball)
Nine (Nye)

We are also fairly sure about ‘blue’ (‘Buh’), and we have as-yet-unconfirmed hearings of ‘red’ (‘Rrrr’) and ‘banana’ (‘Nah’).

Plus, he is saying letters.  Lots of letters.  I would have put those on the list as well – they may not technically be words, but, since they’re sounds that represent things he sees, I don’t see why they shouldn’t count as words from the perspective of a toddler learning to talk – but he has picked so many up so quickly that there’s no way I could remember the order in which he started saying them.  I know his first was ‘G’ (‘Goodnight Moon’), but after that they blur.  However, the letters that I have definitely heard him say at one point or another include A, B, D, G, H, M, N, O, P, R, T, U, V, and Y.  He pronounces some of these as letter names, and some of them as sounds (except for ‘O’, which he pronounces with a peculiarly Scottish accent to sound like the ‘O’ sound in ‘Och’.  Perhaps he’s been watching too much Balamory.)

(I’m going to need to write posts more quickly if I’m going to keep up with my son.  He’s added ‘E’ to that list since I wrote it last night.)

By the way, those are just the letters that he’ll actually have a go at saying.  He knows most, and quite possibly all, of the rest.  (I’ve never officially been right through and checked, but he seems to be getting them right on a regular basis on the electronic widget my grandmother gave him for Christmas.)

His favourite word is definitely ‘Three’ (which was also his favourite number to point to, even before he learned to say it).  He toddles round the house piping "Three!  Three!" with an accuracy that is slightly eerie in a child who has been so non-verbal.  He remains fascinated by numbers generally.  One result of this is that it’s more obvious than is usual with a toddler when he’s trying to come out with new ones as opposed to just uttering grunts, because they’re in a sequence.  Hence, he’s taken to pointing at the ‘1, 2, 3’ on the back of his ride-on car or on the front of his numbers book and saying "Unh, unh, three".  (And, no, I don’t have an explanation for how he can pronounce ‘three’ and not ‘one’ or ‘two’.  It seems like it ought to defy the laws of something-or-other.)

Yesterday evening, he was sitting on my lap at the dinner table as I hastily finished off my last few bites of potato.  I’d pushed the plate out of his reach so that he couldn’t grab my food, thus exposing the pattern of three leaves in a row on the placemat.  Jamie pointed at each of them in turn saying "Unh, unh, three".  He gets it!  He’s starting to understand that numbers aren’t just decorations – he’s starting to get the concept of counting!

But, for now, the biggest fascination seems to be just in saying the numbers.  This makes shopping trips fun.  He already loves pointing at all the numbers he sees on price tags, and now he also pipes up with "Three", "Hoor", or "Nye" as he points emphatically at the appropriate digits.  If we see a woman with a 4 on her clothing at any point, we could be in for an interesting Embarrassing Moment story.

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What a difference a year makes

When Jamie turned one, my mother gave him a "Congratulations" card instead of a birthday card.  "When I look at what he’s managed with his year," she beamed "it makes me wonder what I’ve been doing with mine!" 

It’s somehow easier to lose sight of just how much he changed in his second year as well – after all, no year is going to hold as much change as the first year, and after the first year it’s easier for further changes to blur with the ones that have already taken place and get buried under the onslaught of further growing.  So this – very belatedly – is a post I meant to write for Jamie’s birthday, recording the changes that happened his second year.

I’ve already talked about how much his verbal comprehension, and general comprehension of how the world works, have increased (even if his expressive language, alas, is one of the few things that’s hardly changed at all).  As far as motor skills go, he went from taking his first few steps just before his birthday to running everywhere.  At the age of one he could climb up and down the stairs by wriggling on his tummy – by two, he could walk up and down, slowly and carefully, holding a finger or the bannister.  (He got plenty of practice in stair climbing during that year, since he figured out how to pick the lock on the stairgate at an early stage of the year.)  He’s learned to climb all the ladders on the climbing frames at the park.  He can do proper both-feet-off-the-floor jumps.

He still loves most of the things he loved when he was one – climbing, exploring, playing with buttons, getting into everything, creating chaos – but he developed new interests this year, as well.  Books, for starters.  Well, I suppose he already liked books, but his second year was when he discovered that they’re fun for far more than just pulling off the shelves en masse or enjoying the noise the pages make when you riffle them.  It’s not a great surprise, I suppose, that my child loves books; but it’s a great joy to me to see how much he loves them.  Despite being a madly active bag of wriggles most of the time, he will sit still for ages to listen to a story.  And listen to it again.  And again and again.  (My mother did obtain a certain amount of deeply-felt satisfaction in hearing about that last.  It’s the fulfilment of the classic parental wish that your children will some day have kids just like them.)

He also developed a passionate interest in numbers.  Written numbers, that is – so far as I can tell, he doesn’t really have a concept of numbers representing a quantity.  This child actually is the child that toy manufacturers try to convince
parents they have; he is fascinated by this sort of pseudo-educational
stuff.  I really hadn’t planned on teaching him letters or numbers yet – there are so many more important things for a child this age to be learning – but since he was clearly interested, when he pointed to the numbers in his books I named them. And he learned them from that – long before he was two, he could recognise all the digits and pick them out when asked.  Then he started getting interested in letters as well, pointing to different letters on the covers of books like Goodnight Moon or Turning Thirty where they’re in large print and easy for him to see.  So I named those for him as well, and told him what sounds they made, and sometimes what the whole word he was looking at said (and, since I am a Stephen King fan, sometimes "M-O-O-N spells Moon.  Laws, yes."  One gets few such apt cue lines in this life.)  I don’t know how many letters he knew by the time he turned two, but he certainly knew some.  (I know this because he actually named a couple of letters out loud, spontaneously.  This despite his utter disinclination to learn any actual words.)

When he turned one, he was still nursing, although I was already cutting the nursing down.  I weaned him completely when he was sixteen months.  I can’t remember whether or not he’d already tried his sippy cup by his first birthday, but, even if he had, most of what he drank that wasn’t from me would have been from bottles.  Now, sippy cups are old hat – he can drink from an ordinary cup.  We discovered this not due to mealtime experiments, as we didn’t want him pouring the stuff all over the carpet, but at bathtime – while I run the bath, he climbs up to the counter to play on there, and he taught himself how to turn the tap on in the sink, fill the toothmug with water, and drink it.  (And, yes, he learned the hard way that the hot tap is crucially different from the cold tap.) 

At mealtimes, he has an intermediate cup designed for children learning to drink – it has a concave lid on with a hole, so that when he tips it up to drink the lid fills with liquid and he can drink small amounts at a time.  Barry got it for him after reading somewhere that children of his age were meant to be learning to drink from a proper non-sippy cup (come to think of it, I have no idea where he read it, since it’s normally me who reads all the child development stuff, but he did) and started to worry that Jamie would find it somewhat humiliating to get to his university interviews without having mastered proper cup etiquette.  Jamie took to the intermediate cup like a duck to water (i.e., pouring it over himself and splashing it everywhere).

There were other changes at mealtimes, as well.  He learned how to use a spoon (and worked quite hard to do so – when he couldn’t manage to scoop the food up, he would put it on the spoon with his other hand.  If need be, he held it in place on the spoon as he moved the spoon to his mouth.)  He  outgrew his high chair – after he learned how to climb out of it, we got him a small-size chair and table for him to sit at.  By the last day of his second year, he was capable of sitting on a chair and eating at table with the rest of us.

Sleep has been one of the biggest changes, and here’s where you can take heart if you have a baby that’s a poor sleeper: During his first year, Jamie was hopeless at getting to sleep on his own.  I never had any luck with that whole put-them-down-drowsy-but-awake thing that the baby books advocate.  Putting him down asleep wasn’t any better.  He could hang onto my boob for ages, nursing himself down, but no matter how long I waited for him to fall into a deep sleep and how gently I eased him into his cot he would still wake up a good proportion of the time.  When he was a year old, I took things in hand and, with a little help from Ms Hogg and Mr Ferber, started doing something about this.  The details of that are a post in themselves and one which I promise to write one day, but the effect was spectacular.  If they had sleep percentiles for toddlers, Jamie would probably be on the 99th.  We did have a hiccup when he learned to climb out of his cot, and, of course, he was cutting back on the total amount of sleep he needed anyway by the end of the year; but, for most of the year, he was going down without a peep at naptime for a two- to three-hour stretch, and then falling asleep just as uncomplainingly at bedtime for a stretch of eleven to twelve hours – a stretch that became unbroken soon after I night-weaned him at the age of sixteen months.

When he was twenty-two months old, he moved from being a cot in our room to being in his own bed in his own room.  We had originally planned to make only the latter change at first, moving the cot in there and keeping him in it for as long as possible, but, of course, he pre-empted us on that by learning to climb out of his cot just a few days before the move was supposed to take place.  (Looking back, I realise what good timing this was.  The cot needs to be dismantled and then rebuilt to get it from one room to another, and, if he’d postponed the acquisition of this particular skill a few more days and let Barry go to the trouble of rebuilding the cot only to make it obsolete straight away, then this might have caused a certain amount of annoyance.)

There’s definitely a lesson in the fact that, since his first year, I’d been worrying on and off about how our little boy would ever make the move to his own room, how he would cope, how we would cope with the hassle of having to go into another room for any night-time calls instead of being able to handle them right there on the spot… and when we finally did make the transition, it couldn’t have gone more smoothly.  We moved the furniture around in that room the day before so that his bed-to-be was a) up against a wall and b) no longer under the wall shelves, as I didn’t want him bumping his head on them or trying to climb up; this meant that when he got up on the morning of the Big Move and I took him into his room to change his nappy as usual, he could see straight away that there was something different.  I explained to him that tonight when he went to bed, he would be sleeping in this room, and I talked to him about it again once or twice during the day. 

Then, when his bedtime came, Barry and I moved all his stuff – duvet, pillow, musical star, mini-light, the stuffed animals we kept in there for want of a better place to put them despite Jamie’s complete lack of interest in stuffed toys – from the cot to the bed, with Jamie watching.  Once this was done, I tucked him up in bed and went through the two-stories-and-lights-out that composed the final part of his bedtime routine at the time.  The last thing I always do before kissing him goodnight and leaving him is to cuddle up next to him and talk softly to him for a minute or two about the things he did that day and the things he’ll do the next day, and on that evening I talked again about the fact that he was now going to go to sleep in his own bed, and Daddy and I would be right there if he needed us, and when he woke up and got out of bed in the morning he could come to the next room and get us.  Then I kissed him goodnight and headed out the door, and he went off to sleep without a peep.

And that was that.  He accepted the room without difficulty and has been perfectly happy going to bed there.  Of course, there have been plenty of nights when it hasn’t gone that smoothly and he’s got up and had to be returned to bed, but that’s not because of the room, but just because he can get up now he’s no longer confined to a cot and so he tries his luck to see whether maybe this might be the night when we’ll let him stay up and play.  Any minimal inconvenience of having to go from our room to his during the night to get him settled when he does wake up has been far more than outweighed by the convenience of being able to put a light on and talk in normal voices in our own room in the evenings.  Putting laundry away and getting my clothes ready for the next day have suddenly become easy jobs again.  I thought I’d miss looking at his little face last thing before I went to bed at night and first thing in the morning, but I still do that; I just have to creep into his room to do so.

Oh, and he has also managed very well with something we were concerned about – namely, staying in bed while he sleeps.  We go into him last thing before bed and first thing on waking to turn him back to the appropriate position on the frequent occasions when he’s wriggled round to the perpendicular (and, on one occasion, round a full 180 degrees to leave his head under the duvet and his feet sticking out on the pillow.  How he didn’t wake himself up I’ll never know.)  Since Barry goes to bed very late and I get up – on the four days a week when I’m out at work, anyway – very early, this only leaves a few hours during which there’s a risk of cumulative wriggling landing him on the floor, and, although this did happen a couple of times, it’s been months since the last time.  We started off with the mattress from his cot on the floor next to the bed and a huge stack of cushions on top of it.  After a few months, we moved the cushions. A couple of nights ago, I finally took the step of moving the mattress.  I must say, it’s good to be able to get around the room relatively unhindered once again.

I know I’m going to hit ‘Post’ on this and then remember yet another change I should have put in.  There have been so many.  His teeth – he had eight at the start of the year (a full set of front teeth) and had doubled that number by the end of the year, having all but his back molars.  (And he never showed the slightest upset with any of them, even the molars.)  His glasses and the eyepatches.  Learning to type letters and numbers on Mummy’s computer.  Moving from his baby carseat (not a minute too soon – he could barely squeeze into it by then) into a bigger one.  It was the year he first went swimming, first went to Tumbletots, first stayed with Granny while Mummy and Daddy got to go out.

And, through all this, some things have stayed the same.  At the end of his second year, he’s still the same incredibly curious, enthusiastic, active, energetic, cheerful, good-natured child as he was at the beginning of it.  It’s still a joy and a wonder to watch him grow.  And it’s still an amazing, exhausting adventure to be his mother.

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