Eliana at 20 Months

 

Eliana a quick round up of your month, because I’m late and you’ve already tipped over into your 21st month, with that two year marker, the one when we start talking in years rather than months, looming on the horizon. It’s been a bumper month but I’m keeping it brief* because your eager development has me chasing my tail and there is never, ever (ever) any time to spare.

I could write solely about how, in these past few weeks, you have gone from saying a few words to being about to talk. You chat non-stop and no longer speak in single words but like to test yourself by putting words together. The ‘blue car’ that sits outside our house is what started it but now everything is attributed with an adjective. You have yet to use big and small though and prefer to denote size using ‘baby’, ‘mummy’ and ‘papa’. Like when we went to the aquarium and you talked about the ‘baby fish’ and the ‘papa fish’ (sharks). The turtles were the animal that captured your heart though and it made me excited for the day when we can take you to see these creatures in the wild, like we used to do before you joined us.

Thanks to your Grandad’s tutorial you can count to ten and wiggle your fingers while you’re doing it as if counting them, although you’re missing the vital number one and six can be a bit hit and miss. The fact you can do this already blows my mind.

You went in a black cab with Nanny this month and now every day we have at least one conversation about the ‘taxi’ and the ‘taxi man’. You call hearts ‘happy’; a charming malaprop that I’m reluctant to correct you on just yet. You learned the word heavy and used it correctly to begin with but you use it now, with huffing and puffing emphasis for anything that you find to be a struggle, making it sound like slang, because you know, life is heavy, man.

You love the swings. ‘No, one more swing’ was your first four word sentence which you proudly delivered upon being asked, 20 minutes into swinging, whether you might consider a turn on the slide instead, thus buying yourself as much swing time as you liked for impressing us so much. Every day you talk about the broken swing, the ‘uh-oh schwim’, at the local playground as if it’s breaking news, talking in circles about it like your great-grandmother talks about the war and we always oblige you with feigned distress at the fact it’s still out of order because in your small world this is one of the big issues, the other being the welfare of your knees.

The tantrums have begun and you spend many an outing dramatically throwing yourself to the floor for emphasis although they are usually short-lived and we laugh them off (when you get your own way). I’m beginning to realise what parents who are ahead of us in years mean when they say there are challenges at every age.

Your final molars are cutting and I’m willing them through as fast as possible to bring an end to the fifteen months of intermittent pain that you’ve suffered to make your beautiful smile. I live in vain hope that it might also miraculously mean you start sleeping through the night.

You pause and cup your hand to your ear to let me know when you can hear something, a helicopter or children perhaps. You have a stab at singing along to songs, Baa Baa Black Sheep and Wind the Bobbin Up being your most successful attempts. People regularly comment on your height and long legs and there are many three year olds who are smaller than you. This is when your slow growing hair gives you the advantage of still looking your age.

You may get mistaken for a boy regularly, still (it’s the hair) but your obsession with purple continues and so the house is laden with purple accents. You are slightly more cooperative with toothbrushing when it’s accompanied by my homemade purple toothbrush song and you’ll wear your purple helmet out to the playground, I assume to prevent any swing-related accident, but not for riding your purple scooter which you’ve yet to get to grips with.

You have started swimming lessons and have shown great improvement since Papa encouraged you to practice your kicks and tiger arms in the bath. Your teacher is fierce though and makes me shudder at the recollection of the mean swimming teachers of my youth. We might just wing it with help from YouTube and some arm bands from here on in.

Despite all this development there are moments when your smallness suddenly makes itself known, like when you hold my hand but your palm is only big enough to grasp two of my fingers. But, inevitably, it’s mostly when you’re asleep, when your need for skin to skin contact is intense and your soft pleas for ‘mummy’ instantly make the constant touching, that can sometimes be so draining, so claustrophobic, seem surmountable and affirming. Your needs are overwhelming, every day I wonder how I’m going to find the reserves to keep meeting your demands, to keep helping you bloom but it turns out my well is bottomless and every day we rise, together, and you bring freshness to a world which has the potential to look so very bleak at the moment.**

* So much for brief.

** Eliana, I’m writing this on Equal Pay Day and the day after Donald Trump beat Hilary Clinton to presidency. I hope by the time you read and understand this post that both these things have been relegated to the history books and that it seems absurd that they were ever allowed to happen. Just like life before the smoking ban. The what? I hear you ask (from the future). Nevermind. Hopefully by the time you’re reading this smoking will be long gone too.

MODEL MOTHER

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