Eliana this is you at 21 and 22 (and a bit) months:

Again, I could write for days about the way your language is developing because every day you astound me with new words and phrases which will soon become an entirely unremarkable part of your everyday life (unless you become a literary genius, of course) so for now I’ll just include my favourites: ‘Back in a minute’, ‘Boring’ (out of context, entirely my fault that it’s entered your vocabulary at all), ‘Did it!’, ‘Thank you’ and ‘Vavoo’ (translation: Love you). Okay, hiya and ummm have made their way into your lexicon too making me realise my day to day chat is pretty sloppy but you love how it makes you sound like you know what you’re talking about.

Thanks to Zoom to the Moon the counting which you’d mastered last month has now been reversed and five, four, three, two, one is the default order. You have pretend phone conversations using an old iPod, inevitably with Nana blue eyes or Nana green eyes, your two favourites outside of our little three. Your mastery of the iPad, my iPhone and the remote control already exceeds the Nanas’.

You’ve also started saying ‘Sorry Mummy’ which is the cutest thing, especially when you say it over and over again about something you needn’t be sorry about. Rarely do you say it when you should be sorry.

Papa taught you the phrase ‘Papa boss’ at bathtime when I wasn’t around to object but you’re too savvy and have adapted it to ‘Baby boss’ which is an altogether more accurate representation of the hierarchy of our household. Like your father and I, you have first child syndrome and any younger siblings you might have in the future will undoubtedly be under your command.

‘Baby Ana’ has stuck as your name as far as you’re concerned. I’m not taking this one lying down though and will be insisting on a move towards Ellie as soon as you can pronounce your Ls.

Your fine motor skills amaze me. You hold a pen correctly and draw spirals and zig zags, lying on your tummy, legs kicking with your head close to the page in concentration. You eavesdrop on our conversation. When we were talking about taxes (because it’s that time of the year) you started saying taxi! Taxi! We hadn’t noticed you were listening and it’s a lesson for us to learn to watch what we say. (See? I can talk about your talking ALL DAY).

You began to catch onto the idea of Christmas this year and are now familiar with the sight of snowmen, robins, baubles and Father Christmas who you call Pipee for no reason we can discern but we quite like it. We spent Christmas day watching Raymond Briggs animations and you tuned into the still raw heartache I get when The Snowman melts and now put your hand to your head in woe when you tell me, on the daily, that ‘Snowman gone’.

You spent New Year’s Eve with Nana and Pom Pom (Grandad’s new nickname), stayed awake until midnight because you are of the FOMO generation, and you heard the ‘Fireworks go bang’.

You now have a nanny, Catherine for a handful of hours a week so I can catch my breath and thankfully you adore her, blowing me a kiss and sending me on my merry way when she arrives. She breathes life into us both so that after three hours apart we can carry on our day with renewed vigour. We’ll miss her when we move. She takes you to the park where the drama of the broken ‘uh-oh swing’ that occupied your thoughts a couple of months ago has come to a happy conclusion; you will tell anyone who’s listening that the ‘man fixed swing’.

At the end of 2016 you went to Cyprus, the fifth country you have ticked off, making you more jet-set at 20 months than I was by the time I was 20. You were the most zealous and uninhibited dancer at the kids disco. I hope we can help you feel free and confident enough to dance like no-one is watching for the rest of your life.

Your current obsession is washing your hands which involves a whole ritual including two types of soap (our expensive bottle of Aesop handwash is fast diminishing) and a song. Other less appealing habits include standing up and weeing with a twinkle of mischief in your eye as soon as you get in the bath and picking at your flaking nails, although I fully encourage it because it can keep you occupied for a good few minutes.

Your fuzzy, fine hair curls with sweat, drizzle and bath steam, just like mine. You are destined to be the angel in the school nativity with locks like that.

Your final teeth have cut this month so it has been a long few weeks of battling to get you to eat and now that they’re through you’re suddenly eating multiple meals a day for the first time in your life. It will undoubtedly not last but while it does we will be experimenting and I live in hope that I can convince you that chicken and potatoes, those universally loved staples (unless you’re veggie) are palatable.

For the record, you’re still breastfeeding but with the recent increased food consumption you’re less prolific (in the day at least) which has come as a relief. Night weaning is on the cards but being the eternal procrastinator that I am I keep putting it off. Co-sleeping is something that we both still adore though; Papa too if he’s being honest although he’s quick to wake when you try to latch onto him instead of me in the night. On the odd occasion you giggle at something in your dreams it fills me with joy and reassures me that if your subconscious is that happy you will look back on your childhood with the same sense of secure contentedness that we do on ours.

You have grown a full inch in one month (I credit the boob) and some of your age 2-3 clothes are coming up a bit short already. While your bum is still peachy and your thighs delectable, your puppy fat is evaporating, your tummy has flattened, your neck lengthened and anyone who sees you for the first time would call you a child. I still see a baby and I suppose I always will.

This is definitely the last of the (almost) monthly updates. From here we’re talking in years, or at least half years, but I will probably still keep a private record because there’s nothing I enjoy writing more than these stories of you. They flow effortlessly and come directly from the heart.

As for me, this year, if nothing else, I’ve resolved to stop saying ‘I don’t have time’ for anything and replace it, unashamedly with ‘my priority is to spend my time with you’.

 

 

MODEL MOTHER

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