Two is…

I don’t know quite how it happened (well, I suppose I do, but time is weird), but here we are, nearly a month into life with a two year old. Her birthday was a casual family day, but it was also fun and adorable. The Engineer’s Two Year Old is proving a pretty fun person to get to know.

So far, Two is up and down and a bit all over the place, especially because it coincides with having a month to pack up all our stuff and move halfway across the world.

Two is also:

  • Pleading eyes and “Watch videos now, please?”
  • Long bedtimes and early early mornings (we’re talking 5am, or even earlier!)
  • Lots and lots of stories, again and again and again.
  • Picnics (or NICNICS!) on the floor in the lounge with all her friends.
  • Copying everything we do, with sometimes hilarious consequences.
  • Counting “1 2 3 4 6 8 9 10”
  • Stripping down for “nudie” time whenever she gets the chance.
  • Possessives: “Elsie’s friends” “Elsie’s Papa” “Elsie’s snot”
  • Feeding the fish one tiny piece of food at a time, so it takes forever.
  • Reading her animal books to me from the back seat. “Ox bellows. Mama make noise!”
  • Running away as fast as she can to show us she is done.
  • Showing us just how much she remembers from a surprisingly long time ago.
  • Snapchat. So much Snapchat. (She calls it “masks”)
  • A quite sudden ability to complete more complicated puzzles.
  • A whole new level of communication. “Spicy! Spicy mouth! Milk helps…” and “Kiss knee, Mama. Ouchie Elsie”
  • Inventing names for things. Flavoured crackers are “messy crackers”.
  • Telling us a story over and over until we figure it out.
  • Meltdowns over stopping her using our phones.

Two is hard. Two is messy. Two is a whole lotta fun.

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Two is two candles on a birthday cake and one birthday girl enthusiastically blowing them out.

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Moments

So often, I open this blog up, and think about writing a post. Often I start a paragraph or two, and then delete it all because it just isn’t coming together. I think I know why this is: it’s because I like to write stories, and life with a toddler is not lived in stories.  Life with a toddler is lived in moments.  I know that with some time and space, those moments will come together into stories. But life with a toddler is also not lived with a lot of time and space. So today, rather than give up before I even begin, I’m going to embrace the randomness of toddler life, and talk about some of those moments.

Like the moment this afternoon when The Engineer’s Toddler tried to copy me saying hippopotamus. She ended up with popom and a big grin, and we moved on.

Or the moment yesterday when she figured out how to get the roundabout at the playground moving and then stepped on for a (very slow) ride.

Or the moment this morning when she sat on the big blue mat at our swimming class, crawled towards me, and pushed herself into the pool for the first time since we joined the group several months ago.

Or the many many moments that she spends saying Ehss (her version of her name) and pointing to her chest proudly.

Or the moment, while on holiday in Mulu, where she put on her adorable little lifejacket, and held my hand with a huge grin while we waited for our boa’ (that’s boat, with a glottal stop instead of the t. Trust me, it’s cute.)

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Even the moment yesterday when she woke up early from her nap and wouldn’t go back to sleep and screamed and signed all done madly and shouted Moose and noi until I turned off the white noise and opened the curtains.

There’s also that moment when she got nearly to her bedroom before running back to me for one last kiss.

And the moment today when she asked me to put a dress on her, then on all her toys, and then her dolls, and wouldn’t take no for an answer when I told her that my big ol’ body wouldn’t fit into her size 1 dresses.

And the moment a couple of weeks ago when we had a big proper tropical downpour and I let her run in the rain at the playground after our toddler tumble session. She definitely liked that moment.

She also liked the moment a couple of days before that when she found a big pile of dry leaves to jump in at the park.

And the moment when I gave her her first ice block. That was a surprisingly short moment, because the afternoon sun is relentless some days, and an iceblock is no match for that heat.

So many of these moments are fleeting, unrepeatable. And that’s part of the wonder of the individual moments and part of the wonder of life with a toddler.  They’re changing, growing, learning at a crazy pace, and it’s amazing to see. Even when it’s sometimes not that much fun.

But among the weird and wonderful flyaway moments, there are those moments I’m so glad to get to repeat over and over.

Like the moment each night when she lies down next to me, requests Baby (that’s Hush, the Kiwi version of Hush Little Baby by Joy Cowley and Andrew Burdan, for those unfamiliar with The-Engineer’s-Toddler-speak), and cuddles in as I sing.

I know that moment won’t be a part of our routine forever, but sometimes I certainly wish it would be.

 

 

 

 

My Favourite Things #1: Baby Carriers.

I love me a blog series, even if I’m not always great at keeping up with them (see the “Weekly” Challenge series on The Engineer’s Wife!). So I’m going to start one here, and after much some a little hardly any deliberation the chosen topic is My Favourite Things (parenting things, that is).  The things I talk about in this series may not all be actual physical things.  But they’ll be the things that I’ve found most useful as I get used to this parenting thing.

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When I thought of the topic, the first “thing” was obvious.  If there is one tool we have used more than any other in the last eight months, it is a baby carrier (more accurately, less grammatically correctly, it is baby carriers).  From the very start, we have carried The Engineer’s Baby a LOT.  In fact, almost every nap The Engineer’s Baby has taken has been in a carrier.  Naps were pretty haphazard for a long time here, so I don’t know how many naps that is, but my estimate is approximately 900.  There have also been times we’ve carried her when not napping, so this baby has probably spent nearly 1000 hours in a carrier.

She started off nearly 10 pounds, and is now well over 20 pounds, so I am amazingly glad that we have a stash of comfortable carriers.

We started off with a stretchy wrap.  When she was little and squishy, it was just perfect.  People always said it looked like a pain (it is 5 metres of fabric, after all), but we got very efficient at tying it, and after a week or so it was really easy.

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We then moved into a soft structured carrier with mesh, because it’s so blimmin’ hot here.  It was great as she grew.  Easier and quicker than the wrap, but still nice and cuddly.

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Then we got another one of those (because it had beards on it!) and a woven wrap and a ring sling.  And we moved onto back carries.

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And basically, it’s been amazing.  The woven wrap hasn’t had as much use as I thought (after how much we loved the stretchy).  But the combination of carriers has had huge benefits:

  • She gets enough sleep, even though it doesn’t always come naturally to her.
  • We didn’t have to lug around a big bulky pram when she was little, and just moved straight into a lightweight pushchair when she could sit well.
  • We became somewhat “famous” locally, and get LOTS of attention. (Actually, I don’t know if that’s really a positive, but it’s certainly been interesting.)
  • All the walking and bouncing and carrying involved in carrier naps has made me much fitter than I otherwise would be at this point.

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There are a few downsides too, though:

  • Now we have to wean her off it for day sleeps.  This is scary.
  • When we were out and about when she was wee, we didn’t have anywhere to put her, and there wasn’t always a helpful baby-holder around.
  • There are lots of things I can’t do while she sleeps.  Mostly yoga!
  • It’s an expensive habit!

So there we go, my favourite parenting thing.  Watch out for another post in the series at some point, hopefully soon!