Wednesday 22 November 2017

15 Months: A Toddler Update

Ember is 15 months in a couple days. That’s pretty big. By this point in her big sister’s life, I had written tens of blog posts detailing her every move. Those early steps, the first words, it was all written down here for me to keep. And, um, this time I haven’t done that. I’ve only written a handful of posts focusing on my second born and most of those were about how terrible her birth was (I still haven’t forgiven her for that).

Well, it’s not because I love her less. When you have just one child, you can’t imagine loving another as much. It feels impossible that there could be space for that much love in your heart. But then a second baby arrives and your heart bursts straight out of your ribcage. You love them just as fiercely as you do the first.

And yet, I haven’t chronicled her every move on the blog. Why? Partly because I’m busy. Not too busy to notice her, but too busy to sit down and write it all down. When Ebony was little, I had a big fat maternity leave to enjoy. This time, not so much. Being self-employed means work doesn’t really stop, it slowed down, for sure, but it didn’t stop. So the naptimes where I would once have sat and blogged, instead I sat and worked.

And, partly, because it’s not quite so new this time. I haven’t written a blog post about her snot (yeah, I actually did do this for Ebony, sorry, the world) because I knew there would be snot. I knew what to expect the second time, I wasn’t a 25-year-old wide-eyed bunny caught in the shitstorm that is new motherhood. I was a seasoned pro. I didn’t sit down at the end of the day and wonder what the hell I had just survived. I just got on with it. And so, in the future, when Ebony and Ember sit down to gaze at their virtual baby books, my youngest will probably be left feeling a little unloved.

So, I thought I’d write a little update on how she is because she’s lovely and she’s changing a lot every week. She’s started trying to talk now. Not little baby words, but jabbering away to us as though she’s part of the conversation. She has a few words, ‘more’, ‘mama’ and ‘potty’, for example. But this week she’s been trying to say more. Chattering away to anyone who will listen, making absolutely no sense.

She doesn’t like being told no. She doesn’t like being rushed. Or wearing hats. She wants to be mostly naked as much as possible. She likes putting her own trousers on, and pauses to clap her hands whenever she successfully gets a leg in. She likes putting shoes on, her at feet rammed into whatever shoes she can find. She likes wearing her big sister’s headbands, she wanders into the room with them already in place, then gives a huge smile so she can be admired.

She has a big cheesy grin and she’s just learned how to smile for the camera. Anytime she spots a phone or a camera, she grins, A big toothy grin that forces her eyes closed and her cheeks out. And she likes playing with dolls and soft toys. She carries them around with her, cuddles them tight and forces them head first into the pram. She spends hours looking at books, just like her big sister, I find her hunched over, slowly turning the pages, looking at the pictures.

She likes walking by herself. She puts her shoes on and waits by the front door when it’s time to collect her big sister from school. And she walks next to me, holding my hand, the whole way there. She climbs onto anything and everything we pass and cries when I retrieve her from stranger’s gardens. She yells hiya to all of the dogs we pass, and wave at the toddlers being pushed by in prams. And when we get to her sister, she holds her hand out expectantly and cries if it is not immediately grabbed. And then we walk home the three of us, hand in hand, Ember giggling away to herself as Ebony tells us about her day.

And she loves to draw. Hours spent watching her big sister write, colour and craft have influenced my inquisitive little girl. She scribbles on scraps of paper, in colouring books, on toys and on the table. Felt tips have to be kept strictly out of her reach. She likes pushing prams and trolleys, filling them with toys and then walking them around the room.

She is more sociable than I remember her sister being at this age. I always felt like Ebony was happy alone when she was a toddler, she would play happily by herself at playgroup. But Ember is different, she walks over to other kids and copies what they’re doing, pushing her face close to theirs and smiling. She wants to play with them, she wants a playmate just like she has at home.

And she loves her sister so much. I hear them laughing together as I cook dinner, the two of them running around the living room, tumbling over and giggling loudly. She belly laughs, huge bursts of laughter that tumble out all over the living room floor. Her sister will do anything to make her laugh. She throws herself to the floor, she drops things, she pulls faces, anything to see her baby sister smile. In the mornings, she climbs over to her big sister and lays on top of her, her arms wrapped around her in a tight cuddle, a smile on her face.

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