Dear Arlo,

Let me start by explaining your hair this month. You have a stubborn tuft at the back that likes to point towards the sky. Dada thought he could help by cutting the tuft shorter. But the tuft relished in its new weight loss and found that it was able to point even higher than before. So, you have been nicknamed ‘Tufty’ this month. We think it’s pretty cute.

You repeat little phrases like “Good job!” and “Good luck” with an intonation that sounds exactly like ET. If you hear these phrases on the TV, you will automatically parrot back the words, even if you are playing with your toys and not actually watching the TV.

You are very good with your manners and always say “Thanks Mama. You’re welcome”. You haven’t yet worked out that you aren’t supposed to say both phrases. You have decided to always address people directly, it sounds very polite and proper. “Oh! Thanks Mama”, “Ah, yes Mama”. We had a house guest one weekend, and you kept saying “Yes Max”, “Good Night Max”, etc.

I’ve never seen you with so much energy. Where did it suddenly come from?! You really need a lot of activity and stimulation at the moment to satisfy your curious, expanding mind. You are keeping mama on her toes that’s for sure. With your increased energy has also come an increase in expressing emotion. There are mega-tears at least once a day, usually more. Your tantrums are mostly centred around not being allowed more food. You do not like when you finish your chocolate buttons. You do not like the words “no more”. But there are also completely random tears, tears when you don’t want to leave the ducks, tears when you don’t want to walk but you definitely don’t want to sit in your buggy. I can’t win at the moment. But that’s OK, it’s a phase and I understand.

For the first time ever, you have allowed yourself to fall asleep “all by yourself”. I encourage this, and with a bit of reverse psychology, you now think that going to sleep by yourself is a really fun thing to do. As we are getting ready for bed each night, I talk to you about how bedtime is going to go. “Mama will put you in your bag, turn out the light, we’ll have a nice cuddle and milk on the sofa. Then mama will give you a kiss, put you in your cot, and say ‘Night Night Arlo’. Then I’ll leave the room and Arlo will go to sleep all by yourself.” You always grin when I get to the “all by yourself” part. During the morning, we have been talking about bedtime a lot, you and I. “Mama is so proud of you for going to bed all by yourself, Arlo”. You nod eagerly and smile.

It feels a bit funny to not be feeding you to sleep, but we still do that at nap time most of the time. Plus, there is one really great part about not feeding you to sleep: I get to hear your sweet quiet voice say “Night Night mama” as I slip out of your room. I know that you are happy to go to sleep on your own.

You have started caring for your toys this month. You like to lie your cuddly toys down for a sleep, and share your snacks with your trains, making sure each one gets a bite. I walked into the dining room to find that you had placed your doll in your highchair and set out her spoon and baby food jar.

At 21 months you could count to 10, and at 22 months you can recognise the numbers 1 – 10 written down.

After learning to string two words together last month, we’ve now had a couple of sentences from you which is very exciting.

You’ve started telling me every time you fill your nappy. In fact, one of your first sentences was “I did a stinky poo poo”. For some reason you also call wees stinky, you will drop whatever you are doing to run up to me and say “Mama! Mama! Stinky wee wee”, nodding earnestly.

This month, you have realised how much fun other children can be.  At your signing class, you were having great fun watching two older toddlers chase each other around the chairs. You kept shouting “Babies, race! Babies, race!” so enthusiastically that the other toddlers started copying you. I wish we had more opportunity to hang out with other toddlers on a regular basis now that you have started to enjoy the company of other children. The free nursery hours seem such a long way off.

You have been challenging this month, Arlo. You have been such an easy-going toddler, so much easier than when you were a baby, that your difficult moments have seemed to come on very suddenly. But I find that the challenges come hand in hand with a whole lot of fun – it’s all part of the deal as you continue to learn and grow.

Love Mama

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