The speech of two-year olds is the stuff of adorably cute memories that, if your family is anything like mine, are repeated for decades. Take bizarre names for people and objects, add a dash of accidental comedy genius and combine with an infant’s uniquely surreal take on the universe and you’ve got the recipe for an abundance of special moments. Tilly is no exception and having just turned three years of age and now speaking with remarkable fluency, I took a look at the meteoric and often hilarious rise of language from my daughter.
Our nearly three-year-old Tilly has become unusually clingy at bedtime, refusing to go off to sleep without me staying in her room. At the same time her night-time sleeping started going downhill too with night waking becoming all too regular. As the sleep problems grew, I decided to it was time to try the gradual retreat technique.
It’s wonderful to hear your small child say I love you for the first time. It melts your heart. However to begin with you know that they’re just repeating the words don’t really understand what they’re saying. The months pass, their vocabulary and comprehension expands exponentially and then, one day, they say those magic words for themselves. That was my experience today.
I had expected taking two-year-old Tilly into London to be challenging, fraught with avoiding tantrums on public transport and her running off in crowds. I never guessed it would instead be a defining experience, breaking down the barriers of toddler life and reappraising my role as a stay-at-home dad.
The big day arrived. Cards and presents were opened, candles blown out on the cake, but nothing happened. We had expected a transformation in the manner of Harry Enfield’s Kevin character becoming a teenager, albeit with our one year old becoming a ‘terrible two’. Of course it doesn’t work like that; we’ve been experiencing certain characteristics of those terrible twos for some time. Now, a few weeks into her third year, we’re beginning to get a taste of what two-year-old is all about and it’s a fascinating place…
I recently came across an excellent post by local blogger Mummy on a Budget called ‘Things to do before I’m 2‘, which to my mind captures many of those defining experiences we’re keen for our children to enjoy. However, I had a problem: with Tilly’s second birthday just weeks away I simply wasn’t going to have the time to get through the list, not least with it being the depths of winter. Instead we would give ourselves a year and inspired by the idea create a list of essential experiences for toddler Tilly to enjoy by the age of 3. Call it a bucket list, new year’s resolution or a challenge if you wish – it boils down to getting Tilly out and about to do, see, make and explore.