Four things I'm cherishing while my child is still little
Toddlerhood goes by all too fast! Pregnant with her second baby, Fiona Roberton is cherishing the quirky, funny and just plain cute things her toddler does during this precious time.
My little girl continually surprises me with the things she says and does over the course of a day. I’ll admit that some of those things can be challenging, but others are delightful! I’m aware that this time is fleeting, so it’s been nice to pause and reflect on these things while I get to enjoy them.
The observant toddler
Not too long ago Kate took an interest in counting. She made lots of attempts at counting first to five, then to ten, and so on, and missing various numbers out along the way. One number she never misses is eight, and it has become her favourite. Now whenever we walk somewhere, Kate points out number eights she sees, and asks me to find them too. Most of our walking journeys now involve identifying number eights, whether they be on car number plates, letter boxes or street signs. Whenever we find one, excitement breaks out on Kate’s face, quickly followed by, “let’s find another number eight”. I’ve found it helpful to be near the number 80s on a street at a time like this, but sometimes it requires a bit more searching. Nevertheless it’s an enjoyable exercise that makes a simple journey a bit more fun.
The helpful toddler
I think it helps that jobs like doing the dishes are very similar to the type of water play Kate already enjoys, and I often find her standing on a stool in front of the sink tipping water out of cups and saucepans that have been placed there. Whenever my husband or I make a start on doing the dishes, Kate will jump into action bringing the stool over and saying, “I want to help with the dishes”. We then let her stand in front of us at the sink while we try and contain the splashes. Emptying the dishwasher is another favourite ‘helping’ task, although this requires quick response times from us. There have been many occasions when I’ve turned around to see a dinner plate or glass just seconds from crashing on the kitchen tiles (and on occasion actually doing so) as she precariously waves it at me. The most humorous helping task is probably mopping the floor. Kate took a real interest in this having watched us mopping the floor, and the sight of a very small child trying to hold up and then move a mop never fails to amuse me. She normally does a small patch of floor and then all of a sudden drops the mop having found the weight too much, quickly moving on to her next activity.
The cuddly toddler
My daughter is a cuddler. Sometimes the phrase “cuddle Mummy” does get tiring especially when I’m already using my hands to do other things. There is something lovely however about just how much a simple cuddle can address a problem. When she has a fall, Kate wants a cuddle; when she’s sick she wants lots of cuddles; when she enters a new environment with lots of people around, a cuddle helps. In every case the cuddle will calm her in a way that other things will not. It would be nice to think that adult problems could be resolved as easily!
The cheeky toddler
I tried to make the introduction of sugary foods a gradual process, and held off giving Kate a piece of chocolate cake until her first birthday. However, since she’s turned two there’s been quite a bit more ‘treat’ food in her life. One time, I thought I was being kind by offering her a ‘special treat’ of a small chocolate biscuit, only to find that ‘special treat’ became a regular request thereafter. I tried explaining that the whole meaning of ‘special treat’ related to something you didn’t get to have all the time, to which she replied, “I would like another special treat please”, with a cheeky smile. I know the day will come when she can reach the pantry on her own and will simply help herself. So for now I’ll enjoy the requests while I still get them.
Fiona Roberton enjoys being involved in her local Playcentre, volunteering for Mary Potter Hospice and writing poetry. She lives in Wellington with her husband Pete and daughter Kate.