Before I had kids, I admit I didn’t know much about toddlers. I’d heard a lot about the terrible twos and threes (and debate about exactly which is more terrible), but I hadn’t spent a lot of time around toddlers.
Can I just say that so far, I greatly prefer toddlers to infants? I know we’re only like 6 months into this toddler thing, and that my kids were a little late on the actual toddling, but this seems to be a really cool phase. They’re learning and growing and just exploding with personality. They’re curious and funny and yes, opinionated, quick to flop on the floor and wail, but also quick to giggle and squeal with delight.
Claire has really started walking. She uses a little push wagon as a walker, but when she’s all strapped into her braces, shoes, and de-rotation straps, she can book it. And she’s SO PROUD. She knows she has worked very hard in therapy to get to this point, and she is thrilled that she can finally do it. Watching her go just fills me with joy. When she was born with a more severe spinal defect than we had hoped, a myelomeningocele from L2 or 3 down into her sacrum, we were worried about what her mobility would be like. And here she goes, chugging away, totally besting our expectations. Now she’s decided she can do whatever her sister can do, and has taken to trying to climb the furniture. I’ve had to let her take a couple tumbles, because she refuses to believe me that gravity exists, and will literally take my hands off her body if I try to guide her. I guess gravity itself will be the best teacher when it comes to crawling off the edge of the couch.
This morning, we walked into the girls’ room to get them up, and they were BOTH standing up, holding onto the crib rails. The first time Claire has done that, and she wasn’t even wearing her braces. She was just grinning. Love that girl.
Etta’s bursting with new skills and interests too. The one that does my English major heart the proudest is her discovery of books. Everyone says to read to your babies, and we have, but up until recently, they haven’t seemed to really enjoy it or be interested in it. Not so now. Etta will go to the shelf, pick out a book (her current faves are “How to be a Grouch by Oscar the Grouch,” an Ikea book called “Heroes of the Vegetable Patch,” and “Brown Bear, Brown Bear”), bring it over to wherever I am, hand it to me, crawl into my lap, and wait for me to start reading. She turns the pages most of the time, too. I read those three books hundreds of times a day, it feels like, but I don’t mind a bit.
Another fun Etta trait is asking “What’s dat?” and pointing her little finger. She’s interested in everything, and wants to know what words they’re called. It’s become a bit of a game we play in their room, which has lots of animal pictures on the wall, and she points to different ones almost like she’s giving me a pop quiz. She really enjoys hearing me say the word “jellyfish.” She loves to whisper the word “shoes,” and both girls are obsessed with the word “cat,” or, as Etta says it, “TAT!”
Mealtime is also fun because they’ve started to figure out how to use a fork and spoon. They often eat what we eat, and I really enjoy all of us sitting down to dinner together. Claire has worked very hard in feeding therapy and is able to eat more and more foods and even occasionally drink from a sippy cup.
Overall, while there have certainly been some terrible toddler moments, I’m really soaking up the awesome ones.