Landmarks

I started writing this blog post on the eve of Maurice’s 2nd birthday, but got waylaid by birthday cake and balloons so it’s now the day after his birthday. It has been a brilliant friend- and cake-filled few days, and also, as happens with these landmark events, time for reflecting on the year that has just concluded. It occurred to me that once you’re “grown up” your birthdays offer a chance mainly for gathering friends and sharing drinks and giggles, but often the years begin to whizz past without much opportunity to think about what has changed, evolved, disappeared, appeared in life compared to the year before. But for little people, each year that passes truly provides a landmark of development and literal growth.
What a year it has been…
Firstly, and it’s a true delight to be able to say this, Maurice appears to have discovered the simple joy of slumber over the past 4 months. He often sleeps all the way through the night until nearly 6am, and will ask for his cot when he’s tired, which compared to the sleepless marathon this time last year is a mighty miracle. He also loves to nap during the day for a couple of hours. I genuinely marvel and rejoice at this development…when he was tiny he just never slept at all, and cried constantly (shudder)…i do wonder how much my mental state suffered because of this over the first year of his life, and can’t help but envy those whose little ones learnt to sleep much sooner or were a bit less colicky. It is certainly a calmer life when you can rely on baby sleep for a few moments of down time in the day.
As if to mark his own 2nd birthday milestone, Maurice’s speech has suddenly leapt forward in the past week. It is impossibly sweet how he sings the Raa Raa theme tune to himself, missing out lots of words but singing with gusto “…my friends AND YOURS!”, and singing tit bits of nursery rhymes “row row gentle stream merry dream”. When Ben left for work this morning Maurice said “daddy gone cricket”… Which is I’m sure where daddy would have preferred to have gone on this sun-drenched morning… And he’s linking words to almost-proper sentences, “where daddy gone?”, or his first longish sentence a very sweet “where my cuddle gone?”. Whenever anyone leaves the room Maurice immediately says “sssh! Hide!!” and with a huge grin on his face tries to hide away before the person comes back in.
With every silver lining there must come a cloud, and this speech development has also brought forth some epic tantrums, “don’t like it, not this one, that one, don’t like this one, no take it away, mummy stop nooooooo” etc. I know this is purely his showing a new independence of thought, developing strong opinions and feelings and it’s all natural and positive…however tiresome and irksome it might be for me to be receiving worried/pitying/empathetic looks from passers by as I try to soothe or pacify a writhing and screaming toddler.
He loved his birthday visit to the zoo, especially the monkeys climbing, the snakes slithering, the giraffes…er, being tall, and the otters playing gleefully together.
We have a new green tomato in the garden and I’ve managed to convince Maurice that it’s not ripe for picking yet, so whenever he sees it he announces proudly: “tomato, can’t eat it. Red, eat it”.
He has a merry band of little buddies he sees regularly and they’re beginning to forge lovely friendships and show real delight in hanging out with each other, despite the occasional bash or push from Maurice…
His favourite food is chips. But he’ll still happily eat a broccoli floret too, and particularly loves mummy’s sweet potato chilli “nice, tasty!”. At lunch it’s a joy to hear him proclaim “yummy, mummy!”
He adores his family, his pumpa ken and mumma dede, his granny Lindsey and grandbob, and aunties Nikki, Chloe (cowie) and Rowan, uncle brendan and his cousin Sadie. And special super adoration is reserved for his older cousin senan, who he has serious hero worship for.
He loves his mini garden and quite theatrically sniffs the plants to take in their aromas, particularly for some reason the tomato plant with its bundle of tantalising green tomatoes.
It’s lovely to commemorate these landmark times for little ones, partly to offer ourselves a landmark time as well, assess how we were doing and where our life is when these milestones roll around. It’s otherwise a bit too easy to allow time to roll past without a backward glance. My gran always says as long as you’re learning you’re living, and you should never stop learning. This year has certainly been a learning curve. It’s always good to step back and have a look at the way life is evolving, viewing life as a garden to be tended and cared for, to notice areas that need pruning and areas that need special care or a bit more nurturing. Congratulate yourself for the successful blooms and learn from the plants that don’t fare so well, but move on without regret.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember to pause for thought. But next time you see a beautiful rose, whatever you’re doing, stop, go over, close your eyes and give it a big deep sniff and take in the beautiful life-enhancing scent.
Enjoy the sunshine wherever you are and until the next time…

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