I have spent a lot of time writing about Katie lately (she does rather make her presence known) so a birthday makes a good point in time to stop and take stock of where we are with Pip. I received an email from Mumsnet all about my child being 2 and it made me stop and reflect and also
Pip had his 2 Year check last week and he sailed through all the challenges with one exception, he's not really speaking much yet. He can thread a cotton reel; he can stack and line up his bricks; he can point to all the animals in his books; he can assist getting dressed; he can understand two word commands; he's incredibly dexterous (thank you Baby Led Weaning for that) and exploring his world very well. He's an adorably bright and switched on little cookie but he's just not able to express that well yet (well not in ways that are socially acceptable that is but I'll come back to that one later on). I'm not overly bothered by the lack of speech, other than his methods of expressing himself at times, although was slightly offended by one of Nana's Carer's who asked if he was "delayed" the other day. Lots of children don't speak well at this age and I can hear the words coming. He does have about 15 vaguely clear words I think (he should have at least 50 although the Mumsnet email said 200) and he's saying sentences in his baby babble so I know he is hearing and understanding perfectly fine. He was born with a tongue-tie so that might be impacting slightly so I'm encouraging him to poke his tongue out (I'm sure that will bite me on the bum at a later stage) and we are practising his vowel sounds and every day he tries out new words, mostly with part of the word missing but massive points for effort. He has started singing though which is hilarious, especially when he's joining in with Ed Sheeran's "Sing" in the car and shouts out "dah" at the points in the song when Ed says "Sing" or "Louder". He also tries to copy the tune for the high bits of the song so I think we might have a little boy soprano in our midst's! He's got the tune to Twinkle, Twinkle or ABC down really well.
All in all I'm not overly worried. Give him 6 months and I think he'll be hard to stop chattering. One of the things I was delighted about was that his weight and height are now within a centile and a half of each other so there are no longer any causes for concern about his weight. He is a very tall young man and he now has proper shaped legs and everything. The Health Visitor commented on how broad he is and thinks that might be part of what makes him look bigger. She noted that she hadn't seen a child that broad across the shoulders in a long while. I think it's fair to say he's going to be a tall one. We joke he'll be a rugby player!
Pip has been embracing the Terrible Two's since he was about 18 months. Toddlers start to develop their sense of self and can react very ummm
OK at this point I'm literally rolling on the floor laughing hysterically. Hysterically probably being the key word.
Try about 20+ tantrums a day. Not everyday, but most days.
I kid you not. He melts down over literally anything and everything. You only have to say hello to him sometimes and you can get slapped and don't even breathe the words "nappy change" in his earshot or you might start to wonder if you've walked onto the set of The Omen. Yes Pip is embracing the power of the bitch slap. He slaps my face over pretty much anything that displeases him. He'll also just slap my legs or anywhere else he can reach if opportunity presents. I do wonder from time to time if he's just simply frustrated or whether there is something else going on there but currently I just think it's mostly frustration at not being able to communicate. The hurt/angry look in his eyes when he slaps me is almost comical. I've found if I just stare back at him we can turn it around into a joke. He starts doing an exaggerated blinking and I copy it back and generally we start laughing. Other times if it's in the right place I will just turn my back and walk away. Mostly his little moments blow over quite quickly but I do find it tiring at times especially when I'm having a difficult day with Katie as well. I feel like I'm constantly being slapped by one or the other of the children which really isn't very nice. It's amazing how you become almost desensitised to it though. One of his favourite tantrum specialities is to throw his dinner plate across the room. This is a specific reaction to you helping him with his dinner i.e. there's a bit left he can't manage himself with his spoon. He is really good with his spoon and fork but he is only two so there are times it's a bit tricky. Heaven help you if you interfere! If you're really quick you can reach him before he throws it but generally it's cleaning up time for me!
Conversely though he has also learned to kiss and cuddle and will sprint over to give me a massive hug if I pretend to cry. I adore his snotty, soggy kisses and his snuggly warm little body. I never thought I would actually say those words aloud. I'm not overly fond of snot and used to recoil when children gave snotty kisses but with Katie and Pip it's never bothered me (it must be love!). He's also incredibly mischievous and gives the most adorable smile when he's doing something he shouldn't. He also says "Blue Bear" sweetly whenever he's in trouble (Blue Bear is his special toy). I'm wondering if someone has been explaining about safe words to him! He is a very busy little man (even more so than Katie was) and he is in to everything. He has to explore everything around him; touch everything; break everything. He loves to watch me cook or wash up and has to be involved otherwise....you've guessed it.......he will melt down with that hurt "how very dare you" look in his eyes. He plays well with other children and enjoys their company. He's starting to get more territorial about toys so I watch carefully when he's playing with other children.
All in all he is a joy to have around. From the moment he wakes up shouting "Mama" and then toddles in asking for the "Piepad" (he's a whizz on that thing - but before anyone tells me it will stunt his development in other areas please rest assured that we spend time doing other things to develop all his motor skills) until the moment his little (well very large size 7.5) feet are tucked under the covers at night I think he is a fab, adorable, squishy little fella. I feel for him because he is being dragged from pillar to post whilst I sort things out with Nana. He copes well but I feel guilty that he's not getting the fun and more importantly exercise he should be getting and I can see how frustrated he is in the buggy when we're visiting. I'm hoping that things might improve once things settle with Nana more but that's not looking immediate. I've agreed with TCM that he will go over to Nana's after work some days so that I can take Pip to toddler group and Bounceabout each week. I'd like to spend more time with him just chilling and playing at home and I feel very unbalanced by all the running around. That's probably an understatement but I'm trying to be more positive about all the stress for fear of losing my marbles totally.
I can't believe that Pip has now been with us for 17 months. That feels inconceivable. Where has the time gone? One thing that saddens me is that our time has felt peppered with one issue after another and that has impacted on our time together. I was unwell for quite a lot of that time due to the Vit D deficiency and my hormone problem plus all the stresses with Katie and, more recently, the house build and move. I noted to TCM recently that I feel a little cheated that I've not been able to enjoy the benefit of my hormone suppression injections because we've been under so much stress. I do feel grateful though that they've helped offset the stress a bit because without them I wouldn't be able to cope with everything going on currently.
One thing we are going to do is make use of the 2 Year Funding for adopted children and use the nursery provision for Pip a few sessions a week. That will give him time for play and learning and I can visit Nana without feeling like it's at Pip's expense. I don't really want him to be without me around just yet but I think he will enjoy it. He is very securely attached and not showing any signs at all of attachment difficulties but there is that adopters fear of rocking a secure boat too soon so I hope it all works out well. I just want him to feel happy and secure and enjoy his little years.