Three weeks ago Pob became a two-year old. I'll spare you the "oh my goodness it was only yesterday she was a tiny baby" speech, but it does feel a bit that way. We had a lovely party for her. I had doubted my sanity, inviting people round to a house with a toddler and a non-sleeping baby, but I felt more strongly that we needed to recognise her birthday. And once I started inviting people, it rapidly got to 30 guests, when we included family, gdparents, and my college friends and their children.
It went incredibly well, thanks to great teamwork from H and I, my mother, and our nanny. Between us we baked and made sandwiches and fruit skewers, tidied and cleaned and decorated, and got Pob dressed in a lovely red dress with doggies on it (her favourite animal). My MIL arrived with a big present, the scones, jam and clotted cream. People came and hung out, ate lovely food, chatted, and admired Pob. Their children decorated t-shirts and played with completely age-inappropriate toys. Pob gloried in the attention, although making clear her preference for some people (Granny, cousin J) over others.
So what is she like, my now nearly-25-months-old? She is very very vocal, as always. She has started to use "I" instead of "Pob" although it's mixed. We now have correct use of possessives and pretty good sentence structure overall - this morning's was "please open this for me," "that's my monitor," (well, no, it's baby Junior's), "I want that apple," and "Help Pob, this is too hard for me." She has a sense of time: "Daddy working, home later," "Have raisins soon," and can even apply it to days, although not sure she gets it: "Granny coming tomorrow." She understands very complex stories. My mother went away for a few weeks, and told Pob that she was going in a plane, and would be back when Pob was a bit bigger. A few weeks later Pob told me "Granny plane. Pob a bit bigger. Granny coming back."
But she's still also a baby in some ways, and finds it hard to deal with the strong emotions she feels. We get at least 5 breakdowns a day, normally over not much. Just dropping a strawberry on the floor during lunch a few weeks ago caused a total meltdown. And when she can't have just what she wants NOW RIGHT NOW we also get poor screaming Pob. She sometimes narrates this breakdown: "Matter! Matter" (i.e., we usually ask "what's the matter?" and she's picked up just the main word), "Pob crying!", and "Need a dummy, need a dummy now!"
One strategy I've recently adopted is taken from Elizabeth Pantley's "No-cry discipline solution." I ask her where her happy voice is: "Is it in your tummy? Is it in your pocket?" She has decided it's usually in her pocket, and almost always, as if by magic, she can pull it out, and put it back in her mouth, and the tantrum is over. I'm hoping it's a strategy that will continue to work.
She is now getting a bit jealous of the baby. Ever since I set up a playmat for him in our playroom, she's wanted all toys to be hers. And when I got to put him down, we have a merry dance of 'Pob's turn! Pob's turn!" for all the possible locations. Although if I ask her to make a choice, she will usually pick one and stick to it. And if I ask her for one toy for Junior she will usually offer him one. Surprisingly, she's become quite generous with other children, and readily shares her bucket and spade at the sandpit. "Pob sharing today." The baby is clearly more of a threat.
This jealously has sadly extended to bathtime. Until recently I was bathing Junior in the handbasin in our bathroom, while Pob had a bath upstairs with Daddy in her bathroom. But Junior, bless him, is now over 16lbs (7.2 kilos, and all on breastmilk, and yes I do feel good about that) and rather too big for the handbasin. So I suggested to Pob they could bath together. She was initially quite keen on this, but the moment I put Junior into the bath she started objecting: "Junior's in the WAY! Get OUT Junior!" Luckily Junior's not up for a long bath anyway, but it did disrupt my imagined nice happy bathtime somewhat. No doubt she'll get used to it.
This month Granny is her absolute favourite person. Followed probably by Daddy, and then by me. The amount of time I've spent with the baby is coming home to haunt me, I think. I love that she loves my mother that much, though. Luckily Granny has been able to spend quite a bit of time with us, including a few overnights (Granny sleep here! On this bed!"). But Granny going away is hard for Pob. At bedtime two nights ago she was reading Puff the magic dragon with Daddy. While reading the last verse she said "Puff sad! Crying!" Daddy agreed, and she added "Pob sad". Daddy asked why, and she answered "Granny gone." Oh dear.
The playground drama has begun. She badly wants to play with the big girls. But most of the big girls don't want to play with her. A few days ago she was on the see saw with one older girl. Pob eventually had enough of being bounced very hard, and asked to get off. The girl decided she'd had enough too, and headed off towards the big slide. Pob ran after her, holding out her hand, asking "Want to play! Want to play with me!" But the girl didn't look back. And the day before yesterday some big girls were playing a twirling game. Pob laughed and ran over to them, doing her version of twirling which is to run round in circles while laughing and looking up at them. They completely ignored her. And my heart broke a little.
She does love to be active. She wants to run everywhere now, and really enjoys her gym and football classes. But she also hits toddler walls of exhaustion where she can do nothing except sit, or possibly lie, on the pavement, unable to move. For about a minute. Then she wants to run again. Not to anywhere in particular, but just to run.
I've heard that they get more mobile as they get more emotionally able to move away from you. I see that that's true. But I didn't realise to what extent I'm not ready for her to move away from me. She's doing it, but I'm way behind on my own developmental stages.