[PHOTOS TO FOLLOW!]
Three months have passed since I wrote to you last, bad mommy! I kept notes for you becoming 20 months, but I thought I was going to write to you at 21 months so I didn’t for then–and now we’re at 22, so I’d better get going before I find you are suddenly going off to university.
At 20 months you were starting to get really cute. I mean, you’ve always been cute, but you really started ratcheting it up. Your nursery must have been working on Please and Thank You with you, because we weren’t, at least not consistently, and then suddenly you were saying “TAE KEW!” when I would hand you a yoget. You also seemed to get suddenly competent at running, jumping, and riding your scooter, all of which I believe must have come from the wolf pack of older boys you seem to hang out with most at nursery.
When we sing Old McDonald with you, often we will pause and let you choose the animal, then sing the noise the animal makes together. You made a couple of jokes this month: namely following “And on that farm he had a . . .” with “Camel!” (that one stumping Daddy) and “Ice cream!” (that one stumping me). You knew you were making a joke, because you giggled at it both times. You’ve also started hiding things, then saying “Where did it go?!” while holding your palms up like “I don’t know!” You really are a confident little performer.
We’ve noticed your tantrums happen mainly when you are tired or hungry, so we try to anticipate those situations and keep them from getting too severe. This month you’ve really embraced the word NO, despite the fact that I have always tried to use words other than that to direct you elsewhere. NO has also been combined with your new “thank you” and often comes out “no THANK you” as if we have offered you something that offends your moral core.
You really like lying down, saying “good night!” and then pretending to sleep, complete with squeezed up eyes and a fake snore. Where did you get that?! Conversely, when you recently had to sleep in a travel cot at the end of Daddy’s bed, you got him up in the morning by tickling his feet and yelling “Wake up, Daddy!” Again, no idea where that came from.
This month we took you to France for a quiet family holiday. You loved the big house and the gigantic garden (and happily went very far without us, without even a second thought it seemed), and you really adored walking up and down the hedgerow stuffing yourself with blackberries. You were less keen on swimming, and you didn’t want to get in the pool without clutching me tightly, but every day you requested that we got into the water together, so something about it was interesting to you.
Finally, this month we finally saw you take an interest in puzzles, and also suddenly you could do them with very little guidance. Again, this is probably your nursery’s influence: at home, until now, you’ve not shown the slightest bit of interest in your puzzles, but suddenly in France you could do one that your Aunt Cecilia gave you.
21 and 22 months
For the past two months, we have watched your range of conversation and your terms of reference increase dramatically. You now speak in sentences, not just individual words. Your sentences go something like this:
“Beatrice hold it the yogurt.”
(in response to “Can Mommy have a bite of your cookie?”) “No, *mine* bite Beatrice cookie!”
“Mommy open the apple.”
So they’re not perfect (and you don’t only talk about food), but you’ve moved well beyond noun-based conversation.
Your language development also means you finally understand me a lot better than before. I can tell you about consequences: say you are throwing your toy on the bus floor for the fun of having me retrieve it. I can say to you “Beatrice, if you throw the toy on the floor, Mommy will take it away. Mommy doesn’t want to take it away, so don’t throw it.” And you don’t. Also, it seems the most effective discipline (say if you are pulling Daisy’s tail or hitting me in the face) is to tell you to say sorry. It really gets to you: you say sorry, you have a brief moment of upset, and you give me a big hug and stop whatever it is that you were doing.
You’ve somehow learned your shapes (I know that you know circle, triangle, square, rectangle, and I’d say thank you Mister Maker for that, except that you also know heart), and you have just started saying ALL your colors. (That video shows you also understand if I question the accuracy of something you have said. “IS it yellow?” “Noooo! It’s orange!”)
Your memory seems to be improving, in that you seem to know the lyrics and (roughly) the tunes of a lot of songs now, and you like talking about things you have done in the day, things you’ve recently read about or seen. You can also now recite entire passages from your favorite books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Each Peach Pear Plum, and Monkey Puzzle, and you can finish sentences throughout most of your other books too if I prompt you.
Favorite activities at the moment include helping with just about any task, from unloading the dishwasher to tidying up your toys, pretending things are different things (a bucket is your current favorite hat; yesterday you rolled up a piece of paper into a cylinder and thought it was hilarious to act like it was a cup), and cuddling, kissing, and playing with Daisy.
Over the last two months your tantrums have really decreased. I think this is down to your increased range of communication, but I know you are not 2 yet, so I fully expect to start to see more tantrums that are not based in a frustrated ability to tell me what you want, but instead annoyance that you I’m not letting you have what you want (for example, like the big tantrum you had the other day when I wouldn’t let you sleep in your extremely hot fleece dressing gown). You also don’t want to share anything (even Daddy gets the evil eye when he dares to touch your favorite chair), so I suspect you’re not going to cope well with having to share Mommy, Daddy, and all your toys with your new brother or sister, who is coming at the end of April next year.
I love you,