I have a confession to make: I haven’t read any books about what to do with toddlers. Maybe because I’m scared of what they say. Or maybe because I’ve decided that parenting by instinct feels more right to me.
I read a lot of books while I was pregnant. I studied Early Childhood Education at university (yes, it was a long time ago, but I still remember lots of fundamentals). I read lots books during the first year of Bubba’s life. But since then, aside from lots of online articles, I haven’t yet sat down to read a specific book that says to me: this is what your toddler should be doing.
She is healthy, growing, has a great appetite, and although she’s on the small side, I think (and so does our doctor) that is just her DNA. She’s probably going to be petite. Lately she’s gotten a little taller but lost a little weight. Her appetite hasn’t slowed though. How do we suppose I bottle that little trick and sell it to make squillions?
She is happy, caring and interactive. She is inclusive and loving. She is a good little girl who helps her mumma, picks up the dog’s bowls after they’ve eaten so they can be put away, tidies her toys away, goes to bed when asked to and sleeps well.
Sure, we have the odd day when she’s not so great. But hey, we all have those days. They’re far outnumbered by the great days, so I’m not worried.
I spend time with her at her level. A lot of it. We play with Bella and Beary. We read. We talk about colours. We count. We tell stories. We dance. We sing. We draw. We paint. We giggle. We walk. We talk about the world around us. We’re still. We move. We kiss and cuddle. We hold hands. We have fun. Lots of it.
And I am incredibly grateful that I don’t miss moments like these.
Less and less am I to be found doing household jobs that I know should be getting done while she’s awake and in my company. I’ve got a more important thing to do: spend time with my Bubba. Before she grows up and I wonder where that time went and why we didn’t spend more time together.
Those jobs can wait. Or they don’t get done. And I’m now almost okay with that.
I have read a couple of things about toilet training, but she’s not shown me that she’s ready yet, so I’m not going to push it. That’s what my instinct tells me too: when she’s ready, she’ll let me know. Just like she has at every other developmental phase.
I wondered a few days ago at what age other kids dropped their middle of the day sleep. Then I pushed that thought aside. When she’s ready to go straight through (hopefully not for another year or so at least!) she’ll let me know.
Then I smiled. Because at the time I had that thought, we were all on my bed and she was having her middle of the day bottle. Which some other kids her age don’t have anymore. But that’s them. And she’s her. And while she winds down for her sleep laying on my bed with Bella and Beary, stroking my arm or with her legs entwined with mine, every fibre of my being says we’re doing everything right.