People often ask me whether life with my toddler is busy, and in fact, I remember saying in previous posts how busy life is. Lately I’ve been thinking about this question again and the truth is I think we are not that busy. We’re not bored, but we’re not racing around from one activity to the other either. We have a nice balance of at least one outside activity per day on average as well as some quiet time at home. I am happy with the way our days are filled, and Maria seems to be happy about it, too – at least most of the time.
That said, I am always surprised how much happier she is when we go outside than when we stay at home. Somehow, she seems to not need me at all when we are at Playcentre or music class, but when we are at home I can’t open a book or turn on my laptop for a minute or she wants to play with it too. I realize it is more a matter of wanting to play with my laptop or book rather than needing my attention. I do, however, sometimes miss the time when I could write a post for this blog while Maria was happily lying on the floor. It means that nowadays, I don’t write as many posts as I’d like to, but that’s just life, right?
Look who’s Talking!
I recently read in a BabyCentre article about 16-months-olds that now that they have walking out of the way they can turn their attention to something else: talking. This is certainly the case for Maria. Her conversation skills are rapidly expanding, although unfortunately it is still all jibber-jabber to us. New is that she is constantly pointing to things, like the window or a light. Even at night, if she wakes up and I go to her room, she talks to me in a low voice. It is funny to see how she is learning to use her voice differently depending on the situation. Favorite remains the conversations she has on the phone. Nowadays, they start with Alo and finish with Bye.
This last month Maria made huge progress in her ability to use a spoon! She is by no means able to eat without making a mess, but when she feeds herself she is actually getting something in her mouth instead of dropping it right before it enters her mouth. The result is that she does not want to be spoon-fed at all anymore. With breakfast, when I give her porridge, I manage to feed her while she also has a spoon in her hand, but for lunch and dinner we mostly give her foods she can eat herself, such as sandwiches, pasta, rice, and chopped up veggies. Her appetite varies a lot from day to day, though, and some days she can be incredibly picky! She kinda grew bored with toast and now only wants to eat hummus, avocado or cheese without the bread. Her favorite foods are still avocado, cheese, spaghetti bolognese and tomato – not so much different from last month‘s favorites.
Maria has always been a very playful baby, and she still is! No wonder she loves going to Playcentre. A couple of months ago she discovered the easel with paints, and she is still crazy about painting. As soon as we arrive at Playcentre she usually rushes off to the paints.
A while ago Maria also discovered the sandpit, and waterplay remains a lot of fun as well. I notice at Playcentre that most small children prefer to play outside, and Maria is no exception. Her mommy is not always very happy with that, but she withstands the rain and cold to keep her company.
At home, we enjoy music and dancing, chasing each other, playing with the blocks, reading books, and, when Dad plays along, building a tent.
I had never thought I would find it so much fun to play with a toddler, but the truth is that (most of the time) I feel very lucky to be so close to Maria at this stage. I am also really interested in children’s development, and the parents’ education program at Playcentre allows me to learn more and improve my parenting skills. Last Saturday, I had a full day of workshops, and I left feeling energized and full of motivation and ideas.
Despite me being always around, Maria is quite an independent girl and not very shy with strangers. People are often surprised to hear she doesn’t go to daycare, as she is so comfortable being without me. I guess it is something she was born with.