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Grow, grow, grow - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Grow, grow, grow
Happy New Year! One of my New Year's Resolutions (about which more in a later post) was to post here more often, so here I am. As I said in my LJ Christmas card, the reason I haven't posted more often is that Img is taking up most of my 'spare' time; so it's probably time I did an update on how she's getting on...


Img is now 21 months old, which is coming up to the point where counting in months stops making much sense, so let's say she's 1¾.

She started walking back in August, and is now pottering around quite confidently, and even running (though there's still a hint of that 'zombie baby' toddler walk about her movements). She seems to like walking -- she always wants to walk instead of going in the buggy (and I'm very happy to let her if it's not too far and I'm not in a hurry), she often says "Imi WALKING!" quite delightedly while she's doing it, and she doesn't often 'give up' and ask to be carried instead if we're walking somewhere. She still hesitates a bit on big steps, but always wants to walk up stairs holding my hand rather than crawling (though still turns round and crawls when going down stairs). She's pretty good at climbing up things, and she loves to "hop like a rabbit" (she can't actually jump yet, so it's a sort of frenetic knees-bend) and dance to music (standing on the spot and jiggling around a bit). She can also walk backwards, and clearly knows it's funny because she giggles as she does it; and she has recently learned to "POUNCE!" which is hilarious (both for her and for us).

I can't now remember exactly when she started talking, but we've come a long way from her first "duck!" -- she now chatters away more or less non-stop, and most of it makes some kind of sense (particularly if you've read/seen the same books/DVDs as she has, as she often wants to recount the stories). I'm constantly amazed at the number of words she knows -- not just the usual toddler ability to name every animal (real, extinct and imaginary) under the sun, but more complicated things and concepts as well. We now get multi-part demands (e.g. "Imi have a carry, see mummy"; "watch Trumpton on daddy's knee"; "ask mummy for more clementine in Imi's bowl") and complex observations (e.g. on being offered chicken, announcing "it's meat" and then "daddy's eating hot meat"; the other morning, pointing at me in the mirror: "it's mummy's reflection"). I wasn't expecting quite so much conversation by this age, but it's absolutely fantastic -- I can tell her things and be pretty sure that she understands (though that doesn't mean she agrees or will comply!), and she can tell me things -- communicating her likes and dislikes ("Imi like mustard NO!", "Yum yum tasty milk"), telling me why she's upset ("Imi have a ouch - Imi bite a tongue"), or enthusing about things she's read/seen ("Daddy Pig stuck on a slide!", "Yaffle goes nyerp nyerp dirty old bottle"). She also 'sings' songs and nursery rhymes, often following her version with a request for "Mummy sing it!" or "Daddy sing it!"

One of the side-effects of so much talking is that most of the baby-signing has fallen away, though it was brilliant while it lasted -- when she was about 1 she suddenly started doing loads of signs, and I think without them we'd have all been dreadfully frustrated as she clearly had lots to communicate. These days most of the signs she does are accompanied by the word, and seem to be more for emphasis -- she still does signs as well as words for "more", "milk", "eat/food", "bike", "sing", "cat" and "dog" (all among her favourite things!) and also, usefully, for "where" and "ouch".

She's eating quite well, if a bit unpredictably -- some days she'll eat hardly anything, other days she seems capable of eating her own body weight in mashed potato or banana or yoghurt or carrots or bread or whatever the obsession of the moment is. We did baby-led weaning and decided right from the start that we were just going to give her whatever we were eating, so she's been exposed to a wide variety of foods (including trying jellyfish when we went for dim sum with nou and friends!) -- she used to eat pretty much anything that was put in front of her, but has become much more picky over the last few months. We don't nag her or insist on her eating -- she knows how to eat (and incidentally can use a fork or spoon reasonably well when she chooses), she'll eat if she wants to, there's no 'magic portion size' that she has to eat in order to be healthy/satisfied -- but it's frustrating when she pushes the plate away and says "finished!" without even trying anything on it. On the other hand, nursery seem to feed her a lot (possibly because they do a lot more nagging and cajoling and insisting on finishing everything) so I think sometimes she's just really not that hungry when she gets home.

She's been going to nursery for 9 months now, since I went back to work in late March, and seems to have settled in fairly happily after a rocky start. She still shouts/cries at us sometimes when we drop her off in the morning (they assure us that she stops as soon as we're out of the room), but it's by no means every day; the daily reports we get tell us that she eats, drinks, plays, talks, etc as you'd expect -- though the nursery staff seem to find her non-stop talking a bit wearing ("she's like a stuck record!"), and they don't seem particularly interested in encouraging it. I don't find it a very inspiring nursery, to be honest; but then I don't think I could claim that I'm a very inspiring parent either, most of the time, and since nursery manages to keep her fed, clean-ish, and mostly happy, I can't really complain. Img has friends there (and apparently has taught the sign for 'friend' to the other children!) whom she plays with (or alongside, anyway), and she talks about her friends and the nursery staff (usually to tell me who gave her cuddles -- "Julie cuddle Imi! Imi cuddle Emily!" -- but also things they've done e.g. "Help Emily tidy up!") in a way that suggests she's fairly content with them. On the other hand, little incidents seem to stay in her mind for a long time -- another child poked her in the nose (not maliciously, just the way toddlers do) months ago, and Img still occasionally says "Leila Rae poked nose!" with an aggrieved look. I don't want to project a personality onto her before she's had a chance to develop her own, but she does seem quite sensitive in some ways; whenever another baby cries Img looks sad and says "baby crying", "baby sad", and usually gets a bit cuddly and clingy with me until the baby stops and/or I reassure her that the baby is OK and its mummy and daddy are there to give it a cuddle (occasionally recently I have also said things like "it's probably just crying because it's hungry/tired, tiny babies often do that").

She's going through a phase of being really quite shy with new people, too -- she does the classic toddler thing of clinging to me and hiding behind my leg, and answers every question with "mummy cuddle". She usually relaxes a bit after a while -- generally about 10 minutes before we need to say "goodbye" again to whoever we've been visiting, sigh.

The one thing she's still not very good at is sleeping -- she still wakes 2 or 3 times nearly every night, and almost always wants a feed when she wakes (and is currently going through a phase of refusing to be comforted by anybody except me, which is sad for addedentry and frustrating for me). We've had a few 'good' nights (e.g. only waking at 1am and 6am) but they're not nearly frequent enough for my liking, and recently we've had more night-time tantrums as well. I know she will grow out of it eventually, but in the meantime it's pretty exhausting. On the plus side, she often goes to sleep without too much fuss in the first instance now (usually with a feed and a cuddle and holding her hand until she falls asleep, but Owen's also managed to get her to sleep by himself occasionally i.e. without the feed) and she does it in her own bed (after co-sleeping until she was about 16 months old because it was the only way we could get her to sleep at all -- we had to move her out because she was just too big and wriggly, the final straw being when she literally kicked Owen out of bed while he slept!), which means we can actually Do Stuff (like washing-up) after she's gone to sleep. Her own bed has DINOSAURS on the duvet cover and pillowcase ("Imi go to sleep on DINOSAUR PILLOW have a DINOSAUR BLANKET!") which I think helps to make bedtime more bearable.

On the whole, she's adorable but exhausting (she basically never stops moving or talking while she's awake, and often doesn't stop either while she's asleep). Of course it's impossible to tell what she'll be like when she's older, but early indications suggest that she's going to be small, stubborn, opinionated, and good with words -- no real surprises there given her parents. ;-)

Anyway, there's lots more I could say about Img, but I've probably already written twice as much as anybody except me is interested in reading! I haven't included photos here, to save your friends-list from baby-photo-spam, but there are loads of pics on Flickr if you want to see what she looks like. (My favourites include an unusually contemplative pose and a photo of her trying ice-cream for the first time.)

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Comments
juggzy From: juggzy Date: January 5th, 2013 10:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Really - you post very little about Img, and none of it is boring!
kaberett From: kaberett Date: January 5th, 2013 10:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! This was lovely lovely lovely to read.
venta From: venta Date: January 5th, 2013 10:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hurray! I approve of the resolution to post more here, even though I can see that a job and a baby probably already fill up quite a lot of life :)

I'm (apparently) famous for disliking children, but I do enjoy reading about them. (Actually, I even enjoy meeting them if they're other people's, but no one seems to believe this). So I'll be reading things you post here, even if they are long.
rmc28 From: rmc28 Date: January 5th, 2013 10:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay growing toddlers :-)

I will basically read and enjoy everything you write about Imogen but I hear you on the spare-time front ...
emperor From: emperor Date: January 5th, 2013 11:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
"exhausting" seems to be a common attribute of small children!
ewx From: ewx Date: January 5th, 2013 11:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

Interesting update.

(Makes me wonder if attitudes to age would be any different if we persisted with month-based ages throughout life.)

khalinche From: khalinche Date: January 6th, 2013 12:38 am (UTC) (Link)
it was lovely, and interesting, to read all of this.
flashofalchemy From: flashofalchemy Date: January 6th, 2013 08:55 am (UTC) (Link)
She is lovely!
geekette8 From: geekette8 Date: January 6th, 2013 09:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I enjoyed reading it! She sounds *incredibly* verbal and absolutely lovely.
lnr From: lnr Date: January 6th, 2013 12:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Happy New Year, and lovely to read how you're getting on :) I always love seeing your photos of her on Flickr too.
k425 From: k425 Date: January 6th, 2013 06:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
She sounds lovely, and interesting - keep on enjoying her!
(Deleted comment)
jvvw From: jvvw Date: January 7th, 2013 09:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lovely to hear your latest news and very impressed by Imogen's talking!

I think the eating more at nursery thing is partly due to being surrounded by all the other toddlers eating. I'm pretty sure that Owen isn't pressured for a range of reasons (not least that most days he has seconds!) and although he eats well generally at home, he still eats more consistently at nursery to the extent that it's a pretty sure sign that he's coming down with something if he hasn't had everything. Either that or the food at nursery is better!
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