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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 03:34pm on 15/05/2013 under ,
Oh gosh oh dear oh my -- a lot of time has passed since I last wrote one of these. Where to start? I'll break it down into sections, and then maybe it won't be so overwhelming to think about. (And now she's nearly 30 months! There's just never enough time these days.)


This is the big one. She's completely fluent now. She's able to express her feelings fully, to describe accurately what's happening around her, to make up stories about the weird imaginary creatures she's invented over the last few months. She sings songs -- sometimes with the right words and sometimes with nonsense sounds that clearly give her huge pleasure. She makes jokes of a very basic type -- simply stating things that are clearly untrue ("My shoes are red" when they're really lime green). And she's taking a lot more interest in the words in her books. Sometimes she'll pretend to read the words by moving her finger across them as she makes up the story out loud. And last week she figured out that words have letters at the beginning that you can sound out. I don't think she's made the connection with the printed words on the page yet, but she's taking a lot of pleasure in reciting "d for daddy, m for mummy, p for potato" etc.


It's going to be a life-long love affair for her, I think. She loves getting us to read stories to her. And she loves just playing with books -- carrying them around in big piles, pretending to read them, asking us what our books are about when we're reading. For a while she was using one of Matt's paperbacks as a playtime prop where she'd sit at her little table and "read" aloud stories about Cocco (a character she made up who we recently discovered is a bird). She calls her bookshelf her library.

She's also very excited about Brer Rabbit stories. We are less excited as the Enid Blyton set we were given is a bit ... odd. Anyway, Matt started making up stories about Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox and Brer Wolf. Then he got bored and added Brer Robin. Then River got bored and suggested Brer Bobbin (a bobbin who can only roll down hills or be carried around), Brer Babbit (River tells us he has blue ears and a blue face, green hair, a long tail, big feet and long arms), Brer Box (who does nothing but shout "I'm a box!") and Brer Tank (he's a tank and he means well but he does tend to crush everything in his path). I do like Matt's stories.


She went through a blip a couple of months ago when all her favourite foods were despised. But these days she'll eat most things we give her. Egg is refused unless it's eggy bread, or lost inside other things. She doesn't seem to like beans -- but yesterday ate two portions of butterbean cassoulet with great enjoyment so who knows what's going on in her head. She no longer likes mushrooms. She has a terrible sweet tooth, which Easter didn't help at all. I'm trying to rectify this by making savoury muffins and flapjacks, which seems to be working.

We've both kept her involved in the kitchen so these days she's pretty good at mixing baking ingredients together, pouring liquids without spilling much, scooping and sliding cake mixture into the muffin tins, rolling out pastry, sprinkling toppings on things, stirring things in hot pans (now knows to only hold the handle so she doesn't get hurt).

(click on image to see video)

 video DSCF2167.mp4

I don't know which factor has had the biggest influence: the baby-led weaning path we chose, the way we let her see all the food being cooked from scratch, or just her innate nature. But in the last week she's eaten sausage rolls, coleslaw, pesto baked potatoes, cassoulet, moussaka, plain natural yoghurt, green salad, unsweetened porridge, unsweetened muesli, pizza, eggy bread, and far too much chocolate (the little eggs she was given for Easter have had to be restricted to puddings after meals, which so far hasn't prevented her from eating all her main courses).

The best thing, I think, is that she's willing to try anything once with no coaxing from us. We'll just tell her what it is and let her get on with it.


Ah yes. Sleep, my old friend. After a brief spell of 8-hour stretches just after Xmas, she reverted to the old waking-every-2-hours routine and stuck with it for a couple of months. Just in the last week I've been refusing to breastfeed her between midnight and 8am. No tears, but a bit of bad temper (hilariously, when I offered to cuddle her instead, she rolled away from me and said "No. I go to sleep by myself!" in a very cross voice). But the last two nights she's slept for those 8 hours without any problem. Still in our bed after the first couple of hours, but at least we're all getting a bit of rest now.


Still not attempted potty training. She doesn't seem interested, and neither of us has the time or energy to do much about it at the moment. *UPDATE* She has started potty training herself! I mean, she's alerted us to the imminence of poo a few times and we've been able to dash to the potty. And in the last few days she's starting weeing in the potty too (isn't this fascinating? ha ha). Yesterday she didn't wear a nappy all day. I'm so proud of her. And glad for us -- was dreading having to wash nappies for two children at once.


All play has been wonderful since we got rid of all the noisy, flashy VTech toys. She has a wooden sink and washing machine that Matt's mum found at the tip. The washing machine doubles as an oven, and when we put the toy till on top it turns into her shop. She also likes to climb inside the sink hole and pretend to be a jack-in-the-box. And there are trains and cars and farm animals and cuddly toys and crafty things and balls and percussion instruments and a cheap ukulele and pinecones and pipe-cleaners and stacking boxes and giant Lego and building blocks -- all of which get used in ways that I wouldn't have expected. The trains are sometimes sad and need to be tickled with paint brushes to make them happy. One Lego block has eyes stuck to it, and another has a smiley mouth -- but River worked out that if you put them together upside-down it'd look like a sad face. Sad Tower/Happy Tower is now a regular game -- he needs lots of cuddles before he can smile properly.

We are often called into play different characters, and this spills over into everyday life. Frequently, when she won't do what we ask her, she instantly will if we call her by a character's name. So River the girl hates having her face wiped, but Mog the little kitty cat will quietly let mummy cat clean her paws and whiskers. River the girl will sit by the path and complain that she's tired, but Cosmo the dog will run along, yipping and barking and asking for a pat on the head. And so on.


She can do most things now. We've relaxed our stance on letting her go upstairs on her own (at her insistence) so the bottom stairgate is hardly ever closed these days. But we do keep the top one closed overnight so that she can't blunder downstairs when she's wandering around after her first wake-up. (Every night she'll wake up just before midnight and wander into our bedroom, looking dazed and confused like Doc Brown from Back To The Future.) This week she's started dancing like a ballerina, after seeing a ballet on TV at mum's house -- lots of balancing on one leg, walking on tiptoes, pointing one leg out in front of the other, arms in the air, and other more specific movements.

(click on image to see video)

 video DSCF2188.mp4

The big thing for her recently has been climbing, though. Nowhere is safe, now that she's worked out how to pile her books up to make handy steps for access to the higher shelves.


This is another Big Deal with two-year-olds, isn't it? She has certainly displayed a bit of temper over the last few months. Not so much in terms of screaming and flinging herself on the ground, but in pouting and throwing of nearby items and saying either "I want to hit you" or "I don't like you". Sometimes we let her hit us and then ask if she feels better ("No!" and then we explain that hitting doesn't work). We're both sick of hearing her say "I don't like you". Our responses vary depending on our own moods so sometimes we'll say that we still love her, sometimes we'll say that she's made us very sad, sometimes we'll say that we can tell she's upset but that she probably meant to say that she didn't like what was happening at that moment rather than us personally, sometimes I'll encourage her to go and cuddle Matt to make him feel better (as primary care-giver he gets the "I don't like you" comments much more than me). No idea if this is the right thing to do or not but there we are.

She's also had a few spells of proper two-year-old behaviour where she'll ask for something, then cry when she's given it, then cry harder when it's taken away, then cry even harder when it's returned, and there's no end to the cycle until you can get close enough to her to pick her up and carry her around for a few minutes. Weird. I suppose there are just an awful lot of new things burbling around in her head and confusing her.


tl;dr I think she's great!

In other news, we have a new allotment. This one is in a tiny hamlet, only 5 minutes' drive from our house. It's slightly smaller than our last plot and actually half the size of a proper allotment, but we know we'll get more than enough produce from a plot this size. The views are lovely, as you can see from the photo. It's a new site so there was nothing there to begin with except soil and a lovely shed. We've since put fruit plants in and, at the end of April, got the potatoes and onion sets in (very late but everything's late this year after the crazy weather). The other great thing about the plot -- besides being so much closer to our house -- is that it's totally child-friendly. There's no broken glass, concrete steps, 4 ft drops, bags of beer bottles (thrown over the fence by an obnoxious chav every few weeks). So much better. River can run around as much as she likes and we're not having to scurry after her in a panic. Hurray! I'm excited about growing food again!

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