It’s time to talk

No longer content with just walking, the Little Mister has taken to running. He runs through the house to get to the next toy he has decided to play with and he hurtles towards me for cuddles. His bare feet thud purposefully along the wooden floor, and often his arms are outstretched in the direction of his next target. Outside, he wears his first shoes. They are brown leather with two velcro straps across the top. I know we will keep them forever.

Now that walking is well and truly mastered – it’s already been about six weeks since he stopped crawling – talking seems to be his next goal. His first word, ‘bird’, is still a favourite, and so is the indiscriminately used ‘daddy’, but other new sounds are also entering his vocabulary. The Little Mister can say “bubble” if you ask him to repeat it. His daddy taught him it, and given that his daddy often uses the word as a nickname for his little Charlie, it could get quite confusing.

He tries to copy the words we use, although he has varying degrees of success with this feat. He can say duck, which I of course think is adorable. And from time to time there are other words too. Thank you is ‘ta’, and he says it freely and often when handed food or toys. This we will encourage, and it is refreshing to see at least one of my attempts at good parenting has made an impact.

Most of what the Little Mister says, however, is completely unintelligible to me. He has learnt many new phonics, and he repeats them constantly. He walks, or runs, around the house saying “doe doe doe doe doe”, using intonation to suggest he is forming complete sentences. He gets animated when he is trying to make us understand what he is saying, raising his voice and uttering the sounds faster and faster.

Sometimes, he is frustrated. He knows what he is saying, and he knows what we are saying, but he also knows we don’t understand him. He usually ends up making his wants known by pointing at something and shouting to us, “eh, eh, eh, eh, eh”.

I feel like the talking is going to click into place suddenly, and the Little Mister is going to love his new found skill. I’m preparing myself for the barrage of questions, the constant running commentary, and the enlightening conversations I will have with my one-year-old.

In the meantime, he continues to make his animal noises to impress me. He tells me that a monkey goes “ooh ooh ooh”, that a cow goes moo, a lion goes roar, and that a dog pants as if out of breath. With other babies, he talks incessantly once he has got over his initial shyness, and is seemingly convinced that they understand him. ┬áMaybe they do. He is more animated with them than with adults, perhaps because of an affinity they share, or perhaps because they’re all talking to each other in a language we don’t understand.

I’m excited, of course, that as the Little Mister learns to talk, he will be able to tell me how he feels and what he wants, and talk about his day or what he has seen. It’s a big milestone along this journey of growing up – I don’t imagine it is too far away.

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When three becomes four

Later this year, the Little Mister’s world is going to change forever. He’s going to become a big brother, and our little family of three will become four.

He won’t be quite 19 months yet, but suddenly, he will have a littler person than him making a big impact on his life. He will have a little sister.

We are immeasurably delighted that our little family will grow, but also wondering how the Little Mister will fare when everything changes. He is placid, calm, friendly, desperate to please and amuse. He is, at the moment, our everything – and he has never known life to be any different.

I wonder how he will react when he sees me cuddling a little baby – who I don’t give back to another mummy. I wonder how he will feel when he sees me kissing her, feeding her, and spending many a night-time hour with her. I wonder how he will feel when he starts nursery, and sees this little baby girl staying at home with his mummy – the one who cuddles him whenever he asks, who comes in the night, and who makes everything better with a kiss.

I imagine him cuddling her, and stroking her gently as he does with his soft toys. I imagine him being generous with his time and attention, and helping his mummy look after this new addition to our family. Later, I imagine him checking up on his little sister when she starts school. I imagine him looking out for her in the playground, and helping her climb the slide at the park.

One day, I imagine him giving her advice and not hesitating to help her when she needs him. I imagine him being the calm, serious, gentle older brother in her life who is always there when she doesn’t know where to turn. I imagine him loving her unconditionally and forever. And I imagine her knowing she couldn’t have ever wished for more in a big brother.

But first, will there be jealousy, confusion and tears? Probably. Will there be fights and tantrums and an entire little family feeling like they have reached the end of the line, with no answers left and nothing to make it all better? I expect so. Yet it will be the next part of our journey. We three will become four. Life will change, and once again, we will learn so much from the as yet unknown.