SIxteen months, from where I watch on, looks like a busy, exciting, but also difficult time in a toddler’s life. For the Little Mister, it’s mostly about fun, of course. But there’s tough times too.
It’s flown by, of course. It’s been the fastest and best sixteen months of my life. And now, here he is, this little boy with his own mind who isn’t afraid to tell me what he thinks. It’s just that I often don’t understand him and can’t decipher his language. It’s driving him crazy.
Most of the time, the Little Mister is a happy-go-lucky, calm and placid bundle of joy. Life is about playing with his favourite toys – which are a broom, a football, a tupperware and a wooden spoon. It’s also largely about trying to get outside at all times. The garden will do nicely. But trips to the park, walks along the street and outings in the buggy or car are also greatly appreciated.
There’s some challenges thrown into life though too. Having his hair washed is torture. Not being allowed in the garden because it’s too late/too cold/too early/ too rainy is also mean-spirited of the grown-ups. Eating anything other than biscuits or completely plain freshly boiled pasta is also a fate worse than early bed-time.
But what really gets the Little Mister is that us adults still don’t understand him. Most of the time, he is telling me he wants to go outside now. And he wants a biscuit. And he wants to watch tennis if he can’t go outside. I just never seem to get it.
What I do get, though, is how much this little boy has grown. I’ve noted recently that he suddenly seems to understand everything. Today, he proved me right to such an extent that I couldn’t stop raving about his behaviour all afternoon – and so I will continue here.
At a cafe, he picked up a car belonging to a little boy a few months younger than him. “It’s not your car, Milin, it’s that little boy’s car. Please go and give it back to the little boy,” I said – or something like it. And he did. He walked over to said little boy with said car, and held it out to him. The little boy ignored the Little Mister, so he followed him round for a bit, trying to give him the car. When he got bored of being ignored, he left it by the little boy’s feet and went off to play on the mats.
And there you have it. The Little Mister gets mad with me because I don’t let him in the garden when it’s getting dark. And he gets mad with me because I feed him porridge instead of biscuits. But, today, he did what I asked him. He understood every word I said. He was polite, and kind, and gentle, and didn’t think to complain. He went to give a car with super cool spinning wheels to another little boy. Pretty amazing.
Of course, not all play times go so smoothly. For the Little Mister, playtime with other little people can be terrifying, particularly if they get too close or (how could they?) try and show him affection. His reacts slowly, retreating into himself, then letting big crocodile tears roll down his cheeks while he hangs his head. Luckily, the tears can usually be wiped away with the aid of a hug and the distraction of some carefully chosen toys. And that’s life for a sixteen-month-old. You’re growing up Little Mister, you’re growing up.