Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

We Have A Terrific Two Year Old

Two weeks ago Alexander turned two!

He had a wonderful birthday and was so very spoilt again. Again I was emotional in the run up to his birthday, looking back over all the photographs of the last year and how he has changed and grown. I don't think the absolute preciousness of his birthday will ever feel any less than it does now; that he got to be another year older and we got to live it with him. That we are blessed with watching this beautiful child grow. That Alexander's birthday involves a proper party and proper presents; not flowers and balloons into the sky in stark comparison to how we mark his sisters precious but painful birthdays. I'm so grateful we have so much joy in his birthday instead of pain and I can't believe I'll ever take the 14th October for granted. I hope so hard we'll soon have the same pure relief in his brother's birth.

This year for his birthday we booked a soft play party at the local leisure centre and he was so excited when we arrived and he saw the room. It is gorgeous hearing him exclaim 'wowww' now when he thinks something is wonderful! On his actual birthday, Jon took the day off and we took him to West Midlands Safari Park to see the animals, but of course, as much as he loves animals his favourite bit was being in the front of the car and Daddy letting him sit on his lap to 'drive'! He had a wonderful couple of days and the perfect start to being a two year old!

The amount he grows and learns and grasps continues to astound me. I know we never really stop learning, but it is incredible the amount of developing a little human does in the first few years compared to a life-time of much slower learning by the time they finish infant school. I've just read back over his 18 month update, and realised how much more he can do just another six months later! Alexander amazes me every week and we're so proud. 

So where to begin?!

I can't believe he has only been confidently walking for six months. In April he had just started walking independently outside; now there is absolutely no stopping him, now he can run too! The last few months he has been increasingly determined to be independent, so of course, lots of the time he doesn't want to hold hands when he is walking anymore - although he knows I'm going to insist he holds my hand if we're near a road or other danger! I've never been a fan of baby reigns but they have definitely saved my sanity on occasion these last couple of months. Xander has had his independence and I've still had control of keeping him safe! He is exerting his independence daily now in lots of areas; for example sometimes refusing all help to eat his dinner - he is very determined to use his spoon all by himself now, but when he does want help he likes to choose who helps him! Or choose who puts him to bed, or brushes his teeth etc.

Two-year old strops are still mostly short lived and easily forgotten or distracted, although he knows how to stand his ground when he wants to! We're by no means 'get your own way' all the time parents but equally not 'We're big you're small and what we say goes' type parents either. We're trying to find a gentle mix between the two extremes! Xander is certainly learning he has a voice and an opinion and within boundaries I think it is important to allow him to exert some control in his world and be made to feel like his voice matters and that we are listening to him too. 

He enjoys lots of physical and outdoor play. Visits to the park are a favourite activity and he'll spend as long as you'll allow him running around from one piece of equipment to the next climbing and crawling, up and down slides and through tunnels! He has been thrilled with his mini-micro scooter he was given for his birthday, meaning he can play on his 'bike' outside!  He enjoys rough and tumble play; being tickled and chased and can be quite cheeky with it; looking over his shoulder to see if you are coming to get him, and also loves chasing you back. Someone (!) taught him to bounce on the bed so he loves getting on his knees and using our bed as a bouncy castle, and is trying hard to jump properly now too, although he still isn't quite getting his feet off the floor!  He still loves soft play centres and swimming on a Monday, although at my current pregnant size I'm struggling to keep up with him!  

It feels like Alexander literally never sits still!

His words have come on leaps and bounds these last six months. He has reached the stage where he is trying to copy and repeat lots of what you say to him and often 'talks' to us in his own version of conversation and full sentences, trying so very hard to tell us something but still not quite legible! At my last count Alexander had 65 words and representational sounds (and now probably has a few more again!) and he is now starting to combine two words together more frequently. For example 'Bye Daddy' in the morning when he leaves for work. He spends huge parts of the day pointing to and naming the things he knows and knows he can say, he's very proud of himself when he gets a word right! He talks to himself and his toys in his play and his intonation is fab, he is so expressive! I think as soon as all the word formation and pronunciation clicks he's going to be a super little chatter box. He is so very nearly there!

He took us by surprise at the end of August when we realised he knew all the animals in his toy farm, and then a few days later all the zoo animals in his Duplo. We hadn't spent huge amounts of time naming animals with him at this point so we were impressed that he has obviously naturally picked this up during play or somewhere else! He loves looking through picture books now and pointing to and naming the animals he can see and will tell you what sound they make too. Infact his first three word sentence was recently 'Cow say Moo' while he was doing his farm animal puzzles! His favourite animals are Lions, which he calls 'Rarrs' and Elephants which he says is a 'Dunt'.

Alexander loves singing songs and dancing and enjoys twirling along to Strictly on a Saturday evening at the moment. He only has to hear music and he starts trying to bounce in time! His favourite songs at the moment are Twinkle Twinkle, Old MacDonald and If You're Happy And You Know It. He is singing along now, making a sound for each word (and saying some in the right places!) and humming the tune along in a recognisable way.  It is particularly cute listening to him trying to say E-I-E-I-O and then making the animal noises!

More recently he has started becoming increasingly interested in numbers and counting, and the names of shapes and letters. Mesmerised by the Numtums and Alphablocks (cBeebies), he tries to join in the songs and copy all the sounds they are making through the programmes. He enjoys somebody counting things with him and has an emerging awareness of one-to-one correspondence, pointing his finger to touch things as he 'counts' although of course it isn't accurate yet! He is beginning to say numbers with you and is grasping the pattern of the sounds counting one to ten. Xander can accurately recognise a star and is starting to identify a square and circle consistently too.

Alexander has enjoyed looking at books for a while but now he is actually listening to and giving you a chance to read the stories to him. He looks through his pile of books until he finds the one he wants and will turn the pages in lots of books to find his favourite page! For his birthday we bought him 'We're Going On A Bear Hunt' and it has already become a firm favourite. He is joining in the repetitive pattern, and words in the right places. He especially likes saying the 'Uh-Oh' - and gets in there before I do! The Gruffalo is another favourite story and I'm looking forward to introducing him to Dear Zoo at Christmas!

It has been fascinating to see his play mature recently. He has always played beautifully, exploring toys appropriately and quick to catch onto concepts but over the last few weeks or so this has turned into proper imaginary role play and it is lovely to watch. Over the summer he started using the hose pipe in my parents garden to pretend to put petrol in his cosy coupe car, he looks after his dolls and soft toys now, talking to them, loving them, offering them his dummy and patting their bottoms to help them go to sleep. He has started playing properly with his role play toys; pushing cars around saying beep beep or trying to copy Daddy make a engine noise, he plays with his farm taking the farmer out in his tractor (although sometimes an animal drives it too!) and putting the animals in the fields and pen. He has loved his rocket spaceship for his birthday and blasts it off into space complete with trying to countdown along with it first, and builds his train track and pushes the train around; a few weeks ago he would've spent most of the time dismantling the track! It is adorable watching him play with his toy kitchen, he has spent hours so far cooking food and then dishing it out to everyone to eat! We're going into a new era of pretend play and I love it!

Currently his favourite TV programmes are still Show Me Show Me (especially the groovy moves bit!), RaaRaa the Noisy Lion and In the Night Garden. He recognises characters off the TV in shops now and his favourite is definitely Upsy Daisy...if he spots 'Daidy' on the shelf he will point and call for her! He'll be super pleased when he finds out he is getting his own Daisy Doll for Christmas I'm sure!

Alexander is certainly growing up now and we continue to find that gentle 'baby-led' parenting suits our family and him best. In his 18 month update he was nowhere near ready to self-settle for sleep and that he was very dependent on our presence and being held to drift off. Without any prompting from us this all changed a few weeks before his birthday. Just as I was starting to get jittery how we would manage two demanding babies dependent on lots of reassurance to go to sleep, almost all by himself Alexander decided he was ready to put himself to sleep. Once again proving that he'll do everything when he is emotionally ready to do so!

He started fussing while being cuddled after his milk so we started putting him in the cot and leaving the room as he got drowsy. The first couple of nights he sensed we were going and cried in protest as we left, but hearing our voices over the monitor was enough for him to stop crying and lie back down and drift off to the nursery music the monitor played. After a few nights he didn't even cry as we left the room and was fine with the music. A few weeks later he is going straight in the cot on finishing milk and is totally self-settling, most nights without the music cue too! I don't think it will be long before he drops his bedtime bottle by himself too, as some nights he is unfussed about it now.

Around his second birthday we had originally planned to try and encourage him to wean off the dummy, but with a new baby on the way very soon we are expecting him to regress and become unsettled for a while and think it would be cruel to withdraw his comforter. Although he is much less reliant on it now we want him to feel as secure as possible as this major change happens to his world!

The dummy is another thing he is showing signs of giving up by himself as he is un-fussed about having it most of the time now; mostly he still only has it for nap or sleep times and will give it up when asked to when he has woken up properly. It spends more time in his hand than his mouth and if he has found it during the day he frequently hands it back to us of his own independent decision too. So we're going to see how it goes and look to remove it when he has fully settled into his role as big brother. I'm hazarding a guess though that this is another thing I'll start getting jittery about as he gets a bit older again but that he'll mature out of his own volition!

So he continues to go to bed well and sleep well, we've been so extremely fortunate with him that he has been such an easy baby and toddler so far! Of course he has his moments, but on the whole he is such a happy, easy going little boy!

What is it about a baby turning two that makes everyone so interested in when you plan to potty-train them? I'll be honest, this is my biggest parenting dread, it sounds like such hard work, but equally not something I'm planning to do anytime that soon; yes sometime between now and his third birthday of course but not until Xander is showing some signs of being ready. He certainly isn't anywhere near ready just now. Nappy changes can be a battle ground and he shows little to no awareness he has pooed. He never indicates to us he has gone and will sit in it until we sniff it out, and then more often than not doesn't want to be changed! The other side of Christmas, when we're settled and more importantly Xander is settled, into a new routine with the new baby I'll start introducing him to sitting on potties and toilets in a really informal way as part of nappy changing so he starts to grasp the link but I certainly won't be pushing training or introducing pants unless he shows an interest or readiness for it.  To be honest, I'm hoping, like everything else, he'll lead the way in his own time and sort of start doing it himself.

He is making some lovely relationships with other special people in his life now independent of us. He particularly loves his Nana and Bampi and will often get very upset when it is time to say goodbye to them and leave their house! Equally this can work in my favour though if he is being a pest to get ready, so if we are actually going to their house we've only got to mention their names at home and he is getting dressed nicely and running to stand by the front door ready to run to the car to go up there! He has clearly learnt the route to their house too, because as soon as we're on the roundabout that leads to the road down to their house he is shouting 'Nana and Bampi' - very cute!

Alexander had his first visit to the dentist today who was pleased with his 16 teeth! The 16th pushing through the week after his birthday. So that is just the back molars to go now. He is very good at brushing his teeth and opening his mouth but didn't want to show the dentist today; but was happy enough for him to pull his lips apart for a little peek. I hope he inherits good teeth; my personal goal is getting to age 30 without a filling, so I'm quite obsessed with keeping his teeth just as healthy!

Alexander's weight gain seems to have slowed down and hasn't put on any weight these last few months. Instead he has grown upwards and slimmed out a little. He still has his lovely round baby belly though! He is approximately 31lb and 89cm tall and still wearing his 18-24 month clothes with plenty of room for another little while yet.

His biggest change soon will be his new role of big brother. He has patted my tummy throughout this pregnancy and said 'baby' and seems to understand that the baby's name is Zac, but how much he really understands is anyone's guess. As much as he loves other peoples babies (especially mesmerised by my friends twins when he sees them at the moment!) I know it is going to be a huge shock when the baby is there all of the time and I hope he doesn't feel too unsettled or anxious. We keep looking at a book called 'Waiting for Baby' and talking with him about the baby growing and being gentle with his baby doll and other peoples babies, but I'm not sure how else to prepare him now. I think he is going to be gentle (well gentle for a toddler!) and loving with his new baby brother, and want to hold his hand and give kisses and cuddles, but equally I fully expect the jealousy at some point too. I'm apprehensive how to give Xander the attention he is used to and needs with a newborn too, when I remember how 'demanding' he was when he was tiny.   I expect I'll be making good use of my baby sling this time and looking for advice on how to manage both my boys needs at the same time! But mostly I know our family will adjust into its natural rhythm again around the end of the 'fourth trimester' and I'm excited to see my boys together and as anxious as you would expect to get to the end of this pregnancy safely.

So that is it! My beautiful rainbow baby is now a fully fledged toddler boy.

One epic post I know, which just goes to show how much he will change in another six months. Will let you know how he is getting on at two and a half, but for now enjoy his One to Two video. 


My Photo
After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
View my complete profile

Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Blog archive


Mumsnet Badge

Written by C.E Morgan. Powered by Blogger.