THE LITTLEST ONE WALKS
I don't have a baby any more.
When does a baby stop being one? It is when they first start crawling or later? Somewhere between the first attempts to get up on their feet, with that amazing persistance I just wish I could bottle and apply to when procrastination stikes me, and the eventual triumph that leads to joyous cackling as they march around the house confident in their new title of toddler? Whenever it was, when lockdown started I had two kids and a baby and now that baby is most assuredly a toddling small person.
It's no less amazing to watch it happen the third time than it was the first. The magical bursts of time when stuff just changes, and it seems like almost every day a new skill is conquered is still just as mind boggling this time as it was when I watched Sally figure out these things. In the period of three weeks Cleo went from struggling on to her feet unaided and trying to find her balance - to taking a couple of steps - to crossing a room - and then suddenly she was everywhere. She worked out how to back down two steps into the garden and then the next day the whole staircase was her bitch. Last week she grabbed Sally's fork at dinner time and insisted on using it - fish fingers and carrots were carefully speared and then transferred into her mouth using the adult sized fork. The following day she picked up Pip's cup and calmly drank his squash without spilling any.
This being the third go round I guess I'm slightly less shocked that all these things can happen at the same time - I've read the articles that explain about developments leaps - but it isn't any less amazing to watch. I now have a little person who knows what she wants, will sometimes do as she's asked - most especially when it's to go and find all the shoes, this seems to be a particular talent!) but also to go upstairs to get a clean nappy or to help tidy up.
There are a few less pleasing elements to all this growing up. Not getting what she wants is a tricky thing at times - there was no doubt you'd call it a tantrum when I didn't let her go outside to dig in the gravel and she face planted on the kitchen floor and started screaming. But the rest of it is lovely. I thought I would miss having a little smushy baby around - and I'm not sure there is anything that quite compares to that minuscule perfection and newness of a new baby - but every step comes with new revelations and I find myself wanting to see more and more of the little person who cackles and squeals with pure glee.
And if she goes missing and it's all quiet - you'll probably find her here having stolen a toothbrush. Dental hygine is important after all. Either that or she's digging in the gravel.