It’s been a while since I posted much about my delightful tots. They are growing like weeds, and it seems like they master a new skill almost every week.
Sausage is now three and a half, and is the Queen of Silly Stories. She tells long, rambling tales about giants, Octonauts, magic, lions and farts. She and I play a game where I start the story off with ‘Once upon a time, a little girl named Sausage woke up, got out of bed and saw…’ The story inevitably ends with her and I riding a pair of dragon-chickens to picnic at her favourite playground (apparently dragon-chickens just love cupcakes and carrots!).
She is at Forest Kindy one day a week this term. They’ve done cool stuff, like making pine cone bird-feeders, practising their climbing and jumping skills using pine trees, discovering a dead sheep and pondering what might have happened to it (apparently some pirates got to it), feeding the oh-so-adorable baby chickens, and much, much more.
I have a blast taking her to ballet classes once a week. It’s hilarious watching their antics (last week they had to be the Big Bad Wolf), but also fascinating for the psychologist in me. Sausage is in a class just for three year-olds, and most of them couldn’t copy the teacher to save themselves last term. But this term – they’re getting it. Skipping is still far beyond Sausage’s capabilites, but by jove, she is quite the tiny dancer now.
Sausage’s very extroverted nature is given free rein to shine during class. She is always the first one to volunteer for something, and she loves to show her teacher what she can do.
I will blog more about extroversion (and introversion) in a later post, but for now I just want to say that while her extreme extroversion has many advantages (old people LOVE her as she never fails to say hi and have a chat), I am having to help her learn a socially appropriate level. She is a very huggy child, and will hang all over other kids – which most of them don’t like! Learning to read others is such an important skill, and I’m enjoying watching her playing with other children more and more.
Chip is almost two(!) and provides a non-stop monologue of everything he sees from the second he wakes up. This is a particularly amusing phase that tots go through when they learn to talk. They will say the same word over and over to you until you respond with ‘yes, that’s a digger/combine harvester/surrealist painting/statue of Chairman Mao/insert object of your choice here’. They are solidifying their ability to generalise during this phase of speech development. They are learning that a particular car-like object they see is a car, just like the other car-like object over there is also car; but another car-like object is a ute, and still another car-like object is a van.
Chip has an encyclopaedic knowledge of heavy machinery and emergency vehicles, and now corrects me if I get my graders mixed up with my bulldozers. He, like his sister was, is a very early talker. I’m grateful for this as it saves on tantrums when he can tell us what he wants. His sense of humour is growing, as is his cheekiness. He likes nothing more than being silly by ‘hiding’ in the curtains, or running around and around and around our kitchen island.
He went through what felt like an interminably long period of separation anxiety, but in reality it was probably less than three months. He would freak out – and I mean freak out – if he couldn’t see me, and would go from zero to waaaaaaah in 2 seconds flat. We were lucky that Chip is very attached to his Oma and Nang-Nang (his grandmothers), otherwise leaving him with anyone else would have been a nightmare.
While he was going through this phase, I was rather surprised at how people reacted to it. I got asked many times if it was because I had started working (one morning a week), or other such musings as to why he was behaving that way. The answer is: separation anxiety is totally normal behaviour at his age.
It can start around 10 months and tends to peak around 18 months, but it can show up from time to time until age 4 or 5. Normal separation anxiety is a good sign. It means your child has a healthy attachment to you. What D and I found helped with the freaking out was not sneaking away when we had to leave him, but rather saying ‘goodbye’, and asking him to shut the door behind us as a bit of a distraction for him. He is now totally fine with us leaving him, and this has been timely as we’ve had to hire a temporary nanny while I recover from a back injury.
Chip is a way more dexterous sort than his big sister, and is quite competent at climbing and sliding, kicking balls, and running like a lunatic.
As far as my tots go, they act like normal siblings. They play together, squabble, play some more, bash each other over the head, cry, play some more, and insist on watching The Spotbots. We are trying to teach Sausage to either ignore her brother when he snatches her toys, or give him another toy to play with. Sometimes she does, but other times I feel like I should apply for a job as a hostage negotiator, because I am honing my skills in this area. ‘Come on Chip, put the toy down, and step away…’
They keep me on my toes, and take my breath away when I get unsolicited cuddles or an ‘I love you Mummy’.