A letter to my youngest daughter Bee, written when she was a 2 year and 9 month old toddler. I hope one day, when Bee is old enough to want to remember, she will enjoy looking back on what she was like as an impossibly cute and cheeky little girl.
Oops, almost a year has passed since your last letter. (Naughty Mummy!) But I did write a few posts in between – you might want to check out the 8 battles that I’m letting you win (for now), and this positive technique to stop you touching things. And by the way, I still haven’t found those car keys.
But back to the present day. At 2 years and 9 months, you’re still classified as a toddler, but you haven’t felt very toddler-ish for ages. We’ve been having full conversations for about a year now. Perhaps it’s influence of having an older sister that’s made you such a ‘big girl’.
You could charm the pants off a baboon. Everywhere we go, people gush about how adorable you are. I think it’s the combination of being tiny yet adept and eloquent for your age, whilst still retaining your high pitched toddler voice that makes you super cute. People initially underestimate you, and then they are delighted when a little person can understand, say and do more than they expect.
Some of the things you say are super cute. You wrap your arms around us and say “I love you ALL much”. You wake up in the morning and check that you still have all of your teeth, before declaring, “No fairy came our house last night.”
This photo is from your first ballet concert, just after you had turned two, where you performed alongside 4-5 year olds. Tiny dancer! You’re still into ballet in a big way, and dress up in a tutu at least once a day. You also do a general sports class once a week, which you’re really good at. Actually your gross motor skills in general are super cool. You can dance, climb, balance and scoot. Sometimes when you’re scooting, you let go of the handles, turn sideways, and skateboard on the scooter. It’s awesome. Bike paths are starting to bore you, so now you’re heading ‘off-piste’, scooting down random grassy slopes whenever you can. I can’t help but hold my breath, but somehow you never seem to get hurt. Even when you fall, you fall well. I’m predicting some half-pipe action when you’re older.
But you’re as naughty as you are charming. I remember one time when I caught you finger painting the backyard downpipes with peanut butter. You’d been able to reach the peanut butter on the top shelf of the pantry, by stacking a couple of cushions on a chair and climbing up. The reason why I wasn’t watching you for that split second, was because I was taking a minute to clean the mascara that you’d just smeared over the bathroom floor. You’d gotten to the mascara in the 30 seconds that I took to clean up the wee you’d just done in the corner of the bedroom, which mind you, happened about a minute after I’d asked you if you needed to go to the toilet and you’d said no. Sigh. Disaster roller coasters like this have not been unusual.
Did I mention you’ve dropped your day nap? This has been a gradual process over the past year. Much of the aforementioned disaster behaviour would occur late on no-nap days, where, no matter how hard we tried to put you to sleep, you adamantly refused to, and then couldn’t cope with the exhaustion. Sometimes it felt like we were chasing a tornado around the house. You’re only just now getting to the point where your behaviour has really improved, and you don’t need your nap at all.
Toilet training has been a very rocky ride. You were progressing great guns during the Christmas school holidays, but you regressed terribly when JJ started kindergarten at the end of January. I guess the sudden absence of your big sister really impacted on you. It’s been a trying few months. Slowly (but not so surely) we’re getting back on track, and for the past few weeks you’ve been (mostly) accident free.
You’re also another ‘runner’. On one hand, it’s great that you have the self-confidence to be able to venture off on your own. On the other hand, if I lose sight of you for two seconds, you could be absolutely anywhere. I marvel at some of the other mums, who can walk along having a conversation while their 2-3 year olds wander along behind them. They don’t even look back – they just know their kid is there! If I did that, I’d turn around and you’d be gone: off climbing a random tree, or in a stranger’s yard picking a flower, or more likely, running around the corner, hiding behind a bush, and not answering when I frantically call out. School drop-offs and pick-ups are a nightmare, because there are lots of lovely well-meaning mums everywhere keen for a chat (myself included). But it’s so hard to maintain a conversation and keep an eye on you at the same time. If I lose sight of you for one second, then I end up feeling like a goose, while I wander around the school aimlessly trying to find you. Of course, when I do find you, you’re on top of the huge pile of landscaping mulch that’s behind the demountables, and are about to slide down the other side.
But, knock on wood, it’s all improving these past couple of months, and I think we’re past the worst of ‘the twos’. You’re starting to show more self-awareness and self-control. Fingers and toes crossed.
Mr Banya has taken time off work, so he can spend more time with you while you are in these influential early years. Our family has decided to value time and experience over ‘things’, and so we’ve made this choice to spend time together before you head off to preschool next year (and then school in 2018). You are absolutely loving having so much daddy-daughter time. Having two stay at home parents means that you’re getting lots of positive attention, which is helping with discipline as it means we can head off disasters before (or as) they happen. It also means that we, as parents, are able to get some down time too. And that helps immensely with our frame of mind.
Looking forward, you’re already planning your third birthday party. Apparently it’s going to be a mermaid ballerina party, with fairy wands (of course). There might also be ice skating involved. And maybe pony rides. Wish me luck!
Ah my darling girl. Life with you is never boring. We love you ALL much too.
Mummy & Daddy xx
PS: You can find previous letters that I’ve written to both my daughters JJ and Bee on my parenting page.
PPS: Are you following us on Instagram? I post ‘behind the scenes’ style pics on there quite often.