Dear Ameli

You’ve become a whole little person. Wilful, feisty, funny. You have strong opinions, and a strong will. You have shown me, this month, what trial looks like, and patience. I had an incredibly hard time, at the start of the month. I struggled to cope with what you were going through. You were aggressive, busy, noisy, and so incredibly stubborn I could bang my head against a brick wall and get more reaction.

It took me a while to figure it out: You’re the toddler. I’m battling wills with a two year old. I’m throwing tantrums because you’re not doing what I want you to do. You’re exerting your will and gaining independence of thought – and that’s not something I want to stifle.  When I realised that, and made peace with it, and became okay with it our days have changed. We have more fun. We laugh more. We fight less.

Don’t get excited – it’s not smooth sailing.  You still scream several shades of murder if I try to change your nappy, or if Daddy and I try to talk to each other. But about two weeks after coming to the conclusion that all this amazing “self” that is being developed in you has to come at a price.

Last week a letter arrived in the mail from our Community Health Team titled “Expected Range of Development for Children Aged 2 Years of Age.”  Here are some of the guidelines from it. Apparently my child should be able to:

  • Running Steadily at 11 monthsRun steadily – which you’ve been doing since just over a year
  • Walk up and down stairs – you were taking the stairs one at a time from 11 months.  You never did the two feet to a step thing. You now prefer to slide down the stairs on your belly.
  • Move yourself around on a Tricycle – you had your first tricycle at 18 months and have been whizzing around the house on it since.
  • Build a tower of six or seven cubes  – erm. Do megabloks and Lego or Duplo count?
  • Pick up tiny objects accurately and quickly? Again, does Lego Duplo count? You’ve been playing with them since 12 months.
  • Turning A Page At 14 MonthsTurn pages singularly in a book – Yes. You’ve had your own books since you could sit up.
  • Use about 50 words and understand more – I don’t know how many words you know, but it’s waaaaaay more than 50.
  • Put two words together in a sentence – this one surprised me. You talk in full sentences and have since before 18 months.
  • Repeating words or phrases heard – Yes. Since about 14 months.
  • Name some body parts – Again, you’ve known most of them since before 18 months.
  • Follow simple instructions – You can. When you feel like it.
  • Eating with a spoon 14 monthsRespond to your own name – yes… and all your pet names, like Monkey, Bean, Peanut and Princess.
  • You should be ‘active and interested’ – Heaven have mercy. You are a busy child. I can’t remember a time when you weren’t. You were born able to hold up your own head.
  • Can use a spoon – since 12 months.
  • Drinking from a cup at 12 monthsUses a cup, spilling little – so long as you don’t kick it over,  yes.
  • Engages in imaginary play – yip. Like giving your ‘babies’ milk. Or giving Daddy and me imaginary tea over and over and over again.
  • Plays alongside other children – yes. Rarely with them, although  more now, but alongside definitely.
  • May take turns – well… sharing isn’t a strong point, but we’re working on it, and it’s getting better.
  • Tantrums when frustrated – we’ve never had a tantrum yet, although you hate nappy changes.
So, you see? You’re so far ahead of the ‘norm’. Your Nanna and your Aunty D have both worked with children for many years, and they’ve both seen it, but I never really got it. But I do now. Maybe it’s hard sometimes, maybe your will and everything else is hard to contend with. Maybe we’ve had to learn a lot quickly, but so have you. And you’ve embraced it. You’ve flourished with it.

There’s so much we’ve done ‘wrong’ I’m sure. But baby girl, we must have done a few things right too.

I love you.

You can’t imagine how proud you make me.


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