Life With An 18 Month Old: Quarterly Update

toddler reading on a step

Watching A Little Lady Grow

I feel two ways as I sit to write up this blog post. First is that, I can't believe how quickly three months have flown by. Second, 16 months seemed to last for ever, whilst 15 and 17 months seemed to last a week! It's funny how that works, but maybe she did most of her growing and learning at 16 weeks.

I so can't believe just how much Emily has grown and changed these last three months. So suddenly, she has gone from a wobbly toddler into a proper little girl! She is learning to talk so quickly and is developing quite a mind of her own. She knows what she wants, and now she is figuring out just how to get what she wants.

With all this learning and growing up, we find that we've been making a lot of changes to our every day. A lot of her baby things are going into storage or being sold. We're having less trips in the push chair, and more independent walks. She requires much less supervision and help becuase she can walk, climb and pick herself up if she tumbles. She can get her own toys out and knows how to ask for what she needs, if she does need help. However this does also mean that possibly more supervision is needed as she can get in the cupboards, open doors, reach high shelves and I'm sure she'll be climbing up book cases soon!!

So in short, the last three months have been an adventure! A super exciting, summer adventure! ❤

The Talking Toddler

Here is Emily saying Happy Birthday to her Nanny! She said the words separately, just by copying us and I stuck it all together for one video :) I can't believe how close to talking Emily is! A few months before she turned one, we joked about how she'll be running around at her first birthday (she totally was by the way!!) and now we are joking around about how she'll be full on talking by two years old - and I can totally believe that! She is copying absolutely everything we say, especially things we say directly to her or things we say regularly. As I mentioned before, she can ask for things that she needs such as a drink and certain toys or snacks. She even tell us when she is tired sometimes, by asking for her 'bup' (which is her dummy) which is super helpful!

She can count to ten already! I couldn't even believe it when I 'found out'. It turns out, she learned it from a song (or a few!) that she watches regularly on YouTube. Now, if you start her off with 'one, two..' she'll carry on all the way to ten!

She also learnt to say 'love you' which really does just melt my heart! There was one occasion where she said it to me as I put her down for a nap, where I hadn't prompted her to do so, which was just the the highlight of my whole journey of being a mum so far! ❤

Shortly after that, she learnt to say 'mummy' absolutely perfectly (thanks to daddy for doing a very good job teaching her). Not only can she say it, but she has finally figured out that 'mummy' is me! So from now on, until she decides she is too old (never!) I am mummy. One very happy mummy!!

My favourite of her new regular words so far are; mummy (of course!), story, cat, train, b'fly (butterfly), please, tatu (thank you), luff oou (love you), belbow (elbow!), cow, sheep, chichi (chicken), bapee (grampy), play, brayfast (breakfast), lunch and finally, sit down!

The Singing, Dancing Toddler

Along with all this talking, of course comes singing (and dancing!). The first song that Emily ever tried to sing along to was the 'bubble song' and she would simple babble the word 'bubble' at the appropriate time, at around 6-8 months old! Now she is really, really trying hard to sing along to her favourite songs, shouting out the words that she knows in excitement.

She sings along to Old McDonald, with 'E-I-E-I-O' and the animal names/sounds being the main recognisable sounds. In Five Little Ducks we hear the words 'day', 'far away', 'quack quack quack' and 'back' all coming together along with some vague excited mumbles in between. In Row Row Row Your Boat we have 'row row row' and the excited scream after she mumbles something about a crocodile.

The Grown Up, Independent, Walking Toddler

Emily has been walking forever (since 10 months!). But now she really is insisting on walking EVERYWHERE. So we've been venturing our more and more without the push chair to play group, trips to the park and just for general walks around. The only problem with this being, she knows where it is she wants to walk, and is not interested in going any other way!

At first this was a real battle, but I have found small ways to bribe her to follow the path that I want to follow. One of these being 'there could be a doggy this way!' or 'shall we go home this way and have a snack?'. These usually persuade her to agree with me and we go on happily :)

Another great help is that Emily knows to 'stop' when she reaches the edge of the road, so whenever we walk towards the road to cross, we say 'stop' and she stops until I say it is safe to cross - always holding hands of course! She see's it as a fun little game so it quite happy to go along with it. Just need to teach her to look out for cars next!

The Bookworm Toddler

About three months ago, we couldn't get Emily to sit through a story. She would just grab the book and start walking around with it or start flipping through the pages. But I am amazed at the change that has come over her in the last three months, she has become a real bookworm! She is loving reading stories together, and will even sit through and listen to us read the actual story, as opposed to just pointing at the pictures.

She now knows her books so well, that she knows at which point she needs to turn the page. Another favourite activity whilst reading is to search the pages for things that she knows. So we'll read the story, then look through to see if she can find the flower, the dog or the hippopotamus! Sometimes we'll even practice our counting when we see more than one of the same thing on the page. Hours of enjoyment!

Our next step is to apply for a library card so I can keep up with her hunger for stories!

The Outdoorsy Toddler

I've mentioned many times before that Emily loves to be outside, and summer has been a amazing time for it! We've been out picking flowers, catching butterflies and eating berries (just about coming into season!).

Emily has been spending lots of time with her granny in the garden, digging up weeds (or anything really) and playing with the hosepipe whilst eating and learning about all the different kinds of herbs. I'm not sure if it's confusing with us telling her she can eat that leaf, but not this one or if it will stick, and we will have a little herb gardening prodigy! We shall see...

Even the rain can't keep her inside and we've spend many afternoons in our wellies and rain coats splashing in puddles. One particular occasion, we found a puddle so big that we spend a good half hour splashing, scooping, floating sticks and leaves and even had a little sit down right in the middle of it! I am a huge supporter of the get dirty, get wet, have a great time in the muck kinda afternoons! I'm just super grateful that we have hot baths to look forward to at home.

Equally, when the days were hot, we were out in the garden splashing about in Emily's old baby bath! We didn't have a paddling pool at the time (summer came a bit earlier than expected!) so we needed to get creative. Emily loved it! My only annoyance with hot days is the continuous stopping everything to slather sun cream all over Emily's delicate toddler skin. As my husband says (Repeatedly), "there is no such thing as a healthy tan!" So we do make sure Emily's skin is ALWAYS protected from the sun. You can read more about keeping safe in the sun on the NHS website, here.

Speaking of Summer... we took Emily to the beach!! She absolutely LOVED it! Her love of water definitely extends also to the sea, despite the water being much colder than she's used to, saltier and splashier. She loved the waves and had a little giggle every time they splashed up against her. Poor thing was shivering like a little icicle bit still cried when I tried to take her out the water.

The Shoe Loving Toddler

Yep, she loves her shoes. Especially one's that sparkle! In fact, she has only just outgrown the very first pair of shoes we bought her, which means shoe shopping is in our future! We had her feet measured at Clarks for her first pair of shoes (see post here) and they have lasted her six months.

You are supposed to have your child's feet measured every six weeks according to Baby Centre, so we have been really naughty letting it go this long!

The Crafty Toddler

We are slowly getting more and more into the world of crafts! This is probably one of the things I am most excited about Emily growing into. I can't wait to spend afternoons doing crafts together, with me lending a helping hand every now and then, watching her create amazing things. At the moment. I am still doing most of the work, but she is getting more and more involved with painting and drawing. She has started coming home from kids church with little crafts that she has done (Freedom Kids is just awesome ❤) and I am building up quite a lovely little collection of Emily masterpieces!

Daddy's Girl

I have so loved watching Emily and her daddy together ❤ I always have, but now that she is so much less dependant on me, and so much more playful, she spends much more time with her daddy. I love it! They have so much fun together, and do things that she wouldn't necessarily do with me, so they have their own special bond, and special activities.

Traditionally you hear that it's mummy's responsibility to take care of the children, and daddy doesn't really have much to do with the day to day things. But I love that Sam (along with a host of today's modern dads) is so hands on, and really takes being a parent seriously. In the early days, it was very much about Emily and I with breastfeeding, night time wakings (I volunteered to get up in the night so Sam was rested for work) and spending our days together. So for a while there was not a lot that Sam could really take charge of (except for nappy changes, baths and cuddles!). Even as she got older, as I was with her 24/7 it still usually fell on me to assume most of the responsibility with weaning, soothing and many everyday things. But now that she is so much less dependant on me, it is easy for Sam to sooth her, put her to bed, prepare and feed her meals and generally spend time with her.

He truly is a super dad and Emily loves him to bits ❤

The Fully Weaned Toddler

In my last update, I mentioned that by the time I came to writing the next one (three months later) we would be done with Breastfeeding. And I was right! It happened unintentionally, and so naturally, which is how we really wanted it to end. From around 15 months, Emily was only breastfeeding at night, before bed or if she woke up in the night for some reason. About two months later, we had a couple of days where we just didn't have our usual bedtime routine, meaning we didn't have a milk session before bed (which didn't effect Emily whatsoever). Then, I had a huge allergic reaction to something (never did figure that one out!) which meant that I had to take some strong antihistamines, and so couldn't feed her even if I wanted to! She did reach a point where she really wanted milk, but we substituted it with a sippy cup and a story, and there was no problem. It happened suddenly, and unexpectedly. But it was the right time. I didn't get to have that last feed, where I was aware it was her last feed. But I don't feel upset by it. I don't even remember when her last feed was... I feel fine :)

The Summer Holiday Toddler

We had our first family holiday to the seaside this year! We went with Sam's family, and it was amazing! Emily was just the right age to really get into the fact that we were on holiday. She loved the seaside, playing in the sand and splashing in the sea. She loved to adventure and check out all the rock pools and play with seaweed. We even went to a falconry where Emily was amazed by these huge birds, that we could even hold.

I loved that we went with family, as it was so much more relaxed and Emily was so well taken care of. It wasn't just up to Sam and I to entertain her and look after her, as everyone pitched in and made sure she was happy and taken care of. We even had opportunities to spend time together, just the two of us while the family looked after Emily, or simply were there to stay at the house while she slept. We relaxed, we played hard, we created family memories and with the freedom of spending time alone, remembered just a little what it is like to be a young couple, completely in love ❤

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