My cheeky little monkey, small guy N, is going to be 2.5 years old on Friday! Life is busier than ever these days with N no longer having daytime naps which means little downtime between morning wake-up and evening bedtime, and he is a very physically active child! We haven’t fully finessed the routine for bedtime as his sleep schedule has varied as we go through the transition of ending naps. Some days he still has a short nap, but now it is more likely to be in the form of a power snooze in the car or on the sofa. If he has a power-snooze, they are usually late in the afternoon and that will push his bedtime a bit later as a result.
No napping does have benefits as it gives more flexibility for adventures and visiting friends, but some days mummy used to enjoy naptime as she also got a cheeky bit of shut-eye too. RIP naps.
This past month or so has been hectic. N feel sick before Christmas, first with a kind of flu (fever for 5 days) which then improved before it merged with an ear infection (pain, more fever). N is so stoic when he’s suffering that it’s difficult to understand what specifically is the problem, but when his fever returned and showed no signs of diminishing I suspected an ear infection, which was confirmed by his pediatrician. Poor N got antibiotics for Christmas! He was a bit improved by Christmas Day but still poorly so wasn’t on good form for all the presents and fun of the day. It only took a few more days and then he was better, when he then suffered a suspected spider bite. He got a nasty bite on his ear – I suspect when sleeping – which developed into a blister, as well as two big bites on his hand and three smaller ones on his face. He really did look a bit of a mess for a few days.
This all took place across about three weeks and when he was really sick he was pretty much silent, just wanting to be cuddled. Once he got better though it was an explosion of words and now he doesn’t stop talking. Every single day there are new words emerging and he’s getting really good now at repeating new words that I teach him. I think he must have a vocabulary of over 50 words now in English and an unknown number in Greek as he doesn’t speak Greek to me generally. He says the names of most of the people close to him, can tell me all the colours (except yellow, but he can identify it) and has a few full sentences he uses, such as “turn on the light” and “the tree is gone” (this relates to us taking down the Christmas tree, which was clearly a big disappointment as he’s still talking about it 10 days later).
He is also able to very adequately express when he doesn’t want to do something, which is quite a lot of the time these days! I get told “No no mummy!” a lot! I find it funny that he says no in English but for yes he prefers to use the Greek version.
One unfortunate bi-product of the period of sickness is that N is now obsessed with his dummy/pacifier. I had been really strict up until now that the dummy is only for sleeping but he had it throughout the day when he was sick and now just wants one all the time. One way he has tried to use cuteness to get me to give him a daytime dummy is that he will bring me one of his dummies – one of the ones he doesn’t favour, obviously – and inform me that it’s a “mummy dummy”. He will also bring me one of his monkey cuddlies too – again, not his favourite one – as though if I have a monkey and dummy too then it’s acceptable. I like his thinking even though it doesn’t get him what he wants.
Some of the things N loves now:
- His new kitchen he got for Christmas – he plays with it every day and likes to make me pretend cups of tea. We also make real cups of tea together and he has his own mug of very lukewarm, weak tea. Most of the time he drinks it nicely without spilling much.
- The trampoline (he calls it “jump”) – our neighbours gifted their perfect condition trampoline once their daughters got too big for it and he is obsessed by it
- His scooter, which generally lives in the boot of my car. He instructs me “boot” when he wants to ride it which is every freaking time he sees my car. May need to have it live somewhere else as “boot” is not always a practical option.
- ipad – uggh, ipad is both a savior and a nightmare. N is quite competent with saying the word “ipad” now. Fav things to watch are Masha and the Bear, as well as strange YouTube videos where people record themselves slowly running a car tire over different objects and crushing them. It is bizarrely compelling to watch. Cocomelon is still a fav too. During the illness phase I nearly went insane watching Cocomelon videos. I think I could write an academic essay on interpretations of the videos now.
- Dummy and monkey (see above)
- Mummy – yep, all the cuddling when he was sick means he is now more obsessed with mummy than ever before.
And some of the things N does not like now:
- Going to bed. Yep, we have hit the phase where everything is more fun than going to bed. However, if/when you do get him into bed and settled he is usually fine. We do quite a dance some nights to convince him it’s a good idea to go to bed and I’m hoping this is a brief phase. Ditto this is one of the reasons why naps have been generally scrapped.
- Being told no. Meltdown will ensue.
- Getting off the “jump” to go to school. Cue crying.
- Help with doing anything difficult – he is stubbornly independent which is 100% his daddy coming out of him
- Being rushed. Toddler time is a thing so I have to balance giving him the space that he needs while actually getting the places I need to go in a good time. This is not simple or predictable. Some bribery ensues at times.
Mummy update: I went for my regular doctor check up this week and my recovery has been so good that I am being weaned off the nasty medications that made my hair fall out. I should be clear of those by March, although I will stay on the low dose steroids for a while yet. The steroids don’t bother me these days so this is not an issue. This also means that after a period of three months following stopping the meds that I am clear for having another pregnancy. I am really unclear in myself as to what I want to do with regards to a second child. It is quite a stressful thing to consider.
If I am truly honest, I am not keen to go through another pregnancy and newborn phase. It was difficult and lonely for me. I know this is not everyone’s experience and the shock factor of the first child will not apply for a second, however having a second child will definitely involve some new stresses. BUT, I know that it’s nice to have a sibling and someone to go through life with.
Then I think about the age factor. I am now 41 and realistically the earliest I could potentially give birth would have me at 42. Is it negligent to have a child at this age? My father died when he was 50 and while hopefully that’s not my fate too it does make me worry so very much that having a child at my age means that they will likely lose one or both parents when they are not so old themselves. I’ve experienced that and it’s hard and I don’t want to knowingly inflict that same trauma on my own child. Please share opinions on this as I am torn!
In other good news, I have seen a counsellor! I have only gone once and so all I managed to do in that time was set the scene, but I’m going again this weekend with my intention being to heal myself in 2020. Hubby and I also took a short trip together after the new year, without N, and it was really nice. We took it slowly and just enjoyed ourselves. I bought myself a too-expensive handbag because I thought WHY NOT?!! I never do such things, but I feel after the past year or so that I need to shake things up. Life is for living and so I’m making a conscious decision to do the things that bring joy, wherever possible. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows and life is still hard but I am doing my best to not just survive but to thrive. It’s not going to happen overnight, but I am doing my best to change my attitude.
Sleep is key to my happiness it turns out. I know some people can survive on less sleep, but I cannot. I am physically incapable if I have a run of no-sleep nights. So, as part of my healing process I am trying wherever I can to prioritise sleep and making sure I am well. This is not always possible, for example I think N is growing his two-year old molar teeth this week and he’s been sleeping terribly and waking up due to the pain, and so I have had to forego the likes of my yoga class yesterday to have a nap instead. It was a great decision as it has helped me get back on track today.
I feel like something new is on the horizon for me. There are still a lot of variables in there and I have serious work to do, but I don’t want another year like 2019. I know this comes from me so I am trying, step-by-step, to make improvements to set myself up for good things. Let’s see…