The baby (our youngest) is 18 months old. A year and a half. A culmination of three neat, significant, yet also arbitrary, segments of six months each. He is walking and signing (baby sign language ie. a mish-mash of visual communication that probably offends those who actually sign) and makes strong attempts at saying terribly important words (including car, dog, highchair, trousers, flowers, and baby). He dances and laughs a lot and follows his sister around – mostly to try and copy her – and loves his food (every day I’m grateful that my kids are good eaters!) and loves going outside and tries every time to put on his own shoes and gets terribly frustrated that he can’t and tilts his head to the side if there’s a questioning tone and looks adorably cute!
Eighteen months old the first time round was a huge milestone – for me. Before that I wasn’t coping. But I did cope, especially to most outward appearances, because you have to. You can’t not get out of bed when you have to look after a baby. The hardest challenge I’ve had mentally was the first year and a bit of motherhood. Possibly physically too, because of the rather mixed relationship I had with breastfeeding (felt it compulsory otherwise branded myself a failure… not an unusual story). 18 months was the tipping point into this glorious stage, where the baby truly becomes a toddler, a little being with a distinct personality and preferences and proper communication – thank god, the silent dictator phase is nearly over – and for a brief moment every day you think, this is alright!
At 18 months first time round for me the balance tipped from mostly drudgery to significantly a lot more fun. And I got it. I finally got why people had children. Not why they might have more – that obviously clicked a little while later – but definitely why so many parents seemed content and like it wasn’t the end of their lives. I could breathe again. Try and be me again. Come out of the fog and see everything my partner and I had worked so hard to build and maintain.
- As is apt, in fact the baby has now turned 19 months, and this post has been languishing ignored in draft form for weeks. The PhD pressure has ramped up as The End is both in sight and requires an almost insurmountable amount of work! Thankfully light evenings have made it plausible to work for a few hours then on top of the usual combination of childcare arrangements. This blog will no doubt continue to be sporadically updated/neglected…