Ingrid is definitely “almost two” now: a “big girl”.
More and more, she wants to be like us and to join us in whatever we’re doing. When I am cooking dinner, she wants to stand on her step stool and watch me chop the veggies. (And have a little taster of everything. It turns out that she really likes raw mini sweetcorn, will eat raw aubergine and potatoes, as well as uncooked beans.) When I’m doing the laundry, she wants to be there to help me pull the clothes out of the washer and hang them up to dry. When the table in front of her mysteriously acquires splashes of food, she wants to wipe it with a paper towel, just like we do. When I go grocery shopping she gets a little trolley to push, and loves to put our shopping in it.
||Watering the cat
Shopping actually goes faster this way, because she is in constant movement. The moment we’ve picked up the milk, she’s rolling onwards, and I have to either keep up or stop her trolley (in which case she’s likely to toddle off without it). I try to have a detailed list with me so I don’t need to stop and think while we’re in the shop, and it means that we walk through the shop in one long smooth movement.
Speaking of walking, she’s got much better stamina now than just a month ago. She often prefers walking to sitting in the pushchair. The shop we normally go to is, I’d guess, about 15 minutes’ walk away, and it isn’t uncommon for Ingrid to walk half the way there before climbing up into the pushchair, then come down again to walk through the shop and halfway home, too.
Meanwhile Ingrid has also discovered / understood pretend play. I’m not sure if this is related to participating in our activities, or just happened at roughly the same time. Her stuffed penguins walk, and her cow sits and sleeps. (Any animal or toy that lies down is always “sleeping”.) She also has her doll, and quite often doll wants to sit next to us on the sofa, or reads a book, or sleeps. Doll sometimes also wants to drink water from a cup, or to breastfeed. This morning doll was apparently hungry and was carefully fed with yoghurt. Occasionally Ingrid also enjoys feeding me (although my patience lasts through about two or three bites).
Speaking of eating… she’s now quite competent at feeding herself with spoon and fork, and reliably manages a glass or a cup. When she wants to, she can get stuff in her mouth without spilling much at all. The bib is there just in case, and remains clean after many meals. Messes arise when she gets bored with eating and starts to play with her food instead. She dips her pasta in her milk, or eats orange juice with a spoon, or tries to eat yoghurt with her fingers, or stuffs her mouth full of grapes and then spits them out half-chewed. At least she’s now learned that hand-washing after a meal is an unavoidable step.
It’s hard to say anything meaningful about her language development. I know her vocabularly keeps growing, and that it now includes a good amount of verbs, as well as simpler adjectives (big, small, hot, cold, wet, etc, plus a few colours I think). But I really only know about the ones she uses actively. I know that she understands an awful lot more than she says. I can give her instructions using words she’s never said – “put that nappy in the bin in the kitchen, please” or “climb up on the bench and I’ll help you open that box”, and she’ll follow them without hesitation.
Books remain as popular as ever. She still likes to point out things in books, but now I think she’s beginning to be interested in actual stories, in things happening after each other, in the same order. She likes to predict what will be on the next page: turns a corner and peeks enough to be able to guess, then turns the whole page and is happy when it turns out that, yes indeed, there is a cow on that page.
I’ve recently started telling her bedtime stories, too. It’s hard to know how much she understands of the actual story, but hearing my voice drone on keeps her relatively calm and makes bedtime a bit shorter. Before I started telling stories, she’d spend upwards of half an hour kicking and climbing around in the bed. Now it can sometimes take as little as 15 minutes, although half an hour isn’t at all rare. But at least she doesn’t kick me in the ribs, or climb over me while supporting herself with a knee in my groin, or accidentally headbutt me while trying to walk on the bed.
In fact I hope she doesn’t understand too much of the stories, because otherwise she’d probably be too scared to sleep: the only stories I know well enough to tell without much thought are the classics, Little Red Riding Hood, The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids, Hansel and Gretel, and other scary stories where someone generally gets eaten alive.