The twenty-ninth month has generally been a positive, contented, stable, routine one. There were a couple of days when everything seemed to upset Ingrid, and every little setback would be met with hysterics. But otherwise Ingrid has been happy and in a good mood most of the time.
She seems to have such a positive view of the world, such confidence that things will go her way. There’s no asking, “Can I take this?” – no, she confidently proclaims “You will have this!” or “You will eat this!” or “We can do it like this!” or whatever it is she intends to do.
She’s also becoming more aware of fun. She jokes and makes fun of things, and tells me “du narras”. She says things she knows are wrong, does things she knows are wrong, makes funny noises or funny faces. She thinks it’s hilarious to offer me her socks to eat, or to blow bubbles while drinking orange juice.
When things don’t go her way, on the other hand, she is heart-broken. I read somewhere at some point that children consistently react to adversity with either anger or sadness. Ingrid goes for sadness: tears, sobs, and then cuddles. She never hits or bites or stomps her feet or yells.
The best fix for sadness is sitting in my lap. The second best is a long hug. Sometimes it takes a while for the sadness to dissipate. She tells me “now you are happy again” and climbs down. Sometimes she then discovers that it was too early, and runs back to me and tells me “you are still sad!”. When she is pulled between wanting a hug, and wanting something else (such as going back to her movie) which is at some distance from me, she can oscillate three or four times before she is ready to let go for real.
We seem to have entered another one of those periods where toys are of no interest. When we’re at home we read books, or watch a movie, or cook dinner together, or jump and run around. Occasionally she might play a little bit with her stove and pots and pans, but not much. The only things that toys are good for is throwing: it turns out that lying on the floor and throwing soft animals at each other, as a mini pillow fight, is very funny.
Toys are important as possessions, though. There are things she almost never plays with, but when it’s time to go to bed (or time to run to the potty) she suddenly decides that she MUST have one with her. Or two, or four. She doesn’t have them for cuddling or holding (and sometimes she picks very un-cuddly things, such as a book). She just wants them to be in the bed next to her. At night it’s not too bad, but it can get irritating when she suddenly realises she needs to pee, and then decides that she cannot do it without some totally random object that she decides on because it’s closest. If that object happens to be something unwieldy, like her Wheely Bug, the trip to the bathroom can take so much time and attention that sometimes we get there too late.
Instead of playing with toys, she engages in various sorts of physical play. Jumping up and down is also a lot of fun, since we saw Jänku-Juta jump a rope. This is often accompanied by shouts of “keks! keks! keks!”. Climbing snowdrifts is fun, as well as running up and down ramps and stairs.
I get the impression that she’s become slightly more cautious in her physical activities. Sometimes she tells me “otherwise you can fall down” about something that to me seems totally safe, and wants to hold my hand. I wonder if it’s something she’s learned at nursery. Disappointing, if that’s the case.
We’ve started going swimming again, after a few months’ break. We did it a couple of times during autumn, but then Ingrid seemed to lose interest, and would ask to go home after just 20 minutes. And since the trip to the swimming pool is at least 40 minutes (and even longer if the weather is bad and we have to take the bus instead of cycling) I gave up. But a couple of weeks ago we had another go, and she enjoyed it a lot. We bought a pair of little red floaters to have around her upper arms (just like in one of the books we read), and while she didn’t use them for any floating, she was so enamoured with them that she took them to bed that night. She’s even OK with water splashing on her face again: we tried the big slides, with her sitting on my lap, and she was shouting more, more! all the time. It was even fun to watch Eric came down after us, drenching her in spray.
As usual, she is very interested in doing anything that we adults do. We go grocery shopping every afternoon after nursery, and she takes it very seriously: pushes her trolley, picks up the milk, helps me put things on the converyor belt and pack the bag. She loves pressing the buttons to call the lift or to cross the street, not so much because it’s a button to press (although that’s a part of it) but because helps us get somewhere. She almost always helps me cook dinner, and loves to help set the table. This month she’s started learning to pour her own drink (with me holding the glass, so the bottle doesn’t upset it), and to serve food. I get the impression that she’s particularly proud of setting the table and serving food, because that way she’s not just taking care of herself (which is very satisfying in itself) but also taking care of us.
The flip side is that she’s very aware of her inabilities, and very sensitive to being reminded of them. (These quotes from John Holt’s How Children Learn really resonated with me.) For example, she generally enjoys painting (well, not so much this month) but not drawing – because she knows that I can draw things that look like things, but she can’t. I haven’t shown her that I can do the same with a paintbrush. When we get out pens and paper, I draw and she watches, and guesses what I’m drawing. When I ask her to try, she says “but you cannot!” and refuses.