In an unexpected turn of events, Reindeer has suddenly begun to count.
He’s been fascinated by numbers for a while now; loves looking at bar codes and gets very excited by the numbers he sees day-to-day, e.g., at the supermarket or in books.
One of his first words was the number ‘nine’. He seems to find it in all sorts of places and takes great delight in turning sixes upside down to create extra nines.
A couple of weeks ago he moved on to the number eight and began noticing/responding to eights with the same enthusiasm as nines. Then, a few days ago, he suddenly counted to five – almost out of nowhere. It was the first indication we had that he could even say four and five.
In a very short space of time he’s taken to counting up to (and down from) ten repeatedly during the day. Sometimes whilst playing or walking on the stairs, sometimes just whilst sitting and thinking. He seems to love the pattern of the numbers.
The only number he doesn’t say is seven – I don’t know if this is because he finds it hard to pronounce, he says some two syllable words – or whether he just doesn’t like the way it sounds/feels to say.
Either way, it’s amazing to watch him coming to grips with counting and applying it in different situations. As he’s gaining confidence with numbers, I’ve noticed him start to show the same early interest signs in letters, too. It seems this particular development leap is the most fascinating yet!
The weather has been pretty miserable here this week, so today we took the opportunity to try something new: making crispie cakes.
Reindeer and I have never cooked together before but he’s fascinated by cooking and will always ask ‘up!’ while I’m preparing food so he can see what I’m making and check the ingredients.
Because I doubted his ability to get through a recipe without trying to eat the ingredients I chose a basic crispie cake recipe, which we personalised with some extras that we love.
Reindeer was fascinated throughout, carefully examining the ingredient packets and checking the numbers on the scale as we weighed each item out. While I melted the chocolate and butter he was busy putting silicone cake cases in the tray and helping himself to spare sultanas!
For months he’s been raiding the utensil drawer and taking his finds to his toy kitchen to play with so, when the time came to put all the ingredients together and mix, he had a lot of fun and, to my surprise, made minimal mess.
As soon as mixing was complete he was very quick to get the spoon in his mouth for tasting, so I retrieved the mix and filled the cases. We shared the little left at the end.
It was really fun and I was impressed that he stayed interested (and stood safely on the chair) throughout. I’m thinking it’s time to invest in a no-bake cookbook for future rainy days!
It’s been a while since I’ve thought about this, but Reindeer’s favourite things list is changing again. I want to keep track of things like this (since Reindeer arrived my sentimental side has asserted itself) and so the list is as follows:
- Vehicles: preferably of the wheeled variety, although he enjoys watching for and flying aeroplanes, complete with ssshhhhing noises
- Numbers: hours of fascination here, he loves all numbers and spots them everywhere. Supermarkets are great fun with aisle numbers, prices, barcodes, quantities, etc. We’ve recently found the Numberblocks series which is only adding to his enjoyment
- Butterflies: he loves to spot butterflies in books. Oliver’s Wood has a whole page of them and we can spend a long time describing each one
- Hey Duggee: the other show he watches. We have a couple of the magazines too and it’s something that makes him laugh as well as absorbing his attention. The first time they counted to ten, he cheered them
- Bathtime: he’s recently discovered lying on his back in the bath and will happily spend up to an hour playing in there at night before playing peek-a-boo with the aid of his hooded towel. His laughter and sheer enjoyment of this simple game is infectious
There are lots of other things he does that we love to watch and are our favourites. They include:
- The banana song: Reindeer loves bananas and basically sings ‘na na na na na na’ to himself if he sees one or is very keen to eat one
- His curiosity: he is endlessly fascinated by his surroundings and will happily people watch for ages at a time
- His determination: Reindeer isn’t one to give up. If he sees something new, or finds something fascinating, he’ll keep trying it or will fiddle with it until he’s sure he knows what it does. This has included 20+ trips around the same apparatus to use a slide, dismantling toys and brushing his hair with the pastry brush he filched from the utensil drawer I hadn’t realised he could reach
- Cuddles: although very independent, he’s recently become far more of a snuggle child. It’s so lovely to be shown this affection!
- Breastfeeding: we’re still breastfeeding, although only twice a day now and not at bedtime. I was worried about dropping the bedtime feed, but he’s suddenly found that he can self-settle without milk. I’m slightly taken aback by this as I was expecting to need to look into sleep training eventually, but he seems to have hit his stride and about half the nights in the last fortnight he’s gotten himself to sleep without my company. On the one hand I’m really pleased since he’s done this himself I feel he must be ready. On the other hand I miss cuddling him to sleep. There’s definitely a lesson here somewhere about never winning at parenting!
Reindeer is changing so fast that, some days, I don’t feel like I’m keeping up. In the last two days he’s started using a spoon properly and feeding himself yogurt, etc. It’s definitely an adventure though and one I’m really enjoying!
So, this week Reindeer has been demonstrating some of his new skills – not all of which have been met with joy (by me at least)!
Unlocking the back door: he climbed on the vacuum cleaner, turned the key and opened the door using the handle. I was impressed because of the action sequence, unimpressed because had he succeeded in opening the door fully he’d have landed face first on the patio.
Opening tins of food: Reindeer had always been fascinated by the contents of the larder cupboard, so we’ve let him explore and play with some of the small tins. This week I was washing up whilst he played next to me with one of the tins. I suddenly realised I could smell something. Looking down I could see that he’d figured out the ring pull and opened the can a quarter – enough for its teriyaki sauced contents to be all over him. Unperturbed, he was happily finger painting them all over the floor too. I’m impressed that he opened the can as I have trouble with them, I was unimpressed with the mess!
Flushing the toilet: Reindeer loves water play and, unfortunately, will put his hand in the toilet bowl if he can get to one. Consequently, we’ve put a lock on the bathroom toilet lid and kept the en suite and downstairs toilet doors closed. He’s recently learned to open doors so the downstairs loo had a lock rapidly added to the seat this week. Thinking all was now safe, I wasn’t as concerned as normal when he opened the door to the hall. Until I heard flushing sounds. Investigation showed he’d climbed onto the seat when he couldn’t open it and was playing with the flush handle. Impressed at his ability to find new challenges, unimpressed with the potential water wastage.
Opening the baby gate: for obvious reasons we have a baby gate at the top of the stairs. When i got dressed a few days ago I heard Reindeer by the gate. This isn’t unusual as he likes to look downstairs. What was unusual was hearing the sound of the gate being opened. I shot onto the landing to find he’d opened the gate, walked down two steps and close the gate behind himself. He saw me and gave himself a round of applause. I was impressed he’d manipulated what I’d assumed to be a baby proof gate and unimpressed at all the ramifications of this. Thankfully he’s left it alone since.
There are various other scrapes he’s gotten into this week, but these are the ones which have caused me the most anxiety! It’s so strange to be impressed and exasperated at the same time.
Reindeer still loves reading and, as he’s getting older, the range of books is increasing. The artwork in the new books is also becoming of interest.
In particular he’s fascinated by The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and I’m The Best by Lucy Cousins. In each book there is a title page containing lots of colour spots.
A couple of weeks ago, each time he chose The Very Hungry Caterpillar, he would begin on the title page and point to each purple colour spot on the page, asking me to say ‘purple’ at the same time. There are lots of colour spots on the page – lots of different colours – so I was quite intrigued and impressed when he always chose the same colour.
Around the same time he began going to the colour spot page in I’m The Best. There are fewer spots and fewer colours, but he will always choose the yellow spots first for naming, then brown, blue and green.
It’s fascinating to see him pick something specific from all of the visual information presented. If I can’t see the colour he’s pointing at clearly, and then name it incorrectly, he’ll keep prompting me until I name the colour correctly. From this and his ability to choose the correct toy based on make and colour, I’d guess he knows about 10-12 colours now.
I don’t know why, but this surprises me. Most likely this is because I have no idea which order and how quickly children develop. It’s great fun to watch though and I’m curious to see what takes his interest next.
Over the last few months, Reindeer has been developing his vocabulary. He now has a small number of completely recognisable words and a larger number of consistent words where the pronunciation is yet to resolve.
Completely recognisable words include: yes, no, Mama, Dada, ball, up, more, bear, there, moon, pear, door, wow, row.
Resolving words include: oh dear, down, please, Oma, meow (for cat).
Reindeer is currently teething his 17th tooth. As it’s a molar it is a slow and painful process. Most nights he manages to sleep through, but sometimes he wakes up and needs some comfort.
Two nights ago he woke up very upset. As we’re still breastfeeding it was clear that he wanted a comfort feed. Not a problem.
Towards the end of the feed he started to fall asleep. Once I thought he was finished I tucked myself back in and kept cuddling him for a few minutes. Just as I was about to get up and put him back into bed he stirred slightly and his cute little baby voice said ‘More! More!’ before he fell asleep again.
It was never an expectation or intention that we’d breastfeed for this long, but I’m glad we have – moments like this one are priceless.
Ten days before Christmas I’d left Reindeer in his cot for 5 minutes whilst I got dressed. This was pretty standard because it was a safe place and he enjoyed playing with his toys in there.
As I walked back into his room he landed, head first, on the floor in front of me. He was physically fine but had given us both a bit of a shock. A short investigation showed that he’d piled up his toys by the cot rail and used them as a small step to climb out.
And that was the last time Reindeer was in a cot.
We hadn’t expected to move Reindeer into a bed for months, if not longer, so the only alternative we had available was an inflatable child’s bed which my sister had given us. We decided to use this while researching toddler beds.
Reindeer found it difficult to adjust. Not least because he had a habit of moving all around the cot in the night.
Since it was close to Christmas, and we wanted to provide him with a better solution quickly, we chose a simple bed and matress which could be delivered before everything closed for the holiday. We were shocked at the prices of beds – you could literally pay four figures for a child’s bed that would last less than 3 years.
The bed arrived 2 days before Christmas and Reindeer loved it, especially being able to climb in and out by himself! He immediately became quite territorial about it and wouldn’t allow his older cousins to sit on the bed with him. Within a couple of weeks he was sleeping very well in his new bed and now sleeps through almost every night. If we’d realised what a difference it would make we’d have made the change much sooner!
One unexpected benefit has been that his room now feels much more homely – he seems much more content in there. My guess is that’s because it’s a small room and the cot dominated it, whereas now it feels that there’s more space to spread out and play – even though the bed technically takes up more floor space.
The thing I can’t get my head around is how quickly my little Reindeer is growing up. He’s always surprising us with new skills and abilities – this second year is turning out to be quite the adventure!