After a languorous summer, it's been a busy few weeks for the girls.
Liv has transformed from baby to on-the-move eight-month-old, and Diana, in what feels like the blink of an eye, turned three (!), shedding her last remnants of babyish looks in the process.
Here are some of the recent firsts we've been experiencing in our (rather chaotic) household:
Livvie, who has been happily devouring solids for three months and gumming everything from bread to cucumbers, finally got her first tooth to help in her gourmandise journey. And then a second tooth quickly followed.
Downside? First bite during a feed, which I fear won't be the last. (The fact I'm still breastfeeding her at eight months, and enjoying it, and not feeling at all motivated to stop, is also a first for me. Is this how people end up with three-year-olds attached to their boobs?)
It's a good thing Liv's got the tooth to help her eat now, since she's been burning calories like crazy - she's started to crawl! For a couple of weeks, her crawling was considered, relaxed and non-stress inducing. Now, it's manic.
Left unattended, her favourite place to crawl towards is Bolshy the bulldog's water or food bowl (which is - fortunately for me, not so fortunately for Bolshy - mostly empty these days since the dog is suffering from weaning-related obesity after scoffing too many dropped avocadoes). Alternatively, Liv ends up underneath a table, howling, desperately trying to figure out how she got there. And how to get out.
Liv is also trying to push herself up to stand! Her downward dog is already more impressive-looking than mine.
As for D, turning three has been huge, not only because it's the first birthday she's been very aware of and therefore asking about for weeks before (and for weeks after, as I'm learning).
Suddenly she is showing lots of enthusiasm for things like reading letters and counting numbers (thank you, Team Umizoomi!). She's also somehow a much more sophisticated manipulator and tantrum-thrower already, although three is easier to reason with than two.
The most notable change is that D recently started part-time nursery for the first time. She was in nursery daycare once a week for a few months before she turned one, and she has been to lots of classes, one o'clock clubs and playgroups in the intervening two years, but this is the first time she's attending formal pre-school.
It's very exciting since she couldn't be more enthusiastic about it (the only other thing she spent all summer asking about, in addition to when she could celebrate her birthday and get presents and cake, is when September was because: "I start nursery in 'Tember! And school the year after!")
While it's emotional for me to see my baby heading off to school, I can't argue that she and I are both ready for it. Frankly, once your child turns three, you need to be a magician to keep them entertained on your own, happily, for 12 hours straight and still be able to function as a human yourself.
I stayed for Diana's first visit, as prescribed by the school, although D fled from me the minute we got through the gates, occasionally offering me a wave or a smile from the distance, as she played and explored.
I wasn't too lonely though - I soon had a harem of three and four-year-olds surrounding me, some showing off their various dance moves, others shooting me dead with toy props (I blame my popularity on my excessive American enthusiasm and penchant for praise. I think everything is "am-AY-zing!!!" and "completely AWE-some!!!" I even play dead with excitement.)
I eventually decided I should go try to find D, who was happily drawing indoors.
"Do you want me to stay inside and hang out with you, Diana?" I asked, feeling like an awkward extra appendage. "Or should I go and wait outside?"
"Leave me, Mummy," Diana said, giving me a dismissive wave. "Good luck."
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