18 months is feeling like a huuuge deal to me. As of Friday, the 15th September, my boy is halfway to his 2nd birthday. It's very bittersweet, like it's the last month milestone for him as a baby. I'm glad that he's getting so big and grown up but at the same time I feel sad and broody looking at the pictures of my bald little spud. I feel weird referring to him as 'the baby' when shushing people during his marathon naps, so now he's 'the boy', or 'H'. I feel like it's a big one for both of us. I've successfully navigated his babyhood and now here I am with an 18 month old, firmly entrenched in toddlerhood. I'm sitting here writing this as he has a nap enjoying a bit of me time that I've managed to claw back over the past few months and I'm thinking about just how much he has changed since his first birthday.
First of all, he's had a growth spurt this week and he's now all legs. He's losing his baby softness and chub and he's turning into a little person. When he runs around on those long stalks he isn't wobbling all over the place, he's properly anchored to the Earth now. His hair has also had a spurt and it's now a glorious golden bouffant crown that I love running my fingers through. I condition and comb it all the time, possibly because I have my hair clipped on a number three so there's not much to play with...
His speech is coming on alarmingly quickly now as well. For a while it was just "open" and "close" but he's experimenting a bit now. He says "that!" and points at something and when I tell him what it is, repeats it. It's so clever and I get ridiculously excited when he says things like "toast" or "shower". He just sits constantly nattering in his own language peppered with a few English words and it's utterly amazing. I can understand what he wants now and he can communicate very effectively which has been a giant leap forward in our relationship. Some of the frustration and tantrums have been neutralised and we're well on the way to a mother and son relationship rather than Mama and baby.
Other minor things that have changed include him actually enjoying baths and showers now. We've showered together pretty much from when he was able to stand unaided because it saves so much time and I could never figure out where to put him while I got myself showered. It just seemed a safer option, getting myself sorted and shampooing his hair in between steps. He has a Vtech bubble whale with activities on it stuck to the bath tiles which he loves to play with and his toy boats so I can exfoliate in peace. He loves the towel cuddles afterwards as well while I get us both dry. He loves any time spent in water which makes life so much easier too.
One of my favourite changes is how affectionate he is becoming. He went through a bit of a prickly phase and wouldn't be picked up or nappy-changed after he turned one but now he's such a loving little soul. Every few minutes he'll give whichever family member he's with a big kiss on the lips and a hug. If I'm upset or having a terrible day, he knows and he'll bring me one of his shoes or a damp, uneaten Quaver to cheer me up.
It's not just Harry that has gone through all this change. It's me too. I used to be the most stressy, anxious, nervous person around my baby but I've started to really mellow out. Don't get me wrong, I'm still shouty and impatient but in terms of my head, I'm in an infinitely better place. It's like a lightbulb has gone off in my head the past month or so. I've learnt that in the midst of the toddler induced chaos/actual shit storm that rains down around me, I have to let him learn and play and make a mess. He eats if he wants to eat, I'm not hovering anymore. He has his nap as and when, I don't get all pious and wild eyed about it as long as he gets some decent sleep and ideally isn't still asleep at 3. Bed times vary every day but whatever. What will be will be. Getting all rigid and weird about it isn't actually going to help. Relaxing and trying to stay grounded without spiralling off into the 'what if?' and 'Arrrggghhhhh, I'm a big fat effing failure!!' dimensions of my mind is becoming a much more achievable task.
We've passed the terrifying baby bit, we've put the buggy and nappy bag away and now it's just about not letting them run into the road and go into every single shop whilst yelling 'Juice!!'. It's 1000s many more things than that, but you know what I mean. I feel like a parent now who can enjoy their child and not just a scary freak.