Frida turned 18 months on 20 January. It feels like a pretty big turning point. We move up a group on the PADS Facebook groups from ‘New Parents’ to ‘Pre-schoolers’ and in doing so have left behind the safety of the baby group. It also feels like we are leaving behind the safety of Frida being a baby. We now move towards learning about Frida as a child. I’m more frequently spotting where she is not doing some things that the majority of her peers are, whereas previously the differences were not so obvious. That said, I don’t see this as a negative and it’s not getting me down as she is constantly moving forwards, learning new skills and loving her life. We love having her in our life - she is incredible.
My list of what she does this month (I make one every month or so to reflect back on how far she has come and I love it!) includes some really cool things which has helped her become even more independent.
‘At 18 months I:
- Say my own name - ‘Iiiida’ as well as Mama, Dada, Ada, Granma and ‘P,P,P’ for Pops
- Crawl fast in my own unique way
- Push to stand, cruise and hold on to walker
- Use potty regularly and successfully
- Feed myself, when I can be bothered
- Love to give a big ‘cheers’
- Love feeding my dolls and teddies
- My favorite sign and word is ‘star’
- Sign around 15 words, the majority of which are animals!
- Can make myself understood pretty well, both at nursery, in groups and at home
- Am making some lovely friends
- Am very cheeky.'
As we move towards Frida’s second birthday I can sense some changes coming and am looking forward to her becoming even more independent and building on all of those key skills that she’s worked so hard on gaining in her first 18 months.
As I move on from the PADS ‘New Parents’ group, I said a goodbye and shared some of the things that I’ve learnt along the way in the hope they help new parents have a slightly easier ride. I thought I’d share them here, too:
- Enjoy your baby. Love will get you most of the way.
- Find your tribe. There is strength, love, knowledge, wisdom and power to be shared and enjoyed. I have one and I love them, their babies and families to the moon and back. We’ve shared so much already and are excited about our futures together, all centred around our gorgeous toddlers.
- Ask questions and sign up to everything. Learn Makaton and sign up to PEGS and POPS. Become a sponge, a magpie, and soon you’ll be an expert in your child and what you need to support them.
- Look up PADSPods and watch the videos. You never know when a nugget of information might be the thing that you need.
- Look up PADSFit and make sure you look after yourself as well as your family. You cannot pour from an empty cup.
- Put your baby on the potty at 6 months, or as soon as they can sit relitively confidently. Honestly. It’s a game changer. We use this one and it’s perfect - I know lots of other babies that use it and love it.
- Prepare to be constantly surprised by your child. It’s so exciting!
- Stand up for what you think is right. Seek guidance and views of others to empower you to do this. You do not have to go it alone.
- Try not to compare your baby to others to the extent it drives you crazy. It is natural and it helps to see where your baby is, but worrying about it doesn’t really get you anywhere. They will, I have learned, do their thing in their own sweet time. I remember training myself to do this with my first daughter and it saved me a lot of unnecessary angst, I’m sure of it.
- When you don’t feel like being particularly motivated to do any of the above, and when you have a run of weeks of doing nothing but the basics of life - don’t beat yourself up and just ride it out. I refer you to point 1 - love will get you most of the way.
And as if as to celebrate turning 18 months, Frida has today taken her first steps using her walker. She’s worked hard on pushing to stand and is constantly trying to hold her own weight by letting go and tends to fall back on her bum, just to push herself up again. Her determination has payed off today and we could not be prouder.
Roll on the next exciting 6 months!