And just like that, she’s a toddler.
It’s weird how sudden the switch from baby to toddler is. One minute they’re mewling for milk, the next they’re tearing around on two feet and doing the actions to Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. Huh.
Hazel is now 18 months old and in the last few weeks, she’s exploded with new skills. After taking her first tentative few steps about two months ago, she’s finally cracked the walking game and is literally running about the place as fast as her little legs will carry her. Walking is my favourite development so far – it’s SO much easier to go places now she can toddle along with me rather than being confined to her pushchair. Granted, it’s slow going and a trip to the farm takes about three hours, but still. I love it.
We also have a handful of fun words, including ‘nana’ (banana), ‘bub-bel’ (bubbles) and ‘noooos’ (nose), as well as some kind-of sentences – ‘oh nooooo!’ and ‘oh deee-arrrr!’. We probably should introduce some positive affirmations at some point…
For a while I was worried Hazel was a little behind in her development – at 16.5 months she had very few actual words and wasn’t walking, which was different from pretty much all other babies we know. I am impatient, and seeing other children leaping ahead in their development made me wonder if I was doing something wrong – do I need to read her more books? Take her to toddler classes? Train her with flashcards?! I reminded myself often that children develop at their own pace, and ofc as soon as I’d made my peace with the lull, all the skills came rushing at once.
Alongside walking, the biggest development over the last few months has been in the sleep department. Hazel started sleeping through at around 14 months, and now usually sleeps a good 13 hours overnight with a 2-hour nap in the day. Although I think we’re on the fringes of the 18-month sleep regression, as 1/2 wakeups have been creeping back in – sleep regressions have always hit Hazel hard and she struggled with them at 4, 8 and 12 months, so I’m prepared for a few weeks of turmoil before (hopefully) things settle back down.
I’ve also stopped breastfeeding completely, a decision I made just before Christmas. I wrote a whole post about the how and why here. And following on from my 12-month update, when Hazel had just started nursery and it was all so horrible and shit – she now LOVES nursery! Everyone told me she’d settle eventually and they were right – it was so hard to leave her upset every time but I am SO glad we persisted, because she responds so well to the nursery environment. I’ll write a full post on this, but her confidence has come on massively since she started and it’s a joy to see her experiencing so many new things while she’s there.
Oh, and I’m hoping for a break from teething soon, as we now have 14 teeth with 15 and 16 on the way! Once these canines are through it’s just the dreaded back molars to go before she has the full set.
For me, this stage of motherhood is a bit like being in limbo – something I’ll write more about separately, I think. I’ve snatched back a bit of independence, but I don’t really know what to do with it. I’m hovering between two lives, not quite embodying either of them – I’m not a stay at home mum as Hazel is in nursery/with her grandparents three days a week, but I also don’t really have a career any more. I’m treading water, which some days is nice and enjoyable and other days is bleak and a bit soul-destroying. I know I will work it out eventually, but for the moment… limbo it is.
And that’s 18 months!
I am so proud of the way you are bringing up Hazel, she is a lovely, kind, & sweet little girl who is full of goodness. Most important of all -she is very happy, loved and secure Great parenting. Xxx
Jen you have articulated so well this age … and the vocabulary is clearly being helped along at nursery … we have a few “oh nooooo”s and “noooose” and “nana”s going on here too. Your post made me think about what the part time working and being a mum is like and can feel like. You’ve summed it up for me! So here’s to Limbo and not quite having it all worked out just yet… which is quite exciting and refreshing considering the whirlwind last decade race to marriage, career and motherhood! Love your posts x