The bedroom door opens and a loud and enthusiastic voice proudly announces that she has opened her own door. She attempts to climb over everyone in the bed asks for covers and then announces that she is hungry and wants breakfast. We are lucky if we get breakfast on the table without a shriek of ‘No me’ or ‘mummy do it’ if her sister tries to help. ‘Me do it’ is the favourite phrase when getting dressed, followed by a Rumpelstiltskin stamp and jump if she fails. Late for school again, we are lucky if we make it that far without a tantrum over picking a flower, whether to walk or get back in the buggy, wanting to bring something we have left behind or failing to say hello to someone on our way.
Welcome to a typical morning in the McClary household courtesy of my challenging middle daughter aged 2 and a half. I don’t remember the 2’s being particularly terrible with my eldest, perhaps memory fails me, but then she didn’t have to compete with 2 sisters for attention. I was once told that 2 year olds are not deliberately difficult, they just make mistakes. I’m not always convinced – particularly when I say don’t wake your sister and she proceeds to shout in her loudest voice . We give her a hard press sometimes but always come back to how gorgeous she is. When a day starts in this way it’s often difficult to focus on the positives but in reality there are lots of lovely things about 2 year olds.
The pride that they show when they achieve things – my daughter beams and says ‘I did it’ . As difficult as it may be to let her do things herself , especially when we are in a rush it’s wonderful to see her achieve things. Hopefully she will soon be independent and able to dress herself by the age of 3 like her sister. I also remember my eldest making me breakfast for the first time before she turned 3.
Though often toddlers like to challenge us and do the opposite of what we say, they also love being helpful. If you give my daughter and her friend a special job to do they are eager to help. She is good at tidying up, putting things in the bin, helping put the washing in the machine and feeding the dogs.
She is incredibly loving . She loves to have hugs and often says ‘I love you’ . She wakes me in the morning with a hug and a kiss and if her dad is away says ‘ I want my daddy’ and sometimes when her sister is at school ‘ I want my sister’.
I love the way she can hold a long telephone conversation . She makes funny little mistakes like showing my dad that it is raining in our garden ‘ look, see, in this garden. It is raining’ or that anything that happened in the past is referred to as yesterday. She sometimes has telephone conversations with her best friend.
Her vocabulary is improving all the time and never ceases to amaze me. I love listening to her use new words and phrases and hearing the things she has obviously picked up from us or her sister.
I love hearing her laugh – she is incredibly ticklish and it’s lovely to hear her unrestrained laughter.
She is still working out how things work so sometimes comes out with funny things. Recently she said ‘mummy remember I lost you and you were in hospital, then we went to hospital to buy my baby sister’ or the time that she saw horse manure on the road and said ‘mummy has the road done a poo?’
I love that she is learning new things all the time and her beaming smile when she discovers something new. Her latest discovery is rhyme and often recognises rhyming words and proceeds to list as many word as she can that rhyme with the original word.
I love reading stories with her. She has had a love of books from before she was a year old and is always asking for stories. When she is getting difficult because she is tired she will sit and cuddle in to you sharing her favourite books. It’s also lovely to see her ‘reading’ books for herself – reciting the well-known phrases verbatim . If you give her a book with single words accompanied by a picture she believes she can read and looks so impressed.
I often find myself hoping that the 2’s will soon end in the hope that we will have a more civilised little girl. This exercise has reminded me of all the lovely things about her and that sometimes I should take a step back and remember those things. Children grow up so quickly and soon these times will have been and gone and I’ll wish I had appreciated them more.