I had always intended to do Monthly updates for Darcie on this blog but, of course, life got in the way and that hasn’t happened. At all. I did one Six Month Update and then never got around to it again. She has now just turned 16 months, but I thought rather than play catch up on all the updates I have missed, instead I’m just going to do a general post on life with a one year old.
I’m sure this post will end up being a long one, but the upshot of it is this: I love this age! Darcie has always been a delight (find me a Mother who wouldn’t say that about her child) but there is no denying that she is only getting more delightful with age. I noticed a distinct change in her a couple of weeks before her first birthday back in May. She suddenly became this outwardly confident and obviously happy little girl. She had always been this way at home but not so much around people she didn’t know as well. She was suddenly ready to show the world the girl that we’ve known her to be all along. She’d struggled in the past with strangers, and would cry whenever a little old lady popped her head into the pram to say ‘hello’. There was nothing wrong with her being like this (I probably wouldn’t like it if somebody I didn’t know got in my face and started telling me I had to smile) but life has definitely become easier since she overcame that phase. Now it is her that will initiate a game of Peek-A-Boo on the bus or to start waving at everyone as we walk down the road. If there are any Mum’s struggling the same way we did, just hang in there and they will probably come out the other side. I suppose I was worried that I was doing something wrong, despite taking her to all the baby groups and socialising her as much as possible, she was still ‘shy'( I hate that word) around strangers. Some days I worried maybe I was forcing her to socialise too much, and then other days I’d think the opposite and worry that I wasn’t taking her out enough. Turns out she was just biding her time, and now anyone can see that she is a confident and sociable toddler.
One of the really lovely things about Darcie at 16 months is that she has started to show affection. Over the last couple of months she has been developing a really caring and loving side to her and it honestly makes my heart melt. She will often come over and surprise us with a hug or a kiss and she loves to cuddle her teddies and give them sips of her drink or pretend to feed them her snacks. She loves going to the farm and brushing the goats and if we are at a playgroup or if she is around other children she will often bring smaller children toys or try to share whatever she has with them.One time a baby was crying and couldn’t reach their dummy so she just went over and put it in for them. That’s a big gesture from a girl who was probably desperate to have a go on it herself!
She’s also got a really funny and cheeky side to her now. She has started to entertain us by copying all the little things that we used to do to make her laugh. Things like jumping up and saying ‘ooh’ or hiding behind me and then popping her head round while giggling away to herself. She seems to have taken it upon herself to be the entertainment of the house and it’s adorable to watch. She finds herself almost as funny as we do and has a little plotting face and a sly grin that she makes whenever she is thinking of her next move or trick.
She also enjoys dancing, if you can call it that, to various different styles of music. Her favourite for a long time was some Greek music that whenever it was played, it was like she went into a trance and began squatting rhythmically in time. She also likes early Will Smith and the Bee Gees, she gets her varied music taste from her Dad for sure. Her dance moves currently vary between the aforementioned squats and running on the spot. Both seem to give her joy in equal measures and us, great amusement.
She loves to throw, which isn’t great when it comes to mealtimes but is fantastic when it comes to playing football with Daddy. Even if nobody is playing catch or football with her she will often just throw the ball or one of her toys and then run after it, chuckling to herself before reaching it and throwing it again. It’s a great game for us all really as it keeps her entertained for long enough that I can actually get things done around the house.
Speaking of which, she is very good at entertaining herself. I do try to make sure to give her as much attention as I can throughout the day but having a fairly self sufficient toddler does make like easier when it comes to trying to keep the house clean and tidy. She loves running around in a loop downstairs and taking things in and out of the washing machine. Sometimes she’ll spend ages pretending to be on the phone and gives me quite the dirty look if I interrupt her conversation. Her favourite place to be when we are at home is the garden. We have spent many hours this summer outside playing with her sandpit, sand and water table and swing. She loves picking out rocks from the flower beds and moving them around the garden or using her little trowel to carry sand around. She’s such an outdoorsy girl and going for a walk or just being outside will bring her out of any bad mood and switch her into adventure mode. She has just recently discovered the joy of wellies and muddy puddles to splash in, which is great as it’s the best time of year for it!
She is absolutely trying to talk but very little of it is making sense to us at this point. She loves coming out with new and hilarious sounds every day and I’m sure she knows how funny they sound which is why she loves making them so much. A lot of it sounds distinctly like Arabic and I’m not sure where she has picked that up from! She is clearly saying Dad, cat and duck, yes and no, and if you ask her what a dog says she will confidently ‘Woof!’. Sometimes even though the sounds don’t make much sense you can tell what she is trying to say and her communication is improving all the time. There is rarely peace and quiet in our house, the constant stream of babble begins at 6am, pauses for a couple of hours at nap time, and then finally ends at 7pm. I wouldn’t have it any other way though; I love all her chatter. She has also mastered pointing down to a tee, and there’s no fooling her once she has focused in on what it is that she wants. Out of sight is not out of mind; if she saw me hide a dummy from her, she will be back to find it at the earliest opportunity. He memory is fantastic; she will ‘store’ something under the sofa and then come back for it three days later. She doesn’t even need to look, she just lies down and reaches her hand under and always comes back with whatever she has previously stashed.
As well as expressing herself vocally, she also has a very expressive face. She has no shame in going up to somebody and staring at them with a disdainful expression on her face as she tries to work out if they meet her approval. Most people do, and are then given a beaming smile but occasionally the looks she gives people are of total disgust and I would love to know what it is that she can see in them that I can’t. Its hilarious watching a tiny toddler make a fully grown woman squirm as she looks them up and down with her little nose wrinkled and no hint of approval on her face. She does love making friends though and will always want to go over and joining in with any group of children. Even if they are a lot older than her, she just walks into the middle of the group and stands looking up at them all as if to say ‘I’m here, I’m involved, what are we doing?’.
At the moment we are regularly going to Jiggy Wrigglers which is a structured group with singing, bubbles and puppets, and then we also go to a lot of the Sure Start playgroups that go on in our local area. I have to say that I do think she prefers the less structured groups and seems much more in her element going off and playing with whatever takes her fancy at the time. Sometimes she will still take a while to get into Jiggy Wrigglers but I keep taking her as I think it’s good for her to be used to lots of different types of environment. She also loves going to the library. They have a nice little children’s section at our local library and it’s a really easy free thing for us to do that actually keeps her entertained for ages. She really enjoys looking through books, and it’s one of the best ways to get her to stay still or to keep her amused on a long car journey. I really want her to keep this love of books and I think that taking her to the library is a good way to encourage it. She likes to rearrange all of the books too, but I don’t think the children’s books are in any particular system so hopefully she won’t be told off by a librarian any time soon.
Darcie at one is full of energy and rarely bored. She loves running around like a loon and throwing herself off of furniture, she enjoys splashing in the bath and the swimming pool and playing rough and tumble. She’s not as delicate as she looks and has a stubborn streak. She’s a perfect mix of Dan and I, and at the moment seems to have inherited all of the good bits although I know that could change as she gets older. She’s a cheeky monkey and has started to test all of our boundaries but you can tell that she has a heart of gold and a cracking sense of humour. I couldn’t be prouder of the person she is becoming.
I know I will think of a load more things about Darcie’s development and life with a one years old, so I will try to do a few more update posts as we go. She’s learning new things all the time and with each new skill her happiness levels increase as well. She definitely loves being one and is finding new things about life to love and enjoy everyday. It really must be wonderful being one, and it’s wonderful to get to be a part of it as her Mum too.
Did you love this stage of toddlerhood? What was your favourite stage?