When on maternity leave and mixing with other mothers at playgroups and so on, you do tend to get, how shall I put this? Not competitive exactly, but perhaps concerned about your child’s development compared to theirs. One of the perks of being back at work and not seeing E as much as I used to is that this no longer occurs.
So when E made some strides towards development of skills this week there was no need to feel inadequate that she was doing it later than others or keeping quiet that she was doing it early (depending on who you were talking to).
First up she’s much more interested in walking and standing up. In the last week or 10 days she’s started really spending time standing, leaning against furniture or just refusing to sit down when you move her. She likes to try walking as well, holding onto me or S or the furniture and it’s been a marked difference from before. Although she’s started sleeping on her tummy, she still doesn’t really seem that keen on spending time like that or shown that much interest in crawling. In general that is, on her changing mat she’s all over the place. So I’d predicted that she would bypass crawling for walking and it seems to be what’s happening.
Second, she’s getting bossier! Mainly she takes hold of our hands and makes us do what she wants – tipping warm water on her in the bath, banging drums, passing us whistles to blow down – and has no boredom threshold on how often we do this for her. If I try and encourage her to do these things as well she doesn’t really pay attention. She knows her own mind, my girl.
Third, yesterday she clapped by herself. I have been encouraging her to do this for at least six months and got so overexcited by her clapping gesture that she thought I was yelling at her and got upset. Terrible parent alert! I don’t know why clapping has been important – just that it seemed like a fun thing to show her. She has also just got into waving, though not consistently, so is becoming more responsive. Having said that, she still prefers trying to make us clap for her rather than do it herself but it’s a start.
These things have all come in the last two weeks and seem to be very exciting, like we’re getting to see a glimpse of her character. We already know that she’s laid back though interested in everything and in other people but this is something more. She’s given me something to be proud of, the boastful parent. Except of course boasting that your daughter can clap is a bit pants but it’s the same feeling as if she’d played a symphony or something. I loved her being a baby and transporting her about places but this is a great stage – now I don’t look like a lunatic (or as much of one) for talking to her in the supermarket because now she can sit up in a trolley. Now we can take her on the swings in the park with other children because she can sit up and enjoy them. I suppose she’s reaching the bits that you can imagine doing when you imagine being a parent. It’s kind of like the first months are gently (!) softening the ground for bigger, better things.