‘So, what’s Finn up to these days?’ a child-free colleague casually asked me while I was making my third cup of coffee in the office kitchen.
‘Well,’ I replied, stirring briskly, ‘He’s struggling to share his toys, smacking other small children over the head and throwing tantrums – preferably in public.’
‘Oh,’ she said, her eyes wide, as she rapidly backed out of the kitchen.
‘He’s also started saying sentences,’ I yelled after her, ‘And he’s very very cute.’
But she was already gone.
Yes, our little boy is growing up – finally making himself understood through short sentences and, luckily, short-lived tantrums. (Someone recently told me her two-year-old threw a tantrum for 45 minutes on a trip out of town because they refused to let her drive.)
We could do without the tantrums. But Finn’s fast growing conversational skills have opened up a whole new world and a whole new insight into our child’s personality.
One of Finn’s first sentences, and one that he continues to make good use of, is: ‘Broke it.’ He regularly appears from the garden holding a bunch of Roxi’s newly flowering buds and proudly announces to her, ‘Mama, bwoke it.’ He occasionally calls us to point out some poor mangled ant and says, ‘Bwoke it.’ He also once peed on the carpet, looked down at the wet stain and, pointing to the carpet, said to me, ‘Mommy, bwoke it.’
Another sentence that Finn has a particular attachment to is, ‘Lights on.’
‘Lights on!’ he’d order whenever he passed a switch, whether that switch happened belonged to a TV, kettle or indeed the desired light. Now that winter is here we find ourselves in darkness at 6am when Finn hollers from his cot. We usually pop him into our bed with his bottle to try and catch a few more minutes sleep. These mornings, however, the little mite gulps down his bottle in what feels like seconds, hands over his empty bottle and chirps, ‘All done,’ before hauling himself out of bed.
He proceeds to pull at one of our arms, demanding ‘Um!’ (Come!) It usually takes a while for him to get his way but the other morning he took it one step further. ‘Um!’ He ordered. ‘Um!’ Still no movement. ‘Lights on!’ He tried. And still we didn’t stir. It was very very dark and our bed was very cosy. ‘Lights on, lights on, lights on,’ he tried a few more times and then promptly marched over to Roxi’s bedside lamp and switched it on himself. ‘There we go!’ he said for the first time, and immediately had us leaping out of bed to smother him with proud hugs and kisses.
Earlier than I would have hoped, our little boy has already developed a penchant for anything bum related. ‘Bum poo,’ he announces proudly, patting his nappy and sending whoever’s nearest into a flurry of hurried nappy changing. All very cute until I went down with a tummy bug a couple of weeks ago. On arrival at our front door, Thandi was informed by Finn, ‘Mommy poo bum.’
You keep mommy’s poo bum out of this, I told him, while Thandi politely made herself scarce, although I still caught sight of her back shaking from her stifled giggles as she shuffled out of the room.
Finn is also particularly taken by the concept of ‘Bye Bye.’
‘Bye mommy ’n mama,’ he says on a daily basis grabbing the nearest handbag and marching towards our front door.
‘Bye annie ‘n papa!’ he hollers at granny and grandpa when he’s decided we’ve overstayed our welcome.
‘Bye bye evellyone,’ he says to the queue at Pick ’n Pay as we leave the checkout.
‘Bye dog poo’, he says cheerfully on our afternoon stroll around the park.
And the other morning as I bent over to pick him up from his cot for his bottle and cuddle, he croaked bleary eyed, ‘Bye Bye doo doo.’
So, what’s a couple of tantrums now and again, really? Do you think a toddler being able to speak makes matters better or worse?