We have had a lot of birthdays in the family recently. Boy is now 6 (going on 14), I am now Mind Your Own Business (*weeps*) and “Baby” is now 2. It is therefore time to stop calling her Baby. I realised that the other week when I tweeted about one of her more vexatious nights sleep and I got a lovely reply wishing me well. Because I’d used her blog name of Baby in the tweet I think the fact I later confessed that she was 2 came as rather a surprise to the person I was chatting to. It certainly made me feel silly.
Baby has been her blog name since I started, when she was, in fact, a baby, at least in my own head. Possibly not in anyone else’s. She was just over 1 when I started this blog but had already been walking for two months. I remember vividly the party I attended at a soft play place for one of our NCT refresher group’s first birthdays, just before I started the blog. Every other parent was sat happily on bean bags while their offspring crawled or bum shuffled or sat up still. I meanwhile spent a whole hour following a slightly unsteady Baby as she toddled off towards the highest climbing frames, tried to throw adult sized basketballs and emptied the contents of the bookcase in the small anti-room all over the floor. Believe me, you only want a child that walks early until it actually happens.
Still I originally called her Baby. I suppose she was my little Baby. I suppose she always will be.
But there is no doubt she no longer does baby-ish things. She has pretty much stopped puking milk everywhere, thank Poyet. She is mobile. Very mobile. And she can talk for England. It’s like someone pushed a talking switch in her brain the second she turned two. At 18 months she was very much at the single word stage. She can now count to 5, recognise several colours and do basic comparatives (big and little). My mum is here at the moment because we have a night out with friends planned tonight. They were walking up the stairs and she turned round to my mum and said “you go first, Grandma, I follow”. My mum nearly keeled over backwards. It’s a long stretch from yelling NO repeatedly. And it’s a gazillion miles from indecipherable crying.
At night, when I get back from the office we have a little routine going that is certainly not the routine of a baby. She gets the milk out of the fridge for me and if the carton is full she says ‘very heavy Daddy’ before handing it to me to make her a little drink. Then we go upstairs and I run her a bath while she tries, unsuccessfully, to get Boy’s Lego down from the High Shelf of Doom. Then I change her and we play ‘poo or no poo’ before we get her in to the bath. Recently she has also been sitting on the potty in the bathroom, saying ‘Daddy I have toilet potty’, before getting up and (on one occasion) saying ‘that’s better!’. After bath she will escape from the towel and run round the room naked yelling ‘Cheeky Rascal’ until I can catch her. Before she sleeps she will always ask me to read Hairy Maclary to her. These are not the actions of a baby.
But what to call her now (I won’t use their real names on here)? She started off as my ‘little pie’ (don’t we do strange things when we’re sleep deprived) but I was persuaded to drop that by the wife and it doesn’t fit now anyway. She has been privately known as The Whirlwind which I think is quite fitting, especially as my wife came up with it, and her previous nicknaming of something in the family was when she privately named her erstwhile, rascally cat “Little Fucker”. The Toddler is obvious but I’ve seen others use it and I will have to change it again in a year or so, assuming no one’s offered me the post of Chief Beach Watcher in the Cayman Islands and I’m still parent blogging. Since I call the eldest Boy then is Girl a suitable sobriquet? Doesn’t seem it. Doesn’t fit right somehow.
So for now, all things considered, she is The Whirlwind. Once I get used to it I may shorten it to TW on twitter every now and again as that will give me 138 characters left to play with instead of 127. And there are days where I need every character I can get.
Still, there is one baby-ish characteristic she maintains. She still – for now – naps. In fact I just put her down for one. Typically four words in to this I heard her crying in her sleep (something I only do myself if I have accidentally heard One Direction on the radio that day) and had to go back up to soothe her. Now all is quiet but it won’t last. I’d better go. I’ve a Whirlwind to prepare for.