Seventeen Months

My baby is growing into a toddler and his personality is developing rapidly. The re-introduction to school at the beginning of the school year was much easier, but I hope his health will not suffer much this time around. Today I had a scare when the school supervisor called me to fetch Robert because he was not feeling well and had a fever. As I walked to the school I was so despondent and unhappy and started seriously thinking again quitting work. It is really not worth it to make my little one suffer in this way.

Robert’s father is now working full time and I cannot rely on him too much for looking after Robert and even the situation with my nanny Lucy seems a little tenuous as her employer(s) do not like her to come and help me out even in her off time, so I really did not know what to do. When I arrived at school my spirit was somewhat lifted when I saw that Robert was fine and I did not feel that he was feverish. His teacher told me that he perked up as soon as he heard that I was coming to get him. I don’t know what could have been wrong this time, the adverse effects of teething should be gone because his fourth molar cut already last week. He has a little bit of a runny nose but I am hoping that this time his body will fight it out, we will wait and see.

His teachers at school say he is always busy in class especially pushing the little chairs around. This is his favourite activity at home as well and it is quite unpleasant for me and my next door neighbor when he starts at it first thing in the morning. Also I am noting his increased independence; the daycare encourages that, for example at snack or meal time the children sit in on little tables and chairs and start feeding themselves. Robert is starting to get good at eating by himself, but I can still tell what he had for lunch by examining the stains on his shirt. He also insists on “brushing” his teeth on his own. I usually start out the proper brushing then I leave him to bite and suck the toothbrush for a few minutes.

Robert’s verbal skills and his diction continue to improve. Instead of Naah for no he now says noo, it sounds quite cute like a little kitten miau. I still speak to him primarily in English but I encourage German vocabulary sometimes whenever I feel he is receptive.
The most obvious advantage to his growing verbal skill is his ability to tell me what he wants. He names the books he wants me to read “oppodi” (Opposites) and tells me that he wants “gam” (jam) or egg.

It is interesting to note also the way he perceives things and people. His father told me that he exclaimed “dada” when he spotted a picture of George W. Bush in a magazine. I am surprised that my ex even mentioned the story to me because I am sure he was not impressed. I cannot ask Robert why he made this comment but maybe he sees his father as an older person who is not too bright.
One morning he watched me write his name with a marker on his milk bottle and sippy cup as I was preparing his school bag. I pointed to the writing and said Robert, and the next thing I know he surprised his father by pointing to the writing and saying : “bobbet”.

Another area of marked improvements from previous months, is Robert’s appetite. He eats regular meals and does not snub his food after the first bite. The experience of feeding him is still quite messy, because he loves to try feeding himself, and explore the texture and substance of food with his fingers, but most of the food ends up in his stomach rather than on the floor and the furniture.

One thing that I am still procrastinating at seventeen months, and this might come as shocker to my family, is complete weaning. Robert still has a nightly breast milk dose and sometimes he wakes up twice for a little sup.  I believe that it is time for him to move on, but I do not have the heart to go through with it. For one I still enjoy the special loving connection of breastfeeding and secondly I find it easier just to give in to his demand at night, rather than tolerate his prolonged crying. I think I should get some backbone and be firm about it, I do not want to break any records on extended breastfeeding.

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