Reflections on Ramona: 21 months

I actually came on here to blog about food, because I’ve been cooking lots lately and I wanted to share some recipes and stuff, and talk about Great British Chefs (again) because God knows I love talking about it. But instead it feels more natural to write about Ramona right now, so I’m going to go with the blogging flow. And, in fact, start with food.

With talking about food.

With talking about food in her sleep.

With shouting about food she does, or doesn’t want, in her sleep, for a full hour before she properly wakes up. She’s doing that toddler thing a lot at the moment where it’s all “I want this! I want this! Oh, you’re giving it to me? I DON’T WANT IT! EXCEPT I DO!”. And in her sleep, it’s coming out like so:

4am: “Want try some chicken”

5:30am: “No Wee-ta-bix! Noooo Weee-taa-bix! Nooooo Wee-ta-bix!” (repeat until your mind is lost.)

6:30: “No cake! No cake! No cake!” (Pinter pause) “Caaaaake!”

As one family member put it: “she’s half-Greek, half-Jewish. What are the poor girl’s chances?”. It’s true – both clans are never knowingly underfed.

She’s getting more and more independent, and there’s a huge side order of random. She giggles like a loon at everything. I recently bought her Meg Goes to Bed because we practically wore out Meg and Mog and one night she got so hysterical will laughter over the bit where the spaghetti turns out to be worms and slithers away that it took twenty minutes to calm her down enough to sleep. In her cot she was lying on her front crying out “supper wriggled away! SUPPER WRIGGLED AWAY! PLOP PLOP!” and giggling frenetically. Loon.

My worries from last month that I was holding back her physical development went up in smoke when everything she’d refused to do until now suddenly clicked. Stairs are being climbed. Slides are being slid down. She runs up the driveway yelling “‘AMONA WIN THE RACE!”. She babbles on about going “outside, play foot ball with Mummy / Daddy!” (she says it “foot ball” as if it’s two separate words, endearingly). Her version is football is most handball, or a sort of desultory rugby, but that she got Ash to deign to put his foot near a ball is nothing short of a miracle. One day she can take over my efforts to get him to care enough to understand the offside law.

Her speech is going from strength to strength, though she clams up if too much attention is paid; the nursery staff have told us they were constantly underestimating her until we told them what a babbler she is. They realised how much she talked to other kids and tried chatting to her one-to-one more, and I love how they’ve paid close attention to everything we’ve said. She’s into singing in a big way now; no car journey is complete without a rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Yittle ‘Tar. Apparently she loves that particular number so much she sang it to all the kids sitting round the lunch table at nursery.  I welled up when she sang Ten Little Ducks for me because I sang her that over and over when she was very small and it was the only thing that would pacify her as a grumpy, post-colicky tot. Her version is a fraction different:

“Ten little ducks… swim one day… over hill and far away… Mother Duck said ‘quack quack quack’… only three…two…four… three…two ducks came back…”

All of this rosy-spectacled gazing doesn’t take away the fact that she’s now beginning to throw really targetted tantrums, and be deliberately disobedient, and give me those looks that says phenomenally cheeky backchat is just around the corner.

But I know we’ll get through it. And being a bit of a hardass, and telling her off, and not always letting her get her own way – all things I’m already doing – will be worth it to let her find her true potential and be a decent person. She’s getting better about her pleases and thank yous, though there are still lots of reminders needed. And for some reason, after saying ‘yes’ beautifully for months, she keeps saying ‘yeah’ now, which we’re trying to talk her out of.

She’ll always have me wrapped around her little finger to some extent, of course. But she doesn’t have to know it.


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