It’s been a while since I posted a parenting update, so I thought now that Abigail has hit 18 months, I can let you know what it’s been like raising a toddler as a first time parent. If you click here, you can check out all my motherhood related posts. Also, I did mention this here, but I am no longer featuring images of my daughter’s actual face on public social media. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
The last update was posted shortly after Abigail turned 1, so it’s been six months since then. In that time, she began to walk (almost running now), learned to throw tantrums, started to say a few words and dropped to one nap a day. She also stopped breastfeeding completely (you can read more about that here) and we sought out a vegan nutritionist just to make sure she was meeting all her needs. Allow me to elaborate further…
The worst part about being a first time parent is you have nothing to compare it to – so you don’t know what is normal and what’s not. At nearly 15 months old, Abigail still wasn’t walking. She would stand up on her own every now and then; taking a wobbly step if she felt like it, but then wouldn’t try again for weeks. Naturally concerned, I rang the nurse, who advised we take her to a physiotherapist just to rule out any issues. The physio took Abi into his patient gym and allowed her to explore freely. He saw absolutely nothing to worry about and assured me she would be walking in the next month. Guess what? She did! Now as I watch her trotting everywhere, I wonder why I worried so much. Story of my life folks!
Let me tell you one thing I know for sure. Toddler life is so much fun. I LOVE this stage! Abigail is so interactive. She spends a lot of time walking around outside or meeting new kids at play-centres. She says ‘what’s that,’ ‘no’, ‘more’, ‘nana’ (for banana), ‘mama’, ‘dada’, ‘dog’, ‘duck’, ‘chips’ and lots more little words. She claps when she wants us to sing to her and is so affectionate. Most of the day she is cuddling me and sitting on my lap. Oh my heart!
She sleeps so well. She’s always been a pretty good sleeper, but even more so after we sleep-trained her at 8 months old. Around 16 months, she began showing disinterest in her morning nap. She used to sleep from 9am to 11:30am and then down again from 2:00pm to 4:00pm. We slowly transitioned her to one nap a day and now she is thriving in her new routine. She stays up till 1pm (eating lunch a bit earlier) and will sleep 2-2/12 hours which refreshes her until bedtime at 7:30pm. I like having that big chunk to myself during the day. It gives me a chance to read or blog or watch something.
After Abi stopped breastfeeding at 13 months, I wanted to make sure she was meeting all of her nutritional needs – so I sought out a professional. Ebony is an Australian based, registered vegan nutritionist who is also a big promoter of body positivity. In short, she’s amazing and actually someone I consider a friend now. You can check out her Facebook page here. I Skyped with her a few months ago and we went over Abigail’s diet. Also, I plan to do a ‘What My 2 Year Old Vegan Daughter Eats In A Day’ post so stay tuned for that around July. After the appointment, I kept a three-day food diary which Ebony put into a program that calculated all of the nutrients and vitamins obtained from said foods. In our last appointment, we discussed the results. Basically, Abigail is doing extremely well and whilst she has her fussy moments (food throwing is real!), she is very healthy and not deficient in anything. I will go more into detail in the future. We were told to keep meal-times as stress free as possible. This is hard to do when your child throws everything you spent ages making for them on the floor, but since ignoring it, she hasn’t done it as much. I’m proud to say she’s growing well, up to date with all her vaccinations and full of energy.
Abigail started attending playgroup once a week in December and loved it. For 1.5 – 2 hours, she plays with other kids, goes outside, doodles, sings songs and listens to stories. I love getting to spend that time with her and witness her curiosity. She’s very independent and loves to explore. We are starting that up again in a couple of weeks. We are also still doing swimming weekly which she’s really excelled at. She splashes, kicks her legs, picks up toys, goes underwater without crying, leaps into my arms from the pool’s edge and floats on her back, with me assisting her.
Finally, I wanted to address the toddler-tantrums. Abigail’s aren’t that bad by any means, but we did notice once she hit 1, she was getting upset more easily if she didn’t get her way. We’ve had to enforce rules and boundaries that are consistent. It’s not always easy and it’s tempting to cut corners when you feel impatient, but sticking to our guns has made Abigail more respectful of our belongings and aware of her surroundings. All children need structure and rules. It’s how they learn to respect and listen to you. Giving them everything they want will get you nowhere. It helps that Francis and I are on the same page with everything. If I say no, he says no as well, so she can’t swindle a yes out of one of us. My Wonder Weeks app told me that this is the time where parents need to begin laying down the law. We don’t shout or use physical discipline. We merely repeat that she is not to do something and remove her from the situation. If she goes to the exact same spot, we move her again and repeat no. She cries and protests but we stand strong. After a while, she understands and avoids that area. She will even shake her head no if she goes near a prohibited spot – it’s so cute.
I hope you enjoyed this review. I have a lot more content planned surrounding the topic of parenting. Let me know if you have any tips for raising an 18 month old. I’m enjoying it so much. Sure it’s challenging at times, but the good definitely outweighs. Thanks for reading!
Peace & Love xoxo