Alexandra at 2.5

Alexandra bossing around her cousin Zachary.

I stopped writing monthly updates for Alexandra when she turned two, mostly because there’s only so many times you can say ‘yeah her routine is the same, she still has the same amount of teeth’ etc before it gets a bit boring! I mean, you might find these updates boring anyway, but I enjoy having them to read back on and maybe the kids will even read them one day too.

Alexandra is doing marvellously. I do regularly stop and think how lucky we have been with her – not in a whole ‘ah she never cries’ kind of way. Don’t get me wrong, she is a stubborn, bossy, wilful little creature and I have my fair share of battles with her every single day. But I feel like she sailed through the ‘big’ things in babyhood and early toddlerhood – the things like weaning and sleeping and stopping having bottles and dummies. So that’s what I mean when I said we lucked out.

We haven’t started potty training yet, which is the big thing a lot of people ask about once baby turns 2 (can I call her a baby anymore? Probably not, ah well). She’s showing little signs here and there and we have had a grand total of TWO wees on the potty. But honestly, I’d much rather wait and deal with nappies for a little while longer until she seems more eager to be out of them. I don’t really get why some people are so keen to potty train early – obviously, I’m not going to hold her back and I realise it’s a big step in their development, but actually pushing them to train as early as possible seems a bit bizarre especially as you still have to deal with disposing of the wee/poo and wiping and all that faff. If they took off their nappy one day and mastered using the proper toilet, wiping, flushing and washing their own hands on that same day, then maybe – but it still seems like a lot of hassle! Plus there’s the whole thing of being somewhere and them going ‘I need a wee’ and having to get to a toilet in about 2.4 seconds. I already do that myself but I probably have just a slightly better ability to hold in a wee than a 2 year old does!

Alexandra has pretty much dropped her daytime nap now, which coincided with her moving into the bigger bedroom and into a proper bed – as I could no longer contain her in the cot she’d just get up and come back downstairs if I tried to put her in bed in the afternoon. I did a lot of driving around to try and get her to nap but now I’m not actively trying to get her to nap anymore as it just seems to use up all our effort and patience! Sometimes she drops off in the car or the pram if we happen to be out but apart from that she goes to bed around 7.30 and seems to be getting better at not becoming a total nightmare to deal with in the few hours before that!

Her speech is the one thing which has really developed over the last six months – we have proper conversations with her now and it’s lovely. One of my favourite parts of the day is when we sit down and tell daddy what we’ve done when he comes home. Not least because sometimes she just absolutely makes it up – for example telling him her thumb was on fire, the fire engine came and then she went to the hospital and saw a doctor. Dylan’s looking at me like WTF and I’m like yeah I probably would have called you had that happened, don’t worry our kid has just become a complete liar!

Alex remains very strong-willed and independent which is something I love about her but it can also be slightly exasperating when you’re trying to get her to do something! I’ve found if she’s just having a strop about something, just ignoring her for a while can be quite effective. Recently she’s started saying she doesn’t like her dinner so I’ll just leave it on the table and let her get on with playing or whatever. About 80% of the time she’ll take ten minutes and then come to the table and start eating.

We’re having all the usual pushing, kicking, being mean, throwing herself on the ground wailing that you expect from a two year old – nothing that really worries me in any way but of course it’s frustrating to deal with at the time, especially with a nearly one year old needing your attention as well.

My favourite thing is now when I say love you Alexandra, she says ‘lub you mommy’. Cute.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Dear Two-Year-Old Alexandra

    Happy birthday lovely girl x

To Alexandra, our two year old.

Wow. Where do I even start? There’s so much I could say about you and so many ways I could describe you. Firstly, you are fierce. You definitely have your own opinions, even at your young age, and woe betide anyone who’d like to do something which differs from your plan. Some would call it stubborn, some would call it naughty, but you are fierce to me. I hope you always stick up for yourself and your feelings, wants and preferences as much as you do now. I’d hate for you to be a person who gets trampled on in life. But if you carry on shouting up as loudly as you do now then we definitely won’t have that problem! Hopefully in a few years I’ll be looking at you thinking ‘yes, we’ve cracked the whole caring-what-other-people-might-want malarkey’ but I think that’s a bit advanced for a two year old, even one as brilliant as you.

You are funny. From a very young age you’ve loved playing to an audience and making people laugh or delight in your funny little ways. Something you do makes me chuckle every day as well as the things you say.

While you’re not an overly affectionate child and only tend to give kisses and hugs on your terms, it’s plain to see you adore your friends and family. Your face lights up when you see certain people like your daddy, your cousin Zachary and the children and staff at nursery. But of course many of your smiles are reserved for your baby brother.

Throughout the pregnancy with Max, we wondered how you’d be with a new sibling. Would you find him boring? Would you be jealous? Would you feel put out when we brought the baby home? As it turns out, we didn’t really have any need to worry. You have taken to being a big sister as wonderfully as we could have expected given you were a few days shy of being 19 months old when Max entered the world (of course there have been times we’ve had to stop you enthusiastically squashing him or sharing your food with him!).

It was a confusing time for you as suddenly mommy was away for three weeks and you kept being taken to a new place and viewing this tiny little thing with wires and tubes everywhere. Then ‘Diddy’ as you’ve nicknamed him came home with us and then we had another week of disruption before we finally got to be together again. Just as you did when you were a newborn yourself, you coped beautifully with the to-ing and fro-ing. You quickly became the person who Max looked for as soon as he could hear your voice nearby. The person who could make him smile the most and laugh the loudest. The person who he utterly adores. You share your toys with him, show him pictures from your books and copy us – helping to feed, burp and settle him. The bond between you is extraordinary already and I can’t wait to see your sibling relationship progress.

As with all toddlers, you have your moments where you can be utterly infuriating and sometimes I wish you hadn’t learned the word mom (mom, mom, mom, mom, repeat 50 times!) but every night I look into your room before I go to bed and I marvel that you’re ours, that we get to be your parents and go on this crazy journey with you. That we get to watch you grow and learn and play and become everything you will become in time.

Our journey at the start was a tough one, for both of us, and you were denied that bonding time with me that you totally deserved. But I hope now the times we spend together, the afternoons in the park, the walks around our neighbourhood, the colouring sessions and the bathtime games have all helped us to get over that rocky start.

I hope you always have determination in your eyes, a fire in your belly and all of the laughter and love you deserve. My first born, my daughter, my cheeky beeky, my little squish.

Alexandra, you are my favourite girl in the world.

Love momma X