NICOLA BREAR: My little baby is long gone - but I love the toddler in her place! - Working mummy column

Imogen - Nik Brear column
Imogen - Nik Brear column
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This week, my daughter stood on her own two feet. I mean this literally.

After months of using her toes as chew toys and the setting of her favourite ‘This Little Piggy’ nursery rhyme, my little lady finally let go of the coffee table and took her first independent stand.

Her chunky legs bore her weight steadily for a full five or six seconds before she plopped onto her bottom and casually carried on playing, unaware of our excitement.

She’s also starting to throw new words out at an astonishing rate - ball, Peppa (as in Pig), Mama, more, book and - most impressively of all - spaghetti are all new additions to her ever-expanding repertoire.

It really hit me this weekend that she’s no longer a baby. The tiny little thing I would rock to sleep in my arms just a few months ago is long-gone and in her place is a strapping toddler with wild hair and enormous eyes who, if it’s possible, I love even more. If I try to rock her to sleep now, she laughs, kisses me on the chin and crawls away to see what Daddy’s up to.

The transformation seems to have happened almost overnight and both my partner and I are struggling to keep up with the changes in her. We’ll drop her off in the morning at her grandparents, pick her up after work that evening and find she’s added an entirely new word or skill to her collection. The whole family is getting so much pleasure out of watching the funny little person she’s turning into.

On Sunday, for Father’s Day, the three of us headed out for the day to Sundown Adventureland in Nottingham. It’s basically a theme park for children and, although there was still plenty of stuff she was a little young for, she had a great time in all the soft play areas, investigating Cinderella’s castle, riding in a tractor and floating down the lazy river getting squirted by water. We loved watching her giggle at everything she saw and wave at everyone she passed. She’s also just started giving cuddles - laying her head on your chest and saying ‘awww’ - and loves to play peek-a-boo, by covering just the one eye so that she can watch your reaction to her ‘disappearance.’ And to say she was still almost exclusively breast-fed at Christmas, I’m finding it amazing now to watch her eating cottage pie and sandwiches or asking for another lick of ice cream or one more chocolate button.

If the past few months is anything to go by, I just know she’ll be unrecognisable again by next Father’s Day, so I fully intend to make the most of every ‘awww’ hug, one-eyed peek-a-boo game and dribbly kiss I can get until then from my beautiful giggly toddler, before I blink and she’s long gone too.