My second son just turned two. He looks like a toddler – hello cute baby cheeks – acts like a toddler – hello temper tantrums and smells like a toddler – hello nose pegs. But if he could fully converse and you asked him his age, he’d say seven.
His brother is seven, most of his surrogate ‘friends’ are seven and most of his actions are equivalent to being seven.
There’s no room in his life for being small, especially when he has others to keep up with. It’s a case of, ‘if you can do it, I can do it better’ – although in his case, it’s more like ‘if you can do it, I can probably do it with more danger and chance of injury’.
I love seeing him join in with the big kids and being accepted as part of the ‘gang’, but it does make me mourn the loss of his baby/toddler years. Unlike my first son there’s so much he’s skipped.
Learning things slowly
Fuelled by a burning desire to keep up with the ‘gang’, Mr Two is completely tenacious. In his determination to be included in everything he takes on any challenge thrown his way, particularly those that come with a three plus years age tag.
By 18 months he was climbing up onto the trampoline and being happily ricocheted from corner to corner. At 20 months, his scooter was his chosen form of transportation. And just last week he took off on his bike, leaving my hand poised mid-air to push him.
My first son would play for hours with his multitude of baby appropriate toys. Annoying high-pitched voices, flashes and noises kept him entertained. He’d sit amongst his blocks and build, feed shapes into a sorter, and pull along his wooden tractor for days.
My second son has barely blinked in the direction of these dusty toys. Instead, from a very young age he’s raided his brother’s toy box, helping himself to toys that are way beyond his years.
He sets up battles between superheroes, spins Bey Blades in their stadium, builds Lego and attacks me regularly with light sabres and plastic swords. The one time I did give him a baby ‘put the ball’ in the hole type game, he just got pleasure from launching the balls at the cat (and his brother).
At the same age, my first son was a big fan of Play School, Peppa Pig and Cars. The theme tunes would see him running through the house, subsequently mesmerised by the compelling (if you’re a toddler), storylines and we’d watch many of the shows on repeat.
Mr Two is way beyond these shows. Ask him what he wants to watch and he’ll likely reply Lego Ninjago, Deadly 60 (yes, he likes watching snakes!) or Horrid Henry! There’s no deliveries by Postman Pat here.
A naivety around treats
Having an older sibling means that Mr Two quickly learnt where the ‘goods’ were stored. Thanks to the teachings of his master, he can now open and pull out the ice cream drawer or grab his stool and reach up onto the chocolate shelf.
He recognises the confectionary aisles in the supermarket before we’ve even arrived, and trying to fob him off with ‘healthy’ toddler snacks over chips is about as successful as trying to relax while he screams.
Walking before he can run
Mr Two hasn’t so much hit milestones early as bulldozed them over and spat them out the other side. His motivation to crawl was fuelled by desire to get into his brother’s room. His subsequent first steps were taken when crawling wasn’t proving fast enough to escape. Since he started running, he hardly ever stops.
His speech and vocabulary has developed at lightning speed. He knows that if you don’t ask you don’t get … and your brother might!
I look at Mr Two and acknowledge that he’s no longer my ‘baby’ – at least not in body and soul. But his cuddles, kisses and smiles will never get old, no matter how big he gets.