My daughter throws the most amazing tantrums and is the most stubborn and most persistent person I know. Because of this, what my mother used to say to me, often rings true for how I feel towards her. My mother used to say, “I won’t always like you, but I will always love you.” So as I watch her throw her zillionth tantrum for today (God forbid I’d try change her nappy), I think it’s rather pertinent that I take some time out to remember some of those reasons why I love my daughter so much…. and on the days when I have to pick her up, kicking and screaming, carrying her out of the store amid the disapproving looks from nosey strangers – I will remember what is important.
For you… Well I’m hoping this list might make you smile as you remember all those little things your cherubs do that put a smile on your face!
1. Sleeping Beauty
Little Miss sleeps through the night, from 7pm until 6:30am… and has done from when she was only a few months old. Any parent knows how precious that is!
2. ‘Hellos’ are so exciting
Little Miss was lucky enough to be looked after by my parents when I went back to work. Actually, in truth I am so lucky that my parents absolutely love looking after her. When I drop her off she squeals with excitement as we enter their place and I love how she eagerly goes to them. Sometimes we have tears as I leave but I know these stop the minute I have gone. But of course what I love most is her reaction when I return. When I enter their place to pick her up, I am greeted with a squeal and the outstretched arms of my toddler as she runs towards me. Just priceless.
3. Her adoration of her father
The way that my daughter and husband look at each other melts my heart every time. Little Miss adores her father and the feeling is mutual. I love the way she looks at her daddy. You can just see the love she has for her daddy just pouring out through her.
4. Her First Word
Technically I don’t know if it counts as a first word but it is kind of cute – in a very unconventional way. Little Miss’ first word was ‘whoof’. Helps to explain that we have a 50kg Rhodesian Ridgeback. Not quite sure how it came about but one day, when she was just over one year, my mum was going through different animals sounds and Olivia volunteered, “Whoof” for the dog! Now we have regular, “Whoofs” whenever she sees a picture of a dog or she hears someone say the word dog in a sentence.
5. Time for bed?
Anytime from 6:15pm until 7pm, when Little Miss decides it’s time for bed, she calls out to my husband and I, quite frequently taking our hand, walks us into her room, puts her dummy in her mouth and puts her arms up to her the side of her cot, ready to be lifted in.
6. Finished eating?
When Olivia has finished eating, she lifts her bib and takes it off.
7. Doing what you’re told.
It continues to amaze me how much she understands. Little Miss was eighteen months when our second child was born. Being short, there wasn’t a lot of room for my baby in me. My belly got so big (our children seem to get their height from their father) that I had to wear a back brace with a belly support as I carried our little man so far out front. Being that ‘pregnant’ I struggled to bend over and pick things up, so I truly appreciated having a daughter who understood things like, “Can you give this to daddy?” or “Where’s mummy’s water bottle?” or “Could you pick up the pen/paper/nappy for me?” I particularly love how she often gave a little squeal of delight as she toddled off to find whatever I’ve sent her to find and bring it back.
8. My little helper
My Little Miss is such a great helper, so long as you’re prepared for everything to take ten times as long! Her current favourites are helping me put the washing in the machine and pegging it out. When I sort the washing, she takes great delight in passing different items up to me, one by one, to put in the machine or hang on the line. There is such a proud look on her face as she passes them up. It’s almost like she knows that what she is doing is purposeful and helpful. So even though it might take ten minutes to put the washing in the machine, I can’t help but smile because she is so pleased with herself. It’s just adorable.
We refer to our dog as “Puppy”, partly because we feel puppy is easier for her to say than our dog’s real name. “Can you pat puppy?” was probably the first instruction Little Miss could follow. Now our ‘puppy’ is given numerous pats, cuddles, kisses and occasionally Little Miss has even cuddled up with her puppy while her puppy is sleeping on her mat. This tiny little toddler has this 50kg dog wrapped around her finger. It is just the cutest thing ever. My husband and I have to constantly remind ourselves not to be offended when we are literally pushed away so that Little Miss can hug her puppy instead.
10. Eat much?
Little Miss eats almost anything and in huge quantities. In saying that, she is long and lean. She would match what I eat most days. And if you’re eating it – she wants it too. From ten months she decided that unless she was eating what we were eating, she didn’t want it. This was quite problematic to begin with since she didn’t have enough teeth, to eat thing like steak (no molars)… But now it is brilliant. However, I am quite disappointed that I now have to share my expensive gorgonzola and goats cheese as well as my lemon curd tarts… I think her stubbornness plays a role here because I don’t think many toddlers this young enjoy eating goats cheese or lemon curd. But I know that this willingness to eat what we’re eating has many advantages in that there aren’t many foods she won’t eat – so long as we’re eating it of course!
11. Her Caring Nature
Little Miss shares everything and will give anything of hers away to her little mates. It is so cute. I know many toddlers have issues with sharing, but not my little girl it seems. She loves to show her mates her toys, happily handing them over, showing them how to play with them and squealing with delight when they show her new ways to play with her toys.
Another way she is caring is how she comforts people. Lately I’ve been a bit teary at times. My little girl has often come up and cuddled me or given me a kiss. Just melts your heart really. I didn’t realise a 19month old could be capable of such empathy.
12. Sibling Love
Little Miss is completely smitten with her little brother. So much so that if she is having a tantrum or is grumpy, we can often turn her mood around by asking her is she’d like to cuddle her brother, or give him a kiss. At which point she stops crying, a big smile comes across her face and she eagerly trots over to her brother to cuddle and kiss him. As you can imagine, I am hoping this continues as long as it can. And hopefully he will adore her as much as she adores him! Now wouldn’t that be a perfect, Disney family =)
13. Good Deeds Deserve Applause
Little Miss, upon completion of any note-worthy activity, will applaud herself. These ‘applause worthy’ activities range from managing to stack her cups, complete a puzzle, to finishing her dinner and ‘singing’ a song with us. I say ‘singing’ as she doesn’t have a huge amount of words, so her version of singing is rather cute. Of course she will also readily applaud anything that is being applauded on tv or by anyone else.
14. Everybody is a Potential Friend
Little Miss waves to and greets almost everyone. I have met so many of the people that live in my area due to her enthusiastic greetings. I’m sure I get served better in restaurants due to her charming the waiters (As well as her applauding them when they put the food on the table and I don’t tell them her word for food is ‘yum’. So when she yells out, “Yum” as the food arrives, I let them believe it’s a compliment). I’ve seen her turn many stern stares into smiles with her cheery greetings. It’s just delightful.
I’m sure there are many other things but I’m still sleep deprived, so even writing this blog took me a few weeks!