We recently returned from a lovely holiday in France. Well, France was lovely but at times it didn’t feel much like a holiday. Our 2 year old seemed to use our break away as the opportunity to go through a huge emotional and physical growth spurt. So how much can one small(ish) child change in two weeks? Rather a lot, it turns out.
E was 2 in April and since then he’s become more and more independent. He wants to walk everywhere now and one of his favourite phrases is ‘I do it myself’, uttered with steely determination. He’s also very tall for his age which means we often find when we go out that highchairs are too small for him so we’ve bought one of those portable booster seats that folds down into a bag (Here’s one just like it)
Our gite in France didn’t have a high chair so we started using the booster seat right from our very first meal. I have to say it was so lovely having him sat properly at the table with us, rather than perched at the end like an after thought. Whenever we went out restaurants and cafes provided booster seats or even just extra cushions for E to sit at the table with us. I’ll never understand the misconception that the French are rude!
Goodbye Old Friend
After a few days I knew that this was it, no more high chair. Our faithful functional IKEA friend back home in the UK would not be used again – there’s no way E would go back into a highchair now. It felt like a momentous step, he was growing up into a big boy and leaving my little baby behind.
So Mr C and I accepted (and welcomed) E moving out of the high chair and we all enjoyed his new found freedom. However, while we were busy congratulating ourselves something else happened. Three nights and three naps into the holiday E climbed out of his (newly purchased and extra long) travel cot. Everytime I put him back in he would climb straight out and run riot around the bedroom! This was not part of the plan. There were no stair gates in the gite and right outside the boys’ bedroom door was a steep wooden staircase – perfectly placed for our little adventurer to take a nasty, midnight tumble.
We had to have a rapid rethink of our sleeping arrangements in order to keep E safe. We put a mattress on the floor and then each night stayed with him until he fell asleep. (Oh yes, all our hard work spent teaching E to fall asleep on his own was thrown straight out of the window!) If I left him while he was awake he’d turn all the lights on and start jumping on the bed! Once he eventually fell asleep I’d blockade the door with the now useless travel cot. Big brother L was moved into our bedroom with Mr C and I slept with E, in case he decided to go for a wander in the middle of the night. As you can imagine, any plans for romantic evenings once the boys were in bed rapidly vanished and early morning wake ups were inevitable.
E might have been ready to move from a cot to a bed but I was most certainly not! I’d hoped to be able to prepare for it and decide when was the right time (not in the middle of our holiday!) but the decision was taken firmly out of my hands. If you know me then you’ll know I’m a planner and like to organise everything. I was completely out of my comfort zone (Read a bit more about me here)
So, we went on holiday with a toddler who slept in a cot, used a high chair and could still be persuaded to get into his pushchair. I’m not sure if it was the lovely French air but we returned home with a ‘big boy’ whose resemblance to a baby diminishes everyday. During those two weeks you could almost see him growing and changing; it’s as if because we were somewhere different he wanted to embrace all these new experiences. In some ways it has made things much easier. When we go out now we just need a table for four. There’s no need for a high chair, no extra space required to squeeze the pushchair in (he completely refuses to get into the pushchair too) and much less paraphernalia for us to constantly lug around.
We really just have nappies left. I was planning to start potty training when we get back from a trip to Scotland in October but it seems that E has other ideas. He has started asking to use the potty and is pretty much training himself. But I’m not ready, I’m not ready for him to grow up just yet. Perhaps it’s because I know he’s my last ‘baby ’ but I can’t help wanting to hold onto these precious times. With every leap forward he makes, he needs me less and that is hard. I’ve spent the last 6 years devoting myself to the boys and looking after them the best I possibly can but as they get older and more independent they will start needing me for different things. I’m beginning to think about what I’ll do next; I’m thinking about the next stage in MY life. But that’s a whole new blog post…
Check out some more of my toddler related posts: