Now that Tinker is at school full-time one big advantage is that I can spend some uninterrupted time with Totsy. In any family (especially one with a ridiculous amount of siblings like ours!) the youngest one tends to be the one who has to go with the flow, tagging along to activities and outings more suited to their older siblings than the littlest. I hadn't really ever realised quite how much time Tinker demands, while Totsy has been the tag along, bless her! I know it is usually the case with younger siblings, but she really has just fitted in around Tinker, who is very, ahem, shall we say 'strong willed' – some would stay stubborn, difficult or full on demon child but I shy away from such negativity unless we are on our 3rd meltdown of the day by 8am because she didn't want milk on her Ready Brek (who eats Ready Brek without milk? It's surely not even possible, you would just end up with a Ready Brek cloud threatening to choke you every time you breathe!) That's why now it is so lovely to have time to focus on Totsy and realise that at 18 months, even though we still think of her as a baby, she most definitely is not one anymore. She is finally walking and her language is really developing (and even though the first words she put together were 'Peppa Pig', I was still proud – even though I have a real love/hate with that bloody pig. Like most parents I love Peppa as it guarantees me 5 minutes to myself (so I can clean the kitchen, start dinner, hide in the utility room eating a Kinder etc all those essential things) but I hate it because it's just bloody annoying – so much snorting, and why is it always the goldfish one!!!)
*Note to self – try not to go on about how much you hate Peppa Pig in every blog, even though she is a bit of a brat and Daddy Pig is an idiot who is clearly punching way above his weight with Mummy Pig *
Yesterday morning we went to our local toddler group for the first time since before the summer holidays. At first I felt a bit strange and couldn't understand why and then I suddenly realised that it was because Totsy is not the tag along anymore, she is the reason we were there! Tinker is usually the one who defines what we do at toddler group, a bundle of energy flitting from one activity to another in a blur and calling over her shoulder for us to follow her. But yesterday Totsy was the one taking my hand and gently pulling me over to where she wanted to go. It was fascinating to see she was much less interested in the 'small world' toys like the dolls house and the kitchen that we would usually play with and instead favoured the more active toys like the slide, rocker and trampoline. I feel guilty that I wouldn't have really been able to say what she would choose to play with on previous visits, Tinker would be wanting to do some drawing or play with the kitchen and so me and Totsy would do that too.
Totsy has always been such an easy going little one that it has been easy to let Tinker lead the way while Totsy just fitted in around her. But no more! Tuesdays and Wednesdays are my treasured days at home, the days when from now on it will just be me and my littlest. Of course later I will be dragging her along on the school run before going straight to Tinker's gymnastics class, so her days as a tag along are not completely done. But this morning, we have sung songs, done silly dancing, read stories and done some drawing (baby wipes do get crayon off our new coffee table and our wooden floor in case you were wondering). She is at such a great age, changing all the time, her communication skills are improving every day and her personality (happy, calm, easygoing but with just the right amount of feisty to show she's no pushover) is really shining through with her mischievous little grin brightening up our day. It's not that I've not noticed all these things before now because of course I have. But recently I've focussed so much on making memories in Tinker's last few weeks and months before starting school (which I dreaded so much) that I had not thought about the upside of her being at school. That now Totsy really has chance to take centre stage.