Over the past week, friends of mine with toddlers have mentioned concerns over their little ones’ speech development and how much milk they drink. It struck me that it’s been a while since I even looked at a developmental book for Emma – almost as if she got to toddler age and life has been going so fast!
But the worries are still there: is she sleeping enough, eating enough? Does she interact with other toddlers? How’s her speech? Can she identify correctly when she sees a drawing of a stick man? The list goes on and I sometimes find myself spiralling into constant worry and I know others do too.
So I thought I would be completely transparent about our little toddler and share where we’re at:
Emma at 29 months:
Speech: Talks from the moment she wakes up to the moment she finally drops off to sleep but didn’t say more than 2 words until her 2nd birthday.
Walking: Took her first step at 14 months, then had took a little break for 2 months and has been running riot ever since.
Eating: Loves snacks and doesn’t seem keen on proper meals such as pasta so mealtimes require lots of encouragement. She could live off mango and smoked salmon (she doesn’t FYI). Emma has her baby bottle to go to bed and has up to 3 bottles a night.
Sleeping: She doesn’t sleep through the night and wakes at least 3 times.
Likes to: draw pictures of every member of our family and can hold a pen well. She can also count to 20 repeatedly, is a firecracker with colours and shapes. Boom!
I’m not saying these things to brag about her but looking at the list it’s clear there are some things she is great at and other things that take a bit more time. I worried for months about her speech but it turns out she needed a bit more time and right before her 2nd birthday, it’s like the words were spilling out. Thankfully during this time, her nursery gave me nothing but reassurance and just as they said, when she was ready, the words came. I know I could do more to wean her off baby bottles and slowly give her less milk in the night, but I also know Emma and I’m sticking to what my gut is telling me to take the gentle approach.
I suppose the reason I’m writing this is to offer a bit of reassurance. Maybe your toddler also doesn’t sleep through the night, or eat the meals you prepare. Maybe your little one hasn’t said many words and you’ve wondered whether everything is okay. Maybe you’ve had unwanted comments about their development and it made you think harder about whether you’re doing enough, saying enough. I want you to know that you are and for whatever reason, they are just not ready yet, and that’s okay.
Some days I know it’s hard not to worry. As parents, we spend all day making sure that they eat the right things, sleep a little and have fun too. We’re doing our best and that’s the best we can do; and they’ll be just fine and catch up when the time is right.