The babeling: One year and three weeks

The babeling took her first steps just before Christmas, but it’s only this week she’s taken walking seriously as a way of getting from A to B, or bookcase to sofa in her case.

It’s great if you can coincide learning to walk with having legs only a few inches long, double incontinence and a complete lack of self-consciousness. This really helps if you are standing around casually when your legs give away without warning, your bottom hits the floor and the impact topples you onto your back. It’s a shame she can’t also wear a nappy on her head, which is covered in bruises.

She is just gorgeous. I might get round to posting a photo, but that wouldn’t do her justice. It wouldn’t describe her sleepy solemn expression first thing in the morning or the way she puts her head on her sister’s shoulder when she wants a cuddle or the way she slaps her round bare tummy in the bath and giggles or her totally wicked laugh. I have a peek at her asleep before I go to bed, and those rounded cheeks and long, serene eyelashes and tiny chubby fists grab me somewhere in the solar plexus.

She is so unlike her sister at the same age. The Redster couldn’t be trusted with delicate toys or indeed plastic crockery on her highchair table, because everything got chucked on the floor. The babeling handles things carefully and tries to put them back where they belong, and she frequently eats off china if all the kiddy plastic stuff is in the dishwasher. On the other hand, if you left her unstrapped in the highchair for even a minute, she would throw herself off it head first.

She has already sussed that crucial difference in things to play with, i.e. things intended to be toys and Other Things, and no prizes for guessing which is more fascinating. Then there’s the things she finds to do with the stuff she is allowed to play with… the other night she amused herself on the floor while I read a story to the Redster. When I finally bothered to look at what she was doing (probably because she was squealing with frustration) it was to see her carefully poking things into the Redster’s boots and then trying to balance the boots one by one on top of the dressing up box, which is taller than she is. At a friends’ house the other day, attempts to amuse her so I could talk to the grown-ups were futile despite two bulging boxes of toys, until she discovered a plastic Ikea kids’ table with chairs, paper, pens and pencils. She removed two of the hollow legs from one of the chairs and painstakingly filled them with the pens. Happy for hours.

And so to bed, not because the babeling is likely to wake before 7am, but because the Redster will probably summon me at three to explain why I have given her water/not given her water/whether that is a monster by the window and can I please cut her toenails NOW.