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The Monster & Me: Letter to Lachlan

Dear Lachlan,

You are thirty one months old and if I ever worried you were late in talking, those fears have long since been put to rest. I remember the early days and weeks and months of your life and the strange loneliness I felt while I mothered you: the house quiet but for your cries and my own voice self-consciously narrating our daily routine. Actually having a conversation with you felt a lifetime away and yet, here we are, conversing every day, and despite occasionally longing for a moment of quiet, I just love this part of mothering.

You like to tell us what you are doing, what you are thinking, what you think we should be doing (have I mentioned how bossy you are?!). There is no internal censor when you are two. And as you narrate your life and your thoughts to us, I can see your mind expanding with connections: you look at an Australian flag toothpick staked in your toasted sandwich and remark “it’s a flag, like Ethan’s” (board shorts he wore on Australian day), you see a plane flying and you remark “Ma-ma’s plane, go to South America” (which she did a few months ago). You are fiercely observant and smart to boot. And you make us laugh at least once every day.

The Monster & Me: Letter to Lachlan

Always an active child, your latest physical endeavors involve jumping and rolling and hopping. But mostly jumping. And mostly off things that look far too high for a 95 centimeter tall toddler to be launching from. Launch you do though. Sometimes even at people, a fifteen kilo boy is leaping into their unready arms their only warning. Miraculously all your bones remain intact even if your legs are a constant polka dot pattern of bruises.

The Monster & Me: Fingal Lighthouse

Lachlan you continue to challenge all that I know of patience and understanding. And teach me everyday about kindness and love.

You light up my world and I love you.

Mummy x


More Letters to Lachlan
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The Monster & Me: Lachie

Dear Lachlan,

You are thirty months old and perhaps more sure of yourself and who you are than I am of myself at (almost) twenty eight. You will not be defined by your actions (sometimes naughty, sometimes nice, ALWAYS cheeky). Nor your personality (energetic, outgoing, inquisitive). The other day when you were repeating EVERYTHING we were saying I asked you if you were a little parrot. Your reply? “I not a parrot! I Lachie Jack GOFTON!” This is the reply to any such question of who or what you are. And every-time I hear you say it makes my heart swell with a simple happiness, and a hope that you always have such a strong and unmovable sense of self.

The Monster & Me: Opening Christmas Presents

This last month also saw you celebrate your third Christmas. It was most definitely the best one yet. This year, you started to understand the whole concept of giving and receiving (admittedly, more the receiving), Santa, celebrating, food, and family. You still liked the idea of Santa more than meeting the big man himself, attaching like cling-wrap to me whenever we attempted any kind of Christmas photo. For the first time you were able to verbalise what you would like for Christmas. The list went as follows: birthday card (?!), food and a car. You settled on a “big red car” and Santa delivered with the goods. Seeing your ecstatic face early Christmas morning made me remember the wonder of Christmas as a child, the can’t-sleep-anticipation and the barely-contained excitement at unwrapping the presents by my bed.

Christmas day was a long-one by adult standards. But being the extrovert you are, buoyed by interaction, energized by engagement, you powered from 6am til 9.30pm with only a short afternoon car nap to see you through. We had lunch with your dad’s family and dinner with mine and through it all you bounced from happy foot to happy foot, making us laugh, colouring the day with your enthusiasm and charming us all.

The Monster & Me: Messy toddler hands

Being your favourite has been a label I’ve worn with pride. It comes with its challenges, like not being able to go to the toilet by myself, midnight cuddles, and constant demands. But also with its rewards: being the only that can kiss your scraped knee better, midnight cuddles, and constant kisses. I always knew my days as your number one were limited but I never expect to be ousted quite so soon. And the victor in this popularity stake? That would be your cousin Ethan. These holidays you have been lucky enough to see a lot of your “boys” (cousins) and after one such day you happily, without a moments second-thought, declared “Eeth” your favourite. I’m not sure he is quite as eager to take on the role as you were to bestow it on him. Nevertheless he is endlessly patient with you: making up games to play, nervously sharing his iPod with you, capitulating to your most ridiculous requests. I can more than see why E has become your favourite and I couldn’t be happier to give up the coveted title to such a deserving contestant.

The Monster & Me: Toddler scooting

Sometimes I like to pretend you are still my little baby. When we cuddle at night before you go to bed you nestle into the crook of my arm and I bend my head to your crown of soft blonde hair just like I have done nearly every night since you were born. Except now when I give you a kiss and tell you I love you, you turn your face to me and say “I love you too mummy” and I’m both overwhelmed with happiness and sad at how quickly these precious moments are slipping by.

But grow up, you must. And I just feel incredibly blessed to be able to witness it.

I love you munchkin face.

Mummy. x

letter to my toddler son

Dear Lachlan,

You are twenty nine months. Your imagination continues to explode with ideas and stories. And when you convey these stories to us they are always told with words jumbled in a rush of excitement and whole-body actions to match. You make us laugh. Like when you pretend to catch fish, huffing and straining as you reel in the ‘big one’, then, true cave-man style grab the thing in both hands and take big hunking bite! Or when you gulp your milk down and proudly announce ‘milk disappear’, a huge grin on your proud miniature magician face. And when you’re not fishin’ or disappearin’, you are chasing daddy in an effort to ‘eat daddy’s brains’ (a strange game the two of you concocted that never fails to amuse). So, at twenty nine months, your future career path looks like it could go a number of ways: fisherman, magician or zombie.

The Monster and Me: Letter to my toddler son

Except that I think now, Zombies might actually scare you. You see, you are finally developing some fears. And as much as I love fearless, go-anywhere, do-anything Lachie, my anxious-mother side is thankful. A healthy dose of fear is natures convenient way of ensuring the survival of the human race. And keeping mothers from heart-failure as their toddler continually tries to outdo themselves in a race to the emergency department.

A little while ago we had incredibly strong winds. Trees bent and clothes flapped wildly on the clothesline.You started to cry, and then scream, hysterically. Mostly afraid that the wind was going to blow away your toys. But also just generally distraught. Sometimes as an adult it is easy to dismiss other people’s fears as silly and for a few minutes I tried mildly to placate you, tell you it was just wind, to not worry about it. But when you didn’t settle I realised that your fear, of this wind, was absolutely real. And so I tried harder to feel what you were feeling: to understand how wind could be so terrifying. I sat down next to you and explained that wind is just air that moves, that it won’t hurt you and that if we pack away toys inside then they too will be safe. Finally, you calmed. And we carried on with our day.

As more fears develop, as they will, I will try my best to keep empathising with you. To be the reassurance you need. I have a feeling, however, that there will be many in the months and years to come that won’t be quite so easy to overcome.

The Monster and Me: Letter to my toddler son

So there is one last thing I wanted to tell you about your twenty-nine-month-old self. You are a tech-wizz-kid. I suspect all toddlers in 2012 probably are, nevertheless, your tech-savvy continues to blow us pre-internet people away. You probably won’t believe us when we tell you that once upon a time, all mobile phones could do was call other phones. That’s right, no text, no games, no cameras, no photos, no calculators, no apps. All of which you can use, by the way. The other day when you went to play with daddy’s phone he told you his phone had no games, to which you promptly replied “I need more apps, I go get my phone”. And by your phone you meant mummy’s phone which you like to swipe when I’m not looking. Or even at three am like the other morning when I woke to find you sitting silently by our bed, face lit by the flickering screen of a toddler shapes game. So there is no surprise then that we will be keeping all this tech-love firmly balanced with a good dose of life beyond the screen. I think your generation, more than any other, will need to know how to keep a happy harmony between the digital world and real life.

I digress (us Gen Y’s aren’t known for our attention spans either, something about the distraction of the internet…).

I love you always and forever my baby boy.

Mum. xx

My other Letters to Lachlan.

Toddler photo - parenting blog

Dear Lachlan,

You are now twenty-seven months old. That’s two and a bit, we don’t actually say twenty-seven months, because frankly no-one can be bothered with the math. Anyway, what I mean to say is that you are another month older. And with this extra month of age, has come an explosion of imagination. Nothing is as it seems in your two-year old mind. Straws and paper towel wrapped together are pigs, and a stick with a block on the end is you catching a fish. Teddy bear picnics are now a daily occurrence and I will soon have drunk enough imaginary tea to rival Her Royal Highness. This vast and rapidly expanding imagination of yours means you are increasingly happy to occupy yourself. This makes mummy’s morning coffee indescribably more enjoyable, and we both know that a coffee-d up mummy is a happy mummy!

It seems, however, that your creativity also has other manifestations. You have discovered the art of fibbing. These started off innocent enough, calling out to me in the morning that you needed your nappy changed. As I stumbled sleepy eyed down to you, you declared “no change, poo gone”, hands raised, shoulders shrugged like it was a mystery to you where it had gone. These white lies then progressed onto more serious allegations. Like when you are asked to move out of the way and refuse, so we move you, and you promptly throw yourself on the ground and wail “Mummy, pushed meeeee”. Thankfully we haven’t yet experienced such an episode in public. I’m holding my breath that that day may never eventuate.

toddler boy parenting blog

Your voracious love of food has returned. It turns out that fussy phase was indeed short lived and almost certainly a result of a sinus infection. Most mornings if I’m not woken by your protestations of phantom poo, you are telling me that you “neeeeeed porridge” or weetbix, or eggs or toast. Some mornings you can’t even wait the three minutes it takes me to make breakfast and instead start munching on some dry weetbix instead. Whatever keeps you happy little one.

toddler eating - parenting blog The monster and me

For the last six months your vocabulary has continued to explode. But you have down right refused to say your own name. We have encouraged and cajoled, begged and bribed, but to no success. We should have learned already, you do things in your own time. And so you did. A few weeks ago. And we were beyond excited. My reaction may have even been a little over the top enthusiastic because you now refer to yourself as “Ockie, YAY!”. We can work on the finer details later.

Thank you for another month of being you.

I love you always.

Mum. xx

you can find my other letters to Lachlan here.

Dear Lachlan,

This week you turned twenty six months. I had planned to tell you about what a fantastic eater you are. Rarely fussy, happy to put away an almost adult-sized dinner, and ever eager to try new things. You’re a little gourmet: balsamic olives, Camembert cheese, and seaweed crackers all please your toddler palate. While you may have been a sleep-dodger for your first two years of life, I took heart that at least you were a good eater. But like all good chameleon toddlers, just when I think I’m getting the hang of this motherhood gig, you change the game plan. It’s only been a week and granted you have had some kind of bug but your food fussiness and outright refusal is already starting to grate. I feel for the mums and dads out there with consistently challenging eaters. My mothers instinct tells me it’s a phase. I’m hoping it’s a short one.

See the thing is I don’t want eating to become a battle of wills because, my child, you are one determined little soul. In the last few weeks we have been getting a bit tougher with you. Defining boundaries, drawing the line in the sand, manning the battlefield. That makes us sound super strict. We’re not. But the thing is you NEED those boundaries, those lines in the sand. And I know that but wow, the meltdowns, they are epic. And the screaming because you are not allowed to eat sultanas before dinner, it would be impressive if my ears weren’t close to bleeding. But you are learning, slowly, what behaviour is acceptable and what won’t be tolerated. Each one is a hard-won lesson. And you still push boundaries (and my buttons) a squillion times a day. It’s not all tears and timeouts though. Sometimes, even mid meltdown, you make us laugh. Like when you were told you couldn’t have any more coins to play with you stomped around the house yelling “I NEEEEEEED MONEY”. What exactly you needed it for will forever be a mystery.

Have I mentioned before what a resilient kid you are? Well, you are. Just as well because you fall over, a lot. And bump into things, a lot. You get your clumsiness from me I’m afraid. But you seem to be made of tough stuff, just like your dad. Whenever we find ourselves out in public I wait for the moment you sprint off, and the moment you trip, because you nearly always do. Often it will elicit sounds of empathy from onlookers, and a held breath from parents as they wait for the cry they are sure is coming. Mostly though, you pick yourself back up again, wipe dirty hands on your pants, and just keep on going wherever it was you were headed. And I feel immeasurably proud of you. Proud that you’re able to drag yourself out of the dirt and keep going. You are resilient and that will serve you well in life.

I’m so proud to call you my son.

Love you,
mum
xx

You can find my other letters to Lachie here.

Dear Lachlan,

You turned twenty-five months while on your first overseas holiday in Bali (more on this soon). Traveling appears to suit you. At least the new experiences part does: meeting new people, seeing new sights, and of course eating new food. The sitting still on a plane for six hours, that bit, certainly does not agree with your energetic ways. But as long as you had space to run, people’s attention to hold and food to munch on, you were happy little traveler. Which is great because mummy and daddy are looking forward to lots more family adventures, to showing you the world.

Your favourite thing to do this month is “help dad fix”. This generally involves selecting a screwdriver and stabbing it in said item requiring repair. It turns out flat-screen TV’s don’t take kindly to toddler/screw driver combinations. Thankfully the thing was already destined for spare parts. Beyond fixing, you’re also becoming a great helper. Eager to clean up spilled milk, help pack away toys and even brush mummy’s hair which sometimes means stroking gently and others, being whacked repeatedly with an unforgiving hairbrush. Not that I mind because it is really quite terribly sweet.

Every month your character unfurls a little more. And we see the little person you are and the adult that you will one day be. Your strongest trait, for the time being anyway, is your love of people. Being with those who love you, your friends and sometimes even strangers energises you (like you need any more energy!); it makes you happy. Each and every day, you ask to “call Ma’s” (daddy’s mum) and “see Deedee on ‘puter'” (my mum). Hearing their voices, seeing their faces, lights you up. Being guarded with your affection and attention for people is a concept you don’t yet know. And it is a wonderful thing to behold.

Since graduating from babyhood the ‘firsts’ milestones have slowed. This month, however, marked your very first kiss. At the park one afternoon with friends it was time to say goodbye. Your friend Belle’s Mum, said “give Lachie a kiss goodbye”. Belle wasn’t convinced. You were undeterred, swooping in for the swiftest of pecks. With a prompt wiping of the mouth (I think we’ll have to work on those manners). A sweet, unexpected first that I will be all too happy to remind you of once you reach that infamous ‘girl germs’ phase of life.

It really has been another wonderful month in your life. Yes the tantrums still happen, with less frequency although perhaps greater intensity. But each and every day you grow more into a little boy, filled with thoughts and ideas all your own. And I feel so blessed to witness the transformation, to be a part of it.

I love you more than ever.

xx mum

You can find my other Letters to Lachlan here.

Dear Lachlan,

This week you turned twenty-four months. Two whole years old. Supposedly the terribleness starts here. I’m not convinced. I think the last month has been one of our very best and I’m holding on to the hope that the extra challenging days are behind us, at least for a little while. Part of this optimistic outlook stems from the fact that you are FINALLY sleeping. After two long years of broken sleep we are all reaping the benefits of a good nights rest. And it shows. Perhaps my favourite part of the day now is putting you to bed. We read some stories, cuddle, and then when I ask you if you want to go to sleep you nod happily and crawl under your cosy blankets, I tuck you in and walk out. No tears. For anyone. Which feels something close to miraculous.

With all the extra sleep being had, there’s more energy to play. Which is a good thing because right now, you LOVE to play. Cars, chase, sandcastles, scooting, ball. But your absolute, hands-down, favourite is hide and seek. It took a few days and lots of practice but you have finally figured out that to hide you actually have to be hidden instead of simply standing in the corner of the room and squeezing your eyes shut. Yes, sorry to say the idea of ‘if I can’t see you, you can’t see me’ doesn’t actually work (although I have had a few moments in my life that I have wished it did!). Oh and it’s probably best practice not to correct the ‘seeker’ when they ask “is he in the cupboard” by yelling “NO, TABLE!”.

But that’s just you. Since you found your words in the last few months there is no stopping you expressing yourself. And as far as you’re concerned it is totally ALL ABOUT YOU. Some days I think my ears might bleed if I hear “MORE”, “AGAIN” or “MY TURN” one more time. Except for the fact that despite the repetitiveness, I love the sound of your little sweet voice. Although something tells me you might not love the sound of my voice quite so much anymore. Just a sneaking suspicion I have since lately when I’ve tried to sing to you I’m met with a very emphatic “NO, MUM!”. It was really only a matter of time and frankly I would have been worried had you not started to realise that my singing voice is akin to a drowning cat. But that’s what I’m loving so much about you at this age. We talk about things and you can tell me, at least partly, what you are thinking. And that, that is so special. And something I look forward to more of in the coming weeks and months.

None of this terrible two’s business okay Monster? There’s too much fun to be had.

I love you more than words.

xx mum

You can find my other Letters to Lachlan here.