My boy LOVES to talk. He may not be able to jump yet, is overly cautious on climbing equipment and is reluctant to try out his balance bike. But he’d be a champ at a 12 hour toddler chat-a-thon. I don’t know WHERE he gets it from.
In the afternoons when I go in to get him up from his nap, as long as he is already awake, he often likes to instigate a conversation (otherwise, of course, he is a right grump).
One much-rehearsed conversation point is a(nother) recount of his day so far: “This morning we…”. This is a prompt for me to talk about the highlights of the morning; a story peppered with plenty of questions for him to answer – posed by me and by him. He positively digs a question and answer session: he’s going to be a right teacher’s pet when he gets to school.
I like this one as it makes me realise how much learning is going on in his little head-nod. It also allows me an imaginary pat on the back that he is enjoying lots of memorable experiences at such a young age. It’s often a great opportunity to praise him again for good behaviour, talk to him about bad behaviour and consequences and also of course to help him to make sense of the world. Once a teacher, always a teacher!
Yesterday he surprised me with “Let’s talk about Daddy. I like Daddy,” which I found endearing (but what about Mummy?!). In response to my question “What does Daddy like?” he replied, “Going to Marks and Spencer shop and going up and down on the moving stairs!” which is, of course, one of the things HE likes doing on a rainy day with Daddy. (Daddy just so happens to rate the M&S flat white.)
But my all-time favourite has to be the totally innocent and self-indulgent “Let’s talk about ME!” (said with the world’s biggest grin). He loves to be reminded about how gorgeous and handsome he is; he is his father’s child through and through. We talk about his likes (currently preschool, sharks, dinosaurs, the zoo, singing, numbers, letters, shapes, digging, our cat, hugs, Julia Donaldson books and Tinga Tinga Tales on CBeebies) and dislikes (the duvet cover being on his bed, doing anything under time pressure, his sister crying and getting dressed). We talk about family and who loves him and he recites his home address. We talk about how brave and confident he has been starting preschool and how clever he is that he knows all his shapes and can count so well. And he smiles and smiles and smiles.
And so do I.
Yes, toddler egocentrism can be downright frustrating at times, but I can’t help but love this side of it. Long may his self-belief and confidence last before self-consciousness and social conventions squash such natural, unrestrained self-adoration.