I absolutely adore the age Ralph is at now. 18 months, pretty fearless to be honest, a laugh that I want to bottle up and keep forever (and maybe even sell – I think I could make millions) and the best view of the world you can get; “It is all for the taking and everything is possible”.
Before this beautiful window of time passes and we are on to the next equally wonderful and exhausting stage, it felt the right time to pass comment on the favourite adventures of an 18 month old. Generally these beat my daily adventures by miles.
Be more Ralph. That is definitely a motto to get behind. There’s a lot of activity, and a lot of laughing.
- Climbing. I will never be anything less than amazed at how much my boys have loved climbing from the moment they were able to. It is like an inbuilt mantra “I was born to climb”. Bit stressful as a parent at times, but honestly it is one of his favourite adventures. On fallen tress or logs, up steps, on gates and fences, up slides that are too big, on toys, boxes and furniture. You name it, Ralph climbs it. It is the beaming look of pride when they manage it that gets me. You know that it is a proper adventure for them when you see that smile – they have done it all by themselves; it is, really, the equivalent to an adult climbing Everest.
- Spotting dogs. One of the current favourite past times is letting us know when he sees a dog. Now on some days, depending on our location, this can be pretty infrequent. Other days, this is like a record that gets stuck. Dog, dog, dog, dog, dog, dog, dog, dog, dog… And you have to acknowledge it, otherwise it is like you are just ignoring him. And obviously you aren’t , it is just that acknowledging every dog you see is not your normal approach to life. It take some getting used to. Ralph, however, thinks it is downright amazing.
- Opening (and closing) doors. This is one of my least favourite adventures actually. It inevitably ends in some trapped fingers, and frankly I need doors open with fresh air flowing in this heat. I don’t really it like it when the lounge feels a bit like a sauna because we must ensure every door is closed… Still it does keep him very focussed.
- Getting wet. This is one of my favourites. He now says ‘splash’ and thinks splashing is hilarious. There is nothing that can touch splashing in terms of funny. Any opportunity to get wet – watering can in the garden, paddling pool, paddling at the beach, throwing stones in to the sea, swimming, bath time. It is honestly a riot of adventure with water. He stands at the garden tap with the watering can saying “Ta” until I fill it for him, he then proceeds to pour it on the floor and stamp in it. It is the highlight of his day frankly and I just find that beyond adorable. Simple adventures are sometimes the best.
- Sticks. I don’t know whether to fully blame CBeebies and Hey Duggee for this or not… I cannot tell you how much he loves the ‘Stick Song’. If you know, you know. But regardless, sticks are very much a favourite adventure and have been since he could move. They are free and plentiful so major bonus there from a parenting perspective… Plus they allow for endless fun and adventure. And it is an outdoors adventure that just never gets old. Fresh air, lots of walking and a stick. Adventure in the making right there. One stick, for example, can be carried all day long. Try to release grip on said stick at your peril.
- Running. As soon as they walk, they run. No spending time getting used to walking, taking it easy, mastering the walk. Oh no. It is straight on to running. Cue lots of falling over and endless adventure. For some reason laughing always coincides with the running. The added sense of danger and drama is clearly appealing when you are small and the wind is running through your hair. Honestly I don’t find running funny at all, but then I am not 18 months old and full of energy. He absolutely loves it – you can see the minute he has some open space that his eyes light up and he just pegs it. He’s quite fast to be fair and every time he goes it is a proper adventure for him – he has no idea where he’s headed (neither do I or passers by who may or may not end up in the way) but he loves it and he loves finding himself somewhere new, somewhere he found by running there all by himself. Olympics here we come.
- Swinging. It’s a classic. I was always a fan of a swing myself – isn’t every child (and adult)? What I love when they are little is how ‘out of this world’ they think it is. It is as if they are actually adventuring in to space and I love how big and full their eyes pop when they are on a swing. It is so joyful to watch. R will sit in a swing for ages and I love watching his little face when he flies up high. He is mainly shouting bird at the same time… but I always think wouldn’t it be wonderful to just know what they are thinking? How wonderful and brilliant the world is when you are 18 months and in a swing.
- Throwing. This particular favourite adventure just makes me laugh. It seems to be another inbuilt mechanism for toddlers that we must just try lobbing everything and seeing how far it will go or how loud it will bang. He will try to throw anything he can – his reactions are priceless. Sometimes it is amazement, sometimes pure disgust, delight, disinterest. We get it all. I guess it is all about exploring the world around them and learning about what happens next. I think it is ruddy lovely and pretty hilarious. Last week he threw a bag of sugar on the floor and then cried when it went all over his feet. That was a fail in his eyes (and mine). But he also spent a morning collecting different stones at the beach and making them splash in the sea. He laughed his little socks off when the splashes were bigger and then went to retrieve the stone to do it again, knowing he had a ‘good one’. Honestly, isn’t it amazing the adventures they have even at this age, that they kind of master all by themselves? Obviously I could take less of the ‘adventuring in kitchen cupboards’.
- You can go your own way. A line from a pretty awesome and well known song it may be, but this could not sum up an 18 month old better in my mind. They like to do things their way, try to do everything and anything, walk the way they want to walk (normally the opposite direction to where you want to), pull the books off the shelf, play with toilet roll, sit in the sea with their clothes on, climb up things they shouldn’t climb up… To be honest it is bloody adorable. They don’t see obstacles. Now obviously we have to be there to see those for them (he thinks he can launch himself from the top step at home and land safely at the bottom – I have to be there to remind him otherwise). But the fact that, in their world, they are free to adventure in any way they see fit is just amazing.
Little R, you are a legend and your adventures, big and small, make us smile and laugh every day. Just stop launching yourself off steps. Okay?
Happy adventuring everyone – 18 months old or not xx