Elfie at 19 Months

It’s weird, looking at Elfie now you don’t see a baby anymore. You see a toddler, a mini-person. Especially when she’s dressed in the next size up of 18 months-2 years clothes which seem seem so much more geared towards making toddlers look like children rather than babies. Thank goodness for onesies which I will be keeping her in forever – she’s always my baby in her onesie.

Elfie is growing so fast and can now walk if you hold her hand, last week she even took a few steps on her own which made me come over massively Proud Mummy-like. The pace at which she’s developing is insane, she didn’t want to walk two weeks ago and can still go a whole day without walking unaided – she’s in no rush to become mobile which is absolutely fine by me.

We’ve experienced plenty of health scares recently which have been terrifying but at the same time have taught us more abut how to deal with Elfie when she goes in to an adrenal crisis, which is when she starts becoming ill. Normally when we come down with a virus or an infection our bodies have a mechanism to kick-start the healing process but Elfie’s body is missing the ability to deliver the initial burst of adrenaline needed, meaning she becomes gravely ill very quickly. She takes a maintenance dose of medication to counteract this but when she’s ill she needs to be given this adrenalin manually.

Nightmare number one was when she had her flu jab – we woke up at 8.30 realising she hadn’t stirred (her usual wakeup time is between 5 and 6) and when we rushed to her she was floppy and weak. This was the first time I injected her with her emergency intramuscular dose of cortisol which was terrifying but the immediate effect was amazing.

Nightmare number two found us in A&E a week later with a very poorly child.  It transpired that she’d had tonsillitis and an ear infection and needed another emergency cortisol dose, which we didn’t have at home as our doctor wouldn’t prescribe her the medication without seeing her first (naturally the wait for an appointment was 2.5 weeks). More drama ensued when the paeds nurses refused to give her injection intramuscularly as directed on her emergency notes – they wanted to put an IV in her hand instead. We refused, Elfie has the trickiest veins (blood tests are horrendous) and it has taken hours for consultants to get IVs in her before, plus we knew that shortly after her IM injection she would perk up and there’d be no need for further medication. So as we were going against medical advice they agreed to prescribe us with her medication but I had to inject it myself. In the hospital. Whilst being watched by a nurse. And as we predicted within an hour she was back to normal and they released us after another hour of observation. It is so tough being in that situation and knowing you are behaving like ‘that’ pushy dickhead parent, but as what she has is so rare I feel it’s necessary. And I always apologise for being so ‘assertive’ afterwards.

Since then we’ve had a long night of baby sick (caused by coughing from a sore throat so no hospitalisation required) and some pretty awful teething episodes but apart from that she’s been good. I think I’m almost at the stage where I feel comfortable enough with her medical situation to be able to take her abroad, albeit preferably somewhere English-speaking with good medical facilities.

Elfie’s language skills aren’t that brilliant at the moment; when I first got pregnant I envisaged that by this time, with the baby moving and kicking, we’d be able to curl up on the sofa together and talk to Elfie about her new baby brother and how exciting it will be for her. We could certainly do that but I expect she’d be clamouring to get down so she can go and blow her nose on the carpet on the stairs, or give the living room rug a cuddle. I asked her if she was an alien today and she said “yeah”, so I don’t think she’ll understand the new baby before it arrives.

Elfie with Bryony‘s little girl Frankie, at a recent ShopStyle event

Her vocabulary has expanded a little to include “nana” (banana) and a lions growl (grannie) but aside from that she’s still only saying “yeah”. I think she’s a little behind in this respect but as she spent the first three months of her life very poorly and not developing I guess we’ve got this time to catch up, and new sounds are coming every day. She can understand A LOT of what’s said and definitely knows her own mind. She won’t be doing anything she doesn’t want to do and she will do as much of what she likes to do as possible (read books, eat ham, swim until her lips turn purple).

We’ve had to broach the tricky idea of discipline this month. Because she can’t articulate her thoughts she often gets frustrated and hits or kicks out, which is definitely not OK. Other than this she is an extremely well-behaved little girl and we can take her pretty much anywhere and feel quite confident that she won’t have a meltdown – lucky for us as we like to go to restaurants. The only exception to this rule is if there is a soft play area in the vicinity – woe betide anyone who lets her near but not in to soft play.

The last point: teething. It’s a bit of a shitter, isn’t it? I know kids have got to grow teeth somehow but they really come in the most painful and horrendous manner. They bring us so many nights of broken sleep, big old mouth spots, dribbling chins and a lot of grumbling and groaning. I am however very impressed every time I see Elfie with her whole fist in her mouth. These are the skills in life that will make her LOTS of friends at University.

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  1. Amy wrote:

    She’s adorable. You’re right in saying she’s started to look like a little girl! I find that always happens around the time walking starts. I wouldn’t worry about her being behind. My brother was the same with talking (although his was because of deafness) but he caught up very quickly and it made no difference to him later.

    Posted 1.27.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Thanks Amy! x

      Posted 1.27.12 Reply
  2. Alex wrote:

    So much of this is so familiar! It’s rather brilliant that Ramona’s about the same age (17.5 mos right now) and I can see so much of where she’ll be next or identify with where they are now. Not as a comparison; just nice to know we’re all in it together, so to speak.

    And yes, teething is a bastard beyond belief. Sometimes Ramona just stands there and wails, while simultaneously fish-hooking her mouth with her sweaty little hands. It’s depressing and hilarious at the same time.

    Btw, really, don’t worry about the speech. I know plenty of articulate adults who didn’t speak until they were much older than Elfie; my sister’s very intelligent godfather didn’t speak until he was nearly 10! Keep talking away to Elfie and one day very soon it will all come pouring back out to you.

    Elfie is so obviously adored, and she is very lucky to have such wonderful parents. She’ll be a fabulous big sister.

    I really look forward to these posts(and remind myself I ought to write a few!).

    Big hugs x

    Posted 1.27.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      I have to admit, I am a little jealous of Ramona’s words! I know Elfie’s will come as soon as she’s ready, but I think that toddlers learning to speak is the most amazing time of development as you get to see so much more of their personalities (although she already has one hell of a personality!).

      I ought to write more, in the teething haze it’s so easy to forget these wonderful memories. x

      Posted 1.27.12 Reply
      • Alex wrote:

        Hehe, well when Ramona was having her OMGSCREAMINGALLTHEFREAKINGTIME phase and you wrote about how sunny Elfie’s personality was I was both very happy for you and definitely a little jealous! (And she’s still a bit melodramatic, which combined with toddler tantrums is something special, I can tell you.)

        There was about a month when Ramona said very few things and then it was like the floodgates opened. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if by the 20 month report Elfie is chattering away. But like you say, it’ll happen when it happens and be no less brilliant whenever that is. x

        Posted 1.27.12 Reply
        • alice wrote:

          Ooh I think the melodramatic tantrums are my favourite at the moment! Elfie is an expert at the old ‘wail and throw myself down on the floor’ move. It’s hilarious! xx

          Posted 1.27.12 Reply
  3. Kat wrote:

    Isn’t she just lovely? I can see why you both are so proud x

    Posted 1.27.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      I know I’m biased, but yes I think she is the most loveliest! x

      Posted 1.27.12 Reply
  4. Bryony wrote:

    She is just delicious (and it’s rare I use that word for anyone other than Frankie so Elfie should feel V special!) and clearly is a super happy little girl, and to be honest thats all that matters!

    Walking WILL happen eventually, talking WILL happen eventually but being a toddler will only happen now, so I reckon she’s just doing the sensible thing and taking full advantage of it while it lasts!

    Totally agree with you on the onesies, I also use big towels to make Fran feel tiny again! xx

    PS: Frankie is very jealous of E’s straight hair, we have a battle every morning with the brush through her curly locks!

    Posted 1.27.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      ahhh the towel trick! I do this too (I call it our baby Jesus game, hah!) x

      Posted 1.27.12 Reply
  5. Toffeeapple wrote:

    Elfie is such a little sweetie, as the others have said, don’t worry about when she talks, it will happen when she wants it to, same as walking.

    I don’t know how I would have coped if my child had to be injected and I applaud your continuing efforts on her behalf, even if you have to be watched, in hospital, injecting your own child.

    Posted 1.27.12 Reply
  6. Tori wrote:

    Don’t worry about the speech Alice. Joseph is about at the same stage and they are only 2 weeks apart. We have cheese, shoes, no (typically) mummy and daddy and roaring like a lion and making monkey noises – that’s it. Some of his friends have loads of words, some have none. The main thing is that they understand you – Joseph can follow instructions, undress himself and try to put his shoes on, and babbles nonstop. A good friend is a paediatrician and says that this is fine, children develop at different rates.

    Posted 1.27.12 Reply
  7. Aimee wrote:

    I could say this on every single post that features Elfie photos, but she is SO bloody cute! She always looks so happy too. xo

    Posted 1.27.12 Reply
  8. Mamabearuk wrote:

    God, you really can’t put a price on good health can you. Poor little thing, I cannot imagine what you and her go through every time shes ill. But good for you for ‘being the dickhead parent’ You don’t want to imagine what might happen otherwise. And 2.5 weeks for an dr appt is shocking, a child should be seen same day surely. Ha, I hear you with the speech, Lily says a few words but mainly speaks in tongues which I find hilarious and her two main words are meh and mehmeh??! Elfie is beautiful x

    Posted 1.27.12 Reply
  9. Hi Alice, she is gorgeous! Don’t worry about the speech, Zachy’s really only started to pick up speed when he turned two.
    What a scare you must have had recently but being a pushy mum is no bad thing. You know best and you do what you have to do.
    Lots of love to you all x

    Posted 1.29.12 Reply
  10. Alison wrote:

    Elfie is beautiful.

    My daughter is 16 months old so I really identify with you saying Elfie is like a little girl now. It’s strange seeing mums with “real” babies – our babies look so big in comparison.

    Posted 1.29.12 Reply
  11. She’s doing brilliantly – Littler wasn’t really saying anything at 19 months and by the time she was 2 (back in October) we were beginning to get a little concerned, not least because we knew it was likely she would be delayed speaking given everything

    3 months on and she is nattering all over the place and won’t stop – sometimes they just suddenly get it and wow then they get it

    Posted 1.30.12 Reply
  12. rubycadillac wrote:

    Final line – SPOT ON. Lets hope he hand and mouth continue to develop at equal speed and yay for eating competitions! x

    Posted 2.1.12 Reply
  13. Katharine wrote:

    She really is precious! She has the cutest face!

    Posted 2.6.12 Reply