I had forgotten. Forgotten how full on it is to look after a newly walking toddler. We had a visit from Shane, Sarndra and Alex last week. They stayed for a couple of days so we had enough time to catch up and to see Alex busy himself discovering new places in our home. Shane has a new job in Gladstone and has already flown up there so after they put him on the plane on Saturday, Sarndra and Alex came back for another overnight stay. Sarndra's friend had her second baby and Sarndra came up to see her and little Rosie. She took Alex on her first hospital visit, then went back the next morning and asked Hanno and I if we'd look after Alex so she could go alone.
This was our first solo babysitting of Alex, who at 11 months is walking confidently and running sometimes, just like his father used to do at exactly the same age. It was a bright and warm morning so I got Alex's little shoes, put them on his feet and took him outside in the sunshine. He LOVED it, although he was unsteady and kept falling over on the grass, so I took off his shoes again and he was off like a rocket, much steadier this time with firm feet on solid ground. I put his hat on his head at least a 20 times and he took it off just as often.
It was really lovely to watch him busy himself in our backyard. He watched birds, he stared at the chooks through the fence, he chased our cat Hettie from her usual sitting post on the garden bench. We had no outside toys for him but he didn't need any, he kept busy with what he found. It was such a good start for us.
He found a couple of buckets and walked around with them, he carried around one of my Crocs, he stared at a leaf REALLY close, he pushed the broom, he put a pebble in the bucket and realised it made a noise. He discovered the laundry trolley and pushed that around with one hand on the trolley and one hand holding the bucket firmly. Of course, he found the water in the bird bath and splashed a while. He found every point of interest in that yard and I could almost feel him taking notice and remembering what he was seeing.
We picked an organic orange from the tree, peeled it and he grazed on that for a while. More running around, a nappy change, a sippy cup of water, more running, some homemade toast and Vegemite. Outside again. With the trolley and the bucket. Looking at him, I remembered that toddlers are easy and difficult at the same time. They're difficult in that you have to always watch what they're doing and sometimes rescue a cat from a vice-like grip, but they're easy in that every thing is interesting to them. Teenagers are easy and difficult too, but in a different way.