The question you may well be asking is exactly how did my two and a half year old know her name, address and telephone number at such a young age? Well, the truth of the matter is that I had an escape artist on my hands!
When a child learns to walk there is a sense of excitement as one of the first stages of independence has been reached. As first time parents, we, quite naturally encouraged this. Several months later, when the novelty of holding Mummy’s and Daddy’s hand had worn off, we wondered why we had encouraged this so quickly in the first place! Shopping was a whole new experience as a battle of the wills commenced as I attempted to allow her a degree of independence. I will walk on my own Mummy, you will hold my hand Izzy…….
Invariably I won the battle, but two determined females are never a good combination which meant on occasion I lost, one day nearly losing Izzy. For such little legs, toddlers sure can run fast. It’s almost like being at work chasing after suspects, only toddlers are better at hiding! As Ollie had just been born, I was not in a position to run after her leaving a new born baby behind! There was a time when I was a small child, and I was out shopping in London with my mum and younger brother. We lost him, albeit temporarily. How must my panic stricken mum have felt; I can only imagine? Thankfully he was located rather promptly, yet sadly this is not the case for some. Determined that this was never going to happen to me, I tried toddler reins. However, this was a battle I very quickly admitted defeat on. When a child simply sits down on the ground and refuses to move, there is not an awful lot you can do. So back to plan A. Learn to have eyes in the back of my head, or run faster!
I decided that if I was unable to capture the runaway toddler, it would be helpful if she learnt her name and address in order to tell anyone who may be nice enough to help her. Clearly children develop speech at varying stages. It was simply out of the question that a child of mine would have been quiet for too long! I have talked, sang, read to Izzy since the minute she was born. I once read an article that stated no matter what you are reading, share it with your child as this is perhaps one of many important things you can do. As a parent, holding, looking at, talking to, playing with, and reading to your baby nurtures their language and literacy skills. Young children are never bored with hearing the sound of your voice, singing the same song, or reading the same book over and over.
Whilst pregnant with Ollie, I attended a fabulous Maternity unit at our local hospital every other day for CTG monitoring. These appointments could last up to an hour on occasion, and whilst I was strapped to a machine, Izzy was strapped in a pushchair. In a desperate attempt to keep her entertained, I read to her, anything and everything I could get my hands on! Eventually she lost interest in newspapers and magazines, so whilst she sat and ate some goodies, (otherwise known as bribery), I quickly devised a rhyme for her to sing. It was here, Izzy learnt her name. Often the Midwives would come into the room and show an interest in Izzy, asking her name. Having sang numerous renditions of ‘Izzy’s song’ and repeated her name on many occasions, I was very proud the day she answered this question on her own.
During car journeys it became apparent very early on that Izzy knew exactly where we were going. Repetition of certain journeys to swimming, supermarkets, parks and hospitals had given an 18 month old Izzy a sense of familiarity. Whilst enroute to those places she started to say ‘mama swimming’, ‘mama park’ in an excited voice. It was at this time I started to point out the road name sign on the road in which we live. As you can see, song writing is not my forte, however as I appeared to have a minor success, I went on to compose the next verse which was then sang every time we went out.
After 2 months of countless journeys in and out of our road, Izzy finally pointed to the sign and said our road name. From that point onwards, we made a huge deal of the fact that she knew her name and the road name of where she lived. She seemed pleased with herself and keen to repeat this often! I too, was pleased with myself, as if God forbid, anything were to happen to Izzy, I was a little reassured that if asked, Izzy would be able to tell someone her name and where she lived. For me that was lesson 1 of Emergency Education for young children completed! The next lesson was learning her numbers to be able to tell someone her telephone number!