Looking in the mirror

(Today a wonderful Facebook group that I’m a part of hosted a five-minute writing challenge. The theme: the last time you looked in a mirror. I liked what I wrote, so I’m sharing it here, along with a couple of related stories.)

“Okay my dear, here you go”
As I pull pink flowery sleeves up to sweet chubby elbows, I catch a glimpse of a face that looks just like my mother’s. I see my messy bun. And I see my eyes rolling.

I realise that she, too, sees my eyes rolling.
She, too, sees through my false patience.
She, too, knows that her Mama feels overwhelmed by her big feelings and loud demands.

So I stop my eyes, mid-roll. I grab a big fluffy towel. “The towelosaurus is coming to get you! Rrrooooarrrr.”

Her giggles echo through the bathroom as I catch her into a big towelosaurus hug.

I’m not perfect, but we’re going to be okay.

Speaking of being imperfect, I’ve been finding the adjustment to our first winter for aaaaages quite difficult. I’m staying inside too much. Spending too much time online. And The Campground Kid is following my lead too much for my liking. She’s like a little mirror, and all too often she shines a light on all the habits that I’d rather keep in the dark.

So when my little homebody asked me to take her on a walk to the digger (we were having some work done on the park), of course I said yes.

She brought her teddy too.

We walked around the park. She climbed the digger. We ran down hills. I took photos.

It was simple and wonderful and exactly why we came home.


Sometimes her little toddler mirror shines on the things I don’t want to admit. Other times it lights up the things I didn’t know she had noticed.

A few months ago, in an effort to encourage The Campground Kid to talk about her day, we started a little dinnertime routine. We take turns talking about times that we were happy/sad/scared/frustrated/excited. It’s new, so mostly Campground Papa and I take turns and The Campground Kid just gives her stock “What did you do today?” answer of “Played inside and outside!”

But the other day, in the middle of dinner, she turned to Campground Papa, and with a quizzical little face she asked “What made you happy today, Papa?”

And after he answered, she turned to me and said “Nice curry. Thanks, Mama!”

We may not be perfect, but we’re going to be okay.


The Campground Kid has recently started negotiating in a different way. It’s kinda hard to describe how it’s different, or why it even feels like a thing, but it’s totally lovely and hilarious.

The lovely-and-hilariousness may not come across in words, so you have to picture this little face saying all the following very earnestly and  sweetly, with a little tilt of the head.


“It’s Saturday because I NEED to watch a video”

“No, because I’m only little so I need to do jumps, not tidy up.”

“How ’bout we read the dictionary just one time before I get my nappy changed?”…. “No,  okay, how about just TWO more times?”

“Okay, you go get your water. I will meet you on the couch for a story”

“I change nappy and then I go to the trampoline. Okay, it’s a DEAL.” *shake hands*

“Okay. How ’bout I have just one biscuit and then I watch Puffins?”

“Can I have just ONE story before we go to the office?”… “Can you read it one more time, Mama?”

“But I’m little because I don’t want to go to sleep”

“Can you please just cuddle for one more minute?”

“Okay Mama, how about you stay here and sleep and Papa comes to the lounge and reads me a story”

(way more of that last one, please, kid!)

She hasn’t quite landed on the meaning of “because” yet. But you can see all the pieces coming together and it’s amazing.  I mean, I know it’s just normal kid stuff and I only find it amazing because she’s my kid. But this is also my blog, so I can talk about what I want. And development of language and reasoning is one of my most favourite parts of watching this kid grow, so here we are.


Sometimes, though, her “negotiations” are not so lovely and hilarious and it sounds a bit more like this (you don’t need to picture the sweet voice and head tilt anymore!):





I suppose, maybe, just maybe, we’re straying out of negotiation with these ones…?

Surprisingly enough, when we get into this zone, me reflecting her words back and saying “Okay, how about we brush your teeth just one time and then we go to bed?” doesn’t yield the greatest results.  Maybe it’s because I don’t have that cute face and head tilt down..?

Seriously, though, usually these reactions are because she’s usually over-tired or over-hungry or over-stimulated, and any form of negotiation is pretty much pointless.  So we mostly listen, support, soldier on, and ride it out as best we can.

(Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we stern-voice and eye-roll and grit-teeth and get frustrated. We do okay, but I don’t at all want to suggest we deal with all toddlerness with grace and goodwill.)


The more this kid grows, the more excited I am for each next step. Not because I’ve heard three is easy (I’ve heard the opposite, in fact), and not because I want to get past this stage (it’s frustrating, for sure, but a big part of me is tempted to stay here forever – she’s hilarious and awesome and amazing), but because I just love seeing how that little mind works and seeing the milestones-that-I-never-realised-would-feel-like-milestones. I never ever thought I’d be so amazed by my kid weaselling out of tasks, but now that we’re here, my brain is all like “oh, LOOK at her figuring out logic and reason and how to make things happen”, and as completely ordinary as it is, I’m impressed.


Our Big Campground Kid

Today The Campground Kid told me she was “a big little puffling” (that’s a baby Puffin, by the way; she may or may not be totally obsessed with Puffin Rock on Netflix. But of all the kids’ shows to be obsessed with, it’s probably the best (in my opinion), so we just roll with it and answer to Mama and Papa Puffin and pretend to put fish in our bills and swim and fly.) A big little puffling, if you weren’t aware, is “not much big, but not much little either. And one day I’ll grow much much MUCH taller, but now I’m just a little bit big and a little bit little.” She’s not the clearest at making her point (yet), but she’s totally right.

Two and a half (plus a little bit) is such an in between age. She’s just dropping her naps. She’s using full and complex sentences. She’s growing taller and her feet are huge. She’s almost entirely lost her baby chub and is getting longer and leaner. She’s vaguely contemplating toilet training. She’s starting to learn the ins and outs of social interactions. She talks to strangers (sometimes). She’s clever, and getting cleverer every day.

But at the same time, she’s such a baby still. She loses her mind when she’s hungry or overtired and is impossible to understand. She definitely definitely hasn’t got emotional regulation figured out (then again, there are quite a number of adults who haven’t either!) She is still so needy. She throws tantrums. She needs so much help to exist in the world. These may sound negative all in a list like this, but I don’t intend them to be so. They are totally and absolutely normal for a two year old, and I recognise and appreciate that. I only mention these things because I find it such an interesting age. It’s not always an easy age, but it’s definitely one of my favourite ages so far. 

And for a description of one of my favourite ages, and of my very favourite kid, I thought I’d share a few of her favourite things:

  • Puffin Rock. As mentioned earlier, Puffin Rock has 100% taken over from Peppa Pig as #1 favourite show. I’m not at all sad about this. I quite enjoy Peppa Pig, but Puffin Rock is just lovely. 
  • Helping in the office and the laundry. She’s not always helpful (today she tipped a box of labels out all over the office and poured pepper out all over the floor in the laundry), but she’s pretty good at getting paper from the printer and stamping and pressing the green button on the EFTPOS machine and passing keys and milk to people and other such important jobs.
  • Books. If there’s one thing she could never give up, it’s books. She goes for the “read one book over and over again” system, which can get tiresome, but I love how much she enjoys stories.
  • Her baby doll, usually called Baby, sometimes called Baba Boo. She goes through phases in her play, but at the moment she’s very much in a baby phase. My personal favourite is her tendency to ask “Baby want to see your room, Mama. Would that be okay?” Her favourite is probably taking Baby for a swim.
  • Macaroni Cheese. She eats quite well, in general, but she will scoff down cheesy pasta like there’s no tomorrow!
  • Birthdays. She brings me birthday gifts (usually stones or daisies) most days, she reads a Birthday Cake baking book over and over, she talks about her birthday party “in July”, and she loves to pick birthday presents. 
  • Jumping. She jumps when she’s excited. She jumps on the trampoline. She jumps off the couch arm onto bean bags. She jumps onto us and off us again. She jumps down stairs and around the garden and everywhere.

This list is not exhaustive, and changes all the time. But, for now, it’s a pretty good little summary of what she’s like. She’s amazing, as all kids are amazing. But she’s our kid, so to us, she’s the most amazing! Thanks for indulging my parental pride!