12-13 Months

I’ve discovered that an exploring one-year-old can be like a volcano eruption. It’s not about just looking at things anymore, it’s all about finding out how durable it is. If it can tear, it will be torn. Whatever is in the cupboard is now on the floor. If it can fit through the doggy door, you will find it outside. Drawers will be emptied and contents scattered from the bedroom to the kitchen. Toilet brushes better be on top of the toilet cistern or they will be tested and tasted. Toothpaste will be squeezed out onto the carpet and don’t get me started on dog food. My terrifying squeals of horror after finding Mia on top of the table or munching on some dog pellets have subsided as the month progressed. In fact, she quite enjoyed the dog food. How do I know? The ‘nam-nam-nam-nam’ sounds of delight before she tries another one.

One-year-olds are just that – one year old. Having a nervous breakdown over the contents of a brand-new box of breakfast cereal now spread all over the kitchen floor is not worth it. Life is too short and I’d rather have her enjoy the box of cereal on the floor instead of having a fit and both of us in tears. I don’t allow Mia to ransack my kitchen, but on occasion, when I forget to close the protective locks on the kitchen cupboard and she discovers it like a hungry hound, I’ll try not to make such a big fuss. The cereal will remain on the floor whether I have a fit or not. I’d rather leave her to play in it for a few minutes, gaining excellent sensory stimulation input, while I have a cup of coffee in peace … or pack lunches or eat breakfast or go to the loo without an audience.

The greatest play activities are often the messiest. One-year-olds love messy play. Allow it! Remember to keep a mindful eye, because at this age almost everything that goes to the mouth can present a choking hazard. Cooking some noodles and presenting it cooled down in a big plastic tub will keep Mia busy for at least 30 minutes. Cleaning up will only take 5 and I can do SO much with 30 uninterrupted minutes. I can cook a meal, answer emails, make a phone call, feed the dogs, pack Janno’s bag for school and prepare for bath time; all in 30 minutes … and somewhere in between I’m sure I’ll manage to drink a cup of tea and enjoy one of my favourite songs on the radio.

I’ve learned from Mia to embrace this phase of seemingly destructive exploration and try and appreciate how much she enjoys discovering her world. She lives life to the full; every moment.

MommaMia Tip: Enjoy life. Do things differently. Explore something you haven’t had the courage to do before. Make time to have fun!

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