In our neck of the woods, there is no such thing as a two year check, but instead an oddly specific 27-month check.
I know this because I recently received a letter from the health visiting team requesting I make an appointment for the toddler, along with a questionnaire to complete beforehand.
Those of you with children of the same age (I feel your pain) may well have seen this questionnaire. It assesses your two year old’s language and communication, motor skills, problem solving and what they call ‘Personal-Social’ skills.
I dutifully made an appointment and filled out the questionnaire.
It included questions such as this;
Can she follow simple two-step directions? Absolutely. But generally only when it suits her or there is bribery involved, of course.
Can she thread beads on to a shoelace? I can’t say I’ve ever thought about whether or not she could master this essential life skill. I’m not keen on acquiring yet another small irritating toy that is easily scattered and a choking hazard for my climbing baby. I know they’re trying to assess the pincer grip… but given how hard she can pinch in the middle of a tantrum I don’t think we have to worry about that.
Does she use cutlery? If putting things into a spoon before spilling it in your lap counts, then yes. How about combing their hair with a fork whilst they eat with their hands? I wonder if there are points for effort.
Does she put things back where they belong? I refer you to my first answer.
Show her this picture and write down what she says. “It’s a little man mummy. He does cry. He lost his mummy.” Dark.
I knew before I opened the questionnaire that I had absolutely no worries about my daughter’s language.
She talks non stop, and knows more words than some adults I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. When she had croup before Christmas she lost her voice completely and it was eerily (one could almost say pleasantly) quiet.
It wasn’t always like that; while other parents were reporting that their children were saying ‘mama’ at four months (which is of course complete bollocks, but let’s not spoil it for them), she didn’t manage to say the word ‘mummy’ until she was 19.5 months, on the day her baby brother was born.
Words she could say at this point included (of course): daddy, no, yoghurt, cheese, shoes, poo, apple, keys, car, Peppa, various creatures of the animal world, the dog’s name, nanny, crayon, the words to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star… There were plenty more but you get the picture.
By the time she actually said ‘mummy’, loudly and confidently as she entered the hospital room with my parents, it was fairly obvious that she had been trolling us for some time.
She was definitely claiming her territory, pulling on the old heart strings in case any one was paying the baby too much attention.
Since then her language has come on in leaps and bounds.
She now orders us, and everybody else, around in full sentences.
Me yesterday morning: ‘Come on sleepyhead! Time to get up!’ (This is not a humblebrag by the way. She only ever has to be dragged out of bed when we need to be up and out early. On days that she could lie in uninterrupted, like today, she is up at the arse crack of dawn. And if, by some miracle, she is sleeping in then her brother is not. They are a pair of tag teaming sleep thieving little toerags).
Her: ‘No mummy, I’m busy. Go away’.
Me: ‘Would you like a crumpet?’
Her: ‘No thank you mummy, I don’t like crumpets. I want crisps. I want crisps please mummy!’
Anyway, we went along to the 27 month review and the whole thing was a bit of an anticlimax really. They didn’t ask her to count to 20, or spell her name, read from Shakespeare or any of the other tricks we had rehearsed (Just kidding. Kind of).
Instead she hid her face in my crotch and after warming up a little went off to claim the good toys and boss around the two polite and quiet little boys who were also having their checks, before entering into full tantrum mode because I couldn’t magic an apple out of my bag.
She refused, loudly and verbosely, to be weighed and measured (she ‘definitely knows her own mind’, said the health visitor. That’s a good thing, right?).
All in all, I’m not overly sure she set the impression I was aiming for.
However, she’s definitely very normal for a two year old.