My son’s growth this year is impressive – just don’t compare him to a porpoise | Séamas O’Reilly

We now have great conversations – but my boy’s increased mobility sometimes comes to a sticky end

‘They grow up fast’ is a thing people say to parents of toddlers and we generally nod in agreement because, I mean, I guess – but do they, really? Sure, we have to buy him new clothes more frequently than we do ourselves, but it’s not exactly blink and you’ll miss it stuff. They grow up fast? Compared to what? Whales? Trees? Kids certainly grow slower than cats or dogs or cows or any other animal I can think of. I think elephants and whales take a while, but I’m not willing to look it up because I’m too busy cleaning tomato soup from every surface of the kitchen for the fifth time this week – something I’m fairly sure a three-and-a-half-year-old porpoise or badger would have grown out of by now. In the hopes of getting a sense of my son’s development over the past year, let’s take a clear-eyed survey of how much has actually changed.

Speech is one of the areas of his development where time really does seem to have flown. When we watch videos of him from this time last year, helooks broadly the same, albeit a bit more squished and pudgy, but is still communicating in semi-garbled baby speech, whereas nowadays he’s one of the finest conversationalists I know. I am willing to admit that his propensity for chat is genuinely impressive, and the difference 12 months has made seems to stretch the bounds of reason. He has also gained the ability to learn any song you care to teach him, which has entered critical mass during the Christmas period. In terms of growing up fast, I’d have to give this a 9 out of 10, losing points only since he has miraculously not yet memorised any of the swear words he’s occasionally copied from us.

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