Here's the latest instalment in our child development calendar, designed to bring back all those memories of what babies and toddlers should be doing and (roughly) when.
This one focuses on how your grandchild will be developing at two-and-a-half years.
Two-and-a-half can be a the age of "no!’‘ and "won’t!" and "not!" While this sounds deeply unattractive and can be difficult to deal with if you only see your grandchild occasionally, the phase is usually over by the time she‘s three. Arguably, it's worse for your bewildered (if belligerent) grandchild than it is for you.
Negatively. She may have shown signs of resistance and stroppiness before the age of two, but, by two-and-a- half, she has a major attitude problem. She likes to follow rituals and do things her way and is furious if you interrupt her or try to do suggest she might try things differently. Sometimes she doesn't know what she wants to do but knows it isn't anything you've got on offer - even, incredibly, the park or an ice cream.
Learn to pick your fights - it’s probably not worth going to war over a Cornetto (there are those who‘d say once you're into a full-on confrontation you’ve already lost anyway). If you’re lucky, you won’t be the sort of gran who needs to put her foot down; there will be parents to do that.
It's hard to make her happy, although you can catch her out revealing her sense of humour sometimes; you’ll be pleased to know that this will be making much more frequent appearances by the age of three. In the meantime, while your two and a half year-old is trying to decide how to live her life (somewhat prematurely) you are trying to fathom out just what on earth her problem is.
The trick is to be completely saintly yourself. Poor love, she doesn't like making herself or you unhappy. It’s a good idea to set aside enough time for her to try to dress herself, feed herself and bath herself without urging her to get a move on.
Now is the time she’ll have rituals before bed and it’s wise to stick to them. She may like to have a teddy in bed, her light on or nursery rhyme tape playing. But this is also the time when she decides she'd rather be downstairs, thank you very much, even though that might well make her sob with tiredness and over-excitement.
She will help to clear up and put things away because she's keen to behave like an adult (not realising that adults hate putting things away and would rather persuade someone else to do it).
She can understand a bit more about cause and effect, so begins to understand that if she grabs that knife she may cut her fingers off. She is keen to name things and compare them, being able to say, not always correctly but with a sense of injustice, that someone else has a bigger biscuit than she does.
She can understand simple time concepts, like ‘we will go the park after we've had lunch’ but she’s still likely to make a fuss because she'd prefer it the other way round.
Restlessness at night is common and may be due to her being anxious about saying good night and being left. This is partly to do with her growing realisation that she is a separate person, which is after all a pretty big concept to get to grips with.
She can complete one of those great wooden puzzles of three or four pieces and sort objects by shape and colour. She can understand the difference between make-believe and reality, and will play make-believe games with her toys and animals.
She can make a tower of eight bricks (although not always under pressure) and when she draws she will now make horizontal and vertical lines. She can jump and hop. She may ask to go to the toilet and be dry during the day although this is variable.
She can join together bits of sentences, using a subject, verb and object. She will refer to herself as 'I' and know her full name, even if her parents have given her a ludicrous one.