Rookie Mum Stuff: Cause and Effect

Development leaps

by Anna Dixon | Tue, January 16, 2018

Theo turned one in September, and something changed in him practically overnight, like I was seeing my baby boy in a whole new light. His hair looked longer, his legs looked sturdier, ready to take their first steps, and his eyes looked focused and all-knowing.

Anna and Theo

I’m not a parent who particularly reads lots about milestones and mental leaps – I’ve always just sort of thought...he’ll get there when he gets there. But a few weeks after Theo’s first birthday, a switch clearly flipped inside of him. He had become so aware, so intentionally funny, so able to communicate what he wanted, that I had to look up what was happening inside that little head of his. 

According to the pros, at around 55 weeks old (i.e. just after their first birthday) a child has a big developmental leap, and the experts say it’s one of the most obvious in terms of behavior (both good and bad). 

The most notable part of this leap? Theo suddenly began to understand cause and effect; he knew how to make us laugh, knew with one gesture how to tell us when he wanted to watch In the Night Garden (his favorite show) and knew that by throwing the food he didn't want on the floor, that he wouldn't have to eat it. 

Rookie Mum

My parents were recently in the city, and they saw this change happening while they were here. They saw his wobbly first steps, his new trick of putting his hands over his eyes in despair every time we would say “oh no!” and his defiance when he wanted something he either couldn’t reach, or that we wouldn’t let him have. He had become a toddler.

When my parents left, I felt even sadder than I usually do at their departure. Theo, as his new toddler-self, had gotten used to having his family around. Thanks to our thrice-weekly WeChat video calls, Theo remembered who Grandma and Grandad were the minute they arrived, and he got totally used to having extra people around him to love, watching him develop and grow at lightening speed. And then they were gone. And I couldn’t explain to him why they were in the phone again, unable to give him a cuddle or tickle him or hold his hand, and not here in reallife.

Cause: We live in China. 

Effect: Theo misses out on having a big family around him all the time. 


Simple, but to a little boy just learning this stuff, perhaps a little hard to swallow. 

As we all know, there are a thousand pros to our little ones spending their early years, or even whole childhood, living abroad, and for the most part we are extremely lucky at the lives we’ve carved out for ourselves here. But that doesn’t stop it from being really, really hard sometimes – especially when our babies start to turn into real little people.