The last few months have been chock-a-block with milestones. In September, I graciously advanced one year further into my thirties. In October, Sophia turned 18 months. Then the beginning of November marked four years since I made my first tentative steps into the world of blogging, and with it, four years of expat life in Doha. It’s been a reflective kind of time, looking back on our lives in the desert and the changes that I am seeing every day in Baby Sunshine. The biggest development I have witnessed since we celebrated her first birthday is in her ability to form tight and affectionate relationships with other children that she comes into contact with. It’s such a delight to see her developing these early toddler friendships, knowing that what they are already teaching her will have a profound impact on her later life.
Friendship is often underrated when we come to weigh up the various factors that can have an impact on our lives and well being, and early childhood and toddler friendships even more so, as parents and caregivers often overlook these blossoming relationships as important tools for development. We don’t always realise how attached young children become to their friends.
As a child, I moved home at ages 2, 14, and then again when I started University at 19. Each time, I left behind important friendships with people who were the centre of the world as I knew it back then. I continued to visit and write letters to the friends I made as a baby well into my teens (proof that toddler friendships can endure the test of time!), and I will never forget the heartache that came with saying goodbye to my teenage friends to move halfway across the country when I was 14.
So what does science tell us about the importance of toddler friendships?
- They help in the development of social and emotional skills, increasing feelings of belonging and decreasing stress.
- They have a powerful positive influence on school performance and discourage deviant behaviours.
- They allow toddlers to stay entertained for more than 5 minutes at a time, thus allowing mum to put her feet up and actually finish her cup of tea (I did my own research for this one).
Baby Sunshine’s closest, and most special friend is, and always has been, Naomi – a.ka. baby Clumsy Chic, or ‘Nene’ as she is known to Sophia. When they’re together, we call them Baby Sunshine and Baby Moon. These two have a really tight bond and when Karen and I get together for play dates, we often find ourselves following them around for hours, laughing at their silly dancing and endless giggles, filming them on our smartphones as they get up to all kinds of mischief.
It was important for us to document this friendship so that they could look back on it in years to come, and what better way to commemorate a friendship than with a very special picnic in the beautiful grounds of the Sheraton Grand, wearing dresses from the brand new AW collection by Cath Kidston?
They chatted, they ran amok, and they shovelled bread rolls, apples and berries into their little mouths like there was no tomorrow! It was so fun watching them together, and I think you’ll agree that the photos, which were all taken by the incredibly talented Karen, turned out incredibly well!
The new Cath Kidston children’s collection includes the familiar array of pretty floral printed garments, but they have updated their fabrics and colour palette for winter. Royal blue features heavily throughout the collection, with touches of velvet, giving the garments a luxury feel. The dresses are perfect for all of the celebrations that are looming as the festive period gets closer.
For now, is there anything more fitting of a celebration than a very first toddler friendship? Let’s all raise our hands to that!
The new season collection is available at Cath Kidston stores throughout Doha now.
Like what you see? Follow me on Instagram here for a very exciting EXCLUSIVE giveaway launching tomorrow!
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All photos courtesy of Clumsy Chic.
Head over to Clumsy Chic for the fashion angle on the girls’ shoot.
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