1) Walking / Talking. Basically, not really happening. Since both my husband and I were really late talkers that aspect doesn’t surprise me, but COME ON the walking??? It wouldn’t matter if Michael were a svelte little toddler, but he is not. He fluctuates about the 15-16 kg mark. I’m pretty certain that we are partly to blame for his slow development in this area, because the little man is terrified of falling, and the consequent screaming has us terrified of him falling, so the fear sort of gets reflected back and bounces around and gets all magnified and…it just means that he cannot let go of our hands. Not yet. Not ever????? It’s 90% psychological because when he is really desperate to get from Point A to Point B, he does make the (wobbly) leap but most times he just stands and wails for assistance, because he’s also apparently not too interested crawling anymore. This doesn’t help point 2, which is…
2) Independence. Or should I say, dependence. Yesterday, I found myself yelling (straight up yelling) at my dear baby repeatedly, because I was trying to get the house packed (we’re moving in a month) and he would not stop badgering me for my 100% attention. He couldn’t play on his own, even by my side. There have been periods in his life where he was pretty independent and was able to occupy himself for stretches of time, but this latest clingy season had me totally going bonkers and announcing to my helper that from now on Michael would be “under training”, which just means that throughout the day we try to get him to play on his own, just for short stretches of time. As I said earlier, it doesn’t help that he’s not walking independently, and still needs us to help him get from place to place. Sigh. But there has been a bit of progress, after even just one day of training, so I’m heartened and hopeful that we can uncling him yet.
3) The Pillows / Thumbsucking
Current baby pillow population: 10
He needs his pillows to fall asleep (not all of them at once, that photo above was just me doing a pillow count), and because he chews on them with a vengeance, my mother is on constant pillow replacement and repair duty. Thankfully, he doesn’t have much of a preference for any particular pillow, they just have to be kinda baby sized and soft and cuddly. It’s all very cute. What’s less cute is that he is still sucking his thumb, which I wouldn’t care about except that after a few particularly intense teething episodes (we are down to the four final molars by the way, YAYYY), his thumb is a war zone. We’re talking splitting flesh and swelling and it just looks really bad most of the time. When it got really bad once, we had to put a band aid on the thumb for a few days, which of course totally screwed up his sleeping for a few weeks, and then after it all healed and we thought he’d been weaned off the sucking, he found his beloved thumb again and we’re back to square one. In case you’re wondering, his other good thumb is not a substitute. I once tried to stuff his right thumb into his mouth and he looked like I’d just fed him an expired pickle. These days, I just try to manage it by cleaning it well and dabbing on lavender oil and lanolin.
4) Sleep. This is not something I like to report on too much, because everything usually changes the day after I hit “publish”. Ha. But for the first time in his life, Michael has been sleeping in. We are now on a 7.45pm to 8am schedule, which is of course total bliss. Bliss!!! For most of his life he was averaging at 6am for wakeups, so this is as good as it gets. When it happened, he started doing one solid afternoon nap (1pm – 3pm thereabouts), instead of a late morning nap and possible afternoon cat nap. Everything feels very reasonable and organized at this stage. But as I said, let’s see what happens tomorrow eh?
5) Food. My kid who used to eat everything I threw at him has finally developed an opinion on what tastes good and what does not. I kind of saw this coming and told my husband so, when he was getting a little too smug about Michael’s unfussy appetite a few months ago. Lately, I’ve had to try a little harder than just cobbling together some hastily cooked meat, broccoli and rice. I find that Japanese dishes tend to go down well in the household, so there’s been more of that. Here are some of the items on the current rotation:
– Japanese curry rice
– Teriyaki anything
– Pumpkin mac & cheese (I have little packets of frozen pumpkin in my freezer which means I can get this thrown together in about 20 frenzied minutes. I should post the recipe!)
– Open faced sandwiches (salmon/chicken mixed with a bit of mayo and avocado, smeared on to bread)
– Spaghetti bolognaise (is there any kid who does not like this?)
– Steamed sweet potato (he has this at almost every single meal)
– Ditto eggs (an egg almost every day)
I do try to be firm about him eating stuff that he doesn’t like, and thankfully he has been a good boy and makes a good effort at forcing it down. We’re still doing a lot of rice because that’s just what is always in the fridge, but I’m trying to give him different options now because he is clearly pretty sick of it.
6) Discipline. This deserves its own post. Suffice to say I have no idea what I’m doing here, honestly. The more I read about how I should be disciplining my toddler, the more confused and unsure I get. Interestingly, we have moved past an initial rebellious phase and are currently in a pretty compliant phase. The kid has started listening to us! It is very gratifying. At times, I just need to raise my eyebrows and a warning finger and he gets it. Other times, I’ve had to talk in my “I’m really serious” voice. And then on the rare occasion, when the tantrum has gone on too long and I’m trying to snap him out of it, a straight up “I’m angry and I’ve had enough of your nonsense” type holler works. The kind of shout that carries over his screaming, and can probably be heard by the neighbours. It is surely not recommended (don’t yell at me for yelling) but it is almost like waking up a snoring, mildly deaf person from a nightmare. He sort of shakes himself and suddenly calms down, and we both move on quickly. For now, that’s where we are. Tomorrow, he’s probably going to utter his first word, “NO”, and then I will have to regroup and restrategize.
7) Songs. The songs and the singing, they never end. He insists on a song for every occasion. I can’t put on his shoes without bursting into a rendition of “I am learning to get dressed…this is how I put on my shooooes”. He signals for a song by peering deep into my eyes and bopping his head up and down maniacally, and then we all scramble to figure out what song he’s requesting. Sometimes just one object or word will trigger it. “Pail” means we have to sing Jack and Jill. “Bread” is apparently a good enough reference for Hot Cross Buns. We are a living musical over here. It is, however, the easiest way to keep him occupied, when nothing else is available, so I’m thankful for it on those car rides where “look at that truck!” stops working.
8) Toilet training. Not even thinking about it.