Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Developmental Explosion, Part II

Continuing where I left off with this post... I didn't want to put you all completely to sleep!

I guess Aidan was a bit of a late bloomer as far as becoming attached to an object for sleep or comfort.  Unless you call that object Mom or Dad!  Finally, though, there is an object of his affection.

Yup, it's an Eeyore snuggle buddy.  And he LOVES it.  It's an absolute must-have for bedtime and naps.  If Eeyore isn't there, there'll be no sleeping.  I went back to where I bought this one to buy a backup one just in case, and they didn't carry them anymore.  So I had to order one online and pay shipping!!  He will sometimes settle for other snuggle buddies in a pinch, but Eeyore is his strong preference.  And I like the fact that this particular one doesn't have a rattle in it.  It's so precious to watch him curl up with Eeyore and play with his ears to fall asleep.

Speaking of going to sleep, I guess I need to confess that he's not totally off bottles yet.  He only has a bottle at bedtime, though, and first thing in the morning.  That is going to change very soon.  We probably could have pulled it already, but I had read (a hundred times) to do that when there aren't any other major changes going on.  He started the transition to his new room at daycare about a month ago, and it's been really hard on him, so we decided to wait until that blows over.  I suspect another week or so and he'll be ready.  Honestly, I don't expect him to throw a fit about it; I guess that's one big reason that I haven't been too stressed about him still having the bottle.  It's been more of a convenience for us than a demand of his, really.  It's just going to be a matter of making a new routine at bedtime.

I read in my trusty What to Expect book that saying 'goodnight' to various objects in the house can be a helpful transition to signal bedtime, so hubby (who typically puts him to bed) has started doing that.  Every night they put his nighttime diaper on, slather on some lotion, don the nice warm jammies, and then they set out to say goodnight to each of the rooms upstairs before bed.  He waves at the doorway of each one, which is pretty cute.

On the food front, this boy is eating his weight in food every day, I swear.  He is a machine right now.  They feed him breakfast, lunch and two snacks at daycare each day, and it's really good food, and he is still starving by dinner.  Perfect example - yesterday, he had cheerios, milk and bananas for breakfast at daycare; crackers and water for morning snack; meatloaf, sweet potatoes, pears and milk for lunch; and a muffin with oranges and water for afternoon snack.  Then, when we came home, he was really demanding food, angry-like, so I started giving him a few snacky things and he didn't stop until after dinner.  He ate: two full-size graham crackers, an entire fairly-large banana, a slice of cheese, about 20 goldfish crackers, some cubed pear, a handful of Crispix (can you tell I'm trying to quell his hunger with snacks while I try to do other things?), a handful of Cheerios, about 3/4 cup of macaroni and cheese and hot dogs, and probably 6 ounces of water (he requested water this time, not milk).

And he was still signing 'more' when we cut him off after all that food!

Dude.  Where does it all go?!  I have no idea.  I've noticed his face getting pudgy again and his belly is starting to pop out again too.  I suspect he's bulking up for an upward growth spurt in the very near future.  Geesh, at this rate I'll never be able to keep up with his intake when he's a teenager!  The great news is that he loves his fruits and veggies.  Given the choice he'll eat a veggie over most other foods.  I try to always put veggies on his tray first so he starts nibbling on those before he gets the main course.  His favorite veggies are corn and green beans.  He'll eat peas, but he finds it much more enjoyable to just smush them and finger-paint!  Favorite fruit is - for sure - bananas.  But I haven't found one yet that he doesn't like or won't eat.  We are very fortunate in that he's a good eater and will always try something new.  He's one of the least picky eaters I've ever seen.  Once in a great while he'll turn up his nose at something he normally likes, but it's rare.

But don't let me make you think it's all peaches and cream here, people.

Apparently - and I didn't know this until yesterday - something happens at 15 months that makes a sweet and adorable baby turn into a creature that could land a starring role in an Exorcist movie.  No lie.  He's been a little moody lately, but I chalked that up to the changes at school, teething, the fact that he's getting over a stomach bug, etc.  However, yesterday's brief trip to the grocery store was the last straw.  We were in there maybe twenty minutes; he spent at least nineteen of those minutes screeching, shrieking, screaming, crying, gasping for air, and flinging his head to the side/front/back for extra dramatic flair.  This is not the first time it's happened, but it was certainly the worst.

Of course, I immediately blamed myself.  I must be spoiling him.  I've ruined this child already.  I thought back to before we had kids, when we'd see a kid this age acting like that, we'd always think 'geez, parent(s), are you really gonna let your kid rule you like that?'  Well, now I am that parent.  Add to all of this that I have just a wee stubborn streak myself (yes, very minor, ahem...) and it's just a bad situation.  He starts acting like that and I decide it's a good time for him to learn something about how to behave in the store, and next thing you know, he's in total hysterics (despite my ignoring him completely) and I feel like a prime candidate for the Susan Smith Mother of the Year Award.

After the raving beast was in bed last night, I did what any desperate mother who isn't allowed to drink (for health reasons, not pregnancy) does: I turned to Google for answers.  I typed "tantrums at" ... and guess what the SECOND suggestion to pop up was?  Yup.  "Tantrums at 15 months."  What?!  Not two years old, or three, or six?  Fifteen months specifically?!  Turns out this is some very special time in a kid's life during which tantrums are new and exciting and likely to get a reaction from Mom and Dad (and everyone in the grocery store... and nearby parking lots).  Who knew.  So I've not ruined my kid!  Sweet!

Everything I read suggested the things we are already doing.  Don't engage the child mid-tantrum.  Ignore the behavior if the child isn't in any physical danger throwing the tantrum where they are.  (If they launch into their tirade whilst standing on the couch, you are to gently move them to the floor or their crib or wherever and then wander off and wait for it to pass.)  Trouble is, my tendency as a parent is to correct bad behavior, not ignore it, so this one is hard for me.  I have to remind myself on a constant basis that while he does pick up on some things around him at this point, he is not yet wise enough to be reasoned with.  I explain to him that Mommy only plays with babies who aren't throwing fits, but to expect him to understand that at this point is unreasonable.

So it appears that he and I both have things to work on.  He needs to quit acting like an honorary member of the Kardashian family, and I need to stifle my own stubbornness long enough to get through the tantrum and return to harmony.  And Daddy needs to work on not coddling during tantrums.  And when he's a little older, there'll be plenty of discussions about good versus bad behavior.  But right now, he just isn't equipped to handle them.  So I suppose I'll save them up.  It's not going to be fun to be him in a couple years when I unleash them all at once!

On a happier note, I'm getting more excited about Christmas.  A friend posted something on her blog today that served as a great reminder that while there may not be a giant pile of presents this year, we already have more gifts than could ever be counted with dollars.  We have each other, we have a warm house and food to eat, and we have the most beautiful baby boy to share it all with.  And two sweet little dogs, too.  Life is good.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Developmental Explosion

Before Aidan came along, I had all these thoughts and plans about how I was going to document his growth.  I was going to be the picture-perfect Mom, you know.  His baby book would be filled in with every new sound, action, expression, and measurement.  I'd write a blog every week about all the things he was doing, how I was feeling, on and on.  I'd write long, sappy letters to him and tuck them away in the aforementioned baby book so he could read them later and know just how much he was loved.

Well, not one of those things has happened!  Life gets in the way, doesn't it?!

Anyway, it is a whole new ballgame having another little human being in the house who is so... mobile.  Obviously we knew this would happen, but knowing and experiencing are two different things.  There are two CD/DVD racks in our living room that are off-limits, and it's pretty funny (read: aggravating) that the more tired or cranky he is, the more attractive they become.  He has 300 toys in the same room, but those racks are like Disney World when he's in a mood.  I would have moved them already if I had a good place to put them!  Another new development is the inclination to climb things.  He has several little ride-on toys (cars, firetrucks, etc)... he has figured out that if he rolls one of them to where he wants to reach something, he can climb up on it and reach his goal.  Thankfully, he usually has a reasonable fear to accompany this new found skill.

Almost a year after entering daycare, it was finally time for my little monkey to graduate from the baby room to the next one up.  Despite the painstaking effort of the daycare to introduce him to the new room gradually and gently, he took the transition pretty hard.  I was really surprised, as were his teachers in the baby room.  They kept telling me, "but he's so easy-going, he's so social, we didn't expect him to bat an eye at transition time!"  Who knows.  His first full day in the big-boy room was last Monday, and every day through the week he improved a little bit in terms of interacting with the other kids and handling things well.  Morning drop-offs are still a bit brual, but he's getting better.  I'm so proud of him, and the new room and new teacher are both outstanding.  We pay a ridiculous amount for child care, but knowing that your child is being well taken care of, that they are genuinely loved, and that they are learning and spending time in such a positive environment is priceless.  It's a church-affiliated daycare, so I like that he's getting exposure to the Bible and everything that goes with that.

Speaking of daycare, I've been particularly impressed with how much they have taught him in sign language.  I always wanted to do this with him, but as with everything else, life gets in the way, and they beat me to the punch.  He is reliably signing: more, please, milk, water, all done, up... that's all I can think of.  It's so nice being able to communicate with him before his speech is 'there!'

Don't get me wrong, he's talking a little bit.  As I mentioned in my list, he's saying: Dada, Mama, car, Grandma, dog (which usually comes out dog-dog), woof-woof, otter, water, a couple of his friends' names at daycare, yeah/no (which both kinda sound the same and are used interchangeably?).  He's really into mimicking people right now, so that's been a lot of fun.

I think I'm going to pause this little monologue and continue it in my next post... don't want to bore you TOO badly...

* * *

I am so very excited that Nick at Nite has been running episodes of Friends!!  I liked the show when it was on, but I really adore it now.  Maybe someday when money is flowing again, I'll invest in the series on DVD.  It's definitely one that I could watch over and over.

Oh, and one more thought.  It's seven days til Christmas.  I haven't wrapped a single gift.  Uh oh!  I mean, it won't take nearly as long as usual since we had to go SOOO very light on gifts this year, but still.  Our tree currently has nothing under it, and that part kinda drives the point home about how broke we are, so I should really get it fixed.  Hopefully tomorrow I can bring myself to start wrapping the few things we did buy!  We have three gifts for Aidan, nothing for each other, and two gifts for the family Christmas drawing.  That's it.  It's nice not to spend the weeks leading up to Christmas in such a frantic tizzy of shopping... but it's hard too, because my favorite part of Christmas is spoiling those I love and making them happy.  So it's a bit of an adjustment for us.

How is your holiday season going??