Mommy’s monthly updates have been getting later and later each month. This month, I decided to combine two into one to catch us up and get us back to posting on or around your monthly birthday of the 3rd. It’s a long one, but that’s OK.
If we thought you were a talker before… This month, you’ve been speaking in complete sentences most of the time, and speaking clearly enough that we can understand you and actually have a short conversation. Once, you told Daddy about how you played in the sand table at school, and how it has a blue cover that you have to fold up. You’ve started talking to me at night and before I leave for work on Daddy Days, just going on and on about the things you’re pretending about or what you did at school that day. (I’ve been working hard at being polite and not interrupting you while you’re talking, just because I want to leave.) You can carry on brief conversations with other people, too, like strangers in the park, or nurses and doctors.
You’ve also improved your pronouns: instead of asking, “Carry you?” you’ll demand, “Carry me!” Instead of yelling, “MY DO IT!” if we try to carry you against your will, you’ll yell, “No! I want to walk!” Lately, you’ve also started saying “I have to” when you mean that you want to, which is kind of cute and kind of not.
The first time I was really surprised by your newfound verbosity was during a particularly frustrating bedtime. You can usually tell when you’ve irritated Mommy, and you’ll ask, “Are you happy?”
Sometimes you’ll just ask over and over and not actually do anything, and in those cases, I’ll sometimes spout off, “No! I’m not happy! You keep [insert annoying toddler behavior here], and it’s making Mommy frustrated.” Sometimes it’s not anything you’ve done specifically — you’re just being a little boy — and in those cases, I’ll answer, “No, I’m not happy, but that’s OK. I’ll be fine.”
On this particular night, instead of just saying, “Sorry,” you answered, “But, Mommy, I want to make you happy!”
That may have been the first time you responded appropriately to a situation with a complete sentence. That made me happy.
You have such an imagination. Anything can be a toy, and anything can become animated and want a hug or a drink of sippy, or have a boo-boo and need a pretend bandage. Your stuffed animal friends re-enact the lessons of the day or the week, frequently hitting each other and then apologizing, or being sad or frustrated, or getting time-outs for throwing or hitting.
Hitting has become a problem. My first reaction was to spank, embarrassingly enough, but that just confused the issue. How can I hit you, then say I hit you because there’s no hitting? Now, I remove myself from the situation when you start to hit and tell you that hitting is not acceptable. It works for me — I fold my arms and turn my back on you, partially to let myself cool down and partially to act as a signal to you that you are behaving inappropriately. You seem to take the hint, and will ask if I’m mad, and sometimes you’ll say you’re sorry, and occasionally give me a hug.
Too bad Mommy’s tactic won’t work at daycare, where you frequently hit friends and teachers and throw mulch and rocks and toys. We’re just hoping you’ll get control of your impulsiveness soon. You tell Mommy and Daddy afterward that you were naughty because you threw mulch — but in the moment, you can’t seem to stop the behavior. Not yet.
Luckily, tantrums have become fewer and farther between lately. You’re more able to control yourself, and we’re better able to understand and reason with you. When either Mommy or Daddy does something you don’t like, though, you’ll start asking for the other one. Then you ask for Grammy. Then Missy. Then Uncle Mark. Somebody, anybody, who will let you do what you want. It’s actually pretty amusing.
You have finally drawn the connection between peeing in the potty and getting an M&M as a reward. You used to get really upset when you couldn’t make any pee come out, and for a while you would try to convince Mommy that you should get a piece of candy just for trying.
Also, you pooped in the potty for the first time this month! Yay! Now it’s become a semi-regular thing (no pun intended).
I have to tell you, it makes Mommy feel kind of weird announcing that with such fervor and excitement. It seems like such a typical parental thing to say, and to be excited about — but most everyone else (and you, assuming you read this when you’re older) will roll their eyes at it. It’s a big deal, though! Poop in the potty is much easier to deal with than poop in a diaper.
You’ll game the system to get extra candy — you’ll pee a little before bath, squeeze out a little more after bath, then poop if you can (after we’ve already cleaned up from peeing), all to get three M&Ms instead of just one. Mommy and Daddy are onto your shenanigans, though, and are trying to get you to just keep going if you have to go.
That’s OK, though — Mommy and Daddy use the potty reward to get you to do other things, too, like getting calmly out of the bathtub without splashing or throwing a giant fit. Reminding you that you get another chance to pee in the potty and get a piece of candy after bath seems to work wonders.
Mommy’s been a little worried about your snacking habits. The good news is that you ask for healthy things: cheese, blueberries, or the occasional cookie. The bad news is that you seem to ask for them whenever we have the TV on, even if it’s right after dinner (and dessert). You don’t need to get in the habit of eating every time you’re watching your shows, and I’ve started telling you that we’re done eating for the day. If you ask again later, I’ll give you some fruit or cheese, but it’s hard for Mommy to tell whether you’re really hungry or just snacky — especially on days when you don’t eat much dinner.
That’s the thing — if you don’t like what’s for dinner (say, rice or meat), you won’t usually ask for something else. You just won’t eat it. You’ll eat your fruit or veggie, then say you’re all done… and ask for a snack ten minutes later.
You haven’t sat in your highchair for months. We’ve been letting you sit or kneel on a big chair, which has worked well enough. Now we’ve finally retired the highchair to the basement and bought you a soft rubber booster seat. So far, you really like it — and Mommy really likes that you can’t get out of it by yourself if you’re all pushed in at the table.
Lately, you’ve been bucking your trend of wanting the same TV shows and the same stuffed animal friends all the time. You’ve been asking for a different show, different snack, different book, different friend. I think maybe you’ve just mastered the concept of same versus different… although maybe you really are bored with the typical stuff. It’s more than a little frustrating to name all of your stuffed animals, or all the snacks in the cupboard, or all the shows on the DVR, or all the books by the reading chair in your bedroom, and have you still demand something different.
(After a while of you asking for a “different show,” Mommy started letting you watch Caillou on Sprout On Demand, and that’s become your new thing.)
Another new thing is you getting up after Mommy puts you to bed. You never used to do that. For a while there, you’d get up five minutes after bedtime, open your door, and lay down with your robe as a pillow and play with your stuffed animal friends. While Daddy was on vacation, you’d get right back up just a few minutes after Mommy tucked you in, and request “Daddy songs.” We’ve had to start standing up to you, though, and refusing to sing you any more songs. Sometimes you’re OK with that after a couple of tries, and just want to be covered up again, but sometimes you pitch a royal fit and cry for a few minutes (which has the added bonus of tiring you out extra good so you fall asleep faster).
A few times you’ve woken up crying in the middle of the night, and just needed tucked back in, sometimes with a song, too. Once, you told Mommy that you were scared of “the light,” but I wasn’t sure what you meant. You were definitely scared by the Fourth of July fireworks, and thunder and lightning, and we’re pretty sure you’ve had bad dreams that scared you, too.
We had a very nice weekend with Grammy this July. We went to the zoo on a Saturday morning, where we only spent about 90 minutes before you got extra hot and tired and hungry.
Then we ate lunch at Wei Wei, then came home for Quiet Time. After your nap, we went to dinner at Gradkowski’s — you had a kids’ pizza, although I think you would have liked the mac and cheese better. Came home, played a little, and it was time for bath and bed.
The next day, we had a nice breakfast together and played for a while.
Then, once Daddy got up, we went to New Empire for a dim sum lunch. Grammy went home after you went upstairs for Quiet Time.
Later that evening, Mommy texted Grammy to make sure she got home OK, and to tell her she forgot her water bottle cozy. When I told you I was talking to Grammy, you insisted that you wanted to talk to Grammy, too, so we had to call her up and put her on speakerphone. You sang her the ABCs (for lack of anything else to say).
You’re growing and becoming more of a big boy every day. My little baby is just about gone, replaced by this adorable, sweet, interactive, loving, imaginative little man.