Feels like a long time since I wrote. What can I say? The 4th of July was wonderful here - great food and family at our place. No fireworks since we don't want to scare E and spoil our fireworks for the next decade. E noticed our neighbors' flags lining the yard, which was his first formal introduction to the USA flag. I summed it up for him: "This is a very special flag. This is the American flag. You are a very lucky boy that you were born in America."
Despite all the fun we've had here in the last couple of weeks, I guess you can say I'm not my usual peppy self. This is because I'm fighting to keep my cool! I know I'm being too hard on myself but I can't help it. E has a mind of his own and I'm finding it hard to stay patient. (I'm sure experienced moms are getting a hearty chuckle out of my novice anguish!)
This is definitely a change of pace from my calm, cooing infant. E is so busy! I spend my days chasing him most of the time. I've read all there is to read about toddler behavior and talked to everyone I know that's survived it. Everybody's got an opinion. Some suggestions are out of the question and others insinuate that I am not firm enough or that I am overly concerned. It's so frustrating!
So, again, like in my "smack down" post, I'm just trusting my gut. And ignoring any annoying people that may be judging me. I'm doing the best I can people!
What's the big deal, you ask? Well, here's what I'm working with:
Naptime. The honeymoon of two naps is over. Just one. Seriously, need I say more?
No More Bottle. Our doctor suggested by 18 months he should be weaned off the bottle. (I'm still mourning our time nursing, which we concluded at 14 months.) So finally, at 20 months, we've made the transition to exclusive sippy cups. Which means he's not my snuggle bunny with a bottle anymore. It's so sad!
Running. He's doing his damnedest to run, or something very close to it. Heaven help us when it's in full effect.
Busy, Determined, and Curious. These are all excellent and productive traits which may serve him well someday. But as a toddler...good grief!
Toilet. It's time to install that lock. Fingers splashing in the toilet (and kitty's water bowl) every chance he gets. Ewww.
Climbing. Much like Mount Everest, our house is apparently full of exciting ledges to scale. Window sills, baby gates, book shelves - all sorts of dangerous things. I'm worried the crib could be next!
Smacking and Throwing. Ah yes, a personal favorite. The smacking continues. I've tried to be firm and raise my voice to let him know that "hitting is not nice. We don't hit mommy!". Unfortunately, all this does is give him my undivided attention (which is generally what he wanted) and in a negative way. So now when I sense a smack coming on, I get down on his level and ask him what he needs. Then I try a tickle match, game, or quick story if there's time. Or I let him up to see what I'm making in the kitchen. We've also taught him how to "high five" which can satisfy his need to smack in a positive, appropriate way. This has curtailed some of it, thankfully. But when he gives me a good smack out of defiance, I still feel like I need to be firm and let him know I'm serious - it's rude, disrespectful, and not acceptable - but again, when I let it anger me, it only feeds his need for attention. So therein lies the dilemma. Another tactic that is proving effective is to take his hand and show him that hands are for being gentle. Then when he starts to smack I ask him to show me "gentle hands" and he starts rubbing my arm or leg.
This volatile toddler cocktail is largely responsible for my need to take a break. Time for mommy to step away, even if only overnight. (I wouldn't be comfortable leaving him for more than one night anyhow!) My sis is going to be in NYC this weekend so my plan is to meet up with her. Hallelujah! It's been four years since I've been to the MOMA and I'm dying to go! I haven't seen my sis since Christmas, so it would be a great little trip if I can swing it...I am in desperate need!