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The Penalty Box

During our 18 month check up, the doctor asked if I had any questions. I basically had only one, do you have any advice on discipline? He gave a slight chuckle and basically shared a few pieces of advice that he has learned over the years. The plan when dealing with a crazy toddler was pretty simple in theory if not in practice. It is all about distraction, distraction, and distraction. He suggested using the loud sharp, No, only for real scary situations such as when he is about to stick a fork in an electrical outlet. If he is just being mischievous use different warnings because after awhile the No would just become white noise. And if all this should fail to calm the beast? The so-called Time Out works with toddlers in the sense that it takes them out of the action. Of course it is also pretty much a Time Out for you, as you have to make sure they stay in one place. I have found the playpen makes a pretty nice temporary baby jail as most people don’t have access to Alcatraz.

However, the doctor’s most important advice came when we hit upon the subject of the dreaded temper tantrum, the kind that are sprinkled with a mix of kicking and screaming on top. The best tactic is to lose the battle but win the war. The toddler can scream and flip out longer than you can, in other words, you can’t match him at his level. You have to go on defense by excusing yourself to another location and calming yourself down or in his words doing a primal scream into a pillow. Once refreshed and hydrated you are ready to deal with the little guy for round two. So in the end like everything else in life it is important to just breathe.

Toy Stories

I must confess that I have a soft spot for toys. On the scale of whether or not we ‘need’ a new toy I lean towards yup. This practice has resulted in LTD not only a few too many toys but toys that are a little above his pay grade. Don’t worry I’m not talking about a bb gun or lawn darts, more likely a toy car for a two year old when he was 18months. The result of these advanced items was that the little guy never really played with them ‘correctly’ or the ‘right’ way. Don’t get me wrong I believe whole heartily that the only reason toys exist is to let kids use their imaginations. If LTD wants to use a car as a hammer, I may stop him from doing it on the coffee table, but I won’t yank it out of his hand and tell him to ‘do it right.”

However, one of the interesting outcomes of LTD’s rapid, everyday I change, development spurts is that he has started playing with some toys in the manner they were intended. Keeping in mind there are no judgments only observations it is neat to see him drive a toy car across the floor or stack blocks. Don’t get me wrong, he still does plenty of smashing and hammering, but he is also starting to spend longer with each toy trying to figure out what it all means. I figure it is now only a matter of time until he makes GI Joe marry Barbie.

You Got the Sweetest Little Baby Face

It is pretty amazing when you think about it. The Mommy and I not only created this human being but we get to watch him slowly turn into the ‘being’ part everyday. However, sometimes the amazing part can also be bittersweet and it can seemingly happen overnight. What is my point? LTD no longer has a baby face. He is truly now a little boy. If I wasn’t so tired at the time I could tell you when he switched from newborn face to baby face, but I can tell you it doesn’t seem all that long ago. Now he looks like a little person. The biggest challenge is that I still refer to him as the baby as in ‘did you check on the baby?’ Yet, he really is in full-blown toddler mode. I guess they call it denial. Or maybe I just don’t think it is fun when he throws his shoes at my head. They say that youth is wasted on the young, but perhaps a new saying should be that babies are wasted on the sleep deprived.

Medusa Strikes Back

Before LTD was born I didn’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about childhood development. Traditionally, I divided kids up into two categories, I used to ask them if they liked Superman or Batman and if they didn’t understand what I was talking about then they were in category one and if they said, no dude, we love Wolverine then they fell into the other category. However, I did have a small awareness of the differences between babies, toddlers and first graders. Turns out I was pretty far off the mark. I really just thought all the tantrum behavior didn’t start until kids were two. Turns out it starts pretty early. What is my point? LTD loves pulling hair. Yours, mine and his own. He just loves it.

The thing about LTD’s hair pulling is that he doesn’t do it only when he is angry. Sure, he pulls when he is pissed and upset, but the truly annoying thing about his hair pulling habit is that he does it when all systems are normal. Of course in the nothing is every easy department, his hair pulling ritual seems to be mostly reserved for other toddlers. The outcome of these exchanges, when I can’t stop them in time, results in the kid crying and a parent giving me judging look. Sometimes they say, oh don’t worry about it, my kid does it too, but you know what they mean is, you are a monster and you are raising a monster. In the end there is very little I can do about it, like a lot of issues it seems the answer is, they will grow out of it. Until then I must remain ever vigilant.

One Year Plus One Half

Last week LTD reached the milestone of 18 months or a year and half to people who don’t recognize time as ticked off in months. I could go on and on about all the changes and development that has happened to the little guy in a year and half, but what really amazes me is that it has only been a year and half. I can’t remember what I did for the other 34 years of my life because it feels like I have been taking care of this kid for all of them. I feel like a year and half isn’t really that much. If you were planning a trip to Australia and it was year and half away you could deal view as not being a big deal. However, this past year and half has been filled with the longest days of my life. It just seems crazy to feel this way and we haven’t even hit the number two mark. Not to mention how many years it still is until we even hit kindergarten. I guess in the end the only thing to do is see how many shots the little guy will get at his 18 month doctors appointment and start measuring time differently.

Clear the Runway

LTD has now become a 10th level master of the stairs. He scurries up and down them like a forest creature of myth. However, ever since he first learned to go up and down the stairs he does a little ritual that he has not dropped as his skills advance. In the beginning of his vertical journey, he learned to go up the stairs long before he learned how to go down them. But one day, all on his own, he figured out how to get on his belly and go down the scary stairs. Soon he was going up and down without incident. What is the ritual you ask? When approaching stairs going down LTD will start five to ten feet away from the steps get on his belly and slowly begin backing up to the stairs. The only thing missing is the beeping sound big trucks make when they back up. I have no idea why the little guy feels he needs so much runway but I applaud his safety first attitude.

Honk if You Have my Nose

About a month ago The Mommy taught LTD a few facial features eyes, mouth, nose. Lately, we have added chin, cheeks and even moved down the body to the elbow. However, the nose remains LTD’s favorite because unlike the other parts the nose involves an action (well, the eye’s action is him poking me in the eye, so we won’t select that one for special mention). When LTD hears the word nose he first grabs his with thumb and finger as you utter the only thing one can utter in that situation, honk-honk. Next, he frees his own schnoz from bondage and locks on to his next target. He grabs my nose and then, again, I have to say honk-honk. I of course have to remind friends and family that if he grabs their noses they need to honk. Heaven help us all if they don’t. The funny thing about his nose grabbing is that if we are reading a book and the word nose comes up or he points to something and it’s a nose (really a animal’s snout) and I say nose he immediately grabs his nose. Thankfully, he lets go pretty quick so we feel no need to curb this behavior. It’s also way better than him lifting up my shirt and sticking his finger in my belly button.

Gulliver’s Travels

Last night The Mommy and I went to find some pajamas for the boy to wear and whenever we do that I always encourage her to put him in the awesome superhero pjs. She said, I don’t think you are going to like how this is about to go. She reluctantly put the little guy into the sweet superhero pjs and they so didn’t fit at all. I know what you’re thinking, what’s my point? My point is I can remember that it seemed like just the other day that the awesome superhero pajamas were way too big for him. LTD has become like one of those toys you put in water and watch grow 50 times in seconds. It is crazy to me that I can literally watch him grow before my very own eyes. In a way I feel like a magician or gardener. I guess the reason I’m going on like this is because he was really swimming in those pajamas and now the thought that they are too tight blows my mind. However, all is now clear, my only course of action is to stop feeding him.

Put Me in the Zoo

So we have one of those, my son is a genius things on our hands. Even though he isn’t even a year and half old yet, he is capable of reciting Shakespeare. Okay, that is not true even a little bit. However, he is still wicked smart and knows his animals. If you approach LTD and ask him what a cow says, he will answer with the only acceptable answer to that question, Moo. And yes, I know what you’re thinking, it is the cutest thing ever. The only small problem is that the little guy doesn’t open his mouth to form his lips into the o shape, so his moo is pretty muffled, but still awesome. In fact, his moo is so in grained in his system that if you read a book to him and there is a cow in it, he will moo. You don’t even what to know what happens if he sees a cow in real life, the cute police come and it takes forever to fill out the paperwork.

LTD’s vocabulary isn’t limited to bovines. If you ask him what sound a bear makes, he of course growls. The Mommy and I have had his growl analyzed and the scientists feel it is in fact funnier than his moo. Sometimes I even get scared when I hear his growl because I fear a bear is actually on the loose. He is currently working on his quack, which is getting stronger everyday and his oink, which needs a lot of work. The only challenge left is that I don’t know what noise a rhinoceros makes.

Quiet Riot

I believe most people at one time or another have enjoyed the Quiet Riot hit song, Bang Your Head, however some more than others have taken the song’s message to heart. Somehow LTD found a copy of the album Metal Health and has used it as the inspiration for his latest pattern of behavior. That’s right true believers, he has started to hit his head against everything and anything. He does this when he is very frustrated and sometimes hits his noggin hard. He also does this when he is being silly and hits his melon less hard.

At first, it was all quite alarming, but now we just try and get him to stop. The Mommy ran the melon mashing by her peeps and they told her that it is fairly common in boys. One of the moms from the mom group shared that their doctor told them her son did it all the time and after he hit so hard he almost concussed himself, he learned it wasn’t such a good idea to do it anymore. Hopefully, it won’t take knocking himself out for LTD to learn to stop banging his head, but at the end of the day all we can do is try and stop him quickly and hope he grows out of it. I imagine it would be pretty embarrassing if he head butt’s his date at the Spring formal.