Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Best and Worst of Times With a Toddler

I read a fantastic blog this morning from a friend of mine where she talked about her struggles and joys with her son during his first year of life. Here is the link if you'd like to read her post. It's fantastic: I highly recommend it.

Anyway, it got me thinking. She talked about how the baby stage wasn't her favorite stage of life, and I realized that the stage that we had just hit and nearly passed is probably my least favorite stage of babyhood.

Kevin was an awesome baby. He was nearly always cheerful, he slept through four hour chunks at night, and he immediately grasped the concept of nursing. We had a pretty peaceful babyhood.

He became mobile quite quickly, as we might have mentioned before. He was crawling at six months, and fluently walking at nine months. At the time, we were pretty proud, but that quickly led to pleased-horror as he began to get into everything.

That stage wasn't even really that bad though. Kevin has an inherent cautious streak in him. He might do something once, but he learns pretty quick when something hurts him, and he tends not to do it again. Due to that, it's been pretty easy to allow him to make some mistakes, because he usually learns from them (key word: usually).

However, this last stage has been pretty challenging. Kevin is now at the stage where he KNOWS what he wants, and he isn't able to communicate it very well. That, combined with me leaving for work with a month and his eye teeth coming in, has made for a pretty grumpy, frustrated child.

When my son would scream and scream and follow me around the house, but wouldn't want to be touched, has probably been the hardest point of motherhood for me. It was very frustrating, because I often know what he wants, but it was something I either couldn't give him, or I didn't want him to have. He couldn't understand that though, so it resulted in a temper tantrum. It didn't matter what I did, he would just stuck in the angry phase.

He's also still nursing, and that makes it difficult because I am about ready to wean him. However, with as much pain as he's been in, some days all he wants to do is nurse.

When Kevin throws a temper, it can be pretty hilarious. He'll stomp his feet and swing his arms and blurb his lips. Sometimes I have to laugh at him, because he's so cute. Of course, that can make him even more angry. Sometimes humor is our only salvation.

I don't really enjoy those times when he was behaving that way.

The other thing that he has been doing that has been frustrating is when he tries to hurt you. Somewhere he picked up pinching, biting, and hitting. We're working on those, but the more tired he is, the more he tries to lash out. He's learning, even if it can be a slow process. I think he just does't comprehend that he's hurting other people. He thinks it is some kind of game.

At the same time, it has been a glorious period. Kevin is starting to talk, and it has been thrilling to hear identifiable words come from his mouth. He can say bubble, run, and dog. One of my favorite things that I hear him say, is he will go, "He says ROOAARR (or whatever noise he just heard something make)." He'll say it a couple times if I don't react right away. That's always fun to hear.

It's amazing what he can do now!
He's an adorable baby, and we're so proud of him. Right now, he really wants to help with everything, and that has been a lot of fun. A few weeks ago, we were snapping beans, and he wanted to help. I decided to let him try. This is what happened:

He was trying really hard. He finally figured out that it didn't take that much effort and was able to help a bit. He loves to help with dishes and it's easy to keep him preoccupied while I do them. I just hand him a wooden spoon and he stirs around the water.

We usually have a great time together!
We've seen some incredible things that he has been learning, and every day he becomes an even more awesome little man. Grig is thrilled (when Kevin's not screaming at us), and as his vocabulary has improved and his tooth pain has subsided, we seem to be moving away from the screaming fits. Hooray!

We've recently discovered balloons, and he has really been enjoying those.

At the end of every evening, even when the day's been rough, he's still my sweet little boy. I will never regret having such a wonderful child. I know times might be challenging, but he is worth every frustration and stress. I wouldn't trade him for anything, including more sleep.

Everything he learns is a thrill and a delight. It will be so much fun to see where he goes next. With a kid like this, he can do anything he puts his mind to!

And he's stinking cute to boot.
So, yeah, it's been tough. Sometimes I was so frustrated that I just had to leave for a few minutes and cool down.

That doesn't mean I wouldn't do it all over again, and I probably will. We want more than one.

A lot more.

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