Monday, August 10, 2015

Approaching the Toddler Years

A year ago I was weeks away from celebrating my firstborn’s first birthday and welcoming my second child into the world. And though I was very done with being pregnant and was ready to meet my second little man I was also unsure if I was ready to step into the world of two under two. Somehow, now a year later, I can say I survived that crazy and sleepless first year. I made it through, even doing it on my own at times when Dustin had to travel for work. I’m not sure how that happened, only that if I did not have such a large support system I would not still be alive today. Just kidding, I would be of course, I firmly believe that one of the gifts God gave women was the ability to “just do it”. In circumstances that seem near impossible or are just plain hard, somehow we manage to just do what needs to be done. Now, that doesn’t mean I haven’t had my share of meltdowns. I’ve called trusted friends in tears, I’ve withdrawn from the world when I felt overwhelmed, I’ve had ridiculous arguments with my husband simply because I was too tired to be reasonable and I’ve even wondered why I decided to have children. Yes, I’ve been there, done that.



And now as the year draws to a close I realize that it does pass by quickly and to enjoy each moment because one day I’ll be wishing I could have these days back. Though that’s hard to imagine is true, I have had too many sweet, older ladies tell me this is so. However, as crazy as the first year was this new year of toddlers is also proving to be equally tiring and challenging. I’m not complaining but having two active little boys who are into everything and can’t keep still is proving to be a whole new ball game. And my sweet firstborn baby boy who normally is pretty easy going has now found himself in time-out not necessarily for misbehavior but just to calm down from a tantrum. I’ve blamed it on readjusting to being with parents versus grandparents after Dustin and I’s trip to Hawaii, I’ve blamed it on teething or lack of sleep all of which are possible but thanks to “how to deal with and prevent tantrum” articles on Pinterest I think I have discovered the root of it all. He’s two and is now a toddler.


There is nothing more humiliating, ahem I mean humbling, than having a toddler. We were those parents whose toddler was screaming, screaming, in the toy store. You know the ones you look at and think “they cannot control that child”. Yeah, that was us, all because we told him to step out of the battery powered vehicle. And we were, and still are, those parents whose toddler sends other toddlers away in tears because he bit them. Now, before all the grandparents who read this get into an uproar, my son is a perfect (slightly biased opinion here), beautiful little boy. And yes, he is good and has moments where he impresses with his positive and sweet behavior but he is also now a toddler and learning to deal with boundaries, learning that Mom and Dad really do have the authority. And he is also learning to socialize and deal with emotions even though he does not yet understand what those emotions are and doesn’t quite know what those words are to express them. I have learned though that he gets a lot of security from me being nearby and does much better in his interactions with friends when I am close. And it is a much calmer transaction when I can quickly help him with sharing and backing off before he gets overwhelmed and things escalate. One day I will need to back off and let him figure this out but for now this is obviously what our little man needs. I record all of this for the sake of reality and because as Dustin so adequately put it, "being a parent is so embarrassing sometimes" and we can proves to our kids when they complain about us embarrassing them that it goes both ways. ;)


In all fairness it has to be tough when  you don’t really understand how you feel or know what you want and your Mom sits you down and tells you to calm down. And in Everett’s case it has to be even tougher when you go through all that and your little brother walks over to you, shakes his little hand in your face and says “op!” You probably feel angry and frustrated with your loving mother who does not understand you and betrayed by your best friend. Life is tough when you’re two!  But with all that negativity aside the world is also a fun and wonderful place to explore. And boy, is this guy learning so much!


He is a goof and though he loves to make the ones he love smile and laugh, too much attention causes him to feel uncomfortable and upset. He enjoys counting to three before he achieves any task. The most amusing one being a countdown to passing gas. True story. His vocabulary is growing and he now says two and three word sentences. The most common being “I want _____”. He also loves the jeep now and is often asking to go for an “eep wide”. My favorite new word of his though is “mommy”. He sings along pretty well to the alphabet song, songs from the “Fresh Beat Band” and sings ring around the rosie. He made me laugh the other day after I put him on his shoulders and ran around with him. He loved it and later one asked if he could ride on my head. He is doing pretty well figuring out this world he lives us and it is cute and amusing to watch the process. I enjoy it the most at church though when I see him bow his head and lift his hands to pray during prayer time and  lay hands on others to pray for them at altar call. He is very inquisitive and takes everything in and he does so love his people from Mom and Dad to his grandparents to his cousins and many aunts and uncles.


His favorite person of all, though it does not always seem so, is his baby brother Reid. They are best friends, partners in crime and Everett is Reid’s biggest defender. No one is allowed to mess with, touch or sometimes even talk to Reid even if it is in a nice way. It is not uncommon to hear Everett say “I ove Re” or to hear him calling for his little brother so he can “pway wif Re” and the poor little boy doesn’t know what to do if he and Reid are separated.


I love, love their friendship and I am so glad that they have each other. Though it would be nice if they weren’t such partners in crime! They do love to get into everything from toilet bowls to drawers to mom’s purse to cabinets and closets. The other day, after hearing muffled crying from Reid I found Everett, with a mischievous grin, holding the cabinet door closed after Reid had climbed inside. There was payback on Reid’s part though when a few weeks later I heard Everett crying inside of the hallway closet after he had stepped inside and Reid had shut the door behind him. These two are actually becoming a safety hazard!


They keep each other entertained though and are always together at home. Usually where one is the other is very near by and for as much mischief as they get into together there are equal parts giggling, playing, reading and learning.


And Reid is our little stinker. These past few months have proven that as he continues to grow and learn. Since he started walking or more likely running, he is gone and sitting still is a complete joke. Church has been interesting as he is determined to leave the pew and a meltdown ensues when he realizes that is not an option. There is just not enough space in there for him!


And he is a goof! He makes all of us laugh constantly with all his expressions, his antics and way of doing things. From walking sideways to bossing his big brother around to just being silly. He also laughs all the time himself and when he thinks something is funny it is a full on giggle fest which always amuses his big brother who tries to keep his little brother laughing. He loves to climb on everything including the big kid playground set, play rough, go fast and he does not hesitate or think before he does any of it. As a result he has found himself in quite a few predicaments like being on all fours on his little slide but with his head facing towards the ground to getting off his rocking chair head and hands first with his knees still on the seat and if you do not buckle him in a high chair, stroller or whatever consider him out of it.


Thankfully, he is a tough little guy and handles all of the bumps and bruises he obtains really well and almost always without tears. But as active and determined as he is to keep up with the big kids he shows he is still happy with being my baby. Recently he discovered his pacifier and has since grown attached to it, this has been a blessing for now as we phase out the bottles he once found comfort in. We had tried to give him sippy cups at night since he is now one but he isn’t quite ready for that and since we went back, he has started sleeping a little better at night.


He has acquired quite the little vocabulary and says stop, no no, uh oh, amen, hallelujah, mmm, hi, bye and dad all on his own. He also says “hmm!” thanks to his father and he repeats words he hears often. He copies everything as well. One of the funniest and cutest things he does is when he is upset about something he bursts into tears and walks over to the wall or furniture, puts his hands up and head against it and just cries. Normally you can pick him up and calm him down but sometimes he pulls away because he wants to be left alone! He’s a smart little guy and keeps us on our toes for sure!


It’s hard to believe that Dustin and I are now parents of toddlers (pretty much) and in many ways things have gotten a lot easier. No more washing bottles a million times a day, no more lugging a big diaper bag around, no more having to constantly entertain one because the other is too little, no more carrying two at one time, at least not as often! And it is nice to see, especially the bottle washing part, that is something I will not miss. But it is also a little sad. The years of the little babies are over, unless we have another one which time will tell, thankfully, I have two little boys who still love to be held, love to snuggle and aren’t too busy for their mom yet. Hopefully that part of child raising lasts for years and years because that is the best part of all! 


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