Saturday, February 23, 2008

Toddler Times

Nicholas is doing a few new things.

For starters, when I drop him off at the church nursery for my weekly Ladies Bible Study, and when Penn and I drop him off for church, he cries!

This is totally new for us. He never went through any "separation anxiety" that we could detect back when the baby books suggested he might. It was more like, "Don't let the door hit you on the way out, people!" I didn't know whether to feel slighted or relieved.

So all of a sudden, he cares when we say goodbye. I usually stay with him for five or ten minutes, getting him settled in and distracted. Then I sneak out, going so far as to crouch down and practically crawl away when the dutch door closes behind me. Okay, not practically. Literally.

I'm assuming this is a phase, and it isn't a big deal or anything. Just kind of out of character for our Mister Independent.

So now this week he has decided he loves! his! mama! Keep in mind he has hardly noticed me up to this point in his life. What I mean by that is that if there were four people in the room, he would never show much partiality to me at all. He liked mom. He just liked everyone else, too.

Last weekend the all-time-most-favorite-fascinating-and-fun-person, his Grandpa W came for a visit while my mother was out of state. And he brought with him their dog, Maddy. Nicholas drives her to distraction chasing her around and throwing balls at, I mean TO her. Then Gramsy came back and visited for a day, also.

When they left, I was expecting major water works, like usual. But instead he was incredibly clingy the rest of the day. And the day after that. And all week, in fact.

It's so strange! He just wants me all the time. If I sit somewhere, he pulls my hand to follow him. If I stand, he pulls my pant leg until I pick him up. Fifty times a day I hear "Mama!" (Music to my ears...) And I've even been on the receiving end of dozens of unsolicited kisses and hugs!

It really is a nice little phase.

But yesterday, by his bedtime I was exhausted! Frazzled! Worn out!

I shut myself in my bedroom and read most of the evening, while Penn watched TV in the living room.

I was telling my mother about this and she pointed out how tired mom's with clingy children must be all the time! I've always been a little (okay, more than a little) envious of those mother's blessed with a mama's boy or girl. And I still think it is wonderful. But now I see that it is also more demanding than an almost completely independent toddler.

So I'm adjusting my schedule so I can get things done before he wakes up and during his nap, so that I don't get frustrated when I don't get anything accomplished during his waking hours.

In other news, Nicholas went peeps in the potty for the first time the day before yesterday! Yay! I think we scared him with our celebratory exuberance and excitement.

We're going to be switching him to training pants (w/a waterproof liner for a while) once we run out of diapers. But we'll still keep him in his nighttime diapers at night. We're reading the book "Diaper Free Before Three" and I wish we had started when he turned one. (I'm filing this away in my mind for our next child.) It's a nice compromise between the ultra EC method of training and the wait-until-your-child-is-"ready" approach. I think it's interesting that in most other parts of the world (including most of Europe), children are potty trained much earlier than in the US. And even a couple of generations ago most children were potty trained around age two. I guess the increasingly absorbant properties of disposable diapers have contributed to the age of readiness getting pushed back farther and farther. It's kind of hard for a kid to decide the are ready if they have no incentive (like being uncomfortable or wet) to nudge them toward that readiness. I can't believe Nicholas is only 20 (and a half) months old and I already wish I'd done a whole bunch of things differently. Oh well.

Well, that's all that's new around here.

Oh, if you have a toddler and you don't already have bathtub crayons, I highly recommend them. The best $5 I've spent in a while. They are great for practicing letters, numbers, shapes, colors, and, of course, for scribbling. I purchased the kind that have a nice plastic shell around the crayon parts, so they don't break or get all melty and messy. They are wonderful!

Oh, and he's starting to say "Pees" and "Ay-Q", which just gets me -right there- every time. We've been terribly lax about his manners and it's like living with a monkey, much of the time. I'm so relieved that he's saying these words on his own. I had no idea how to go about teaching him this, since he doesn't listen to a word I say. I'm happy he's picked them up by osmosis. Actually, I guess this proves that he does listen to us, he just doesn't let on that he's listening. Now about those table manners...


Susan said...

You crack me up...

I had no idea how to go about teaching him this, since he doesn't listen to a word I say.

Too funny.

I only had one that was a cling-on. Our youngest. But I made him that way. On purpose. I didn't have that with the other two...I worked and I was determined to just dote on this last one. And guess what...he turned out just fine and normal. Well...whatever NORMAL is.

I loved the clingyness...hated the clingyness. You the end of the day, mommy needs a time out!

When we would drop him off...I would kiss him, tell him I would be back soon and firmly hand him off...and RUN! We actually sent him to our friend's house a few hours a few times a week so he would learn that we would come back. I knew she would love on him...she had four of her own and also did daycare and to this day he absolutely adores her. She did say he was her toughest clingy kid, however, and that's saying something.

I love hearing all about your days with Mr. Nicolas. You are an awesome mom. He's turning into an awesome kid.

Hang in there and get some rest!

Sunni at The Flying Mum said...

I will be finding that book!

And that 3-hour drive to Sesame Street Live is worth every mile.

Janelle & Ella said...

So many great things about this post!
I will definitely be getting that book. I need some major potty training help.
I will also be getting the bathtub crayons! I had no idea those existed. Ella will love those!Thank you so much for some great tips!