Typically when we're getting ready for bed, we sit on the rocking chair and he'll rest his head in the crook of my arm and listen to me sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. He loves to contribute to the song when I say: up above the world so high. The word UP has become a funny word to him because he thinks it's supposed to be said: upah (up above). We giggle each time that line comes up. The whole time he's resting in my arms and on my lap, but his body isn't the sleepy heavy like I felt last night.
Over the past month I've noticed a change in my sons behavior. He's become more vocal, more frustrated when he cannot express himself properly, and more aggressive when he's tired. I have realized that I've entered in the zone where he is going to mimick our behavior. With each passing week I discover more words coming out of J's mouth. Although they're not 100% clear, but I can identify what he's saying based on the context of what we're doing. I've also found him reading books outloud in his babbly tones. I'm cherishing these moments because there will be a time, very soon, when the babbles will be gone and my baby will really start telling me how he's feeling about things.
I try to work with him on the moments where he cannot identify what he wants or needs. We both try really hard to communicate to each other and as tough as it is, I encourage him to use his voice to tell me what he needs rather than pointing, grunting, pushing, grabbing, or hitting. There are many days where we both probably feel like failures but the next time I sense another episode coming, I notice we both have more patience and more understanding for the other. Sometimes I feel like our eyes do the talking and when I really try to understand him, but can't, I let my eyes tell him how I'm truely trying to make things work. Somehow, I can see it in his eyes that he knows this. Maybe it's my hope that he does, but one can only wish.
Staying positive when you're at your wits end is a hard compromise sometimes. There are moments when I know J is sincerely upset, confused, or irritated. Other times I feel he is intentionally being a terror towards me. It's during those intentional moments I feel like I'm about to lose it. Sometimes I try to ignore the behavior, other times I react by telling him I won't allow him to hit, push, grab. I justify these behaviors in my head to the fact that he's learning new actions but he doesn't know when to use them. I've been trying to teach him what he's doing while he's doing it, then explain we don't do that. Sometimes he's excited and starts swinging his arms around and if something gets in his way he starts attacking it because it seems like a fun thing to do.
We are also establishing that there are indoor toys and outdoor toys. We have a mini golf club set for J and I didn't think much about him playing with the golf clubs in the house. He has other similar types of toys that he treats differently. But with the clubs, he felt it was a fun idea to bring the club to me and start banging it on my leg, rather hard too. I told him that he was hitting and that we don't hit. He walked away then came back full steam swinging the club all around, ready for another attempt at my leg. I said, no thank you-we don't use the toy to hit. I took the club and set it on top of our refrigerator. He was upset I took the toy away but I'm hoping he got the point. I guess I didn't realize we'd be going through this at 16 months.
In our back yard, my husband teaches J how to swing the club
My little monkey can be such a sweetheart. He'll rub my arm when I'm holding him. He'll look at me with loving eyes and offer me a smooch. He plays games with me like hide n' seek, help feed the cat, or help carry in the mail when I've got my arms full of bags.
He's so proud of his teeth, J loves to say cheese to show them off
I can only hope I'm steering him in the right direction because there are times when I wonder where this kid came from. Other times my heart glows and I shower him with all kinds of attention.