I seriously think my 18-month old, Case, secretly climbs out of his crib at night, tip-toes into the dining room, boots up my laptop, logs on to my Facebook account, and reads my status updates and blog posts. Every time I write something about him being a little stinker, he is a complete and utter angel the next day. What other explanation is there? It’s as if he feels sorry for me and wants to give Mommy a break.
In my humble opinion, the toddler stage for boys is seriously challenging; however, it’s also a completely amazing phase to watch. At this age, kids are daring, adventurous, impatient, curious, rebellious, and frustrated. So at times, I can become exhausted chasing him around making sure he doesn’t fall in the pool, step off the porch, or run straight into the ocean.
When I think about it though, the pros of this stage definitely outweigh the cons. I love hearing Case say new words or watch his face light up when I walk in the door. I love that he can’t let Mommy or Daddy out of his sight without running around frantically squealing, “Mama!” “Dadda!” “Mama!” “Dadda!” until we are back in his line of vision. I love how the only person he will go to consistently other than Todd and me is Brooks, even though there is no way Brooks could actually carry him anywhere. I love that when I say, “It’s night-night time,” he puts his paci in his mouth and drags his blanky to his room like he’s surrendering. I especially love that whether it’s the Barney theme song or Mumford and Sons blaring, he dances like he’s at a jam band concert. In the end, I am head over heels in love with him, no matter what he does.
Experiencing this stage two times now, I’ve learned a few things that help minimize the tantrums and maximize the smiles.
- Sleep is a magic elixir. For everyone.
- No snacks on the way to the restaurant. If the toddler’s not hungry, he sees no point whatsoever in sitting still in a high chair listening to the big people talk.
- Have his comfort objects nearby. The paci and blanky don’t help 100% of the time that he’s mad or frustrated, but they probably work 95% of the time. I’ll take it.
- If all else fails, give him his comfort objects, pick him up, carry him around to see something new, and if he’s still completely irritated, take yoga breaths and think about how cute he is 99.9% of the time.