"I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well."
-Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Toddler

If a toddler is defined as a child between the ages of one and three, we are just a few weeks away from toddlerhood.  She's not walking yet and doesn't seem to be in any hurry to do so, but she's full steam ahead when it comes to emotional & cognitive development.  She's learning and growing and discovering and... expressing. 
Eleanor is finding herself.  She has opinions, likes, dislikes, whims, annoyances... and she isn't afraid to voice all of them.  Loudly.  All the time. 
She has this scream.  A blood curdling, glass shattering scream.  Sometimes it means she is mad.  Sometimes it means she is happy.  Sometimes it means she is bored.  Sometimes it means that she has realized that such a scream echoes in Walmart.  Pretty much any time is her favorite time to scream. For whatever reason.  The cute of it is wearing off.  Scratch that.  The scream is not cute in any way.  It's loud and it gives me a headache.  It tests my patience and that is probably just one more reason for her to do it. 
I feel like I'm entering a new stage of motherhood.  I consider myself to be pretty good at being mommy to an infant.  I'm good at holding a baby all day, comforting them, entertaining them. Whatever, I'm pretty good at that.  Eleanor is now reminding me that I struggle a bit with the "finding my attitude and taking it all out on Mommy" stage.  (I say "I" because I'm with Eleanor full time.  All day, every day.  Of course Drew & I are both parenting her, but Drew's day job is to be a Business Development Manager.  My day job is caring for Eleanor.  I'm an Eleanor Development Manager.) My approach to parenting Eleanor is becoming a tad less "I know honey,  let Mommy make it better" and a bit more "You're going to have to get over it."  Does that make sense? 

Eleanor: (Screams bloody murder in the car just because, even though she has everything she could possibly need and she's been strapped in for all of 2 1/2 minutes.)
Me:  "You're going to have to get over it." 

Eleanor: (Screams maniacally in Walmart because she's suddenly decided that she might rather be held than sit in the cart.)
Me: "You're going to have to get over it."

Eleanor: (Screams hysterically because the graham crackers that she couldn't get enough of yesterday are not an acceptable snack option today.)
Me: "You're going to have to get over it." 

Are you getting my point?  What really gets my goat (isn't that the phrase?) is how quickly she can turn it off if she gets something that pleases her... like the attention of someone new. 
You can't rationalize with a temperamental 11 month old.  You can often distract them, but sometimes not even that works. Sometimes you just have to stand your ground, even with an almost toddler.  If I'm not mistaken, this is about the age at which Emma threw such a fit in Walmart because I wouldn't let her eat raw hotdogs out of the package in the meat aisle.  I was "that mom" with the screaming & kicking toddler.  That day was the day I met my limit.  I left my full cart of groceries in the store, held Alex's hand, and hauled Emma out of the store kicking & screaming.  The elderly woman who was the greeter for the day just looked at me as I walked out of the store.  I mouthed, "I'm sorry," as I tried to hide my embarrassment and keep my cool.  She just smiled, shook her head and said, "Oh honey, in my day you could just whip 'em for acting like that, but now you'd get arrested."  I'll never forget that. I'm not one for spanking, but that made me laugh when I really wanted to cry along with my toddler. 
So, yeah, I'm no stranger to toddlers.  What an age.  It must be overwhelming to be a toddler.  You're figuring out this whole new world, trying to explore and learn and yet, you're at the mercy of the "grown up" in charge.  I might scream, too.  Ask my mom, I'm sure I did.  
As long as I'm baring all my parenting insecurities, I may as well mention that I'm not looking forward to weaning her from the bottle. I'm not exactly even sure how to do that, but I am quite certain that I can't just take the bottle away when she still refuses to take anything from the sippy cup. So, let me just go ahead and say that when my child turns a year old in a few weeks, she will still have a bottle. If I were being rational right now, I would give myself a talk and say... 
"Chill. She won't refuse the cup forever. Just enjoy these last moments of infancy and stop worrying. She won't be the three year old walking around the park with a bottle of chocolate milk and a mouth full of rotten teeth." 
One thing I am sure about... Eleanor will remain in a rear facing car seat until she is at least 2 years old. When Alex & Emma were little, the norm was to go to a front facing car seat a one year of age. Now there is tons of evidence that it is much safer to rear face as long as possible. The rear facing infant car seat I chose for Eleanor before she was born goes to 30 pounds. She has 10 pounds to go before she reaches that limit and then we will purchase a convertible seat that will rear face even longer. This article provides some good info, in case you are curious. 

In spite of the struggles, this girl is totally worth it. She's sassy and snuggly and happy and she loves her momma. This week's favorite activity is rocking. Alison brought us this hand-me-down pink rocker from her granddaughter and Eleanor loves it. It's all she wants to do.