Recent quote by Harvey Karp, author of Happiest baby on the block and Happiest toddler on the block:
"Toddlerhood is like three parts fiesta mixed with two parts wrestling match and one part jungle safari"
This made me laugh with the clarity and chaos of it all. Watching my son progress from innocent sweet baby to opinionated toddler has been definitely a growing experience for me, filled with new challenges and forcing me to again go to the books, after I thought I had finally gotten this parenting thing down. I told my husband last night, 'well, here we go. As soon as this parenting thing gets easy, as soon as you seem to have it figured out and are in a groove, it throws you a curveball and you are in a new phase.'
I suppose I should have known this to be true, and I have certainly been warned about it by those with older children, but I guess it hadn't hit me until this week. I thought I had figured out who this child I birthed was, had his personality, his needs, his general attitude figured out, but now it seems to be a moving target. There are days now where I find myself just scratching my head, wondering where to go from here.
The 3 parts fiesta:
1. A 16 month old literally had me laughing harder this week than I remember in a long while. What was it?
First time, it was during his wind-up hyper phase right before a nap, and he was peeking out from behind a door going "a-boo", "a-boo", trying to engage me in peek-a-boo. Then I walked into the closet, turned around, and caught him by surprise "A-BOO!" He literally fell over in hysterics. He was on his back giggling wildly, kicking his feet in the air. Which of course had me cracking up, which kept him going. It was so funny my husband had to peek in on us from his work in the office to see what was going on in there. Nothing, really, just another day with a joyful little kid... and the things that can make him laugh seem so simple, I have to remind myself to take that extra time to do it. Seeing him laugh that hugely is definitely one part fiesta.
Part two. Early morning, I awaken to hear Bodhi yelling, "awa", his word for water. I listen a bit longer and hear running water and more noises, awa, awa. I get up and find him and my husband splashing and spraying the shower hose in the bathtub. "Why are you in there so early?" I ask my husband. Go check out Bodhi's crib and you will see. I step into his room and I see his travel crib, sheet, sides, everything, covered with smeared poo. Looks like someone was a little bored when he got up this morning, my husband said, and then we both started laughing so hard we couldn't stop. Bodhi, when he hears someone else laughing, lets out this fake little, haha! laugh that just made it that much funnier... like he was in on the joke, and maybe he was. An early morning fiesta.
3. Bodhi is a bird chaser. He runs after any bird, pointing and screaming, 'didahh!' (as in doggie, because, every animal is currently a doggie to him) The birds of course, tend to fly away when they see an excited child running toward them, shouting, so he doesn't ever get very close, but it does not seem to deter him one bit from following them. There are so many birds here in Hawaii that this game has turned into a fairly steady event - diddahh! every time he hears a bird call, diddahh! when he sees the little birdies eating remaining crumbs off people's plates at restaurants. This awareness and excitement in the simple things is fiesta #3.
2 parts wrestling match:
Recently, he is becoming more and more determined to keep me in his room or even better, holding him, until he falls completely asleep. Actually, I think he would prefer me to hold him for his entire nap. Well, this is not happening for me. I physically cannot hold him up that long anymore, for one thing. I don't want to, for another reason. Hence, the wrestling match begins. It is baffling to me, this struggle of wills. I am caught completely off-guard. He tries all his angles, he stands up and cries for me, mama! mama! OK, this one still works on me. But he also tries wiggling out of my arms and running across the room, hoping it will become a game and he can stay up a few minutes longer. I try to keep a stern (and straight!) face about all of this. I try to be level-headed and calm, but I find myself using the words "STOP", "NO" and "DON'T" more than I care to think about...
The second wrestling match comes when it is time for dinner ("dodindodin"), and he is more interested in playing than eating. He rubs the food in his hair. He asks to get up out of his highchair as soon as we put him in. Please don't contain me, he pleads, I want to play... He wants to run around with me running after him, spooning food into his mouth while he plays. I mean, really. Can't a baby sit and eat a meal?!?
And this brings me to the one part safari, which is basically the feeling that I have everyday when I literally do not sit down...he is moving so constantly, that it is like being on a safari, observing and following the action as closely as you can. So, (when I have a moment), I am going back to the drawing board... reading, experimenting, and realizing that this whole parenting thing really is a roller coaster, and I just need to hang on and ride.