Happy Hands!

When my two year old does not want to wash his hands or hair he protests by attesting to their felicity. My retort is "happy hands {or insert relevant appendage}are clean hands!" which may not be my most artful statement, but it gets the job done.

My two year old is learning emotions, even if he attributes them to his non-sentient appendages. He is happy or he is sad, he worries when I appear sad asks me to be happy (one must always be vigilant how they appear before their kids because they are surprisingly cognizant of how you present yourself). When I asked him yesterday what he did with his grandfather he gushed out a glorious smile and exclaimed "happy time!"

Despite my two year old's explosive vocabulary and ability to grasp the finer points of grammar in English as well as Serbian, his favourite word is NO. Several times a day we end up in a verbal tug-of-war exchanging this negative and until my consciousness is left bruised as its repeatedly battered against his bastion.

Beware the ferocious tenacity of toddlers.

In the face of such impressive tenacity, I've had little choice but to employ new tactics. Instead of saying no, I just repeat what I want him to do. Instead of saying "please don't stand on the chair" I say "please sit on the chair" and when he says no, I continue with my affirmative tactic, until in the end I employ some force and simply sit him down.

Yesterday when we were at the California Academy of Sciences and lucky enough to witness the penguins being fed, my toddler decided that he would cheer and stand in front of the crowd, pointing at the mirror. I couldn't simply let him behave in this fashion and yet if I challenged him directly, we would only cause further disruption to the poor patrons who instead of witnessing penguins digesting their food, see a toddler terrorize his mother. So instead of saying no, I directed him to where he could stand and point and told him he can speak quietly. It worked a charm. When the lecture was over, I allowed him to run up to the mirror and explained why he was now free to do so, but I'm not sure whether he understood the connection.

The next time I had to mollify him was when he saw a Palette surgeonfish swimming or as he precociously pointed out, small Dory and big Dory, and possibly a parent of Dory. His mind then ticked over to watching Dory. When I pointed out that he was watching Dory swim already, he shook his head "on the TV" he demanded. "Dory Film" he explicated. What's a mum to do? Hey.... have you ever heard of an albino alligator? Have we seen the sharks yet? Do you want to see butterflies? I have to temper his tenacity with diversion. It's really the old "hey, look over here" while you scuttle out of a situation you can't win.

Both my sons are fiercely independent, a characteristic I try to foster. My toilet trained two year old complains when I wipe him, earnestly telling me that he is a big boy. If he didn't have his condition, I would teach him to do this himself, but I know that if I allow him to do this, he may not do so well and get an infection. I don't want to restrain his development and need to learn (so I allow him to "help" with housekeeping etc even though the most common consequence is that his help enhances the mess) so the next step is allowing him to wipe in front of me, while I finalize. As I've explained to him, wiping his butt is not one of my favourite activities of the day. What's really
cornered me into a conundrum is that his pre-school requires him to be fully potty trained... I don't want to deny him an education, but I am nervous about the consequences.

My younger son, the boisterous babbler, is taking in more food, albeit he is still mostly breastfeed. He is particular with food and remembers very well what we endeared him to previously eat. He loves apples and avocados but otherwise is an aficionado of his mother's milk and purses his lips in disdain refusing to digest most foods. Meanwhile, I am pumping for my toddler to have my milk daily to foster his gut bacteria and the amount of nursing/expelling combined with my lack of sleep, is somewhat physically daunting. It's the bed I've made for myself.... speaking of which, we've tried new sleep training tactics which have over the course of nearly a week reduced nightly feedings to one! I've had to be relegated to the couch (since his crib is in our bedroom, which we're increasingly wondering whether it's the brightest idea we've had) and daddy has taken over the 11-3 wakings. Slowly but surely....passo per passo...

A few weeks ago, watching how our younger son was lunging out of our arms and attempting to increase his mobility by all possible means. In order to effect his intention of obtaining a toy before him, he would drag himself across the carpet or he would pull the toy towards him if it were on a blanket. A few days ago, he crawled towards a toy across the room. He is also practicing standing - when I move to sit him down, he resist and stands. The boy is determined to run - and outrun his brother. Nothing like an older sibling to propel you forward it seems.

Back to baby gates!


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