Thursday, January 26, 2012


Ways 20month old helps:
When I announce I'm going to the bathroom, he follows me, rips off a square of toilet paper, hands it to me, and runs out.
After he is dressed to go out, he looks for and hands me my shoes.
When someone arrives with groceries, he picks up the bags and drags/carries them into the kitchen.
If you are looking for something and tell him what it is, he also tries to find it, and brings it to you.
If you start wiping the floor, he does the same.
Before his bath, he'll help take off his clothes and put them in the laundry basket.
Once in a while he will lie still as you change his diaper.
He closes drawers and doors left ajar.
If you drop something, he'll pick it up and hand it to you.
When you arrive home, he'll point at the mail that came in earlier that day.

Ways he asks us to help him:
If he's holding something and wants to do something new/examine something else, he'll indicate he wants us to hold what he has, and then ask for it back later.
Says 'help' if he needs help after a few attempts of his own.
Pointing, eye contact, and grunting, especially of he's confined in a high chair.
Physically takes your hand in his and moves it to the problem (e.g. pressing eject on the CD player).
If walking out in public and becomes overwhelmed or has near collisions with adults, turns back and asks to be carried (out of foot traffic).
Kicks, points, and says 'shoes' and 'socks' so we remove them during car rides. (He is agreeable to wearing them while out and getting in and out of the car, but doesn't want them on while sitting).

Monday, January 9, 2012


There are many things that are easier to do without a toddler, such as having a meal in a restaurant, getting a good night's sleep, reading a book uninterrupted, making last-minute plans to spend time with friends.

But then, when would I take inventory of all the fallen branches and sticks in the backyard, have opportunity to sit and stare at the goldfish, be available to be napped on at dusk as the light fades outside, be echoed as I count aloud to ten?

Who would offer to share their food from the little that they can clutch in one hand, play catch with me, and run to greet and hug me wholeheartedly when I return home?

And when my (adult) world becomes smaller again with a newborn in the house, I'll be reminded that infancy and toddlerhood is the most wide-eyed and open time of life, and I am the cente of THEIR world, for a time.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Milestone: imaginative play!

In the car today, I put out my hand to my toddler, who by now is one and a half years old (vs 19 months old). He turns it over, pretends to pick up food from my palm, brings it to his mouth, and mimes chewing. He does this several times in a row and I realize that this is imaginative play!

It seems particularly striking to me, even though for months he's played peekaboo, talked into phones and phone-like shapes, laughed at Mr Potato Head losing his body parts, and other things, but this instance mimicked a similar interaction we had, when I fed him on a long car ride, also at night and in the dark.

It's true about kids, that they pick up more than you realize. It also means it's the right time to impose boundaries and positively reinforce good behaviour. He's becoming fast enough that we can't keep up just by watching-we have to slow him down and have him regulate himself by teaching him what we expect. He's also getting to be big to just scoop him up and distract him with something else or redirect.

He has various methods: testing to see if the rule is consistent, smiling winningly when he thinks he might be in a gray area, stealth and speed (to do something forbidden so quickly that he can enjoy the effect before stopped: e.g. throwing things down the stairs).

At the same time, there is a judgement call on whether he's doing something from the drive to explore and experiment...and he still doesn't quite realize when he might hurt himself by scaling the great heights of the sofa arm or a wobbly restaurant chair.

He's still affectionate and craves physical closeness, snuggles up when he's tired or overstimulated, and accommodates my increasing physical limitations-he doesn't whine to be carried up and down stairs and waits patiently as I change position.

We spent some time with a 4 month old girl and he was gentle and giving her hugs and forehead touches (kisses), so I have some hope that he may adjust well to a newborn in the house.

He's growing so quickly and learning so much that as I write about one thing he's doing another.

He's a very cute toddler who gets attention wherever we go. Sometimes to amuse himself (I think), he waves and says hi to strangers while he's with us, on the plane, in the food court, at the mall...then he turns on the charm...his path will be easier in life if he retains and develops this, but I also hope we can raise a moral and ethical person, not just an influential (manipulative) one...

Maybe I'm looking too far ahead on this one, but cute and clever means he will get away with some bad behaviour...