Sunday, January 25, 2009

Monthly report: 19th month -- Cabin Fever

Dear Benevolent Dictator:

Four days ago, you turned 19 months old. During this time, we survived Christmas -- which was a great deal of fun as we saw relatives and friends. But after the holidays that whipped through here at the end of last year and as we settle into the long winter hibernation, I feel that I've learned something major about you:

You suffer cabin fever about as well as I do. Which is to say. NOT. AT. ALL.

And the harder thing is that we try to regulate television, so it's not like you and I can plunk down and watch movies to while away the hours at home. Nope, we have to play and read books and do things around the house. Which is rather hard to do because you have this view of "THIS SHIT AGAIN? GAH! IT'S GETTING OLD!" after you play with a toy for about 15 seconds.

So we go out. A lot. Having a toddler is like having a border collie -- we have to run you hard most days or else you'll destroy everything in the house. You're well known by Very Large Bookstore Chain (TM) employees, as well as several mall employees. Of course it helps that you work the charm during those times -- you're sweet, outgoing and bubbly, often shouting "HI" to people, giggling madly and blowing kisses. You are not an introvert.

But at home, that's when trouble occurs. You've ripped up several books (which makes me sad) and attempted several insane stunts. You walk down the stairs, with someone holding your hand, with no problem now and I'm now finding you climbing up on things. The other day I turned around and saw you standing on the diaper bin with a "Now how do I get down?" expression on your face. I have no idea how you got up on the diaper bin in the first place.

You're definitely more verbal, often sounding like an Apple store: "I sit." "I stand." "I snack." "I change." or "I nap." It's both charming and weird at the same time. I think that some of this is you asserting your independence from me in little ways -- you want to dress yourself, choose your outfits and put on your own shoes. If you do not get that, then woe to the world.

Your tantrum skills are impressive. You've mastered the boneless fall-back, the face-forward scream and bury your head into the floor, and going boneless -- which is a lot of fun in public when I'm afraid you're going to smack your head on the tile floor. You're also mastering slamming the doors in the house when you're mad. It's like living with a three-foot-tall teenager (who's not that verbal yet). Your lungs too are also impressive. Good lord child, I often can find you (if I lose sight of you in the store) by listening for the scream of happiness or cry of anger.

But your bad moods never last long (the worst thing is that my bad moods last longer than yours -- which isn't healthy). And you're very good at following everyone else's emotional cues. When another kid is unhappy, you become unhappy. Which is both good and bad -- it's good because understanding other people's emotions helps you navigate life more smoothly. But it's also bad because really, sometimes the bad mood doesn't need to spread like the plague.

That's one thing that most people still need to learn. I know that with me, I absorb people's emotions and let them dictate how I feel. Or sometimes I'm not happy until everyone around me knows exactly why I am miserable and that they should do everything in their power to make me feel better. Which is proof that your mother is really an overgrown toddler some days who just needs a good nap and a hug.



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