Thursday, April 18, 2013

I Have a 16-Month-Old

I have a 16-month-old. This is my excuse for being MIA in Blog World. For those of you who have children older than this, you know what I’m talking about. But, if you forgot—like I did with my 4-year-olds—let me just remind you.

Those of you pregnant, with newborns, or with infants, I’m here to warn you that there are many barriers to your baby’s good behavior and your sanity between 12-18 months. From what I hear from other parents, it can even reach to age 2. Here are some barriers I have been battling, or at least trying to cope with, in the past 6 weeks. If I’ve missed some, it’s because I am sleep deprived, so feel free to offer up some more.

Teething. Everyone dreads when their baby starts getting there first few teeth. And, that can be bad, but I’ve found it worse when they start to get beyond the front four. My baby would probably be considered an average to late teether. At 16 months, he has three front bottom teeth and two bottom molars. On top, he has his four front teeth. It seems now that the rest of the teeth are trying to catch up. His two top molars are coming in now and all the teeth in-between are not far behind. He is up for 1-3 hours at a time during the night, and has been for the last month.

I’ve tried the natural teething tabs, acetaminophen and ibuprofen, gum numbing gel, all sorts of teethers, and have now resorted to the amber teething necklace. So far, my best bet for getting back to sleep the fastest is to give him acetaminophen at his first cry, as well as put on the gum numbing gel. This usually puts him back to sleep after about 30-45 minutes and keeps him down the rest of the night. Some people worry about giving acetaminophen and using the gum gels, but my theory is moderation. I use these products once/day, and this will hopefully end soon.

Clingy. If he is awake, he is hanging on my leg and crying, “Mama … mama … mama … mama … mama …” You get the idea. If he is on my lap or we are playing or reading, he is the happiest kid in the world. “Teeth? What teeth? I have my Mommy.” I love these moments of snuggling and being close, but let’s face it, there are things I need to do to keep this house running. I swear he knows when I’m even thinking about getting up and leaving the room. Immediate tears and screaming as if someone started pulling off his fingernails. He even breaks down when I drop him off with his Nana, whom he adores and sees at least a couple times a week.

Eating. He is spitting most of his food out, especially after one of the 4-year-olds did it with his food once. “That’s a fun little trick,” he thought. And, proceeded to do it over and over, long after there was no food left in his mouth. After several “no’s” from his father and I, I started tapping his mouth. He would swing his hand back at me, then do it again. After this repeated itself a few times, he started tapping his own mouth. That’s when it was clear he understood, but at this age defiance trumps compliance. I’ve gone back to pureed food, and that is working for now.

Language. Some kids by this age have some vocabulary—sometimes enough to actually communicate needs and wants. Mine has the following: Mama, Dada, Papa, guh guh (snuggle, and with that he will bring a blanket—super cute), Buh Buh (Weber, his brother), and Cah Cah (Capri, his sister). That’s it. He has some sign language: more, please, sorry, sleep, milk, and pointing. Yes, pointing. His pointing is not very accurate, so I’m usually about 5-6 feet off, but we figure it out eventually. So, he can kind of tell us what he wants most of the time. Unfortunately, most of the time all he wants is “Mama … mama … mama … mama.”

Also, he doesn’t understand much of what I say, especially when I am telling him why he can’t have any more strawberries. He just doesn’t get, “Sweetie, you have red patches all over your face and I’m afraid you are going to acid burn your butthole if you eat any more.”

Defiance. He tests me at every turn. If he's not supposed to do something, he will do it to the max. It's a battle of wills and that's all I'm going to say about that. You know what I mean.

What this has meant to me and this family is less sleep, more takeout, less writing and reading, and becoming more immune to the sound of crying and whining. At this age, when they are challenging, it can wear on you pretty hard. And, unfortunately, they are challenging much of the time. But, when they are happy, it is quite possibly the cutest age of their lives. I’m convinced God planned it that way.

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  1. But still, isn't it a little incredible to be that important in someone's life? That's what I keep telling myself when my 2 year old won't let me cook dinner because he's wailing and bumping my legs because he's not being cuddled.

    1. I don't like to share that little secret. Then people won't feel sorry for me. ;-)

  2. Omg! I am so glad you wrote this. My little girl just turned 16 months and she is out of control clingy! I can't get anything done. Our house is a disaster and I have been having a very difficult time handling everything, I have 5 year old twin boys too. With all the activities we need to be at and the daily drives back and forth to preschool it has been really taking a toll on me. Glad I am not alone and thanks for reminding me that hopefully it is just a stage.

    1. Carolyn, I just discovered my savior! I had these DVDs when my twins were little and I remembered how much they loved them. I tried them with my baby, and he is mesmerized! It's the only thing he will watch for a decent period of time. It's called Hi-5. I have a collection of three DVDs that have short little episodes on them. It's a group of 5 young adults who sing and do skits. It's my only freedom! Great for when I am preparing dinner.

  3. Thanks! My little girl loves baby Einstein videos and it is funny because if I turn them on my 5 year old will also move onto the couch and end up watching them too. :)