Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mr. Independence

I took a long break from blogging lately for a few reasons. However, the main one was that I just didn't feel like writing. This blog is for fun for me (and for being useful), and when it doesn't feel fun or useful, I don't make myself do it. But just in the past couple of weeks, I have found myself thinking - oh man, so many things are changing so quickly for Ben, and I have been noticing things that would be fun to write about. Here are a few!

A funny thing happened on the way to sleep training. Ben had suddenly turned into Mr. Independence at night. Mr. Self-sufficient. Mr. Keep Yo Distance. All of the time now, after he is done with his bottle (yep, he still gets one before bed), he will sit up and point to his crib. He will squirm around to let me know to put him down in it. What a one eighty from a few months ago! I know I should be really pleased about this, and a part of me is, but another more whiny needy part of me is sad my baby doesn't want me to rock him anymore. Now, that isn't to say that we haven't had some occasions where he has woken up and needs rocking, but I don't enjoy those as much as the before bed ones. Because I am so damn tired in the middle of the night!

It's a funny dichotomy that I am sure will occur more as Ben gets older. I want him to be independent enough to do things for himself for lots of reasons. It's healthy for him, and it is easier for Dan and I. But I also want to cuddle him, and I want him  to need me and love me more than anything else in the world. It's hard to see where the line between comforting him and comforting myself ends and begins.

On the other hand I am an impatient lazy person, so that helps push forward for the sake of progress.

Also pushing Ben forward into a new age of independence is daycare. He has been moved to the toddler room! Dan and I have sort of been dreading this upcoming milestone. We LOVE the caretakers in the infant room, and we are all so comfortable in there. While the infant room seems calm and serene most of the time, the toddler room is loud chaos. Dan swears he saw a kid smoking a cigarette in the corner there the other day. It is trample or be trampled. He has been transitioning to the toddler room for the past month by spending increasingly longer increments of time in there. During this transition, he has had about 5 injury reports (he had only had one in the past year total). He is a more active guy now, and that room is a more active room. I am trying to get used to it.

One of the injury reports was due to Ben being bitten. I was sort of devastated. Apparently, he had taken a toy away from the biter kid. I am hoping this is a rare occurrence and really keeping my fingers crossed that Ben doesn't learning biting for himself. I know it is a phase a lot of kids go through, and I was hoping just to skip over that one!

Now that Ben has moved to the toddler room, he does not have bottles or pacifiers at daycare. That transition went pretty easily. At home, he only has one bottle before bedtime. I am planning on phasing that out in July. My plan is to put water in it for a few nights, and then take it away. After that is done, we will work on the pacifiers. At home, we try only to give those at sleep time.

I have decided that I really love this age, and I think I am just going to keep loving it for a while. Yes, there are challenging things to deal with that are popping up now. For example, he is more demanding and has had a couple of temper tantrums when things don't go his way. He is not as easy to redirect. He plays in dog bowls, is a magnet for electrical outlets, throws food, etc. Danger is his middle name. BUT the awesome things are just very awesome. He could not be cuter if he tried. Seeing him learn to do things that he could not do the day before is fascinating. Hearing a new word is cause for a mini-party. Finding something that makes him giggle uncontrollably makes me feel like I won the lottery and is worth repeating at least 15 times. Feeling his slobbery kiss on my cheek followed by a MUWAH! makes me melt. Having him hug my leg unexpectedly is priceless.

Soon we will be completely eliminating the night time bottle and pacifiers. I will make sure to do posts about that when it happens! Also, I am really trying to brainstorm about how we are going to begin "discipline." We are at the point where that is starting to become necessary. However, it turns out disciplining a toddler is like trying to solve a problem like Maria. How do you catch a cloud and pin it down? How do you hold a moon beam in your hands? We aren't completely letting him run wild now, we say "no" of course and direct him away from things. But I need a PLAN. I feeling like I am floundering a bit, and I really want to be consistent. So stay tuned!