Behavior, ugh

Tristan’s had a bit of a cold for the latter part of this week. All of the neighborhood kids seem to have this same cough and runny nose – there’s no fever and for the most part, Tristan is doing well through it. He has lots of energy and is just as interested in activity, anyway, despite the thin film of clear liquid under his nose. He’s sleeping mostly well, aside from a middle of the night screaming fit the night before last that he resolved himself. And he’s been SO fussy that I’m about to cry – again.

Tristan with a cold is pretty much Tristan plus tantrums over EVERYTHING. Normally, Tristan reserves his tantruming for stuff that’s just plain not fair in his eyes, and I get that. He’s weird about diaper changes in some cases, so trying to strip his diaper in the bathroom prior to a shower is asking for trouble. I know that if I take his food or drink containers from him when he’s not quite done that Tristan will flip his shit. So I generally try to remove his motivation to scream bloody murder.

Can’t do that when he’s sick or teething. (Actually, he may also BE teething.) He’s like me on my worst PMS. Not holding him long enough? The despair! Bedtime? Woe! Removing ANYTHING AT ALL from his hands? Pain! Doing anything that’s part of the normal day? Screams! And anything that’s not full of screams? Mischief and aggravation over the little, retarded rules that I try to enforce.

For instance, I don’t let Tristan throw food from the high chair or crush it unnecessarily. The throwing part, we are making progress with – we know when he throws and why, so we can deal with that before it happens. The crushing irritates me. I’m ok with playing with food, but he’s been pulverizing most of what’s on his tray when he’s not in the mood to eat. This is little; it is dumb; it is hell in conjunction with the other twenty two ways I’m frustrated with his behavior at the moment.

Right now he’s whine-crying and I don’t even know why. I don’t even think he knows why, as he’s also now giggling with daddy. I think it’s time for a bath..

17 months old!

I’ve been thinking a lot about what to write for some time. Our lives have been busy – I’ve been squeezing work in between hanging out with Tristan for at least a month. As far as Tristan goes, he’s best described as very, very subtly older. And considerably more pleasant. And slightly more of a pain in the ass, as evidenced by my sometimes lousy parenting. 🙂

He is becoming a tiny bit more obedient and cooperative. I say this as he’s been awesome during diaper changes for at least the past month, switched successfully (knock on wood) off of bottles for good, has slept through the night and woken up without screaming from sleep in general for about a month, and learns rules albeit gradually and actually seems to care enough to please us by following them.

I think he’s been actively teething again for the past couple of days, as he’s been eating his shirt with a vengeance and considerably cranky.

He’s learned how to climb onto our couch finally – since our couch is a bit tall for a toddler, we didn’t encourage the behavior until he really became interested. Now that he’s interested, we want him to be somewhat proficient at it and also to not be a dumbass and tumble off onto the tile floor headfirst. Suddenly, I am heavily contemplating a throwaway area rug. Sigh, the fun that comes with worrying about baby!

He seems to understand that if I rush to his side when he’s getting a bit too daring that I want to hold his hand(s) and spot him. For instance, he likes to climb a concrete mantle in the room we gather in for playgroup with his newfound skills. However, when he gets close to the edge, he actually reaches out his hand for mine for the help instead of me having to grab him.

I’m having a lot of trouble training him to walk with me and not just wherever he wants to go. I know HOW to cure this – it is to let him wander and for me to NOT FOLLOW until he becomes anxious and looks for me. But I can’t just do this once – I must do this enough so that he gets the message. Right now, he thinks that when he’s allowed to walk somewhere in public that it’s fun to lead me around in almost a game of tag. And it IS fun, and I need to put that on cue and spend time playing tag in stores and libraries. But if EVERY time I put him down, he runs off, he will actually be screwed out of his independence because I will be forced to do as I must do now – hover over him and follow him where he decides to go, in order to keep his ass out of trouble or carry him until he’s exasperated enough to obey. What I want out of Tristan (and I mean in the next few months, when it is age appropriate) is to be able to walk in the same direction alongside me or us, hold hands when it is asked, respond to commands to stay out of the damn street or wait. I am sure that I will be rolling my eyes at myself in the next few months as I find out whether or not these expectations have any base in reality. Ranting about hopes aside, I have been working to put walking in the same direction as me on cue, and he has obeyed it maybe twice. He does understand when he’s being praised for doing something right, and I made sure he understood that he did what I asked and I was happy about it. The problem is that whenever I look at him and smile, he sees the “Mommy wants to play ‘chase the baby'” look and takes off. And this is a skill I’d prefer he learn via positive discipline methods if possible, if for no other reason then that he’s really cute when he takes care to do something right.

He’s very interested in slides now. We took him to IKEA and he wanted to keep taking turns on the slide. I’m so proud of him for going around to the ladder/steps after getting off of the bottom of the slide. It’s one of those things that he learned while we were at Bounce-A-Rama with maybe two demonstrations and a LOT of praise. (Why can’t I get him to walk alongside me, then?! Why! :P)

As far as food goes, he LOVES: bacon, Hainanese chicken rice and flavored rice in general, Gerber Graduates Zesty Tomato flavored puffs, Garden Goldfish crackers, dehydrated peas and those Asian pea crisp crackers, Cheerios, squeezable fruit puree pouches that he sucks like a straw, Grammy Sammy bars, juice, and MILK. He will usually eat: chicken, cereal in general, french fries or hashbrowns, and various toddler finger food products such as cookies and puffs in flavors other than tomato. He usually won’t have anything to do with any sort of moist food not in the categories specifically mentioned above, pasta, actually hydrated vegetables or chunks of fruit, most dehydrated fruit, and anything fed by spoon whether by himself or one of us to him. He will allow us to place chunks of foods he knows and loves in his mouth at times, though. Our feeding strategy is generally to give him however much he wants of stuff he loves and require that he not throw things he hates on the floor. We don’t require that he eat or even try everything, but we do offer things he hates every so often, depending on how much of a waste of money they are to try offering when they fail. He usually gets something in the “usually won’t have anything to do with” category each meal. We will give him more of anything he asks for more of that we put on his tray to begin with. For the most part, we serve lazy food (microwave chicken nuggets as chicken because we don’t cook very often, that sort of thing) but most of what we offer him has SOME nutritional value – nothing with blatant oversugar, no soda, no candy, the only chocolate he gets is in those Grammy Sammies, stuff like that. And he seems to gobble up and “ask for more” of his veggies, albeit the dehydrated ones, more often than not. The fruit he eats is baby-style, but he eats it quickly, neatly, independently, and often – I shocked Helena by purchasing a few pounds of the fruit pouches, but Tristan will go through them.

Perhaps some of these oddities are born of our being so far from everyone who might give us ideas. 😛 I think most of it is that we still just don’t eat as a family or eat out often, so he doesn’t see how society in general eats, just how his picky, lazy and/or dieting parents eat. I do think he’s seen me eat enough chicken soup to understand the drift of the process, but he is just not yet interested. He already has a broader range of food acceptance than I do, I think.

The sharing thing came up at playgroup today, and I was pleased to see the kids resolve it. We brought one of Tristan’s favorite toys – this bee critter that annoys adults but babies LOVE – because he wanted to hold onto it when we packed up from the car to go inside. He put it down a lot, and every other child there was fascinated by it. A few times, Tristan stole it from whoever had dared to pick it up. A lot of parents would step in here to insist that their kid share and return the toy. I noticed that after a couple of these incidents where he did not get any special attention for the behavior, he quit doing it. He let other kids play with the bee while he played with the other toys he’d scored temporary possession of. I actually go up to the kid who had the toy stolen and encourage him or her to go get it back from my kid, the thief. They generally don’t take me up on it, but they often aren’t too pissed about the stolen toy at that point and I try to entertain that kid a bit by providing another toy or some attention.

Over the past couple of weeks, he doesn’t seem as interested in talking but that has been cyclic since he uttered his first couple of words. He gets a few good ones out and then shuts up for a few weeks. His comprehension is improving and he’s still quite interested in learning language. He still doesn’t particularly act out the actions in the reading video, but he’s so pleased that he understands or at the very least recognizes the words.

If I don’t end this soon, nobody will ever get to the end of it. And I will not get any work at all done today. If you made it this far, thank you for following along!