Today, my baby was graduated to the Toddler 1 room. No longer is he a Sweetpea. No, nor does he reside with the babies. He has been officially designated as a Toddler. And it’s true.
I’ll start off with confessions. It’s harder to “see” Thane than it was Grey at the same age, or even Grey now. Thane is in constant competition with his brother. One of these people can use words to form interested sentences. One of them cannot. One of them has a high-attention personality. The other of them, when all is well with him, happily entertains himself. So I notice that it’s much harder to focus on Thane, to see him for the delightful wonderful kid he is. Even when I try to set time aside, I find myself either appreciating the silence, or having his brother come up to see what’s going on. It’s hard to get one-on-one time with him. And as is pretty standard with 18 month olds, it can be hard to figure out what to DO together — at least after the 7th round of “Where’s Thane?!!?!” (Thane thinks wandering around with a blanket over his head is HILARIOUS!)
The great news is that Thane seems to be flourishing in this environment. If I sometimes rue that it’s hard to focus on my youngest because my eldest requests and requires my attention, that’s not how Thane sees it. Thane’s greatest hero is Grey. He’ll wake up in the night and ask after his brother. He perks up whenever Grey’s name is mentioned, even at daycare. He is unhappy if he knows Grey is nearby and he can’t be with him. When Grey cries (a common occurrence — we’re in the middle of another tantrum period) Thane will insist over and over on going to his brother “Gwey! Gwey! Gwey!” He’ll walk up the stairs and lurk outside his brother’s door, hitting it with tiny fists, calling his brother’s name. It may yet be early in their relationship, but the two of them seem to have a strong bond — each eager to be with the other.
This is not to say, of course, that there is no conflict in their relationship. Thane pays so much attention to Grey that it’s inevitable he’ll want to play with whatever Grey has. Although Thane seems to understand that some toys are not his, all chaos breaks loose when Grey is playing with one of Thane’s cars. The filial relationship is not always harmonious, but it’s still painted with overtones of loving and kindness.
Project “Use Your Own Two Feet Already” is meeting with rousing success! Thane is regularly walking from the car to the house (you don’t know what a big difference that can make until you make the trip with: one work backpack, one purse, one coffee mug, one bag of blankets for daycare, one bag clothes for the gym and two lunch boxes for daycare). He will walk about two blocks, nicely, holding hands. He can usually be propelled forward with the old chestnut of “Look, Thane! Grey’s up there! Let’s go get Grey!” He’s made tremendous strides in walking on his own, although if he sees a stroller he is still very interested in getting in it. He really loves being taken on walks, and even in his worst days will sit quietly as we walk through the neighborhood, as long as the scenery changes.
In further gross motor news, Thane is doing very very well with the stairs. Previous bloody incidents aside, we have great stairs for beginning crawlers — carpeted, not too steep and with landings. Thane walks up and down them holding hands, and can ascend and descend with great speed crawling. My heart always is in my mouth as he approaches the stairs, since he often looks like he’s going to try to walk down them, and his legs simply aren’t long enough to do that without toppling over. He is also becoming an expert at slides. We have a great “first slide” at church, which he gets up and down without any assistance. He likes the big slide at the playground, but I’m too chicken to permit him to use it much.
Linguistically, Thane is just about on target. He’s starting to work on the “ABC” song, but doesn’t get very far. He doesn’t have the patience for repetition of the letters of the alphabet his brother had at the same stage. This is ok — he has another 5 or so years before he really needs to have mastered his alphabet. He’s getting much better at mimicry, and will finally say his own name. (It’s really pretty adorable. He thumps his chest and says “Tay”). Then again, he’s also been known to call himself Marilyn (the name of his previous provider in the infant room). He knows a duck says “quack”. He says “genty” as he pets the “gat” (often quite ungently – patient animals!). A complete comprehended list might include: no (in answer to every question), apple, yogurt, applesauce, milk, water, cheese, oatmeal, cereal, blue, yellow, red, Grey, Mama, Dada, Thane, up, down, car, truck, bus, cat, puppy, ball, block, book, balloon, shoe, sock, coat, pants, diaper, bath, duck, quack, dinosaur (da-do), toothbrush (goo-ga), belly, nose, eye, ear, hair, happy, Spongebob (Bob Bob), cough-cough (he does fake coughs so I’ll say it) and probably some others. That’s not a bad list for 18 months old. He probably says many other words we don’t understand. He talks all the time, but much of it I still can’t understand.
Thane has exceptional patience and focus for particular tasks (when not hungry/tired/thirsty). Cars are currently the great joy of his life. He loves them. He carries them around and lines them up on any available surface. He LOVES being sat at the table to play with his trucks and toys, and sits quite nicely. He is particularly fond of my grandmother’s bells, which I have on a windowsill. He’ll sit on the old teak chest and ring and line up the bells, gazing out the window. His love-affair with dinosaurs seems only slightly diminished. He still really likes books about dinosaurs, and now points out other elements of interest in them (ducks, balls, balloons, puppies – don’t ask why these are common elements in dinosaur books. You don’t want to know.) But the cars seem the greatest theme to his play. He hasn’t yet started paying attention to screens. He very rarely sees them, since he’s usually with us while his brother is watching them in the living room. I’m just as happy, although I think I’d rather have Grey watching Sesame Street that Cartoon Network and their appalling wrestling-themed programming.
My baby is still the best sleeper I’ve ever witnessed in the age group. For Christmas, Santa gave him a rabbit we named “Mr. Bun”. He was having none of it. That rabbit’s name is and always shall be “Puppy”. You should see the joy and welcome that flash across his face when he reaches out for Puppy. Then he takes one ear in his hand, and while holding on to the ear, sucks his thumb. It’s the only time he ever does so. He’ll lie down, so content in his bed. I tuck him in and turn out the light and leave the room. Sometimes I hear him talking to himself after that, but he rarely needs attention.
For quite a while he gave the most hilarious kisses. He’d bring his sweet rosebud mouth next to your unsuspecting cheek and blow a very sloppy wet raspberry on it. I loved it, I confess. Made me laugh every time. Now, though, his kisses are taking on an actual kiss-like aspect, to my great regret.
When he’s tired, he’ll lay his head on my shoulder, and rest there for a brief moment. Usually, though, he’s indomitable, fearless, sturdy, adventurous, resourceful, charming, talkative and persistent. The experienced parents reading this list may note that some of these generally excellent attributes can make for, uh, challenging parenting. That’s true too. He’s nearly impossible to pull from an object he desires without simply picking him up. He’s strong, and has not yet learned that hitting is wrong. He can and will throw an epic tantrum when he believes it is called for. Sometimes, he can tire me out. But mostly, he brings me and those around him great joy.
And now, friends, he’s a true Toddler.
Edited to Add:
For my reference (since, let’s be honest, this blog is as much of a baby book as the poor kid gets), here are his stats:
Weight 27 lbs (65th %)
Height 33.5 inches (85th %)
Head circumference 19 in (65%)
1 teaspoon tylenol suspension (160 mg/5ml)