21 Months: That’s new…

hikingThe toddler adventures have begun. In the last week, Harry is embarking on new and exciting escapades. He can have all of the emotions at once; everyone else is just along for the ride.

Close Call Last weekend, Harry and I went hiking at a state park near our house. The trails are very nice and there’s a lake. He likes to throw rocks in the lake. We were at a nice spot lakeside when he threw a rock with such gusto he did a full summersault and face-planted in the lake. He sunk like a stone! Luckily, the water was only about a foot deep. I was able to jump in right away and pluck him out. But, he was more upset than I’ve ever seen him. Poor kid was soaked, covered in sandy dirt, and freezing. We had to walk about a mile to get back to the car and change clothes. Thankfully, he was totally fine, but he cried the whole way to the car. Poor baby. I can still picture his little body doing a full air summersault right into the lake! It defied the laws of physics!

Boom Boom We’re planting the seeds of potty training. So far, Harry prefers to use his mini-toilet as a reading chair, but we’re making progress. He’s starting to connect the toilet with boom boom. I honestly don’t know how I feel about potty training. This is all going way too fast.

New Words Harry said “wow” the other morning. That was adorable. Some of his other words are flower, cheese, and wombat – all of the most important things in life.

Mama! Mama! The last few weeks, I have been woken up not by crying, but by shouts of “Mama! Mama!” in Harry’s cute little voice. He hollers loudly and in regular intervals until I come get him from his crib. I holler back to him that I’m coming, but that only disrupts the “Mama! Mama!” chant for a few seconds. This kid has no patience. He’ll take one extra breath before he’s back with the shouts. Best way to wake up ever. Much better than crying!

Little Reader Sometime in the last two weeks, Harry went from liking to flip pages in his books to wanting me to read the books to him. Before, he didn’t care what I said. He held the book and he rushed through the pages quickly. Now, he is handing me the books and he wants me to read them to him. He loves books! He can’t be in the car without a book and he reads during his dinner. We read together before bed. Right now, it’s Charlie the Caterpillar over and over and over.

Copycat Harry has started copying everything we do. It’s adorable. He puts on chapstick and deodorant, he shaves his face and combs his hair. He dances like me and sings like me. He’s a bundle of energy at all times.

Likes

  • Cottage cheese
  • All cheese
  • Any kind of fruit (especially oranges and berries)
  • Rocks
  • Kisses
  • Charlie the Caterpillar
  • Dogs and cats
  • Picking tomatoes

Dislikes

  • Naps/sleeping
  • Diaper changes
  • Brushing his teeth

What else is new? Ben and I are both undertaking “lifestyle changes” to be healthier, smaller people. We’re both exercising more and eating better, each of us taking our own path to that shared goal of being healthier parents. It’s such a challenge to change ingrained habits, especially when food is one of the few ways we can celebrate as sleep-deprived adults with busy jobs and a toddler. We’ve been struggling to find ways to relax and kick back that aren’t detrimental to our health. To be honest, “Let’s watch a movie and eat a salad” on a Friday night does not fill me with the same joy as when my husband asks “Do you want to get pizza tonight?” But, perhaps that transition will happen over time. Much of my changes right now are being driven by moral and ethical issues (I can explain more later), so that’s helping my motivation a bit more than just losing weight or being “healthier.” It also helps to have Harry. He’s great motivation for doing everything I can to have the longest life possible. I want to be with this little boy as much as possible for as long as possible. He’s everything.

The Other Babies

10256132_10202806968392453_2342478705946290499_nWe get asked all the time how the dogs are handling the transition from baby to toddler. It’s a complicated question. Each dog is so different. We really had no idea what to expect and, frankly, our predictions were completely wrong.

Dougal Going into parenthood, we though Dougal would have the biggest problem with the transition. Dougal is the baby. He’s a perpetual puppy, who has to be the center of the universe at all times. He’s needy. He’s demanding. He’s difficult. He’s my favorite. I worried he would be resentful of Harry, that he might lash out or throw tantrums. But, he’s been Harry’s biggest fan from the beginning.

Even before we got home from the hospital, Dougal has been smitten with Harry. Ben brought a blanket home from the hospital while Harry and I were still there. Dougal was the only dog who cared to sniff it and he was crazy about it!

Once Harry came home, the love only grew. Now, they are constant companions. Though Harry is getting more challenging, Dougal is ever patient and sweet. They share meals and chase around the yard together. They hug and kiss, and Harry tries to share his toothbrush. They are so sweet together. I’m completely surprised.

Hank This is where we were most wrong. Hank has had major anxiety since Harry joined our family. He gets upset and paces when Harry cries. He doesn’t like Harry to touch him, and he seems stressed out almost all the time. We do everything we can to keep them separated.

We try to carve out as much special time as we can for Hank, but it’s really hard to do. I snuggle Hank every night after Harry goes to bed, but I don’t know that it’s helping ease his anxiety. He just seems really stressed. Walks help, but it’s been hard to get out for regular walks. Hell, it’s been hard to squeeze in a shower most days!

I’ve read a ton of articles about how to handle this, but nothing has been particularly helpful. I’m hoping time and distance help. Hank is really good with older kids.

Otis Otis is the zen master of dogs. Nothing phases him. He’s a dream. Sometimes I look into his eyes and see great wisdom. Sometimes I look and wonder if there’s anyone in there. I really don’t know about him. But, he’s such an easy dog to manage. I can take him anywhere. He’s mostly indifferent to Harry, but that’s a good thing. In our life, anything low maintenance is a lovely change.

Grace Over time, Grace has gotten remarkably tolerant of Harry. He’s a bit obsessed with hugging her right now. His new word is “black” and he loves to point to one of her black spots and shout “Black! Black!” over and over. She mostly ignores it. She’s almost completely blind and deaf now, but she seems to enjoy the hugs and snuggles. She’s getting really affectionate in her old age.