Saturday, April 12, 2014

Handful

Well, I suppose it was bound to happen, but Carter is officially a handful.  I know that it tends to happen as kids get older and more mobile, but ever since he had the back-to-back viruses (stomach and fever), he's developed quite the attitude.  Sometimes I wonder if that triggered something, or if he's just had a prolonged bout of teething discomfort, or if there's something else that just has him on edge.  Don't get me wrong--he can still be a happy, smiley, sweet baby.  But in between he seems fussy and very impatient a lot of the time. 

He battles me on the changing table constantly, screaming and flipping over the whole time he's up there.  He screeches if I'm too slow getting food in front of him or don't get his bottle open fast enough.  He's not having the epic bedtime sessions he was having a few weeks ago, but he still doesn't settle down quite like he used to.  He doesn't like having to sit still, even if I'm holding him, and he gets very offended if you re-route him from danger or take something out of his hands.  He has countless toys, but he is constantly getting into whatever else he can.  Anything on the coffee table is a goner--ripped, thrown on the floor, tipped over, put in the mouth--and anything that happens to be on the floor is fair game to be eaten--crumbs, fuzz, leaves on the ground.  Lately he's been using Jacob's kitchen chair as a walker, pushing it all the way through the kitchen and practically out into the dining room. 

He's picked up some annoying habits, too.  If he's near a basket or container full of things, he will tip the whole thing over and scatter the contents as far as he can.  He will pull whatever he can off shelves.  He likes to throw balls, but he does it with a lot of other less throwable things, too, like blocks or his sippy cups.  If he's done drinking, it is not set down...it is thrown or swept off.  He's been dropping food off of his tray lately, as well.  He will pick it up and casually reach his hand back and open it.  He does it even if he's not done eating, so I'm not sure if he understands that once it's gone, it's gone. 

In general he's lacking gentleness.  If he touches your face, he smacks it.  If he grabs your hair, he pulls it.  If he grabs your hand, he claws it.  He tackles Jacob to try to play with him.  He bashes his push toys into anything in their path, or goes all monster truck and runs over Jacob's toys.  He screams and cries if I leave him alone or pass him off to Craig.

I know all of these behaviors are pretty normal for the age.  I'm sure Jacob did a lot of them.  But it's a bit of an adjustment after having the most patient, sweet baby for over a year.  He's exhausting and demanding so much of the time, which is such a change from how he was.  I find myself raising my voice with a firm "No" far more than I'd like, but I'm not sure what else to do.  He needs to know that something is not acceptable, but I also don't want him to enjoy getting a rise.  It's exhausting trying to manage him.  I'm definitely tired of being yelled at about everything, and when Jacob starts whining at the same time, it is maddening.

I know that part of his issue is the inability to communicate.  He's still not talking, aside from the word "ba" which can stand for "ball" and "bottle".  He's got opinions but can't communicate them.  I've tried teaching him signs ("more" and "all done" specifically) but he hasn't quite grasped it yet.  I use so many words with him, but none of them have stuck.  I know they'll come in time, but in the meantime the wait is killing me.  Sometimes it seems like he doesn't even know what he wants.  He wants to be held but struggles out of my arms.  I put him down and he doesn't want to stay there.  I look forward to when he can walk and I don't have to carry him all the time, but I know he'll still want to sit on the floor! 

All of this has definitely taken a little fun out of things, since I feel like I'm constantly disciplining and redirecting, half the time to make sure Jacob doesn't lose his temper with him.  It is simply exhausting. 

On a lighter note, he almost took real steps today!  I've been encouraging him a bunch, and he's finally back to standing as much as he was before he got sick.  He's getting sturdier, though he's still very clumsy in general.  Today he actually took a couple steps forward and I wouldn't even consider it half-lunge because he seemed to stay upright for most of it.  It was pretty great to see and I made sure to get excited!  Fingers crossed he gets it soon, because he is getting so heavy to carry around in the Bjorn during games! 

Well, time to recharge my batteries for another day of corralling tomorrow...

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