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Life sure is busy with an active toddler. We’ve been spending a lot of time at various parks, despite the finally-seasonally-cold weather, because too much time inside leads to all sorts of crazy. (Speaking of cold weather, does anyone have experience with a stroller bunting that works well in the UppaBaby Vista? I bought the toddler size of the JJ Cole Arctic BundleMe that I LOVED when he was an infant, but it’s too bulky and doesn’t stay in the stroller well at all.)
Tuck is really into throwing and kicking balls, so we always have a ball or two in the stroller and we visit the library lawn almost every day. He’s also *obsessed* with his truck books, and carries them with him everywhere. He spends a good part of every day going through his truck and transportation books and pointing at the photos, yelling his version of the name (mostly “BAA!” “CAA!” “TRRR!”). He will crawl into any trusted adult’s lap and demand that they read with him, and when left to his own devices he nearly always chooses to unpack the bookcase rather than play with toys. This librarian’s daughter is very proud. He does love Ben’s cell phone very, very much, and still uses everything as a phone—cars, books, remotes, shoes. Today at the library he got up in a chair and started typing with one hand while “talking” on the mouse with the other.
Over the last couple weeks it seems like Tuck’s sense of humor has really shifted into high gear, and with it his understanding of other people’s reactions. He does silly things and watches for our reactions, and when he’s bad he immediately offers a kiss, knowing that will make us smile and forget that we were mad. Speaking of kisses, he’s also really into hugging and kissing other kids right now, but won’t really acknowledge most adults. He’s finally giving us real hugs though, wrapping his arms around our shoulders. He reaches up from his high chair for hugs during meals—I thought he was saying he wanted to get down, at first!
I don’t think I’d mentioned pacifiers in quite a while, but since he was two months old Tuck always slept with one. (We were big fans of the Mam line. We were pretty strict about not allowing them when he was awake after he was eight or 10 months old, so they were firmly part of the bed routine. But recently he started getting really emotional about them—pointing at the shelf where they normally stayed during the day and screaming; holding onto them when he woke up and refusing to give them up, and, worst of all, waking up multiple times each night sobbing until we went into find one and give it back to him. At first he was sick, so we blamed that, and then he was teething, and then sick again, and we were traveling...finally, though, we had to come to grips with the fact that the pacifier was becoming a problem.
Sunday night we went for it. Ben had a long chat with him about how pacifiers are for babies and he’s too big now, and I cut the tip off of one and offered him that, explaining that the only pacifier left was broken. He spit it out, then threw it. We put him to bed with his faithful friend Ned, and retreated to the dining room for a miserable half hour while he yelled. He fell asleep eventually, though, and slept until 5:50, then screamed until I went in and got him at 6:50. (He normally sleeps until 7, though he’d been waking up at 3 and 5 and sometimes 6 for the pacifier.) Monday night he only cried for a couple minutes, and he slept until 5:08, cried for maybe a minute, then fell back asleep until 7:15! Tuesday I was putting him to bed because Ben was at a work event, and he started screaming as soon as he was in his sleep sack, with Ned, and realized the pacifier still wasn’t coming back. We couldn’t even read stories—he kept pointing at the bookcase, so I pulled out book after book, but I think he was gesturing for a pacifier. Eventually I recited Jamberry to him without the book and put him down. He only cried for a couple minutes, and again, he woke briefly around 5, then slept until 7:30. Today at nap it was the same with the books—I hope that part sorts out soon—but he fell asleep quickly and seems to be more solidly asleep than he had been recently. It hasn’t been fun but I’m relieved to be dealing with this now.
My big puzzle is what to put in a stocking for a 16-month-old? For gifts we’ve stuck pretty close to that guideline “something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read,” which helps avoid going overboard with presents. But stockings are a big part of Christmas in my family, always packed with cool stuff (fancy chocolate, art supplies, a new pair of smart wool socks, great little games or gadgets, and always a satsuma mandarin in the toe). I got one little car for Tuck, and my mom sent socks, but I can’t think of much else. I’ll go to the local toystore this weekend in search of a few things—maybe a little backhoe and a toy dog, and I’ll fill the rest with snack stuff he’d have anyway!
(BTW, don’t think I didn’t notice that my pictures are all the back of his head suddenly! He’s always running away.)
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Kate Flaim is a freelance journalist and food blogger based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.