Early Toddlerhood: Ups and Downs

11.02.11 14 months old


You guys, I haven’t posted in a month. I’m really sorry! Sometimes real life (and an increasingly rambunctious toddler) can make the days just slip past.

Tuck passed the 14-month mark last week, and he’s still refusing to take more than two or three steps at a time unless he’s holding onto a hand, wagon, furniture, etc. We went on a gorgeous hike this weekend at a beautiful old farm north of Boston, and he must have “walked” at least a quarter mile holding onto both of our hands, but unless he’s very, very distracted he prefers to crawl when he’s on his own. He’s climbing, though, with a vengeance; I’m always pulling him down from things and he’s even managed to get out of his crib *while wearing his sleepsack.* I blame bad table placement for that, though, and since rearranging there’s been no repeat (knock wood).

Other fun new developments: After talking to my mom and Ben’s mom on my phone a few weeks ago, everything is now a phone—Duplo blocks, remote controls, books... He also makes me “pick up” the “phone” and talk on it, and every time I try to stop he insistently hands it back to me. And now he seems to be developing crushes. At his gym class the other day he fell hard for a little girl a few months older than he is, and followed her all through class. At the end during circle time he gave her a kiss and then laid down and put his head in her lap. Uh-oh.

Did we jump into full-on toddlerhood a bit early? The highs and lows feel much more pronounced ever since Tuck turned one: He is hilarious and so endearing, bestowing his wet kisses on-cue or out of the blue, laughing a fake laugh to get the attention of strangers, greeting me after his nap with a huge open-mouthed grin, his (still-lingering) pacifier dangling from his lips like a detective’s cigarette in a movie from the 50s. He has started getting very attached to objects—not just wonderful little Ned, his sleeping doll (who he would gladly carry around all the time now, and who prompts screams of despair when I take him away), but to seemingly-random pebbles or specific wood chips.

But the flip side to the charming flirting, sweet cuddles, kisses, babbling, etc.? Crazy temper tantrums. We’re getting so much boneless sliding to the floor while screaming, or arching rigid while screaming, depending on which would be more annoying to deal with in context. I am just keeping calm, keeping my voice low and steady, and trying to avoid any big reaction that gives him a payoff. Man, is it frustrating, though!

My little reader is still mostly playing with his books when left to his own devices—My First Truck Board Book is a current favorite, because we have discovered construction vehicles over the past month. There are a couple big construction projects near the library, so we usually spend 10 or 15 minutes watching every time we go past. And this week there’s paving on Mass Ave. (a block away) and construction outside *our building,* which has made every exit and entrance extremely exciting. There’s a backhoe AND a dump truck AND men working in a big deep hole and boy, you’d think it was Christmas.


And now, something for those of you who have little tiny babies! A few months ago I got an email from Brica Baby, a company that makes a few different travel products for babies. She asked if I wanted to try out their portable bassinet, which Tuck was way too old for, so I passed it along to a good friend who was taking her newborn on vacation. It’s called the Fold 'N Go Travel Bassinet, and I have to say it seems pretty clever if you’re taking an infant on a trip and don’t want to bother lugging a Pack 'N Play for a baby who doesn’t move around yet. It weighs, get this, THREE POUNDS. Seriously. And it folds in half so it would be easy to stow in the trunk of a car on top of everything else. Here’s what Field-Tester Elizabeth thought:


- SUPER easy to set up. R. put it out in probably 2 minutes with just the nightlight on in the room (so no reading directions).

- The flat foldability makes it not only easy to pack but also to set up / fold up frequently (even nightly) if you want more space during the day.

- Size is great when you have limited space, and R. and I both though this would be a great alternative to a Moses basket or even bassinet to have near our bed at home for the first month or two. (Who says it has to be for travel!?)


- Mini mattress is fine. Pretty similar to a pack 'n play basic mattress. We didn't have to do any heavy duty cleaning since we didn't have leakage or spit-up issues, bit it seems easy to clean.

Watchouts: (not full minuses but definitely need to be aware of)

- Small size also meant that D. would max out in this by about 4 months And he's in the 30ish percentile. Almost more because of moving/rolling than height though.

- Low sides allowed D. even at 3 months to kick his feet up and hit the top edge. Not a safety issue at all but distracting enough to keep him from falling asleep if he was really fidgety.

So a good bet overall if you so a lot of traveling in the early months OR a great option to have in the parents' room early on.

Thanks so much, Elizabeth!

Note: Unfortunately spam in the blog comments got out of control, so if you have something you’d like to discuss please shoot me an email (kflaim@gmail.com) and I’ll do my best to respond. I miss hearing from you! I’m also on Twitter: @kateflaim

Kate Flaim is a freelance journalist and food blogger based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.