Thursday, March 24, 2016

Bidding Adieu to the Terrible Two's

Every day while watching Wynn and Harris play, I can't help but remember my days with Graham at this same age. He was such an angel baby. He loved his toys, took perfect naps, and slept all night. I remember filling out his Mother's Day Out application while he was 9 months old, and when I came across the section stating "additional comments" I thought to myself, someone is going to be SOOO lucky to have Graham in their class. At this same moment, I was also worrying, he would grow up to be the quiet compliant one who got lost in mix.

WOW! He really proved me wrong!

Graham's always been extremely intuitive. I said it from the very beginning as he stared ever so meticulously at every toy he held. He could analyze an object for an absurd amount of time and seemed to have such a long attention span for his age.  He was always trying to use his toys correctly and loved his books. Anytime he escaped from the living area, I would find him in his room buried in the book basket. (Since he was my first, I wasn't sure if this is how all babies acted at the time. But No, Neither Wynn nor Harris share this trait with Graham).

All of this was great until we reached about 16 months. Graham began cruising all over the house and he was beginning to communicate, just not with words, only actions. Actions that were not always the most pleasing. He was great at sprawling out on the floor when he didn't want to be picked up, and did an excellent job hitting me once I did get him in my arms. I'll never forget discovering how to hold him facing outward. It was an extremely uncomfortable position for both of us, but it served a great purpose.

Graham's a giant so people are always asking me how old he is. I can remember rounding up to two even though we were at least six months out from his birthday. I needed the sympathy that people provide when you have a two year old. I was nervous about the long rocky road ahead, and to top it off, I was also pregnant with twins.

So, fast forward and here were are, days away from turning three. People try to tell me three is worse than two, but from what I've experienced, not too many go through what I have this past year. I have learned we all have our own problems, which is nice to know, but ours were always very public which made it embarrassing. Graham didn't really start talking until he was two and even then it was very minimal. Hitting was his main source of communication and as you can imagine, it wasn't received very well by others. I felt like a broken record telling him to stop hitting, and I would love to look back at my google history to see how many versions of "toddler hitting" I typed into the search bar over this past year. It was honestly something that weighed heavy on my heart, and I had to reassure myself that it wasn't due to parenting. By 33 months Graham was really progressing in his speech, and it was slowly but surely beginning to make a world of difference. In fact, the only reason I feel comfortable talking about this is because he is such a rockstar these days, and I am truly proud of his actions every day (of course we still have our ups and downs, but that's the roller coaster that is parenting, and I wouldn't change it for the world). Along with his speech improving, consistency has also been the key. I know this from teaching and had no problems following through in my classroom, but when it's your own child, the consequences start effecting yourself, and it makes it a real challenge. I also thinks it takes some time to figure out what forms of discipline work for your own child. Graham has his own agenda all the time and constantly tests the boundaries which means he needs really clear cut boundaries that are followed all the time. If I say it, I better mean it so I have to be very careful about my promises and my threats ;) 

He's still extremely intuitive, but ironically that same trait that made him so perfect as a baby is the reason he gets in trouble so much now. He wants to know how EVERYTHING works and most of the time, he wants to figure it out on his own which doesn't always turn out in his favor. Hopefully he'll learn to ask for help before too long. 

It's bittersweet watching him grow older, but his love for being a "big boy" is absolutely adorable. Watching Wynn and Harris has made him well aware of what being a baby looks like vs being a big boy. The most important change has been the thumb sucking. I hate to jinx it, but it has been a full week since I've seen him put his thumb near his mouth. I've been dreading the idea of getting a thumb guard or taking away his "puppy dog" and now neither have to happen. Occasionally, Brian or myself used to say, babies suck their thumbs. Look at "Baby Graham." So he would take it out and say "I'm Big Boy Graham." and just like that, he really is Big Boy Graham between the underwear all day and the thumb out of his mouth.

Graham definitely has tantrums and over exaggerates when something doesn't go his way, but a little explanation goes a long way with him, and it's not long before he starts to giggle about his over-reaction. One of my favorite moments happened last week when it was time for nap. I usually give him two animal crackers before nap, so I told him, "Let's go get our cookies and take a nap." We had company over so he wasn't in the mood to follow his normal routine. He said, "I not want to take a nap." So I told him, I would just place the cookies on top of the refrigerator until he was ready to go to sleep. He literally walked half a step towards the playroom before turning around and walking towards me saying, "I'm ready to take a nap" all with the perfect grin on his face that made it hard for him to hide that Mom won this stand off.

I've gotten pretty good at standing my ground. I'm even trying to add the word "NO" into my vocabulary when he asks for something that's not completely necessary. I noticed, I was mainly answering with, "not right now, but maybe in a little while" which isn't the same as "No."

I'm also, LOVING the relationship he is building with the twins. Every morning, he brings Harris the fire truck while he uses the garbage truck and the two of them roll them around the house. Of course Harris has no idea what he's doing, but Graham's convinced they are playing together.
And even when the moments aren't as "cute" I'm still proud of the progress. I've probably told him 100 times to ask ME to move them if they're sitting on top of his train track. The first 99 times, he definitely took matters into his own hands, but low and behold, "Mom, will you move Wynn please" has become part of his daily routine.

I wish I could keep Graham little forever, but since I can't, I'm thankful for the memories and can't wait to watch him blossom into a full blown three year old.

Ps. I'm laughing that Graham is wearing UnderArmour in 75% of these pictures which probably means Brian dressed him and sums up our crazy year!

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