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Toddler Steps

July 16, 2012

My son, Ducey bear is 18 mos old now. It’s been pretty incredible watching him get to this age, but NOTHING so far can compare to it. Truth be told, I have never been a baby person. Don’t get me wrong, I have always appreciated wittle tiny toes and wittle itsy bitsy noses, I’m not made of stone. It’s just so hard to communicate with a person who can’t speak and can’t do anything. Funny thing is, after I had him, I totally changed. It’s wonderful holding and cuddling and singing to a squishy little person. Since I watch babies from home, I get to hold, and cuddle and sing to a few squishy little persons. It’s pretty awesome.

In the past few months though, and the last month specifically, things have changed pretty dramatically for us though. Ducey has turned the corner from baby hood to toddler hood. I thought it would just be this imperceptible slow fade of baby talk and baby play, and baby eating. And somethings are like that. But other things are so starkly contrasting, I simply can no longer deny that he is not just a baby anymore. It’s bittersweet. Many are the nights my husband and I spend perusing his baby pictures and videos, hoping to catch a glimpse into that time, trying to remember. When I have my second child, I hope I take more video and better quality photos than I did with Ducey. It’s so hard to remember things. He’s only a year and a half but I can’t remember when he started crawling, or walking or said mama. I think for me the learning curve at the beginning was so great that it was hard to do much of anything else, but keep up with the day to day life. Every time he went down for a nap, it was a sigh of relief. Every time he went to bed at night it was a mental hi-five and that instant desire for adult contact, even if it was just with Marshall and Lily or Penny and Leonard (we double date all the time, when they broke up it was pretty awkward).

Now though, Ducey is this sturdy little person. He has his own very specific opinions on what he wants to do and how he wants to do it. It’s no longer just playing with the brightest colored things he can stuff into his mouth, or walking around the house in circles. He plays pretend. The little figures he has are personified now. He understands me when I tell him that the top of his tree house is for his little weeble-wobble man to go night night, and feeds him when he wakes up. He understands me when I show him how a lion roars, and his eyes get big as saucers when I show him a video of them doing just that. He waters the garden and picks peppers off the vine and shoves them in his mouth, not like a baby, but like a big boy who wants to eat some peppers. He comes every time I open the fridge just to look and see if there is any fruit on the low shelves that he can reach and put into his mouth. He jumps on his bed and runs and climbs and falls and just gets right back up, wipes the blood off his mouth when he splits his lip and keeps going.

He is an incredible little guy. Many are the times I have marveled at the privilege of being his mama. What faith must God have in me to entrust me with such a tremendous responsibility and pure joy. The funny thing I didn’t understand about being a parent until I was one, was how I want to give him everything. If some toy at a store gives him a momentary grin, I want it. When his face lights up eating something delicious for the first time, I want to feed him as much as he wants. When he communicates with me and I understand him, even when he’s being rotten, I am delighted. When I see some other kid playing with something I think he might enjoy, I need it. Many are the conversations I’ve had with my husband, “He needs a swing/sandbox/kitchen/workbench/car, we’re going to get one anyway, we might as well get it now!” But my husband says we should wait.

I would do anything and give him everything. But there is this little thing called “Parenting” that prevents me from doing so. Along with the wonders of toddler hood come these huge frustrations. My son understands a lot of what I say, but not everything, and vice versa. Many times he will want something and not understand why he can’t have it. He has a mind of his own now, and desires. He doesn’t want to eat chicken, he only wants to eat the mashed potatoes and carrots. But he’s not getting any more mashed potatoes and carrots until he eats the chicken. I told him if he threw his vegetables on the floor he was going to get a spanking, so he didn’t do it. But when I looked away to feed the other baby, I see him carefully scooping veggies into his lap. When daddy is having a beer, he wants to drink it and cries big crocodile tears when he won’t give it to him. He tried to rip my shirt off in the middle of Costco because he decided it was time to nurse and screams when I tell him no. After his third banana of the day, I say no to opening the one he grabbed from the table and his eyes get this big defiant look and he takes a huge bite, skin and all.

This kid has taught me so much about a kind and loving God. That just because He is kind and loving, it doesn’t mean we get everything that we want exactly when we want it. That sometimes he has to say no, not yet. Sometimes we have to finish our vegetables or learn our lesson. That we are not going to be magically delivered from credit card debt by an anonymous miracle check. That we can’t just eat whatever awful thing we want to eat and not exercise and have great energy and a kickin bod. That we can’t have every toy our neighbor has. And maybe we shouldn’t want it anyway, because our neighbor is a tool, and do you want to be a tool? That sometimes even though it sucks waiting we have to wait because it’s the best thing to do. That if you don’t want to wait for God to peel the banana, sometimes you’re going to get a mouthful of skin and it’s not really going to be as sweet as you expected.

So many of my friends and family members (ourselves included) are experiencing these hard lessons right now. We fasted on Friday to petition God for favor and to reconnect with Him who holds the wisdom to all understanding. I think that is what I learned. It’s not a quick fix, but to learn the lesson you need to learn now to fortify you the next time around, so it won’t be so freakin hard all the time. That if I don’t learn it this time, I’ll just have to learn it tomorrow, so why don’t I just ask for wisdom now and get it over with. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to act like a toddler my whole life. I want to learn the language of God so I can communicate with Him and Him with me. I don’t want to experience these stilted jags of crying in frustration because I don’t think he’s listening to me just because I’m not getting what I want. I want to be able to hear him say, “Not now, Michelle” and be ok with that. I’m thankful I am beyond the baby stage with my God. The cuddles and cooing is wonderful, but to be able to tell him in big girl words what is on my heart and have him listen and respond is infinitely better. I can only imagine what the future will bring, I don’t know what it is, but I know he wants the best for me and that’s more than enough.

One Comment leave one →
  1. DeeAnna permalink
    July 17, 2012 1:42 pm

    Just. Freakin’. Love. Also, the nursing incident at the store? My daughter hasn’t nursed since she turned one, and her new thing is putting everything she can find in my shirt. Toddlers are RANDOM.

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