One of my favorite parts of parenthood is watching a growing personality take form and shape.
Otter is growing daily into the person he will become. He is trying on attitudes and behaviors, and it is humorous to watch him keep and discard various attitudes. Ever the gooey love baby, he has started handing out open mouthed drooley kisses to people who have earned his favor. We call them “Meh’s” as in “Would you like to give your sister a Meh?” He has also started giving the large carved wooden turtle in my parents living room meh’s, climbing onto a footstool and kissing it over and over again when we visit.
He is carefully testing out tantrums, or at least physical resistance. He will lie down, slowly, on his stomach on the floor and start to complain, looking up at me occasionally to see if it’s having the desired effect. So far I just ask him to tell me when he’s done and ready to move on. He will take a few minutes to lie there and kvetch, but as long as I stay calm and uninterested, he won’t escalate into a full blown scene.
He wandered around my parents house the other day with his hand against his ear, like a cellphone, talking into it loudly for about twenty minutes. He helps me unlock the car door and likes to walk with me without holding hands, listening carefully for my directions as to where to turn or when to stop. He really will listen, and will follow directions. It is very important to him that I let him walk on his own, and he listens in response to my allowing that independence.
He has begun demanding that he sit in a big person chair at dinner and eat with real silverware and a real cup. He will not drink from a sippy, even though he upends his beverage over himself more often than not. He is getting into things more deliberately, and slowly we can see the wheels in his brain twist and turn.
He is straddling the fence between little boy and baby now, and is a fascinating mix between the two. I love this magical age, and this chance to catch glimpses of the man to be. Most importantly, I am glad I have become a mom who will take a breath and take the time to let this personality flourish, whenever I can. I can’t always let him take the extra time to drink from a big cup or try and figure out his own shoes, or eat a bowl of rice one grain at a time with a fork, but I try to whenever I can. These odd behaviors are his first real testing of his place in the world, and allowing him the time to push boundaries is one of the best things I can do to support his growth. My patience is helped by the fact that most of his behaviors make me smile.