To say that the past few days in the adventures of Miss 18 months old have been trying would be the understatement of the century. She has morphed from baby to toddler overnight. No google search will tell you what to do when the “terrible twos” have mistakenly arrived 6 months early. In the back of my mind, I try not to think about the fact that these might not even be the terrible twos. It could get much worse before it gets better…
Miss 18 months is the smartest baby ever. (Whose kid isn’t, right?) She is also very tall for her age. Her height allows her to get into things, reach things and climb things that she isn’t experienced or wise enough to fully comprehend. She’s like a large breed puppy in a sense where they grow so big so fast and are capable of jumping up, running off, etc before they are old enough to know that they shouldn’t. She climbs everything. She climbs on the TV stand, she climbs up the outside of her brother’s crib, she climbs the shelves of the change table, her play table, the Christmas tree, the coffee table, her toy box, etc, etc, etc. Her long legs allow her to get up onto things while her young age prevents her from understanding that she shouldn’t… no matter how many thousands of times she is told.
Her newest trick is running up and down the couch, climbing onto the arms, jumping off the arms onto the couch. She is fearless. She scares the crap out of me. I might need to invest in a defibrillator for at home. I’m pretty sure my heart has stopped a few times watching her come very close to seriously hurting herself. I have told her no. I have asked her nicely to “please sit down on the couch.” I have asked her firmly to “PLEASE SIT DOWN ON THE COUCH.” I have taken her off of the couch slowly. I have sat her down on the couch slowly. Slowly because if you do it quickly, it becomes a game and she finds it absolutely hysterical. I read on a natural parenting site that the best way to get your children to understand right from wrong is to offer an exaggerated sad face and speak in a sad tone to express your disappointment with their actions. We tried this too. Do you know what is more hilarious that Mommy and Daddy making an incredibly exaggerated sad and pouty face talking to you? Nothing.
She just doesn’t understand yet. We’re staying on her because one day she will understand and we don’t want her to all of a sudden wonder why it’s not okay to be swinging from the chandelier in her playroom. Yes, there is a chandelier in the “play room” because it used to be our dining room before the little people took over the house and we surrendered. We really need to replace it. It is currently pinned up high with an “S” hook so we don’t whack our heads on it but it’s a disaster waiting to happen as balls get thrown higher and higher during play time.
My mom suggested using a playpen as a timeout area since she does not understand timeout and trying to get her to sit still anywhere is impossible. The more you try to hold her in one spot, the funnier it becomes for her. I’ve been trying this for 25 years… well actually for 5 days, it just seems like forever. She definitely does not like being put in the play pen. She screams and cries until she is freed. She has yet to understand why she is in there though. Every time I take her out, she runs right back to the couch, stands up and almost kills herself until she is slowly scooped up so it isn’t fun, told not to stand on the couch and put on “time out.” Around and around we go. Today as I was breastfeeding her 7 month old little brother, she was running up and down the couch as I said “Please sit down! You’re going to get hurt!” over and over again. I don’t know what she did but I looked down for a second and looked up to her screaming at the top of her lungs. She ended up face down on the couch and her right arm got stuck between the couch cushions. I hoped that she might have gotten the message. Maybe now she would understand the consequences of her actions. I was thankful that she got “hurt” enough to understand why she shouldn’t stand on the furniture but not so hurt that it was serious. Umm no. Literally the second that I freed her, she turned to me for a hug then pushed away to climb back up on the couch and laugh her head off. I accidentally told her she was a little devil. My inside voice escaped. I apologized. We’re all good!
Hubby and I laid in bed last night talking about how this whole couch climbing thing must be really confusing for her. He keeps getting frustrated and saying she needs to learn how to listen. This is completely true. She needs to LEARN how to listen. So far, in her short 18 months, every thing she has been capable of doing has been rewarded with encouragement and praise. When she learned how to roll, sit up, crawl, walk, wave, dance, we excitedly cheered her on and encouraged her to do it over and over again. Now she is able to climb which to her is another developmental achievement but suddenly it’s being met with her parents telling her “No!” When you think of it that way, she has a lot more to learn that just how to sit properly on the couch. For the first time, she is being faced with learning that just because she can do something, doesn’t mean it is allowed. Her first lesson in living in a structured environment and learning how to be civilized. We’re going have to work at this one. Any advice is welcome. Lately I have seriously been thinking about fencing off the couch. With our TV and Christmas tree already fenced off, it will make our living room look even more like a messed up museum with everything off limits. A museum that no one would want to visit. Who wants to come for a tour of an undecorated Christmas tree since I hung two Christmas balls on it that I thought were out of reach but as I changed Mr. 7 months old’s diaper, Miss 18 months grabbed one and broke it? Or slobbered on, milk-stained furniture? Also, I think someday it might be useful for her to know how to properly use furniture.
We were headed to a baby shower for a close friend on the weekend and I half-jokingly told a couple of friends that if Miss 18 months keeps up with the way she has been behaving lately, I would be bringing a cage for her. We laughed. They laughed because they thought I was being funny. I laughed because I was actually feeling them out to see if this would be socially acceptable. One of my friends quickly pointed out the “playard” and how just because we call it a playard or play pen, doesn’t mean we don’t all know what it actually is… it’s a baby cage! So true. She just needs a hamster water bottle and she will be all set. Kidding! She doesn’t even like water! She would absolutely figure out how to scale that thing and escape in no time! She did manage to behave at the shower thanks to an understanding and forgiving friend who was okay with Miss 18 months taking on the role of “Quality Control Inspector” and ensuring that each gifted toy, exersaucer, book, etc. worked properly and was safe for babies.
Listening and following rules is something we will be working on. Sometimes I think that maybe she doesn’t speak English. I know a little bit of French from taking French all through high school and she knows a bit of Spanish from watching Dora the Explorer. However, “Sit down!” does not seem to phase her in any language. Unless you count how hilarious she finds it!
Miss 18 months is forming new words and sounds every day. Too many words in her world start with “B” though. She says “Buh buh buh” to mean all kinds of things. Book, baby, bath, bed, blanket, bear, banana. She is starting to differentiate the sound that follows the “B” sound so that they sound closer to words. She has started saying “Baaa” for bath and “Bee” for blanket. She also says “D-d-d-d-d” as in “D-d-d-d-d-Dora” from the Dora theme song as a side note. Yesterday morning as I am feeding Mr. 7 months old in the high chair, Miss 18 months starts pulling on my oversized t-shirt that I sport so well these days from her booster seat. She keeps saying “Buh-buh” followed by “Bee.” I have no idea what she wants. She continues to tug at the side of my tshirt. I turned to face her figuring she has run out of banana. As I start to tell her she has banana on her tray, I am close enough that she is able to lift my shirt right up, grab my boob and smile and excitedly say “Bee-bee” for boobie. Why? I have no idea. Maybe she was trying to translate for her little brother in saying that he wants boob and not banana which is usually true. She spends a lot of time watching me breastfeed her brother and will usually sit beside me while I do and point to my nose and I will say “nose”, point to my ear and I will say “ear”, stick her finger right in my eye and I will blink like crazy and say “eye” and sometimes she points to my boob and I say “boobie” and explain to her that her little brother is eating. She’s a sponge. So there ya go, B is for Boobie! Just when you thought all privacy and dignity was lost in the delivery room, you get randomly groped at the breakfast table!
In all seriousness, if you have any tips for a fearless 18 month old who does not yet understand rules, consequence or timeouts, I am all ears!
andbabymakes3imean4 is one mom’s adventures while tap dancing on the brink of insanity with 2 babies, 11 months apart. If you liked this post, please click “follow” at the top of your screen or like my page on facebook to be the first to know of future posts. Thanks for reading!