The challenges and rewards of the toddler stage


My son has hit the year and a half mark and is growing and developing in leaps and bounds. I find this stage sooo much more rewarding and fun than the infant stage. Honestly I felt I was just going through the motions the first year  trying to just fulfill our basic needs. Now that he's older it's a lot more fun. I am off two days a week with him by myself, which is fun because we get bonding time. Sometimes we'll read a book, do sidewalk chalk, walk the dogs, go to the park, or just hang out and play in the living room. He's starting to pick up words and phrases you say. He is able to indicate most of his needs, saying "more" "all done" "up" "down" "elmo" (he wants to watch Sesame Street). We are still working on getting him to indicate when he needs go to the bathroom, and are at the very remedial stages of toilet training. At his preschool/daycare they have taught him some basic sign language, so now he signs "more" and "all done", which is probably the most adorable thing I have ever seen in my life. He is learning numbers and knows routines. He knows to take his shoes off when he gets in the house and put them on the shoe rack.

This stage has not come without challenges. He is in the stage where he wants to do everything on his own without help. He wants to walk outside without holding my hand, in which he often will run away from me. When I catch him he screams and attempts to hurl himself out of my arms. If something is taken away from him, or he isn't able to have an item he wants, for example the remote, my cell phone, a cookie, a dirty blanket, he will also have a tantrum. After this behavior has become more and more frequent we have implemented time out, making him sit against the wall. My husband is a lot more firm with him in terms of discipline. I tend to start laughing or become amused at some of our son's antics, which is a horrible habit. Because of my behavior when he misbehaves, he tries to push limits with me a lot more than my husband. I know it's bad. My husband however, is a lot more lenient when it comes to giving in to our son's food demands. I am more strict on how much sugar he eats, whereas my husband will bribe him chocolate milk and cookies, which is also creating bad habits.

I was discussing tantrums with a coworker who has five boys. She told me the story of when one of her younger boys was a toddler he would run into a wall head first at full force when he didn't get his way. She would become distraught and cave in after he would pull this stunt. After this went on for some time she discussed with her pediatrician and the pediatrician advised her the next time he did this to deliberately step over him and walk away. She followed this advice, and the tantrums stopped. I try to remember this advice and not cave into his attempts to get his way.

I am loving this stage regardless of the pitfalls. It's such a touching experience to watch him go through all his firsts and watch him at awe of all the little things we take for granted.
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