A Chain of Events

One of the perils of being one-and-a-half seems to be a general lack of control, both over one’s body and over the circumstances of one’s life. There’s obviously a growing awareness and a burgeoning ability to control what happens through communication (which is really all about getting what one wants), but there are also areas foreign and mysterious (and that can cause problems).

Case in point. A naked Owen stands by the bathtub watching it fill with warm water and bubbles. I go into the next room to get a facecloth. I hear a piercing scream, then wails of misery. I rush next door, imagining that somehow he’s fallen into the tub (which comes up to his chest)… but no. My poor, miserable child has peed, has slipped, and has whacked his head on the tile floor, and now lies, sobbing, his body half soaked in his own urine (including his hair). I am a very bad mother, for as I picked him up and dried him (and the floor) off with an old towel, I had a very hard time not laughing out loud – and I may have chuckled a little. This kind of thing can only happen when you’re not aware of what will happen when you pee (chain of events: floor slippery, might fall, bump head, get wet). It was kind of pathetic but also awfully cute, and since he was about to get into the bath anyway, not even very difficult to clean up. And he didn’t seem to hit his head too hard, since he calmed down immediately.

Poor guy. We need to work on those associations. Pee=wet=slippery=fall. Or maybe he already learned that lesson.

Temper, Temper!

Owen has entered a new phase where he screams when we take away what he wants (and can’t have). Yesterday, my computer was sitting on the table next to his high chair. He reached toward it but I said No, Owen. So of course he reached some more, his food-slimed hands smearing my brand new device. So I just removed it, prompting (to my surprise) tears of rage!

This morning it was the box of clementines. He wanted to pull the box on top of himself, but we thought he might get hurt (staples, wood, sharp corners), so we said he could choose one orange, and then we took the box away. And more rage!

Our approach has so far been to just let him cry for a bit and then eventually to distract him. Is this the kind of behaviour that prompts temper tantrums? I am a little terrified of those. What do you do with a kicking screaming toddler?

I assume that this is a normal phase in childhood development, right? Some kind of assertion of selfhood and desires? Or is he bored and just trying to get our attention? In both cases, he’s wanted to get down from his high chair, and it was his mini-tantrum that prompted us to get him down.

I am all about Owen developing a sense of self. I’m just not interested in having him spread his selfhood all over my new computer.

Squeals of Delight

Owen has a toy he got from his grandmother. It’s one of those boxes with shaped holes and shaped pegs.

Five days ago, Owen could not really get shapes to fit into shape-shaped holes (other than the blue circles, which he could sometimes fit by accident). Well, now he can. It was staggering to see him learn. Literally from one day to the next he went from completely unable to grasp the concept of square peg in square hole, star peg in star hole (and throwing the pegs on the floor if they didn’t fit) to totally getting it.

And what’s fun to watch is how proud of himself he is, echoing our parental squeals of delight every time he correctly places a peg in the hole. “Aaah!” he will say, high-pitched, excited, before moving on to the next piece.