Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Growing boy


The other night, in a flurry of motion Tim and I were trying to get dinner on the table and kids in their seats. In an effort to make our dinner as tear-free as possible, I was trying to be my best, patient self as I talked Archie through sitting him down. With a click of his buckle, he lost it. What could have possibly gone wrong in 3.5 seconds that warranted this breakdown? I tried to stay cool.

And then it occurred to me. Archie is about 16-months-old and has been going through a big growth spurt lately that has yielded better listening, more personality, tantrums, and independence. When it was just Ella, Tim and I were both so aware and attuned to the latest spurt. I looked up and read articles on Baby Center—what-to-expect-this-month sort of a thing—and we'd work to be especially patient when she was wanting to learn something on her own. While we have picked up the rhythm of growth spurts and the signs of one approaching, we've missed a couple things Archie has begun doing and questioned the emotional roller coasters due to ... busyness, I guess. (It really is true that life turns into a zoo with two.)

As I unbuckled the buckle and talked to Archie, and tried to calm him down, I remembered Ella doing the exact same thing. She needed to buckle her seat at the dinner table. She needed to help us take the clean spoons out of the dishwasher and put them away—another practice Archie has recently adopted. Archie is where Ella was. We've been here before.

It's been hard to keep track of and gauge these different stages of development since having 2 for a variety of reasons. Archie is growing up a bit faster, since Ella is around to show him how to do so many things. Archie's personality is opposite of Ella's, so he reacts differently to some of these stages. And our life is far busier than it was when Ella was Archie's age.

It's also been hard to softly nurture Archie through these intense growth spurts. With Ella, I had all this new parenting zeal, despite the fact that I had postpartum depression and anxiety. I was passionate about doing things the right way, which, to me, meant not losing my cool and instead talking her through problems. I read Bringing Up Bebe and referred to Parenting With Love and Logic and got inspired by all these saintly mom bloggers. Nine times out of ten, I was successful, I was, but we only had one kid and I stayed at home. All of my focus could go into those practices without distraction. Now? Ella could be upset and Archie could be having a breakdown and my anxious self stands frozen in the kitchen without answers, all zeal depleted. 

We're learning to juggle. Archie now helps me buckle anything that needs buckling. We're learning to be more patient in waiting for Archie to have his little 'growth moments' instead of trying to just get it done—not an easy thing to accomplish with 2 running around—but it's teaching us to slow down. And it's in slowing down that we begin to gently walk him through these tough toddler times. 

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