Only four more months until my little man turns 2! Although, I think the "terrible twos" have already started. Colton deliberately does things he knows he is not supposed to do, and sometimes it seems like he isn't listening to me at all. I think part of it is he wants to test my authority, and another is he has so much energy that it has to go somewhere. From the minute he wakes up to the time he goes to bed, he is going non-stop (with the exception of his afternoon nap). He loves to climb and explore right now, so he has a hard time with anything that limits this freedom. He's also asserting his independence more and more these days, while still wanting to be close to Mommy.
We had a really rough time a few weeks ago getting Colton to go to bed at night. It was especially frustrating because we've never had sleep issues with him, and all of a sudden he resisted going to sleep in his crib. I'd get him ready for bed, and as it got closer to bedtime he would become increasingly agitated and even anxious or fearful. He would scream as soon as I placed him in the crib and after I'd say goodnight and turn to leave, inevitably he'd throw up. So I'd have to get him out, change him, change the sheets, take the bumper off, and Gregg would wet vac the carpet. This went on for six nights in a row. Sometimes after an episode we'd just put him to sleep in the pack 'n play that's in our room, and I'd wake up every time he coughed or stirred. Other nights I'd put him back in the crib, and he would cry & scream for several minutes before crashing only to wake up at 3 or 4am crying for me and wouldn't go back down again easily.
Gregg and I began arguing with each other over what to do, and in the meantime nobody was getting any sleep. The situation really forced us to work together to find a solution and, more importantly, pray about it. Finally I suggested Gregg start putting Colton to bed because his anxiety seemed to be related to not wanting to be apart from me. The first few nights were still rough, but there were no incidents of puking and there haven't been any since. Honestly, the whole thing made me really question whether I actually want to have another kid. I know this was a phase, and it seems to be behind us now, but I still don't know if I can go through something like this again.
There are plenty of times where I see glimpses of the Colton I knew as a baby: sweet, easygoing, lovable. Sometimes it's hard to remember that he's still the same kid when it appears that he's been replaced with a tempermental, energetic toddler who makes it really hard to get anything done around here because I constantly have to stop what I'm doing to discipline him. At least it started getting warmer this past month, so I could go for walks with him and take him to the park. Even being able to open our sliders off of the deck so Colton can play on it has been a huge plus. He has practiced his climbing skills at the playground, discovered leaves, rocks and twigs in the park, and played to his heart's content out on the deck while waving and saying "hi" to everyone who passes by. He has shown that he is willing to let go of me in order to have some adventures on his own, knowing that I'm never too far away and will be right there to comfort him if he falls down and cries. We're both walking that delicate balance of independence and reliance on Mommy.
Colton still only says about four words with any consistency, but it seems like he is finidng new ways of communicating his needs and wants to us. I am trying to encourage him to talk by not just giving him what he wants when he whines or points, although I know exactly what it is. I wait for him to at least say something, even if it's gibberish, and then I'll say what the actual word is back to him. There is so much that he understands now, like when I ask if he would like some milk, he'll go directly to the fridge and pull on the door handle. If I tell him we're taking the dog for a walk, he'll open the hall closet and reach for the leash that's hanging up. Then he likes to carry the empty poop bag until I need it. He is becoming pretty helpful in his own way. Colton enjoys pushing the swiffer around and sweeping up the dust bunnies and dog hair on the floor. He hands me pieces of lint or garbage (if we're outside somewhere) and then if I instruct him to throw them away in the trash can, he does. When we're having a playdate with my friend Erin and her two girls, he will give the baby her pacifier or toy.
Some days it seems like the easiest thing in the world to take care of him and others it's amazing I'm able to get a load of laundry done and cook dinner while he whips through the house like a tornado. Sometimes I'm in desperate need of a break because I'm so frustrated and exhausted from dealing with him, and others my heart literally aches because I love him so much and can't bear to spend one minute away. Colton is teaching me a lot about myself every day. It's hard to believe he's more than halfway through his second year already!