Friday, September 21, 2012

18 months old

Elliot just hit the 18-month milestone. In some ways it’s difficult to believe that my little guy has been a part of my life for 1.5 years, but in other ways I feel like I have lived every single second of that time. A friend recently summed it up quite nicely – with a toddler the “moment to moment” time seems to be excruciatingly slow, but “big picture” time seems to fly by.

 What’s funny, although I am enjoying every moment of his development, I feel I am always looking forward to the next milestone. But then when we finally get to that milestone, I am already ready for the next one.

I remember that when he was a sweet little baby and would get upset, I would think, “I can’t wait till he gets old enough that he can tell me what’s upsetting him.” Now at 18 months old he is starting to form a little vocabulary. He doesn’t speak in full sentences, but in emphatic one- and two-word bursts. They are usually declarative and more often than not meant to elicit some action from me.

One part of his limited vocabulary is the names of his grandparents, my wife and I, his aunt, uncle, their baby and of course our cat, Nina. Whenever there is a lull in the conversation, Elliot likes to run down the roster, stopping after each name for me to explain their exact whereabouts to him. Then he will nod and move on to the next. If he isn’t happy or doesn’t understand my explanation, he will ask over and over again until he gets a satisfactory response.

He also has his list of actions – “eat,” “outside,” “wa-wa” (water), “bye bye,” “book” etc. … and this is where I am ready for the next phase to begin. Remember when I said I when he was little that I just wanted him to be able to express why he was upset? Well, now he can, and I have to say I think I liked it better when he couldn’t. I guess I always imagined he was upset because of some serious issue – a wet diaper, tummy ache or fear of the dark. Nope, he is usually upset because he wants to “read” a book or go swimming in the middle of the night. So instead of increasing my compassion level, it has made me worry that my son may be insane! I am ready for the next phase, when I can actually reason with him. I can explain why we don’t go for walks when it’s raining or eat waffles at every meal of the day.

I can already see where the “reasoning” phase is going to backfire. Instead of just saying “no” like I do now (and being met with tears), my “no” will now be returned with a well-thought-out argument and counterpoints about why he shouldn’t be required to wear pants or brush his teeth. Maybe my best plan should be to just sit back and enjoy the moments, every excruciating one.

Jordan Echols is a Marketing Manager at Texas Health Resources and Dad trying to savor his son's growing-up-moments.

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