Finding new ways to connect

I remember Little Miss when she was around 16 months old. She was such a calm and meticulous child. She could get lost in a handful of blocks for an hour without asking for any attention on our part. She had (and still has) an analytic mind. Even at such a young age, she didn’t want to just do, she wanted to know… Hours we spent pouring over books with her sitting quietly, pointing, repeating, listening to our words. We were finger painting by then, we were exploring through touch, sight and sound. We were dancing. there was so much going on and she just couldn’t get her fill. She always wanted more…

IMG_3728 IMG_4642 June 8 2013

Then came Little Man. Now I went into this new parenting adventure knowing full well that every child is different. I think what never really imprinted onΒ me was just HOW different two children from the same parents, growing in the same environment could be! It seems that everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING, I knew about raising a toddler went out the window and I’m starting new.

IMG_7404_000

Back in July, just after our Little Man turned 1, I wrote a piece about his manic ways and a few solutions I had found to try and make my outings with him a bit less stressful. To this day, I’m honestly still trying to find a balance.

There are what I consider small things that we are slowly coming to grips with :

  • My son doesn’t speak. We get a “mama” or a “papa” every few days, but aside from that, he has chosen sounds over words. It used to worry me a bit until I noticed a few weeks ago that he could follow a complex (or what can be considered complex for a toddler) set of instructions, both in English and French, which means he understands words. He’s also working the muscles of his mouth and is able to roll his tongue, growl and click his tongue on his soft palate which means that when he does decide to speak, he should be able to achieve pretty decent pronunciation pretty quickly.
  • We are unable to read to him. Don’t get me wrong, we can read AT him, but he is running miles around the house as we do so. If we try to turn the book in his direction or sit him on our lap, within seconds, pages are being violently ripped out. So I’ve taken to reading magazines and flyers with him. Pointing at pictures and working on vocabulary. And if pages go flying, then it doesn’t hurt quite as much!
  • He explores everything through banging : banging things together, banging me with things (or his poor big sister who tries SO HARD to not cry when he hits her with very blunt objects), banging things on furniture and walls. I won’t lie, it troubles me some. But everyone keeps telling me boys are rougher than girls… I don’t know. That seems a little “general” to me. Any thoughts???
  • He’s a biter… Enough said right? *ugh*

I’ve been trying to find ways to connect with him, ways to get him stimulated. I guess patience is key. Maybe it’s hitting me harder than I would like because my arm is still hurt which limits my freedom of motion with him. Or maybe I just need to find more places that are engaging to him like the soccer field earlier this week. Motherhood is such a learning process. We never have it quite figured out, do we?

That being said, has he just now wakes up from his nap, we are heading for a little hike with friends. Last time we went on a hike, he swallowed a piece of tree bark. Wish me luck! *sighs and shrugs*

Are any of you raising (or have you raised) little rough-and-tough-bruisers? I would love your input.

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About Yanic A.

Hello to all of you and thank you for stopping by! My name is Yanic. I'm a wife to a wonderful husband, a mother of 2 beautifully complex and unique children and a lover of all things inspiring. Having started a personal journey of self discovery when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter 4 years ago, I've since embraced a daily life of simpler pleasures and gratitude. As we get to know each other, you will know me as a quilter, a gardener, a Tao cultivator, a vegetarian foodie, a true believer in a healthy family life as being the secret to my happiness and hopefully as time goes on, a friend... I will try to share with you my days as they unfold, speaking of my happy successes without censoring my challenges, trying to make this blog a true portrait of the ever-changing path that I have chosen for myself. I'm hoping to find in these pages others to share with and learn from, bringing to light the absolute connection in all things and people, showing this world as being a true community.
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19 Responses to Finding new ways to connect

  1. My son was more like your daughter, and he’s the only baby in my life. So I have little to offer. YES, more time outside where he can run and be rough with no bad consequence. Yes, keeping the potential damage minimized with magazines and non-breakable surroundings. Yes, congratulating your daughter for her patience and fortitude, with reminders that he will get better as he gets older and learns some of her skills. One thing I’ll say is many parents these days don’t use play pens. They are not cages. They’re a good way to let a little guy play by himself without direct supervision, letting you take care of chores or give daughter direct attention sometimes. Hugs for you as you go through this frustration. You’re doing everything right.

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    • Yanic A. says:

      Thank you… I never thought of playpens as cages, he just climbs out of them an smacks his head on the floor! LOL! Luckily we have a REALLY small house so he’s never that far from me. But unlike my daughter, if he’s quiet for too long, I know he,s up to something! πŸ™‚

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  2. Lisa says:

    My only child is a boy and he is all boy. Before he turned two we were at the store to get him a regular bed and my husband asked if we really needed to. Yes, because he’s climbing out of his crib (and falling to the floor). He’s always been a climber. He will climb anything, no matter where we are. When he was a toddler, we’d be out somewhere-park, grocery store, and he’d fling himself onto the floor. People would gasp. I would have to explain that he’s fine and he’s doing it on purpose. He will climb anything, no matter where we are.

    He was also a super-fussy infant. I was so ready to go back to work after 6 weeks. Some kids have flat heads because they’re on their back so much in their crib. We didn’t have that problem because we held him for the first six weeks. I’m not even exaggerating.

    Thankfully he wasn’t a biter. Although he did try it out once in daycare (didn’t break the skin). I got a call from the daycare center about it. He was probably 3 at the time. They asked him why and he said “I wanted to taste flesh.” Awesome. Way to be creepy, kid.

    When we’d drop him off to daycare, we’d remind him to keep his hands and feet and, after the biting incident, his teeth to himself.

    Your post makes me think of the tribulations we’re currently having with our (increasingly large) puppy. We’re constantly telling her not to jump or bite. She’s getting there, but it’s a looooooong process. A friend’s second child also proved to be more challenging and she said if she had had her daughter first, she wouldn’t have had a second.

    Parenting is definitely a challenge.

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    • Yanic A. says:

      Than you for sharing! Yep. we have a climber as well. But our daughter was as well. She was out of her crib at 20 months. We also have very TALL children. My daughter is 44 inches at just-turned-4 and our son is 36 inches at not-even-16-months! So those long legs go over the bars really easy!

      I would have another even if my son came first though. He’s not bad, he’s just different. My husband will wrestle him out on week-ends, flip him upside down, run with him on his back… he’s a BOY! I just can’t do all those things. (Did I mention he also weighs 27 lbs!) But we’ll figure it out. Even with all that, he’s a mama,s boy, we’ll find middle ground. πŸ™‚

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  3. As a mama of two boys and a girl, I know exactly what you are struggling with! They are all so different. Our oldest boy is analytical as well. He likes to move his body, but by climbing, jumping, running, swinging. Our second son is physical. He runs into things and people on purpose, falls down a lot, hits and bites, loves to wrestle and pig pile. He also requires a lot more tender touches when it comes to affection. Our daughter is also pretty physical, but very verbal. At 18 months she has well over 200 words and will still bang a stroller into the corner in complete frustration when she can’t figure out how to direct it as she wants.

    As an early childhood teacher I can also say that boys and girls are different. We place a lot of stock into how we socialize them in terms of gender, but I think it comes down to physiology. Boys tend to be more physical, gross motor, while girls tend to be a little more in their heads, fine motor. Of course, there is a spectrum of where every child falls and we don’t want to box them in, but use what we know to further understand them. Our son loves books now, at 5, but he never would’ve sat still long enough to read them at 18 months. Our daughter, although I doubt she’ll ever been “in her head” as much as our son is, will sit for 30 mins with a pile of books, “reading” them to herself. Boys just learn a lot through moving their bodies. They need heavy blocks and trucks to lift and pull.

    I heard a really great lecture about how boys develop differently from girls and how to meet their needs about a year and a half ago. I was really blown away! The lecturer kept notes for herself. I’ll try to dig them up and send them your way if you want to send me your email–coco.reinhart@gmail.com (I don’t see a way to contact on the blog–but I am still a bit of a dunce around here)

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  4. sophiezest says:

    Hi Yanic,
    Your daughter sounds very similar to my son. He is very analytical, wants to know how everything works, and is physically quite cautious. As a toddler his speech was early and very good, and his fine motor skills excellent. He could play for hours with stacking cups or a shape sorter with no attention from me. His gross motor skills were not so good.
    My daughter, who is younger, also spoke early and very well, but she is much more physical. She loves running and jumping on the trampoline. She is physically very affectionate as well. She is different from your son in many ways, but what I will say is that when she was little she appeared to have the attention span of a gnat. She never played with any one thing for long. She needed a lot of attention from me (and still demands much more attention from adults). It took a while before I could read her stories, because she would just wander off. Even now, at bedtime, she won’t stick around to listen to stories sometimes. BUT if she is interested in a particular activity, she will concentrate and stick with it for a long time; and she is very interested in books now (aged nearly 5). She will sit and leaf through them by herself quietly for a while.
    Good luck! I know that you are approaching the challenges of parenthood with patience and tolerance.

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    • Yanic A. says:

      Thank you for sharing. The comment you made about your daughter needing close contact rings true. As much as now, my daughter loves being close, she’s also always been a bit of a loner. She wants to be close, but only for a little while. She gets ready to move on quite quickly. But little man, he is a hugger, a touchy-feely kind of little man. He will run up to me several times in just a few minutes to hug and walk away. He,s also a little man that needs a lot of comfort when he,s unsure, when he,s shy or uneasy. He still doesn’t really sleep through the night. All he needs is a few minutes of back-rubbing and he falls right back out, but he needs to know that we are there all the time.

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  5. I have a 19-month-old boy. He loves to climb on things and jump off them. It started short and has gotten progressively higher (he can easily jump off the nightstand now). Sometimes it worries me, but I also want him to feel powerful and know his strength. That being said, when he does things I don’t like (such as biting) I clearly tell him “I don’t want you to do that.” I use it for all sorts of situations, and out works for us. A couple books on the subject that I found helpful are “it’s ok not to share” and “raising an emotionally intelligent child.” I read a lot so let me know if you would like more recommendations. I hope those help.

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    • Yanic A. says:

      “but I also want him to feel powerful and know his strength” I love that! I was reading an article that my new friend Coco mentioned in the comments above about boys needing to feel their strength and worth… needing to work hard, needing to be challenged. I think that is key… finding age appropriate ways of them feeling like Little Men… I will definitely check out these books! Thank you xo

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  6. sally says:

    My boys were quite different from the girls, and definitely needed more outdoor time and space and physical activity. But I was lucky in that they also loved books and were happy to spend time on quieter activities. So I’m not sure I’m much help. It sounds like you’re doing all the right things. And it could be that any day now he’ll reach a certain point in his development where, as much as his whole personality won’t suddenly change, different activities will start to appeal to him more – and he’ll miraculously sit and do jigsaw puzzles one after another happily or something else similar. I do think children sometimes develop in that way. And also, particularly with boys, it’s often a matter of them finding their ‘thing’, and then they obsess about it madly! It could be dinosaurs or bugs or whatever, but as soon as they ‘find’ it, that’s it, they’re happy to look at book after book, as long as it’s about their ‘thing’! Hope that makes sense!

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    • Yanic A. says:

      It totally does,,, Funny enough, my son is all about Toy Story! LOL! We don’t really have TV, but we have dvds and he can sit and watch that movie from beginning to end, his Woody and Buzz dolls in hand. He just loves them. If he is not watching the movie, he still carries Woody everywhere! Maybe that is HIS thing for now. Won’t lie, it,s how mama gets a break sometimes. πŸ™‚

      I know he’ll be whip smart and he’ll probably mellow and find his “thing”… mom just has to adapt and learn how to wrestle and pig pile without hurting herself. LOL!

      Thank you for sharing dear! xo

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  7. appleshoe says:

    I have an active boy, and except for the part about books, I could have written this. My boy loves his books and will always stop for them. That being said, he is approaching 20 months and still does not talk, he can understand advanced directions as well, loves to throw things, scream (happily), smash his head against the wall (and anything else), and make me wonder many times if we can honestly handle a second. What works for us is activity. Lots and lots of physical activity. We let him take the lead when we go on walks. Always there if he needs us, but letting him take the lead helps. He also loves textures and try to have a lot texture activities on hand. A lot of people told us that we had to be rigid with our son or he would be a “wild child”, but we found relaxing and watching his lead, giving him plenty of space and letting him work things out for himself actually calmed him more. I just have one, but I hope something in there helps. How did you decide on a second? We’re working on figuring that out right now.

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    • Yanic A. says:

      Thank you so much for sharing… What I find frustrating is that he shows interest in almost everything, but for 2 seconds. Like he wants books all the time, but then after turning 2 pages, he tries the rip out the rest. You know what I mean? He wants to color with his sister, so we give him a piece of paper and a crayon and then he proceeds to stab the paper until the crayon breaks and then he grabs the box and flings it in the air. I know he will settle one day. We try to let him take the lead, but he gets dangerous : If there is a street, he runs in the middle. If we’re in a park, he tries to stuff rocks up his nose… If we are in the woods, he chews on everything. And forget any creek, river or pond…even in winter, straight for it. *sighs* He is a confident, stubborn, determined little man. All good qualities for a strong adult. But what a little challenge for mom! πŸ™‚

      How did we decide for a second. We didn’t… We had always said 2 maybe 3 children. I got married at 32 so we started trying right away. In my romantic mind, I figured first pregnancy 33, 2nd 35 and then we would decide before 40. But it took 4 years to have Little Miss and after 18 months of trying for a 2nd (we started trying when Nevaeh was 1 so I was 37) we gave ourselves until the end of 2012 to get pregnant… I found out about Little Man mid-Nov. πŸ™‚ Both our kiddos are miracles. I was pregnant with 4 children, only 2 saw the world. It was never a decision we made, seems all the decision were made for us.

      What is making you think things over?

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