Toddler J (TJ) personality on the upswing

My little TJ is all over the place these days in terms of exploration. After all, with a nearly two weeks visit to Canada where we stayed at three different places and did an entire road trip from Toronto to Chicago, his exploratory senses have been awakened if not heightened. During his first visit to his fatherland, TJ got to engage in many firsts:

1. He got to wear his swimwear for the first time and actually got into the water at the beach. Even though I took him to the 12th st. beach in Chicago, he was too scared to venture much at the time and only dabbed his little feet in at the time, more interested in making a run for it into the sand. This time at the grandparents’ cottage, he enjoyed playing with his beach toys, filling buckets with water, pouring over sand, splashing in the water, get water over his face and himself, and all in all have a great time.

2. He slept in his pack and play everyday for 1.5 weeks without complaints. We tried to keep him on Central Time despite being an hour ahead. Of course this meant putting him to bed at 9:00 p.m. which didn’t give us much time to unwind but the consistency it brought along with it after returning to Chicago was worth it. For the first two morning, he did his usual morning ritual. He woke up and started his slow cries hoping we hear him and come get him. On the third morning he realized that his parents were right there on a bed by his sleeper. So he would just stand up and go, “Unh!” to get our attention after succeeding at which, we brought him into our bed where we would all often get back to sleep for another hour or so.

3. He played with little toy cars a lot. The toy makers recommend these small cars for older kids for risk of chocking on the parts but he did fine. He does not put things into his mouth (except for the occasional paper) so we were safe on that point. He had a blast playing and looking up to his older cousins who equally loved playing with him and caring for him.

4. He got comfortable climbing stairs. In fact, he became a pro at climbing up. We’re still working on climbing down. The grandparents’ cottage has a sunken living room. Everyone taught him to sit and then get off the higher level and he followed instructions like an obedient child and never once fell getting down.

5. We discovered his love for bread. He loves it and won’t want anything else once he sees it.

6. In Ohio, he came face to face with Daisy, our uncle’s dog. At first he was scared and tried to keep running to us. Then, once he got to know Daisy, he seemed cautiously comfortable around her and enjoyed watching her eat his thrown food off the floor.

7. Also in Ohio, sitting on his great uncle’s lap, he rode a lawn mowing tractor. What fun! He also worked a hoe and enjoyed walking around uncle’s garden.

8. He learned a little about life on the road with frequent stops and disturbed sleep schedules but did great.

9. He stood up in the shower and actually got showered a few times and none of these with complaints. If anything, he was struck by the newness of the experience and enjoyed it.

All this brings me to bragging about my own child. TJ is blossoming into a very adaptable and personable child. He takes some time to take to a new situation or new people which is understandable but then gets completely comfortable no matter where you put him – be in the 3 acre field in Ohio, the Niagara Falls, the beach, the swings, someone else’s kitchen, cemetery, what have you. He accepts change – perhaps because he doesn’t know any better – but at least he does not whine and complain about it – and adapts to the new dynamic of the situation easily. We worked hard to make sure we kept things we could control, fairly predictable and consistent for him. For example, we had the same bath time ritual and we were always with him. These two things may have helped with the adaptability as well.

He is also a friendly child. He doesn’t mind other people holding him. He is generous in blowing kisses and waving to others once he overcomes the initial shyness. He gives his High-5s when asked and if in the mood to do so. Mostly, he loves just walking around with his Tommy Tippee sippy cup and surveying things around him, touching, feeling, pulling, and throwing. He is definitely an explorer.

He is also a very loving child. Whenever he sees me tired or laying down, he’ll come up to me, move my hair from my face, given me kisses, and motion me to get up and come over with him. He is generous with his hugs. He definitely likes being held. He’ll wrap himself around my foot and move from one to the other looking up to me with puppy dog eyes asking me to pick him up. How can I resist! Whenever he hurts himself, he points it out to one of us and makes a whiny, painful face, and touches where it hurt him. If we are not looking, he’ll bring himself to us and point or show where something hurt him. Usually, we kiss it better 🙂 and he seems content with that.

He does not cry a lot. Just as he was as a newborn and infant, he cries when he is hungry and tired. Now, of course, he cries when he wants something and is denied access to it but that is a phase. He is a happy child. All through the pregnancy with him, I prayed for a happy and healthy child and I have him. I feel so blessed.

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