I’ve spent the last few weeks pondering what is “normal” behavior of a child that is nearly 18 months old & what just can’t be classified as anything remotely close to falling into that category. I can blame justify the fact that K goes through brief phases of making himself vomit on demand by stating that he’s just testing boundaries. I can blame justify the fact that he likes to rip off his nappy & run around the house naked on the fact that it has been a long, hot summer or perhaps he is just ready to be toilet trained early. I can blame justify the fact that he is fearless & climbs on absolutely everything because he is a boy. And I can blame the fact that he often bite me because he is teething.
K has a nasty habit of putting everything in his mouth. I spend half of my day yelling, “Please get off the table!” & the other half yelling, “Please don’t eat that!” or “It’s not food. It’s yucky.” Or of course the obvious demand, “Please don’t put that in your mouth!” At which point he does in fact, put the garbage, toys, bugs, rocks, you name it, into his mouth. At which point mommy gets THAT look on her face. You know the one. Every mother has THAT look. I’m convinced my son gets pure joy & satisfaction rushing through his veins when he sees THAT look. And every single time he runs away as fast as he can certain that mommy won’t be able to catch him this time. Did I mention he dawns a huge accomplished smile on his face whenever this happens? Huge. It’s beautiful but infuriating at the same time.
Last week it had rained a lot in the evenings & while we were playing outside in the backyard there were a few small puddles that hadn’t dried up yet. K lay down on the ground & proceeded to try & lick up the water. Forget that mommy was holding a cup of nice cold water in her hands. Water from the ground tastes better apparently.
My son chews on everything. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. My furniture looks like I have a wild untrained puppy living in my small townhouse. But alas, I only have a skinny one year old with 12 teeth that likes to chew on anything he can dig his teeth in. He may only have 12 teeth but they do damage. There are teeth marks on every piece of wood in our house plus the concrete on the stairs. You heard me...concrete. In case you don't believe me here is living proof that he does in fact climb onto the stairs & stands there chewing on the concrete. Which, I might add, is the worst sound I have ever heard.
I’m pretty sure none of these things are normal. In fact, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that all of my training & background working with children will never prepare me to raise my son. My son does not, nor will ever fit in the cookie cutter mold of what a child is suppose to be like. And no book will ever prepare me for the things he is going to come up with next. Maybe because I am a teacher, I can't help but try to justify or reason everything he does whether it be normal or not. And I can't help but try desperately to figure him out before I have a problem child or THE weird kid on my hands.
After a recent dinner with S’s family & their 1-year-old puppy I realized that the similarities between my son & their dog are endless. In fact, they are pretty much doing exactly the same things. I may not have a crazy toddler on my hands but a very cute puppy. That’s right. I said it. I’m a terrible mother comparing my only son to a dog. Please don’t judge me. His “woofs” are amazingly cute & I’m pretty sure that was the angle he was going for anyways.
Perhaps in his mind he is just pretending to be a puppy. And if he is, then I suppose this behavior is somewhat cute & hopefully just another phase he will grow out of. At least I hope so. Because otherwise I might have a gown man still living in my house, barking at people, chewing on furniture & marking his territory with that cheeky satisfied look on his face & a sparkle in his eye.
But mommy won’t just have THAT look on her face. She will have had a heart attack.