Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sixteen Months

In just a few more days, Sean will be officially 16 months old. This is one of those ages that seems to stick out in my mind, and yet each time it comes around, I discover that I'm woefully unprepared.

With Ryan, I was (and continue to be) unprepared just because he's the first one. With Morgan, I knew 16 Months was a Thing, but I was unprepared because A.) I had Mommy Amnesia and B.) I didn't think every child necessarily hits 16 Months and so was caught off-guard by the timing. (I still don't think every kid hits 16 Months right at 16 Months--but I strongly suspect they hit 16 Months at some point.)

And so it appears that Sean is going to follow the same plan as his older siblings. Right on time and all of a sudden, he's hitting this stage. I'm once again afflicted with Mommy Amnesia, and this time we're experiencing 16 Months in a house full of LEGO and art projects and homeschool supplies. And I knew it was coming! A few months ago, I remember thinking, "Ooh! 16 Months is coming up and I'll be busy." But I couldn't quite remember why 16 Months was such a busy time.

Allow me to paint a picture of what life with a such a creature is like:

  • Mommy never, ever, ever sits down, not for one second.

Hmmm . . . I thought there'd be more to that, but that about sums it up right there. I'm pretty much chasing after this little booger dear all the live long day.

It's as if every little skill he's been acquiring since the minute he was born has suddenly been honed all at once. Those days and weeks of learning to control his head, arms, legs, hands, mouth, feet are now behind him. He no longer needs to concentrate on walking or grasping. He's got those things down cold. He can eat without choking and gagging, and has become an expert at picking up teeny tiny things and poking them into forbidden crevices (so far, none on his own body, fingers crossed and all that).

Now that he doesn't need to expend any mental energy on the basics--walking and talking and holding things--he turns that mental focus outward, and seems hell-bent determined to Interact with his Environment (dum-dum-DUMMMMMM!). Much to the dismay of the Environment and the other people who inhabit it.

He is a one-manchild force of destruction. Buttons are pushed, over and over again, resetting servers and starting/stopping the dishwasher. There is cat food everywhere. There are crackers everywhere. No piece of paper goes unmolested--books, tax forms, art projects, unused reams of printer paper alike are drooled on, crumpled, sat upon, chewed upon, and generally destroyed. Stairs and furniture and concrete steps are scaled without fear or regard for personal well-being. Toy after toy has been sent down the basement stairs through the cat door, a present for Daddy next time he dares go down there without turning on the lights.

And there is no distracting this persistent child. Now his memory is up and going, see, and waving something shiny in his face Isn't. Going. To. Cut. It. Because he now has a sense of his own power and desires to destroy create, he gets really freaking cranky when thwarted. On the airplane, I must have removed his hand from the flight attendant call button a hundred times (he was sitting/standing on my lap). "Not for touching. Not for touching," she says. Is he deterred at all? I think not. He's the type who views these things as a challenge. My in-laws were treated to a Keep Baby Away from the Fireplace Tools show. He couldn't have been more pleased with himself. :o)

16 Months is exhausting--for the parents. It's also exasperating for the older siblings, who are discovering that their adored baby brother is transforming from plaything to nemesis right before their very eyes.

And yet, he's really quite adorable, when he pauses in his work long enough to smile angelically before continuing his path of destruction.

So consider this a wake-up call or friendly reminder, those of you who have 16 Months ahead of you (whether soonish or waaaaay in the future). Do your sitting down NOW, because you will miss not being able to do it. Trust me.

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