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Drum - 16 months

Today Drum is 16 months old. As I was reading Mo's 16 month post I realized he was probably supposed to have a 15 month appointment, which he never did. Is it my responsiblity to remember that shit or should the doctor's office have reminded me to set one up? Anyway, the appointment is now scheduled...for when he's nearly 17 months.

I'm frustrated to report that at 16 months Drum is still as screamy and screechy as ever. I keep thinking it has to be just a phase, but how long is a phase? When is it just who they are? I love him so much, he's my boo bear, but he is challenging me greatly. This morning, for instance, the simple act of changing his diaper and getting him into clothes gave me so much anxiety (the screaming and writhing!) that I was frazzled all morning. When he's sweet, he's so sweet. When he's pissed, he's SO pissed.

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I think I mentioned last month that I wondered if part of his frustration was because of his lack of ability to communicate his needs. So I arranged through a local organization to have a free in-home assessment. They came last week and spent a couple hours with me and Bro. About an hour into their visit, one of them said, "OK so he's... 25 months right?"

Um no. He's 15 months. Whomever prepared their paperwork wrote 1/1/15 instead of 11/1/15. They were flabbergasted when I corrected them, but also relieved. He's very close to on track for a 15 month old; not so much for a 25 month old. However, they still noted a lack of vocabulary, a lack of interest in nursery games (patty cake, etc.), and a slight delay in verbalization for his age. We'll receive free services that include a monthly in-home visit to observe and work with him, and to primarily give us tools to help him along.

To be honest, I'm not worried at this point. He understands language incredibly well and always seems to know what we're saying or asking him. He knows how to indicate some of his basic needs (point to the pantry for a snack, push my hands toward my chest to pull down my shirt so he can nurse, bring us shoes to put on this feet). He did start saying mama in the last couple weeks, so he does have one word, and I know he'll talk eventually, probably even soon. But like I told the assessment professionals: if I can help him express himself in a way other than screaming and screeching, I really want to do that.

Mo and Drum 2017 sunglasses ?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1488383426779" alt=""/>

At 16 months I wrote about Mo that she was easy-going and adaptable, and when I read that just now, I laughed out loud. She was and continues to be just that, but Drum is decidedly not. A couple weeks ago when spring visited in mid-February, I took the kids to the park. Every time I tried to redirect Drum away from something or help him safely up the steps or down a slide, he freaked out. When it was time to leave, I carried him out of there wailing and writhing in my arms. It's exhausting and makes me want to never leave the house with him.

On a lighter note, Drum is a great helper. He loves to help us fold laundry, empty and load the dishwasher (his favorite part is closing the dishwasher when we're done), throw things in the trash, put away groceries, sweep and vacuum. I like to call him Danny Tanner because he's very tidy - his favorite toys are his toy broom and our dust buster, and he's a stickler for putting things in their proper. Part of his assessment included a play cup and spoon, and the only thing he wanted to do with them was put put them in the sink where dishes belong.

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He also still enjoys dragging around large objects and now he's into dress up. Awihle ago, Mo got a box full of dress up clothes from her cousin and she and Bro like to dig through it together. Mo kind of wishes there were more ninja costumes, but Drum really loves the frilly stuff. He's also started to show a small interest in books, which is a nice change. He'll actually grab a book and bring it to us occasionally, and then sit through a page or two before pushing it away. That's a huge improvement.

Drum dressup ?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1488383602370" alt=""/>

He's still a good sleeper. He fights the getting-ready-for-bed part - the diaper changes, the changing into pajamas - but once he's in his crib, he puts himself to sleep and sleeps all night. He also naps pretty well. By this age, Mo was down to one nap in the afternoon, but Bro still requires two. Ideally, like on the weekends when he's home, his schedule goes like this: 7:00-7:30 wake up, breakfast, hang out, 10:00 nap for about 1.5-2 hours, lunch, hang out, snacks, 2:30 nap for 1.5-2 hours, more hanging out, dinner, play, 7:00 bedtime. During the week though, when he's at daycare, it gets a little screwy. Their nap schedule isn't in synch with his circadian rhythms. We start his day at 6:30, and so he's ready for a nap at 9:00, which is fine. But then they want him to nap with the big kids at 1:00 and he's not ready then, so he doesn't often sleep much or well, and then he's SUPER FUSSY when we pick him up and for the rest of the night. 

Drum park ?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1488383639092" alt=""/>

This post has had an obvious negative tone. There's a bit of a dark cloud over everything because we're all figuring out how to do the things we need and want to do when there is a ticking time bomb ready to scream at any moment. So let me end this with a fun story. 

A few times in the last month, Drum has asked to sit on the toilet. Sometimes when I ask him if he has peed, he'll pull at his diaper, then walk into the bathroom and point at the toilet. So I put him up there! He doesn't pee, but he thinks it's fun to sit and maybe throw some toilet paper in the bowl. No plans to potty train any time soon, but I can't handle how adorable he is up on that big seat!

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Reader Comments (2)

This reminds me so much of my relationship with my youngest, Annika. We always called her "screamy baby," and joke that she came out screaming and hasn't stopped. I struggled to take her anywhere as she would run away, scream, make a scene. At 4.5, she's definitely still a handful and much harder to parent than her big sister. But like you said, there's a ton to love, too. I know you didn't attribute his behavior to his gender, but others may, and I just want to state for the record that I believe it's a "2nd child" thing rather than a "boy thing." :)

March 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLindsay A

I came to comment and realize I'm going to say the same thing as Lindsay. SECOND CHILD.

His behavior is totally and completely normal, but when you're used to a laid back first child, you're like, "WTF IS GOING ON." My daughter is four next month and she's outgrown so much of it, but there are still tantrums and moments like you describe a couple times a week. But it used to be 10 times a day. My oldest had 10 tantrums in his whole life and here she was having 10 A DAY.

I try to remember that my first at that age had ALL the attention. The second at that age comes into a world where they already have to compete for attention. Whining, screaming, etc., is the way they do it.

That doesn't mean it doesn't suck! I've called my daughter an alien before because I'm just not sure where she came from. But it will get better. And he will settle down a bit, but he might always be quicker to freak out about things. And I think that's just the way it is for the babies of the family. (Now, if you were to go and have another, the dynamic would change again, I'm sure, and Drum would probably become a middle-child-people-pleaser.)

Hang in there. :)

March 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterA.

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