Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ages and Stages

As Jude approaches 18 months, we've come to what I consider to be a very challenging stage. Jude has always been my "easy" baby. Now, he definitely had his challenges. He was NOT a good sleeper, and he didn't really sleep through the night consistently until he was close to a year old. It's still not totally uncommon for him to wake up in the night, but it's not the norm anymore. Thank God! As far as personality goes, though, Jude was/is my laid back, fairly easy to please child, whereas Aubrey has always been a bit more high-strung and strong-willed. I'm not saying one personality is better or preferable over the the other at all! I honestly love seeing the differences between Aubrey and Jude's personalities. Analyzing personalities kind of fascinates me, and it is SO interesting to me to see two children with the same parents and the same environment turn out completely differently. Anyway, all that to say, when I refer to Jude as an "easier" child, I don't at all mean "better" child or more delightful or anything negative toward Aubrey. I think every personality type has potential for great strengths and great weaknesses. I'm pretty sure that disclaimer wasn't necessary, but I felt the need to put it out there. Haha!

So, yes, Jude has always been the easier child. Until recently. We are in a difficult stage right now. He's at the age where he has strong preferences, but he has trouble communicating. He's saying more and more words everyday, but sometimes I just don't pick up on what he's trying to tell me. I know he's saying more words than I'm catching, and this frustrates him greatly. The other day, he was looking at a Spot book. He kept saying what I thought was "Daddy." I would respond by saying, "Yeah, Daddy will be home later!" Jude just kept repeating and pointing, though, and I finally realized he was pointing to Spot and saying "doggie." When I finally got it, he was super happy and moved on. I know those kinds of things happen often, and I hate that for him, because I know that would be annoying. But it leads to meltdowns and great drama.

Another funny thing is how differently Aubrey and Jude respond to being told no. It didn't/doesn't really phase Aubrey. Meaning she doesn't cry or get her feelings hurt. She's not what I would consider a sensitive child and rarely cries even when she gets in trouble for something. Jude, on the other hand, hates to be told no. I think it does hurt his feeling, and I think it also ticks him off. It's kind of sad, because when I tell him no, he usually sticks his bottom lip out, his chin quivers, and sometimes he even cries. The most common reaction when I tell him no, though, is that he wants to throw something. Usually his pacifier if it's accessible. It's not really funny, but sometimes it's hard not to laugh, because I think Jude believes he's really sticking it to me by chunking his paci across the room. Another thing he'll do is pull hair or bite. We're really trying to nip that in the bud, because we definitely don't want a biter. I think a lot of it is that it hurts his feelings when we say no, and he gets sort of aggressive about it? I don't know, but it's just a new experience for us, and we're trying to love him and be patient through it all but also handle it in a manner that lets him know that's not acceptable behavior.

I would consider this phase the "test the boundaries/meltdown/learn the rules" stage, and it's just trying. Aubrey went through a similar stage, but her's just looked a little different since their personalities are different. I think the best thing we can do is to just be really consistent with Jude. On one hand, I LOVE this stage because there's so much rapid development going on. He's saying new words everyday and copying things that he sees us doing and understanding so much of what we're saying. It's fun and exciting to watch that light bulb go off in his little head. On the other hand, it's such a hard stage because he can't understand why I won't let play with fingernail polish, and it breaks his heart that I just took it away and he's going to let me know that it broke his heart. Loudly. Like I said, we're trying to handle these situations in the best way possible and in a way that helps Jude see his need for Christ even as young as he is. We're still young parents, though, and we're learning right along with Jude!

There's really no point to this post other than to document a stage that we're in right now. I hope it doesn't come across like I'm complaining. I love and enjoy Jude so much, and, even when he's throwing a huge fit, I'm so glad that I'm his mother. However, I do kind of look forward to bedtime these days. Haha! :)


Sarah Denley said...

I LOVE these kinds of posts, because I find it so fascinating, too. I kind of hate that "strong willed" is always seen as negative. It's really hard to phrase it so it doesn't sound that way. I was that child, though (I think I was A LOT like Aubrey) and I'd like to think it was a great asset to me ;)

I also think this is interesting because Jude IS Ann Peyton at 18 mo. Ha! It was neat reading this because it reminded me so much of that stage with her. Wonder if Graves will be like Aubrey?? AP may just have to come to terms with her hand being held 24/7 ;)

Nathalie said...

I know exactly what you mean! Jessica is definitely an "easier" baby than Emily ever was. That certainly doesn't mean there's more/less love for either of them, but it's just interesting to see such a big difference in personalities/temperaments. I wonder if Jessica will not be as sensitive as her big sister!

Nathalie said...

p.s. LOVE the blog's new look!!