So much is happening around here these days that it’s easy to lose track of the little changes that happen every day. So, since our loved ones can’t see how much Mitchell has grown in the few months we’ve been gone, I’ll try to give an overview of Mitchell right now.
I recently read an article about the personalities of toddlers. It broke toddlers down into four distinct personality types (I’ll withhold all the Divergent jokes I made when I initially read the article): the fun-loving child, the sensitive child, the determined child, and the more serious child. The only personality type that didn’t sound EXACTLY like Mitchell’s personality at some point during the day was the more serious child. I assume this is true of most toddlers. He most definitely fit the fun-loving child description: he’s bouncy, happy,
hyperactive energetic, friendly, and outgoing. Almost all of his misbehavior stems from his desire to have fun and, more importantly, make fun with other people. It’s impossible to get him to stay in his bed when I leave the room because he immediately wants to hide, assuming when I come back, he’ll surprise me and we’ll laugh and have a great time. He doesn’t understand the difference between play time and serious time. In his world, there is no serious time. But he’s also the sensitive child: he’s gentle, tender, mindful of other people’s feelings, needs to feel connected to Justin and I at all times, and requires numerous hugs and body contact throughout the day. When he does get in trouble, he takes it very personally. Time out is terrifying for him. He spends the entire time trying to give me a hug. He actually throws a temper tantrum not because he’s in time out, but because I won’t hold him. Withholding love (in his eyes) is the worst punishment for him. He’s also the determined child: when you tell him no, he assumes that you just don’t understand what he’s trying to do. You have to let him completely explain himself or show you exactly what he’s trying to do, and then tell him that he can’t do it. For example, he loves picking his own snack. Generally, he’s allowed to do this. I stock the lower shelves with mostly healthy snacks and, as long as his meal times aren’t effected, he’s allowed to grab a bag of fruit bites now and then. But say we’re sitting down for a meal and he decides he wants some fruit bites. If you know what he wants even before he gets out of his chair and try to proactively say no, he will get very angry. If you let him get the fruit bites and ask for them, then tell him he can’t have them because we’re eating dinner, he’ll go put them back without an issue. But for goodness sake, let him ask. This, of course, causes issues, because you can’t always allow a toddler to show you what he wants to do (like plug the heater in).
This combination of personality traits makes discipline excruciating. He wants nothing more than to have fun, make other people happy, or help and he’s absolutely determined to do it no matter what. I can’t think of a single time that he’s gotten in trouble for intentionally hurting something or someone or doing something wrong. If you push him too hard when he does something wrong regardless of his intentions, he dissolves into a highly sensitive mess and needs to be cuddled and hugged until he once again feels loved. If he feels that you’re mad at him at all, his answer is to hug it out, because that’s what helps him.
So, in summary, Mitchell is an absolutely phenomenal child with a fabulous personality 90% of the time. But when he’s determined about something, woe be the person who stands in his way. While Mitchell can’t communicate verbally very well, he has very strong opinions and finds a million other ways to try to get his point across. And while his verbal development isn’t great, that doesn’t mean I’m not ecstatic when he does figure out a word. Sometimes I think he’s just messing with us with this speech thing, because even though he refuses to say “cat”, he proudly shouts “abacus” when he wants to play with it.
Right now he has all of his vowel sounds except “i” and several consonant sounds. The trick is getting him to combine the sounds into full words. Usually he just latches onto a vowel sound and possibly a consonant out of the word and just uses that for the word. For example, “please” = “eese” for him, “green” = “ee ee”, “blue” = “boo”, “milk” = “muh”, “juice” = “oosh”, etc. He does have several words that he says without fail, and even forms into sentences, such as “car go whee”. Throughout the day I hear lots of “car go wheeeeeee!” when he rolls the car down some sort of slope (usually a ramp, but often the stairs, off the couch, down the dog’s back…). He also does plenty of “whoa, whoa, whooooooooooooooooa!” That’s the sound of playing airplane with something, and the last “whooooooooa” is when the plane crashes, so it’s usually followed by “uh oh!” He’s obsessed with the snow (we have plenty of it), and especially with seeing cars go through the snow, so I can often find him sitting at the front window saying “car go snow!” He still refers to himself as Ya Ya. I have no idea how or why that came about, but he’ll still argue with you if you try to correct him.
One word that he can say without fail is “yellow”. He uses that word approximately one million times per day. He will only wear yellow shirts, he prefers shows where one of the characters is yellow (Curious George and Sesame Street), his favorite book is “yellow door book” (a slide and find book with yellow trucks), his favorite toy is his yellow car (a metal taxicab), and any snack time or meal time he asks for yellow food. Luckily, his definition of yellow includes some shades of orange, so that helps, but I still had to take an emergency evening trip to find more yellow shirts.
He’s hit the toddler stage of “I’ll do it”. It’s a fun stage (that’s half sarcastic). He wants to do absolutely everything himself, from getting his own fork to unloading the dishwasher. You can tell he wants to do something for you if you start to do it and suddenly hear “Ya Ya Ya Ya Ya Ya” screaming its way toward you.
He loves reading books. Throughout the day we probably read five or eight different books at least ten times each. He knows his preferred books by heart, so he knows if you skip a page (not that you can, he turns the pages; refer to previous paragraph if you need to know why). His favorites include Brown Bear Brown Bear, his slide and find Trucks book, Goodnight Moon, his four Rachael Hale books (she’s a baby photographer), Peter Rabbit, I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track, Rusty Robot, and a couple other books about trucks that came out of the Target dollar bins. His favorite toys are his kitchen, his Leap Frog alphabet radio, a singing dragon pull toy, his stacking cups and stacking blocks, a couple vintage Fisher Price Little People play houses, his vast collection of Hot Wheels and other cars and ramps, a ball pit, basketball goal, and the art easel with crayons and markers.
In the last couple months, he’s begun to show interest in TV shows. It started with Curious George and this week he added Sesame Street. When he watches Curious George, he generally just sits and watches. Since it’s always the same episode, he knows what’s going to happen but still gets worried or excited at certain parts (“dog car? dog car!” when the dog falls out of the car). With Sesame Street, though, he really interacts with the show. He dances along with the songs, talks and laughs at the various characters, stomps or claps when prompted, grabs the photo album to point at pictures of his family members when the characters are interacting with their family members, and even grabs his vintage Sesame Street Little People house and Little People to follow along with the episode. It’s adorable, to say the least.
Since the many previous posts have described every nauseatingly adorable detail of his interactions with Rosie, I’ll just say that he is nauseatingly adorable with her. If he continues this level of devotion to her, the poor girl will never have a moment to herself, will never have a boyfriend, but will also never have a bully.
It’s impossible to completely describe a person in a single blog post, but I hope I’ve come close. It kills me that his family can’t watch him develop into the fantastic child I know he’s going to be, but through this blog, I hope he won’t be too much of a surprise when we do see everyone.