When I found we were expecting, I had three goals for Marko: to be weaned, potty-trained, and sleeping through the night again by the time the new baby was born. John thought I was being a little ambitious, and I agreed - but still wanted to try.
Well, here we are, about five months out, and we're making real progress. I'm pretty sure he's weaned. (I did nurse him one time since my post about it, for a few minutes to settle him for a nap, but he hasn't asked since. And I've been able to put him to sleep lately all by myself, just by rocking and singing.) Sleeping through the night is kind of a crapshoot - he wakes up for many, many reasons, and we're clueless what most of them are. But cutting out gluten seems to have helped. Sadly, cutting out naptime seems to help too. This one I'm not keen on, but it seems to have eliminated waking at 4 a.m. demanding breakfast or wanting to party at midnight. I guess we can't have a decent bedtime, a decent wake time, uninterrupted sleep, AND a nap. But ohhhhhh would I ever like that.
And, for the first time in a long time, we've actually made progress on potty training. John talked me into letting Marko have an M&M when he goes, and so now he's way motivated. We still have to remind him to go sit on the potty when it's time to go (about every hour) but he is very willing to try, and he does finally seem to know what to do when he gets there. We've been working on it since the weekend, and he's going in the potty about half the time. I put him in a diaper at bedtime and when we go out. Let me tell you, it's nice to clean pee off the floor only occasionally instead of constantly.
In addition to these HUGE milestones, he's also tackling a million tiny things. He now will put things in the trash when asked, or follow other instructions. He knows the names of dozens of his favorite songs, and often many of the lyrics too. He can identify them whenever we hum a few bars. The same is true for his favorite books - if we pause, he'll finish the line. His vocabulary and sentence length are increasing all the time. He knows the names of his favorite people and can tell you what happened last time he saw them. When Daddy comes home from work, he tries to tell all about his day (which sounds like, "Library! Books! Ride the bus! Bus driver! Play with Gilbert!") He knows what his bedtime routine and getting up routine are supposed to look like, and will freak out if you skip a step.
He will often give you the wrong answer when you ask a question, and then laugh hysterically. He plays pretend by sitting in a box and saying he's the bus driver, or sitting on a box and saying he's riding a bike.
There's so much going on in his head lately, it's staggering. Because of this, 18 to 24 months is supposed to be a peak in tantrums, but I haven't found this to be so. Sure, he's a little particular. He has to have everything in the proper order. He likes to play in the dirt, but he has to come to me every minute or two and have me wipe off his hands. If he walks through a door, he has to shut it behind him. And if Daddy takes off his glasses or puts on his jester hat, there are tears. We could refuse to humor him and let him scream about it. Or we could adapt, knowing this is just a stage- which for the most part is what we do. He's learning the universe has rules, and it comforts him to have them be predictable. I think that's okay.
The one frustrating thing is choices. Turns out, contrary to what I've always heard, it's better not to give him any. If I ask, "Do you want ham?" the answer is "Ham!" But if I ask, "Do you want ham or turkey?" there's silence. So I ask, "Do you want ham?" "No, turkey!" "All right, here's some turkey." "No, haaaaaaam!!" Tears. I try to give him both but he throws them at me and flings himself down crying, whereupon he hurts himself and requires comforting. Not. Worth. It. If he doesn't want the first choice, I offer other things ... but it can't be an either-or.
I never thought I'd say this, but lately I'm more excited than regretful with each new breakthrough. I'm sure it helps to know there will be someone else to be cute and helpless soon. But the main thing is just that he gets more fun and hilarious every day. Like at dinner tonight, he was playing with a piece of a turkey wing. First he said it looked like someone dancing. Then he said it looked like a plane. Then he said he was going to go to the library on a turkey plane. Where does he come up with this stuff?
Anyway, it's been great. I know I've said this about at least five ages before, but THIS is the best age. Definitely.