Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tantrums and thriftiness

Two months ago, I kept wondering why it was I thought I hated early toddlerhood so much. Was it because when K was that age, B was out of work and we were insanely stressed? Because our current toddler was unendingly delightful.

Now, I can remember why: because at 18 months, they turn into little monsters. Little screaming, tantrumming, perpetual motion, howler monkey monsters. Actually, K waited until she was 19 months to really pull it out (although to be fair, my memories of that period of her life are very hazy because of the little distraction of moving to Philadelphia), while Alec is proving to be precocious. Or maybe it just feels that way, since the headbutting has made this quite literally a painful phase for all of us.

Despite waking for the day at 4:30 yesterday morning, he still manages to be cute enough to keep himself from being put out on the curb with the recycling. He seems to have a good sense of when to pull out the cute and distracts me from finding a cardboard box by playing peek-a-boo. K was cute at that age because toddlers are naturally cute. But Alec has been deliberately clowning to make me laugh for several months. The difference between an introvert and an extrovert, right there.

I've been feeling a bit smug lately because I've managed to keep him occupied for hours lately with two simple things that cost less than $10 together. The first is two sets of Mardi Gras beads from the Target dollar bins. Alec adores putting things around his neck, so these are perfect for him to put them on, and take them off, and put them on again and take two off and drop one and put the other one back on... you get the idea. We always let him know he's very pretty in his beads, which makes him happy.

The other was the $6 purchase of a large poster board, to which I glued down some train track. Alec loves the train table at the bookstore, but when I tried to pull our trains out at home, he was interested but couldn't restrain himself from lifting the track up, descending like the hand of God to ruin the fun quite effectively. Now, we have a nice little track setup that lives under the coffee table until gets pulled out so he can play on it happily for hours (often after we've found him lying on his stomach attempting to push trains on the track under the table). Our little train boy.

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