Independence is the term used to describe most toddler milestones (and tantrums). I’d say it’s more of a few steps towards independence. My definition of independence is when he can get up, make breakfast, and entertain himself without me having to get out of bed. We are years from that ever happening. We are seeing the ever so tiny steps towards that glorious day.
Over the past few weeks, my son has grown up. He’s not headed to Kindergarten, getting his license, or sending in college applications. He’s probably right where he’s supposed to be as far as toddler milestones go. But to me, and my husband, Buggy has grown up.
1. Language is booming. Buggy talks from the moment he wakes up to the moment he goes to bed. He talks to me, Daddy, the dog, his milk, his toys, passing cars, strangers in the grocery store, the picture of my parents – Nana and Papa – now sitting at his eye level thanks to Christmas decorations. I understand about 10% of his blabbering. Each day brings new words, new connections. He waves “die” (bye in Buggy talk) and says “night night” when I lay him in the crib. He yells “doe” (go) to the dog and bats him away (whoops, I better work on constantly voicing my annoyance with our dog being up in my business every second of the day).
2. Buggy understands everything we say. He gets it. He knows that “stick” means the tree branch he is holding in his hand. He knows that “where’s your milk” means the sippy cup on the floor in the other room. He points to body parts and makes animal noises when given the name. When we say the Cambodian words for bath time (sounds like “moy-touk”), he makes a beeline for the stairs and starts saying “night night”.
3. Buggy wants to eat ALL on his own. I’ve been pretty quick to allow him to feed himself. Small finger food bits, using the fork, on to the spoon. It’s messy, but it’s good for him and he eats better when he’s more involved. However now he wants to do it ALL by himself. There is no more tearing or cutting of things into smaller pieces. There is no more leaving most on the plate on the table and putting small amounts in front of him to eat. He wants the whole sandwich to bite. He wants the plate in front of him. He won’t even let you hold the bowl. Oh, he’ll pull our hand over to the bowl like he wants us to hold onto it while he shovels cheerios or yogurt into his face. But that’s just a trick – because as soon as your hand is on that bowl, he bats it away with a grunt. He even bats your hand off the side of the high chair tray. Buggy can do it and he doesn’t need us to help. Yes, mealtime can get more messy (if that’s even possible). I went to work with dried oatmeal on my butt and down my sleeve (that was a fun discovery). And he tries to eat the entire piece of banana bread in one bite. But he wants to do it himself and the crazy thing is… he can!
I’m not the mom that loathes these “growing up” moments because my “baby” isn’t a baby anymore. While there are times – very few and very short lived times (I was not a fan of newbornland)- I miss when he was little and needed me so much, I really enjoy seeing what each day brings. I like seeing what he’s learned and what he can do. I may change my tune when he’s 12. For now, it’s a hoot.