It’s high time for a Ryan update post- after all, he is quickly approaching that milestone age of 2.5. According to “The Cycles of Development” chart that I received at ECFE last week, a two and a half year old is going through what’s called the “breakup” stage. The “breakup” stage appears to be the most volatile on the chart, and describes children at this stage as being oppositional, at odds with selves and environment, boiling and bubbling, ritualistic. Well. This seems to describe the current state of Ryan to a T. That’s all I’ll say. Here’s a little more of what’s been going down with him:

-Ryan has stopped sucking his thumb. Even I have to re-read that sentence- RYAN HAS STOPPED SUCKING HIS THUMB??? This has got to be the single most easy thing I have accomplished as a parent. First, I send Ryan to his grandparents house while I go on vacation. Second, Grandma reports that Ryan has a tiny paper cut on this thumb-sucking thumb. Third, Ryan has not sucked his thumb once since then. And that has been three weeks ago! In a way I was a bit sad that my little cute man no longer sucks his little cute thumb (a habit which never annoyed me- I’ve always thought it was adorable.) After all, he began sucking his thumb at about 2 months of age. The thumb-sucking allowed Ryan to sleep through the night and never look back at 10-1/2 weeks of age. The thumb-sucking soothed him to sleep if he awoke in the night. It was his security and comfort in a strange place. It was his snuggle companion along with his baba. Thumb-sucking was just so him, such a part of him, that I thought it would be something he’d do for years, a habit I’d struggle to break him of in kindergarten or something. And now…done. Something about that trauma of having a bleeding paper cut must have messed with his thumb-sucking psyche enough to stop the habit altogether.

-Ryan has become obsessed with knowing the name of each and every song that comes on the radio. The conversation goes something like this: “What this song called mama?” “I don’t know, Ryan.” “What this song called mama?” “I don’t KNOW, Ryan.” “WHAT THIS SONG CALLED MAMA?” “IT’S CALLED LA TI DA, RYAN!!” Either that, or after three times of me saying I don’t know what it’s called, he’ll make up a name for it, and the name is usually something like “DooDablooBlee.”

-Ryan has become a master at stalling and avoiding. The wise folks at ECFE say that a child of this age is not capable of purposefully manipulating you- that they are just living out their impulses in the moment. BLAH! I say. It sure looks like manipulation to me. Lately, if I suggest to Ryan that it’s time to do something (use potty/wash hands/eat dinner/put on shoes- whateva), Ryan will bring out a saddy face and a whiny voice and say I want to snuggle on the couch a little bit now with mama. He KNOWS I’m a sucker for snuggling on the couch, and let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to snuggle on the couch with him versus wrestling him into his shoes as he flails around? In addition to the couch snuggling avoidance technique, there is also the running in the opposite direction of wherever we want him to go, there’s the flinging himself to the ground in limp-noodle fashion and refusing to get up, and there’s the super-duper fun refusal to allow daddy to do anything, while mama does everything.

-Then of course there are the 2 year old tantrums, the fits, the screams, the whines, the crying…we’re in one of those periods right now. They seem to ebb and flow, ebb and flow. Two year olds are just so darling, it’s a shame they have all this pent up developmental energy inside of them to periodically ruin all that cute sweetness.

-Overall though, he’s a cutie. I still look at him and am amazed that he’s mine. And I still look at FatJ and say “who IS this little person that lives with us?” Ryan has quite the active imagination. He’ll play with the simplest of things and make up elaborate stories about picnics and boat rides and towers. He likes to help me clean and empty the dishwasher and do laundry (love it!). He loves watching videos of himself, looking at pictures of things he’s done, and remembering past experiences. He remembers all of the most important events, like “REMEMBER THOSE DILLY BARS WE ATE OUTSIDE??!!!!” Oh yeah, he’s my kid.

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