Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sixteen Months

In just a few more days, Sean will be officially 16 months old. This is one of those ages that seems to stick out in my mind, and yet each time it comes around, I discover that I'm woefully unprepared.

With Ryan, I was (and continue to be) unprepared just because he's the first one. With Morgan, I knew 16 Months was a Thing, but I was unprepared because A.) I had Mommy Amnesia and B.) I didn't think every child necessarily hits 16 Months and so was caught off-guard by the timing. (I still don't think every kid hits 16 Months right at 16 Months--but I strongly suspect they hit 16 Months at some point.)

And so it appears that Sean is going to follow the same plan as his older siblings. Right on time and all of a sudden, he's hitting this stage. I'm once again afflicted with Mommy Amnesia, and this time we're experiencing 16 Months in a house full of LEGO and art projects and homeschool supplies. And I knew it was coming! A few months ago, I remember thinking, "Ooh! 16 Months is coming up and I'll be busy." But I couldn't quite remember why 16 Months was such a busy time.

Allow me to paint a picture of what life with a such a creature is like:

  • Mommy never, ever, ever sits down, not for one second.

Hmmm . . . I thought there'd be more to that, but that about sums it up right there. I'm pretty much chasing after this little booger dear all the live long day.

It's as if every little skill he's been acquiring since the minute he was born has suddenly been honed all at once. Those days and weeks of learning to control his head, arms, legs, hands, mouth, feet are now behind him. He no longer needs to concentrate on walking or grasping. He's got those things down cold. He can eat without choking and gagging, and has become an expert at picking up teeny tiny things and poking them into forbidden crevices (so far, none on his own body, fingers crossed and all that).

Now that he doesn't need to expend any mental energy on the basics--walking and talking and holding things--he turns that mental focus outward, and seems hell-bent determined to Interact with his Environment (dum-dum-DUMMMMMM!). Much to the dismay of the Environment and the other people who inhabit it.

He is a one-manchild force of destruction. Buttons are pushed, over and over again, resetting servers and starting/stopping the dishwasher. There is cat food everywhere. There are crackers everywhere. No piece of paper goes unmolested--books, tax forms, art projects, unused reams of printer paper alike are drooled on, crumpled, sat upon, chewed upon, and generally destroyed. Stairs and furniture and concrete steps are scaled without fear or regard for personal well-being. Toy after toy has been sent down the basement stairs through the cat door, a present for Daddy next time he dares go down there without turning on the lights.

And there is no distracting this persistent child. Now his memory is up and going, see, and waving something shiny in his face Isn't. Going. To. Cut. It. Because he now has a sense of his own power and desires to destroy create, he gets really freaking cranky when thwarted. On the airplane, I must have removed his hand from the flight attendant call button a hundred times (he was sitting/standing on my lap). "Not for touching. Not for touching," she says. Is he deterred at all? I think not. He's the type who views these things as a challenge. My in-laws were treated to a Keep Baby Away from the Fireplace Tools show. He couldn't have been more pleased with himself. :o)

16 Months is exhausting--for the parents. It's also exasperating for the older siblings, who are discovering that their adored baby brother is transforming from plaything to nemesis right before their very eyes.

And yet, he's really quite adorable, when he pauses in his work long enough to smile angelically before continuing his path of destruction.

So consider this a wake-up call or friendly reminder, those of you who have 16 Months ahead of you (whether soonish or waaaaay in the future). Do your sitting down NOW, because you will miss not being able to do it. Trust me.


Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Congratulations. You have done a wonderful job of getting your Sean to 16 months right on time!

Fortunately for me, my two experiences with 16 months are behind me. But I can remember them vividly--now that both of my children are through and I have only grandchildren ahead of me. I remember finding science experiments (half-full bottles of milk with the protein well denatured) under the couch, and when we put the security netting across the loft opening. I remember a crib taken apart, and the little explorer hanging out the window. I remember putting boards across the bookshelves so my young mountain climber would not scale them.

They lived. Fortunately. They had a mommy who never sat down.

Have fun. This passes pretty quickly as well.

Amy said...

My Sammy was never 16 Months. I kept waiting and waiting for it, but it never happened. Do you think I could get that lucky twice? :)

Wendy Hawksley said...

Ohhh yes, I remember this! In fact, I've been thinking about it often as Gavin approaches his 7th birthday.

"Ahh, when you were a toddler and really sure of yourself and figured out the way to the playground, off you'd go... Without me..."


Good luck. I'm sure you can keep up!

Hanah said...

Charlie is 14 months and we're already starting to see a bit of this. :-P

Gina said...

My son (first) is 13 you're telling me THIS is just a preview of more to come....I am officially scared.

Just found your blog and LOVE it...

Crimson Wife said...

This is the way my kiddos get once they become proficient at crawling. I think I'd rather be dealing with mine at 16 months than at 7-9 months. My oldest has christened this stage "baby action drama". I don't know where she came up with the phrase, but it fits!

Tori said...

Hanah just linked me to this post because I was complaining to--ahem, TELLING, her about my day with Claire today. She asked how old Claire is... I said "16 months." BAM, she presents me with this post and THE STORY OF MY LIFE.

I had no idea this was a Thing. NO idea. But thanks for the commiseration. I'm so glad I'm not alone.

Tori said...

Hanah just linked me to this post because I was complaining to--ahem, TELLING, her about my day with Claire today. She asked how old Claire is... I said "16 months." BAM, she presents me with this post and THE STORY OF MY LIFE.

I had no idea this was a Thing. NO idea. But thanks for the commiseration. I'm so glad I'm not alone.

Jenn Casey said...

Ha, Tori! Welcome to the 16 Months club! It will pass. It must, because I do actually get to sit down quite a bit these days, and have for the last couple of years. So take heart!

Amy said...

My previous comment said Sam was never 16 months. Guess what. She's 16 months NOW, at 5 years old. Every symptom is there: destruction, risk/injury, button pushing (literal), paper crumpling, food everywhere, etc. Did I say destruction? Yes, and mayhem. And one more: noise. Everywhere she goes she leaves a path of destruction.

She's always been on the slow side but this is ridiculous!

Amy said...

I reread this post after seeing Tori's recent comment. It really was true what I said at the time: Sam was never 16 months. Until now. When she is FIVE YEARS OLD! All the symptoms are there. Destruction, buttons, crumbs, paper, injury, and constant mayhem. I swear, she walks into the room and I get a knot in my stomach - what will she destroy now? Or will it be a trip to the hospital this time? Everything in sight must be grabbed and either thrown or sat upon or just moved aomewhere else. Why? Because the energy must have an outlet, that's why. So I suppose the cause is different, but the result is much the same. At least I lucked out with the first round of sixteen months.