This has been a very challenging week with Julia. Even though she’s not even 22 months I think she has really entered the Terrible 2’s. She does have a lot of words now, but she can’t always communicate to us what she wants or what’s bothering her. She knows what she wants and when she wants it, she wants it NOW and she gets VERY UPSET if she doesn’t get what she wants. At home if she doesn’t get what she wants, she sometimes throws things on the floor, or she’ll screech at the top of her lungs and cry, or she’ll do the classic toddler move: lie down on the floor face-down and kick while crying. At school if she doesn’t get what she wants, she does the screeching thing and unfortunately, she’s developed a bit of a biting problem. The biting thing started slowly and got worse and worse over time. We’ve worked together with her teachers and the daycare director to come up with various solutions and they seem to work at times and not work at other times. We send Julia with a teething necklace that seems to help since it gives her something else to bite/chew on. She also has teething rings that the teachers can give her if they notice her getting frustrated or angry. For a while I was sending her to school with breakfast AND lunch so that she was (a) not hungry, and (b) being kept busy during the time she was eating breakfast. The biting got much better for a while and Julia went a 2-3 week stretch without any incidents but this week it all started again. We’re not really sure what triggered it but it got fairly bad and I was called yesterday afternoon to pick up Julia a little early from daycare since she hadn’t had a nap and was acting very aggressively toward the other kids in her class. (Naps are another issue altogether!) For today and all of next week, a high school volunteer is going to act as Julia’s “shadow,” essentially following her around all day and making sure that she’s engaged in activities, not biting and playing nicely with other kids. She can also intervene if she notices that Julia is getting frustrated. Hopefully that helps a bit!
I feel horribly for the parents of the kids Julia is biting because I know it must feel terrible to pick up your kid and see teeth-marks in their arm. But at the same time, I feel absolutely embarrassed and frustrated by the fact that my child is biting and I feel very helpless at times since it doesn’t happen at home and it is hard to fix when I’m not there to see her exhibiting the undesired behavior.
Everyone tells me that this, too, shall pass and that biting is a very “age appropriate” but not “socially appropriate” behavior in toddlers but it’s gotten to the point that I feel anxiety on my way to daycare to drop Julia off… I worry about what she might do today to get her sent home, and my anxiety on my way there in the afternoons to pick her up is even worse: how many incident reports will she have when I pick her up? I never know.
In other news…
Julia had so much fun watching Marlee and imitating her every move! You can tell from the way that Julia acts around Marlee that she looks up to her as someone to emulate. Whatever Marlee ate, Julia wanted to eat, whatever Marlee was doing, Julia wanted to do. I hope as they get older that they will be close and have fun together. For now it’s so much fun to watch them interact! Jonah couldn’t have cared less about Julia… he was in his own little world, practically oblivious to her existence. But it was still fun to see him! And of course, it’s always nice to see Jon & Sara!
On Saturday, we had a busy morning and then we drove down to Columbia, where we spent some time with our friends Kevin & Beth and their 1-month old son, Nathan! I waited to hold the baby until Julia was occupied in another room since she does NOT like it when I hold babies!
As long as I wasn’t holding him, she was somewhat oblivious to him, though she would occasionally come over and say, “hi baby!” But once Beth started getting ready to feed him, Julia was very curious! She wanted to watch his every move while he was nursing, she brought him a blankie so he wouldn’t be cold, and she wanted to stand and listen to the pump and its funny noises. Julia is DEFINITELY not ready to be a big sister but it’s always interesting to see how she reacts to seeing babies!
Ken is on call for the next week so I’m hoping it’s a quiet week for him… this weekend Julia and I will hang out at home in the morning while we wait for BGE to come install our “smart meter” and then we’re going to a friend’s 2nd birthday party. Sunday, depending on the weather, we may try to go swimming with cousins Rachel & David. Other than that we’ll probably lay low and maybe go on a couple nice walks outside! Next weekend our friends Ed & Susan are coming to visit from New Orleans. We’ll go to a couple of baseball games with them, show them around the city and hang out at home to get some packing done since on the 11th we are leaving for ARUBA! I cannot wait to spend a week with Ken & Julia on the beach, at the pool and just enjoying being together!