Oh boy. Wesley is cutting some ginormous molars, and we have been paying a pretty price for them. I finally took him to the pediatrician’s office this morning because Craig and I really hit a wall yesterday after the umpteenth night of Wesley refusing to sleep, throwing himself around in the crib like a wild animal. He’s been fighting a cold for some time now too, and I wanted to make sure he didn’t have an ear infection. He doesn’t and his cold is on its way out — but on the way in are these two mountainous teeth coming out of tiny baby gums. I really think evolution has to sort this whole teething thing out and come up with a better system. It’s truly brutal.
To add to the craziness, Wes is pitching some mad tantrums every time we don’t give in to his demands of being carried. It isn’t that he wants to be held because he isn’t feeling well, no. I tried wearing him around the house in the Ergo to see if it helped, but he doesn’t want to be where you are necessarily. He wants to be taken to places he can’t otherwise get to, pointing decisively to his desired destination, commanding to be hauled to the rooms he doesn’t get to visit on a regular basis or held up high to see everything in the apartment. But 25 lbs. is not a light load, and it’s just not feasible to tote him where he wants to go when he insists if I’m in the middle of baking corn muffins or needing to throw another load in the dryer.
Weeks ago we took down the gates that had created a contained space and opened up more room to him, and for a while, this worked beautifully. He’d happily crawl after you to the kitchen and play with a bowl on the floor. But then the “carry-me” phase began, and I wonder if adding to the frustration is the fact that he is not yet walking, and, of course, that he cannot actually articulate what he wants.
I don’t like to believe that he’s just “spoiled” or that he’s being cranky for crankiness sake. This is hardest for me to remember at 2 am when, frankly, I’m angry about not getting a good night’s sleep yet again or after a long day of hysterical crying, when I’m feeling like an awful mother who can’t make her son happy. But I’m trying to keep some perspective (I can do this better today since he actually slept through the night last night). I try to remember “he’s in pain” or “he’s frustrated at his lack of autonomy,” but I don’t always succeed. I don’t always have the patience. And then I feel guilty for my own shortcomings.
I’ve been reading more and more about Montessori. And in the past I’d often come across its belief that children prefer to “work” than play with toys, but I’d think to myself, “Wes really seems to like playing with his toys,” but actually, I’ve noticed a decline in his interest for them and a more concentrated desire to explore the things of our world. Show me that keyboard you type on, that telephone you use to speak to people, those pins you collect, the roll of toilet paper. Show me what’s inside the refrigerator, the pen you write with, the clock on your nightstand. One thing he is loving is his new toy kitchen (I can’t wait to get a good photograph of Wes playing with it – it’s darling!), but I think it’s because it has given him his own space where he can mimic adult behaviors without any limits. He can open and shut the doors a thousand times if he wants. Take things out and put them back in as he wishes. Drop pretend toast or a wooden bottle of orange juice into the “sink” repeatedly.
We’ve latched all the cupboards in the real kitchen save one. It’s full of baking things right now, but I really need to work on making it Wesley’s cupboard. And our office and bedroom need to be proofed too so they’re not as off limits as they are now — and therefore, not so desirable. In short, we’ve made room for him, but not nearly enough. And that’s our fault – not his. I hope we can be patient with him, and I hope he’ll be patient with us, too.