Monday, March 28, 2011

Declaration of Independence

I knew it. Back when I wrote this post about Kaycie's new attitude I was really hoping it was a sign of another developmental spurt and not my kid losing her mind. Days later I got a warning email from Wonder Weeks about how she had an upcoming leap due*. Whew. At least I'm not crazy, and at least she'll work her way out of it fairly quickly!

So what do I expect to see with her 17 month developmental leap? Independence, of course. According to the book she's learning that we are individuals, not everybody is the same, not everybody is like her. She's moving out of the egocentric stage where she thinks she is, quite literally, the center of the universe. I can see where that can be a difficult transition.

Some interesting things coming up for us - she should start to have more imaginary play, spend more time playing by herself, start understanding about choices and wanting to make more choices and decisions on her own. I was a little surprised this weekend when I showed her four outfits and asked which one she wanted to wear, she immediately pointed to one! I've started giving her two choices between snacks, too. It's a new thing for her. She has always just accepted whatever I gave her.

It's also time for her to figure out how all living things are different, and start measuring those differences. She'll be exploring plants and animals and how people are made and act different. She'd already figured out that some of us have some different parts that others don't and I suspect that will get more interesting as she goes along!

The book specifically mentions that during this leap they start to understand how people live in family units, and that our family unit is different, has different routines and lives in a different environment, from other people, such as grandparents and friends. She's already started recognizing when we drive into our neighborhood, and when we go get Greg for lunch she starts saying "Daddy!" when we get in sight of the hospital!

This is also the leap where power struggles usually start in earnest. She's learning about control and that she has the choice to do what I tell her... or not. It's a definite time of pushing boundaries and exploring new things. Old toys get played with in new ways. She should start testing her physical limitations (like when she did a cartwheel of the couch this weekend?) and she has already started learning the art of imitation and mimicry. Heaven help us.

It's fun to watch her develop in spurts like this. I always know it's coming because she shows the classic "3 C's" - Crying, Clingy and Cranky - a few weeks before it hits. The theory is that they have a hard time coping with all the new things they are starting to understand and get overwhelmed easily. By the time the leap fully hits they calm down and handle things better. Kaycie is already starting to come out of the C's. Her attitude is getting better, and while the clingy is still there it's not nearly as bad as it was a couple of weeks ago. Right on time. I look forward to all the new fun we'll be having as she grows into herself!

* I love this book and recommend it for anybody with a kid under 2. I didn't read it cover to cover, I just read each chapter as she comes up to that spurt. I don't do much on their website, but I did sign up for the leap alarms which give me warning a few weeks before she's scheduled to have a developmental leap. That helps keep me sane when she gets all crazy on me.


Allison said...

You are such an inspiration to me as a mom. Watching you grow as a parent has been as interesting as watching Kaycie grow up. I love that you really try to understand her and deal with her accordingly. I think you are an awesome mom.

Now, you wanna trade for a while? Lol!

Susan said...

Trade? Ummm. Sure... Can I put your kid in the crib for an afternoon nap every afternoon and strap her into the buggy at walmart? =) I suspect my time is coming.

And frankly, I don't feel like I have much choice but to read as much as I can and try to figure out what's going on with her. She can't tell me, and I'd lose my mind if I didn't. It really helps me deal with her to understand a little about what's going on. I certainly don't have a clue on my own. How did people parent (or do anything else) before the interwebs???

Allison said...

I LOVE this picture of her. That dress is AdoraBLE!

The only strapping going on with my child would be yourself into a straight jacket. =)

Nicole Bradshaw said...

The choice thing was key for us. We ALWAYS gave Clay a choice between two things, either of which was fine with us. (The green cup or the red one? Apples or grapes? Time for a book or some music?) I think it made him feel more in control of things, and it led to way fewer battles.