Obviously, I don't really blame the tubes. My suspicion lies in another toddlerhood phenomenon that many a mommy friend has warned me of, but that I dumbly thought A's usually laid back persona might allow us to escape: the Terrible One and a Halfs, the precursor to those notorious Terrible Twos. I cringe at using the word terrible, seriously, it pains me to type that. Mister A is anything but terrible- he's funny and smiley and curious and smart and adorable and there's nobody I'd rather kick around with all day long. But lately, he's also a bit of a handful. There have been tantrums, there have been clumps of hair pulled from the increasingly PO'd cats, there's more foot stomping than I'd like to admit, and worst of all, there's been a whole lot of hitting. Hitting mom, hitting dad, hitting pets, hitting poor unsuspecting playmates right over the head. Ooh, and throwing. Not the messy-but-valuable "learning cause and effect" type food tossing, but throwing things in frustration. Take this morning at storytime. So disgruntled was A that I wouldn't allow him to run to the front of the room and
check out smack up the librarian's puppets that he grabbed a handful of Goldfish and threw them at the kid beside us. (Who didn't skip a beat, just plucked a Fishy from his lap and had himself a snack as he listened to the book. I guess he got the right tubes.)
The odd part is, these moments are quick fiery flashes in the midst of otherwise calm and peaceful days. Ten seconds after the Goldfish assault, he settled back into my lap to clap along to the goodbye songs, babbling and grinning. He'll take a whack at my face, then pat my back gently. The screaming will last for 15 seconds, then he's laughing. He's still a joy 90% of his waking hours .... but these challenging moments in between are catching me off guard and triggering some of that compulsory mommy guilt. Is he sensing upcoming changes and unhappy about that? Is he needing more socialization that he's getting? Is it the non-organic fish sticks I feed him? Is it just a normal part of being a 16 month old boy learning the ways of the world? Or is he doomed for a naughty life of orange ensembles (and not the burnt orange football uniform kind that star UT QBs wear, mind you, I'm talking the jumpsuit kind with NUMBERS on the back)??
Advise me, oh wise moms who have walked the toddler road before me. Reassure me, if you will, that this isn't abnormal. I'm open to any tips or book recommendations or even just some commiseration and encouragement that your kid does this too and I haven't somehow failed as his primary caregiver. Or hell, just recommend your favorite bottle of wine as a post-bedtime coping mechanism. (I'll wait until AFTER February 12, obvi.)