Our 16-month-old Aidan, unser kleine Mann
It’s usually 10 pm, when Aidan is finally in his dreamland. He’s punctual like that, no matter whether we start the bedtime routine (change his diaper – put on a pajama – brush teeth – read books) earlier at 8 pm or at 9:30 pm. Most of the time, he would insist that both parents must be present at the book reading session, “Papa… da (there)! (pointing to the space on his right-hand side), Mama… da (there)! (on his left-hand side)”. Sometimes one of us could then sneak away (if His Majesty allowed it), because we actually want to take turns accompanying him to sleep.
Almost every evening after he’s asleep, we would sit on our sofa, and begin our evening conversation with, “Why is he so cute??” then we would recount stories of his cuteness 😀 Here are some recent ones that we found cute and funny…
“Nein… nein… nein… doch!”
Right before he fell asleep, he would usually have his monologue on exciting things happened during the day, by repeatedly saying certain words at least three times each, like “bus/car” (his favorite activity is actually watching cars, buses and trains) or “Ema/Oma/Popa/Dita” (if we had video calls with his grandparents or my sister). His words are all in German, except for “car”. Recently he started saying “Anna/Anya” which I think refers to his groupmate Antonia in the Kita (daycare).
His second-most favorite word (“bus” is on the first place) nowadays is “nein (no)”, which he used quite appropriately. For example, to refuse getting out of the bathtub or changing his diaper. Also, when his spoon fell or his Lego tower got broken, possibly meaning “oh, no!” What’s cool is that he started combining words, saying “Popa da nein”, when his grandpa was out of the frame during our video calls.
A funny thing happened last night, when during his monologue he said “nein… nein… nein… doch!” A new word was just added to his vocab, “doch”, which means indeed. Usually when someone said “nein” to something that we think is “ja”, we would reply with “doch” to somehow argue with that person. We rarely use this word at home, because most of the time we would try to respect his “nein” (until a certain limit is reached), so he must have learned it in the Kita. It’s just funny to hear such exchange in his monologue 😀
Hase got a new diaper? Me too!
Once he understood the power of saying “nein”, he always refuses to change his diaper, or to put on a new diaper after bath (he likes to run around naked, giggling, hiding away from us). Most of the time we would wait patiently at the ‘diaper station’ (a waterproof mat laid on a carpeted corner) until he came to us voluntarily. Only when we were in a hurry that we would take him by force, often met with a fierce struggle. The problem is, such strategy requires two people, one to entertain him so there’s less struggle, and another to change the diaper quickly. Personally I also don’t really like to force him to do anything, because it could lead to a trauma which will result in more fights.
Thankfully, we just found a new tactic that works quite well, with a 100% success rate! 🙂 So, instead of waiting passively, we would have a fake conversation with Hase (his rabbit puppet) or Minka Katze (the cat), “Hase, do you want a new diaper?” “Yeah!” “Okay, let’s change your diaper”, basically giving his toy a lot of attention (and a fake diaper) at the diaper station. Within seconds he would run to us and lay himself down, then peacefully letting us do whatever we want. We guess it’s because of FOMO 😀
For a while, he would throw away his dirty diaper into the trash bin afterwards. But I guess the novelty and the excitement of such activity wear off already, so now he always said “nein” to our requests. Oh well, maybe persistently asking is the key 😉
In general, he’s a charmer, especially to strangers 🙂 He would suddenly offer flowers or pine cones he picked to passersby. Or, attempting a conversation with people sitting in a park, by pointing at me and saying, “Mama!” Or, asking for an older girl’s hand at a playground, then bringing her to the slide so she could help him climb up the structure.
Of course he charms us too… most of the time. Teasing us by offering a piece of orange, but then eating it himself when we opened our mouth. Or, attacking us with snuggles and giggles, especially when he saw us snuggling. Or, asking us to play music on our Google Home, started dancing, then also dragged us to dance with him. Nowadays, he eats by himself with a spoon or a fork, with very little assistance (I think the daycare really helps in making him more and more independent). But when it’s difficult to spoon the food, he would put the spoon on the table, pick the food and put it on the spoon, then pick the spoon up into his mouth. Little things like these can really make our day 🙂
The thing is, he’s also very stubborn (I wonder where he gets that from, possibly both of us 😀 ), so there’s a lot of power struggle going on. In the beginning, all of us would feel frustrated, and he would bang his forehead on the floor either to cope with the emotion, or to get both our attention and what he wants. We were all still learning after all. That rarely happens now 🙂 The diversion tactic works quite well, especially if we could anticipate the meltdown and quickly divert his attention before things escalate. But if we cannot avoid the meltdown, the best is to just sit quietly next to him (but not too close to give him some space), count to 10, then extend our arms. He would usually then come to us, sit on our lap, calm down and be cheerful again.
At the end of the day, we will still think that he’s the cutest one in our universe. To end our evening conversation, Simon would usually ponder, “What to do if his upcoming little sister is as cute as him? Oh no, there will be a cuteness overload in our household!”