It's been a tough few weeks here, with the clan suffering through yet another bout of illness right after returning to school. All this snot has distracted me from writing about some of the progress Moe seemed to make during the break, and some interesting new behaviors we're seeing.
The second week of the winter break was actually fantastic. My mom came to help, and Jeff had the week off, so we had three adults around. Being able to leave the house was a wonderful treat, and if I had unlimited funds right now, I think a full time nanny/mother's helper would be high on my list.
During the break, Moe showed some great progress with his level of engagement as well as his willingness to try to use some language. I pretty consistently could get him to say "cookie" (it's all about finding the right motivators, right?), and "all done." It was as if the time off allowed Moe to process all the information he's been taking in at school since August. The changes are subtle, but if you've been analyzing every detail of someone's behavior for a year and a half, you notice the subtle things.
Moe has also shown a bit more aggression lately. Now that he's feeling better, he doesn't seem to be trying to bite as much. I think he was just telling us he really, really didn't feel well. But he's been acting out in other ways. Yesterday, I think he was feeling really bored, and started doing things he's not supposed to do, like playing in the dog's water dish or spraying the water from the refrigerator. I have always believed that he did these things just because he thought they were fun, or he craved the water stimulation, but I never suspected that these were attention getting activities. Now, I'm not so sure. That is the challenge with our kids, isn't it? The same behaviors can have different meanings over time so just when you think you've got a handle on it, things change.
Moe seems to really want to engage with people more. Moe would occasionally just stop and look into our eyes, with a great big smile. He will also sometimes come up to me, very excited and grab at my hair or glasses. He's been doing this at school as well. This seems a little aggressive, but I think it might be that Moe wants to engage, but just doesn't know how. Jeff also points out that we are physical with Moe a lot, when we need him to go a certain way, get him dressed, or even just play with him, since he loves tickling and jumping. He also loves squeezes to calm him. So even though certain behaviors, like pulling hair, might require a time out to break the cycle, I don't think they are meant to be aggressive.
Yesterday, after the water incident, I put Moe in his room in a time out. For time outs, I sit him in his little arm chair and I stay with him so he doesn't get up. I wait with him until he calms down. It doesn't take long, but yesterday Jelly followed us in. She walked right up to me, and, copying her brother, slapped me in the face, laughing the whole time. I told her "no!" and that she would get a time out if she did it again. Without missing a beat, she whacked me again. So I picked her up, put her in time out in her crib and shut the door. She cannot stand when Moe is getting attention from me, and she certainly did not like being shut out of the action, even for a minute.
Of course, I came back to find Moe in his crib, diaper off, sheets and blankets peed on.
Parenting is fun.