This stage is plenty challenging for us.
Bennett is trying out little acts of aggression. He'll get frustrated at June and intentionally pull her hair. He'll take a swat at me if he's mad at something I'm doing, such as, God forbid, wanting to actually brush his teeth instead of allowing him to do it. When we say, "Bennett! Do we push? Do we hit? Do we bite?" he used to solemnly reply, "No," but now he does it with a mischievous gleam in his eye.
He still decides that he wants to sit on my lap at meal times (usually right about the time I'm finally sitting down to my own plate after grabbing that last spoon/milk/no the other cup). Making dinner when Michael isn't yet home is quite the ordeal because Bennett wants to be held most of the time. If I cannot hold him, he'll squeeze his body in between me and whichever counter I'm up against and push me away from it with all the strength he can muster. Which is surprisingly a lot.
When he wants more of something at dinner but hasn't eaten anything else (veggies, for example), you can't really bargain effectively when they're screaming. I'm still just...not really sure what I'm supposed to do? Just feed him endless cous cous and say to hell with the green beans if it means a peaceful meal? Insist on him eating one asparagus spear before he's allowed to have more mac-and-cheese, and just deal with the screaming that ensues?
He gets into these little moods that it's hard to break him out of. He just gets mad and then everything is just The Worst. He doesn't want oatmeal! Yes, yes, he does want oatmeal, how dare you put it away! How dare you stir it just like that! How dare you move the bowl slightly closer to him!
But I have to say, for all these challenges, he also has some of the sweetest, cutest characteristics. And I just don't want to forget them.
He loves singing. He sings all the time. Some of my favorites are when he sings the "Clean Up, Clean Up," song, or when he suddenly sings the last line of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" much faster than the rest of it. Sometimes he'll break out in a song I didn't know he knew, like when he sang "Be polite! Be polite!" the other day, which is part of the Manners Song.
He chants, which is something he gets from my side of the family. As in, when I'm making his snack, he'll chant "Can-ta-lope Time! Can-ta-lope Time!" while banging his fists on the table. (Other chant favorites are "Shower Time! Shower Time!" followed quickly by "Get naked!")
He's getting so many words now, and it's so cute to watch him put them together into little sentences. "Mommy...get...choo choo train!" "Want...to go...out der!" "June...play...rocket ship?"
I taught him the old Sleeping Beauty routine, which is when he can kiss me to wake me up. The only problem with this is that it interferes with one of my favorite end-of-the-day activities, which is finding as many games to play that involve me laying motionless on the ground. June will be walking on my back, pretending to be a snow leopard, but Bennett keeps trying to kiss me to wake me up.
He loves me and Michael so much. The excitement in his voice when he shouts, "HI MOMMY!" or "BYE BYE DADDY!" is just too much. Not to mention how sweetly he talks to June, asking her for help or asking her to do things with him while they play. "Here, June! Heeeere!"
His favorite songs are still these two songs from the Hawaiian Disney movie, Lilo and Stitch. Sometimes I can even get him to hang out in relative peace while I make dinner if I put these songs on repeat. "Hawan Dander!" he says excitedly ("Hawaiian Dancer").
We're a shower household (instead of baths), so I herd Bennett and June into the shower with me and Michael takes Bennett when it's time to get out. More and more, Bennett is using his imagination. He plays with the toys, pretends he's a puppy, makes a conga line with June. When I ask the kids if they will help me pick up the toys, Bennett shouts "YAY!" and excitedly hands them to me.
Our little guy is almost two and I'm excited (and scared!) for what that has in store for us. But I think I can make it through any terrible twos if I can keep those wet, soft kisses that he presses into my cheek now and then.