K (The Almost Two-Year Old)

KHe’s almost two years old and came with two modes: quiet, or loud and violent. That was my first impression of him when I carried him the one block from his mothers car where it was parked to our house.

When I offered to let them come to the house while we were trying to decide what to do last week, he came right to me. I asked his sisters what his name was and misunderstood completely. They were quiet and they referred to him by his nickname, “DaDas.” What I heard was “Dennis,” and when I called him by that name, no one corrected me. This caused quite a bit of confusion because when I got home, I told everyone here that his name was Dennis and it was not until much later that his mom corrected us and told us his real name. It took us two days before we finally started calling him by his given name. And, even now, for some unknown reason, *I* want to call him “DJ.” He just looks like a “DJ” to me.

He looks like a big kid, but his bones must be hollow, because both Jessica and I agreed that he’s much lighter than he appears.

When I got back to the house with him, he literally sat on my lap for a good hour without making a peep. He had a runny nose and we had to wipe it a number of times, but he had no desire to move from his spot on my lap. It’s possible that he was just craving the contact or that his cold simply had him feeling a bit lethargic, or a combination of the two.

Later, when he was a bit more energetic, he went through the toys we have in the living room. Eventually he discovered the basketball and soccer ball that we have and he decided that this was going to be his toy of choice. We have since discovered that balls are, hands down, his favorite toy to play with. He started out by throwing the ball in the house and it took several warnings from us before he finally figured out that he should be rolling it and not throwing it. For his age, he has quite an arm and his balance is rather impressive. I do think that he is likely to grow into quite the athlete when he gets older. Here’s hoping that it’s a path and an option for him.

Since ‘A2’ was at his birth-mom’s that night, we put him to sleep in the crib. It was pretty rough. He cried a lot and there were several times that both Jessica and I had to go in and lay him back down. Since he is a climber, he tried to climb out of the crib but fortunately, the mattress was set low enough that he could not quite pull it off. And it seemed as though covering his head with the blanket calmed him down. Once he went to sleep, he was out for the night.

When he got here, he liked to grab toys from the other kids, hit them, and yell at them. His mother informed us that the kids have never had any rules or structure and this is normal behavior. In all honesty, we were pretty concerned. It seemed that his communication skills and ability to comprehend things were under-developed. And any type of misbehavior that ended up in a time-out would end up being a time-out that lasted as long as 90 minutes. It was interesting because when we told him he had to sit in the time-out area, he wouldn’t move from the spot. He would cry, but he would not fight it and he would sit there. Throughout the time outs we would go ask him if he wanted to apologize and he would, with a rather belligerent look and, on a couple of occasions,  rolling his eyes, shake his head no. Using words is not something that comes naturally to him and it’s not his first go-to. Ya – he’s a stubborn kid.

It’s funny, though, how things change over just a few days. The longer you’re around a person, the more their true nature shows. And with kids, that nature shows up much sooner. After a few challenging days, he’s become gentler. He is using his verbal skills a bit more. He’s starting to say “Please” and “Thank You,” and instead of hitting, he’s actually asking for things. When he does hit, his time-outs are shorter and he’s more likely to apologize. He has a million dollar smile and he LOVES doing the “happy dance.” In fact, he loves doing just about any kind of dance he can! And he’s got some moves for a two-year old, too!

We do still think that he’s going to need some help with development and other things, but in just a week, he’s gone from being a real handful to being a joy to be around. It’ll be amazing to see what he’s like in a month!


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