Handsome, breathtaking, adorable, juicy and just plain ol’ perfect! I can remember using all these words to describe the perfect baby boy that came into our lives 2 years ago. Khalil is now 25 months old, he has acquired many new skills and has even started to look at the potty as more than a toy. He has changed in so many ways over the past 25 months that the rest of us are working over-time trying to keep up. The most obvious change has been in his attitude. Nowadays we use names like: baby Taz (of Tiny Toons fame) and the ever-popular Khalil the Destroyer to describe our sweet bundle of energy. He barely talks to anyone other than his babysitter. I love taking pictures and we are always on the go. We have started to believe that he has reached celebrity baby status and his siblings and parents are treated more like fans clamoring for his attention.
Early Warning Signs
When he started crawling at 6 months old he took every opportunity to explore our town home; he found the stairs to be of particular interest. He took great pleasure in throwing things down the stairs. Shoes, rolls of toilet tissue, toys, books, DVD’s, nothing was safe. Since then he has developed quite an arm; whenever he is denied his way he will throw things at you. Thus, we also considered building a sensory gym. Basically, sensory gym is a progressively designed indoor play to help your child learn and develop.
Since our soon-to-be 8-year-old is closest to his height she bears the brunt of his temper. He has been known to pull her hair, yanking off the beads and barrettes. Roughhousing with his older brother has turned ugly on more than a few occasions. Our 10-year- old must struggle to gain control over him once Khalil has gotten too aggressive.
He attends a private home based daycare and doesn’t have many friends his own age. We know socializing is an important part of his development but after a few failed play dates we have been reluctant to take up the few offers we receive. On one play date he terrorized an older boy by taking his sippy cup and not sharing. The two chubby boys spent most their time chasing and tackling each other. It started off innocently enough but quickly turned into a Clash of the Titans. He hasn’t discovered his strength so he isn’t pushing other children around.
We are nervous that this could be the next wave of unruly behavior. He is about 3 ft tall and 32 pounds in a size 4T, while the few boys we know that are his age are wearing a size 2T.
Our temperamental toddler began asserting his independence when he started walking at around 13 months. Shortly after that he began running away from us in public and falling out whenever we tried to stop him. He is frustrated easily and the fact that he is still struggling to communicate his feelings to us doesn’t help. He holds daily protests against getting his diaper changed and kicks fiercely. He snatches what he wants and doesn’t like to take no for an answer. This is difficult to correct with his limited vocabulary. Some other examples of aggressive behavior are:
Hitting Biting Yelling Tantrum Throwing Things Pushing Survival 101
While we have yet to eliminate Khalil’s aggressive behavior; we have started to look at the situation with more realistic expectations. We have identified the behavior, but we are still decoding all of his triggers. We have learn to control the factors that we can control: our own behavior. It is difficult to reason with a child with limited communication skills so we work harder to change our own behavior. Once he is a little older we hope to gain more ground in the areas of modifying his behavior.
For instance, he is likely to lash out if he wants something and isn’t able to communicate this to us, he becomes frustrated or if he is denied any requests. In these cases we have tried being more patient. Children are very perceptive so body language is important. I am almost 6 feet tall and my husband is about 4 inches taller than I am. We have found that stooping down coupled with lowering our voices is helpful. This works during phase I of the meltdown; this tool is ineffective once he has reached Mach 10. Though he is intelligent it is hard to beat the banana in the tailpipe. Re-directing his attention is a great way to diffuse a situation that is quickly reaching the point of no control.
We have chosen a method of discipline and are even considering revamping our current reward system. We have also taken responsibility for our own behavior and role it plays in his aggressive behavior. While some of his behavior typical for his age; some can be attributed to his personality. Still some is learned and we must re-evaluate our interactions as well as outside influences such as the amount of television he watches. There is no magic pill, but trying to imagine him as the handsome, breathtaking, adorable, juicy and just plain IL’ perfect baby boy we met two years ago certainly helps us keep it all in perspective.