Parenting a 17mo old

As I talked to a friend today, I was reminded that I want to portray our attachment period honestly. I am so happy to have Gus home that I hesitate to ever open my mouth with a complaint.

But, parenting an a 17-month old is exhausting.

One question my friend asked me is whether this is easier or harder than the period after Reed and Lena’s homecoming. Much, much easier, because we are already parents, there is just one of him, and we have a better support system than we did the first time around. We were just much more prepared this time, mostly because of our experience the first time around.

Gus has transitioned in to our family MUCH easier than Reed and Lena did. Of course, it’s possible that we are still in the “honeymoon” period, but Gus is doing very well. Most of his behavior seems very normal for his age.

However, there are challenges. Some of them are just part of parenting a toddler, and a few are related to his past.

-Prefers women to men, including me to Aaron: This is pretty normal. He’s has not spent much time around men, so he naturally prefers me and other women to men. This is a challenge, because while he super comfortable with me, he is only okay with Aaron. He won’t look to Aaron for comfort yet, and still gets a bit upset if he sees me leaving.

-Communicating: I am used to communicating with Reed and Lena, at their level. We are signing with Gus, and the idea is still pretty novel to him. He knows a few signs, like “more” and “all done” and we are working on several more signs. But, even though he knows them, he doesn’t understand how to use them without prompting, and I need to remind him that he has a choice. Choices are very new and exciting to him.

-He’s into everything: This is definitely a typical age thing, but I think it is only complicated by the fact that everything is new to him. He probably hadn’t seen a toilet before we picked him up, or any kitchen stuff. He watches me with great fascination when I brush my teeth or put on makeup. It is ALL new to him and his preferred ways of exploring are touching and putting things in his mouth.

-Hitting/grabbing/pulling hair/biting to be funny: Of course, this is also all typical 17mo old stuff. And it is exhausting. “Gentle”… 500 times a day. This is particularly frustrating when he is hurting Reed or Lena. Fortunately, they have a lot of patience with him.

One of the biggest challenges is just that I was pretty comfortable parenting 2 preschoolers. Most of the time, I knew how to communicate with them, motivate them, etc. It is a whole new learning curve. An expected new learning curve, but challenging nevertheless.

I am ready for nap time most days. But, I’m always ready for those sweet post-nap kisses, too!


6 thoughts on “Parenting a 17mo old”

  1. Sounds like everything is going pretty well to me. He is such an adorable little guy, and I’m sure your tired is a happy tired!

  2. My twins are a day older than your new son. Yes, 17 months is difficult especially if everything is new. My girls cry if either my husband or I walk out of the room even if the other one is still here. We also do sign language although my one definitely has a speech delay and I don’t think she understands really the signs– so just giving you encouragement that even when you have a child from birth 17 months can be difficult 🙂

  3. I found with one of my girls that she needed to be super filled up with Mommy time after never having had a mother, before she could really bond with my husband. She was older (3) so it took her longer to catch up from Mommy Deficit, but my guess is that Gus will probably only need 3 or 4 months depending how much meaningful connection time he gets with you. He has the Best smile!

  4. Molly, it’s so neat to hear about baby Gus and how the transition is going for everyone in the family. I’m so happy that you all are together as a family now and that everyone is enjoying getting to know each other and having that love grow every day.

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