Getting My Attention

There are so many things that I want to remember that I haven’t had (or made) time to write about. Before this becomes one of those things, I’m going to try…

Tice truly is an easy baby/toddler. He is pretty obedient. He is only cautiously adventurous (except when it comes to water). He laughs and smiles a lot, and he is usually fun to be around. His favorite way to get my attention is to laugh (or fake laugh) until I look his way. This is very effective. Mainly because I want to reward positive behavior, and he has learned that he gets a much better reception with a smile or a laugh than a whine. I don’t care how busy I am, if he laughs hard enough, I will look up and pay attention to whatever is important to a 17-month-old boy.

If the laughing isn’t working fast enough, he will put one or both of his hands on my cheeks and carefully turn my face to whatever needs my attention. It’s bossy, but gentle. And, honestly, I love it. If I’m ever too distracted or too frazzled, those chubby little hands on my face immediately bring me back to the best thing I could focus on. Sometimes he even does it just to look into my eyes and give a huge smile (and I’ve seen him do that to his daddy, too), but usually it’s to show me something that he believes needs immediate attention: the dog at the window waiting to be let in; the broken down bus on that one page in that one book; the shoes that someone (Daddy) forgot to take off at the back door; the snack that he’s waiting for…)

Talk about melting my heart and getting (even more of) my attention. He’s smart, that little guy.

Here are a few pics of him doing the fake laugh and moving my face to get my attention. They are a little blurry because he was too close to the lens for it to focus, but he couldn’t understand why I was bent over taking pictures of a plant instead of him…

And here is what he decided to show me when he finally got my attention:

So cute!

Today, though, he added a new, not-as-pleasant twist to his attention-getting laugh and face-holding.

He was basically throwing a fit. Honestly, I can’t even remember why. I think he wanted his plug (pacifier), and he started to cry when he couldn’t pull it out of his crib (it’s only used for nap/night time). When he does whine, cry, or throw a fit about something that is not causing him harm, I usually simply leave the room. The bad behavior doesn’t get him what he wants if there’s no audience, and by the time he chases me down, he’s usually distracted from whatever he thought he needed. If he’s really tired and cranky (or if his second two-year molar is breaking through), he might be more persistent, as he was today. He followed me to the other side of the house and crawled into my lap, still crying. I wasn’t making eye-contact, so he cupped my face with his chubby little hands and guided my gaze to him. I still looked away since he was fussing. At that point, he changed tactics and started laughing. That got my attention. I looked at him, and as soon as I made eye contact, the crying resumed. It was… so ridiculous and hilarious. And pitiful. But it was also an impressive effort on his part.

He’s a faster learner than me. He already knows that louder doesn’t always make you heard. Some people never learn that, and he’s got it figured out at 17 months…

On a side note, I have learned so much from how Tice physically communicates with me. He doesn’t yell or stomp his feet to get my attention. He laughs and calmly touches my face, and it works. It has helped me be much more physical when I need to get his attention. I gently turn his face and ask (tell) him to look at me when I’m explaining why he just got in trouble. So, he has taught me the best way to get his attention. Funny, huh?

When he’s focused (obsessed) with something like chasing the chickens (when he knows he’s not supposed to), touching his arm is much more effective than raising my voice. Just like I tune out the whining, he tunes out the yelling.

It’s not all (thornless) roses around here, but we’re learning from each other everyday.

I can’t believe he’ll be a year and a half tomorrow…

–Natalie

 

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2 Responses to Getting My Attention

  1. Mom says:

    What a smart Mommie! And such a bright, resourceful boy! Days and moments to remember!

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