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Jul 19, 2009

18-month toddler milestone: Patience and concentration kick in

Today, my husband and I witnessed a drastic change in Daniel's skills and behavior. This was probably in the works all along, but today, it clearly struck us for the first time.
As a matter of fact, my husband and I were still discussing yesterday how it could sometimes be difficult to entertain Daniel over a few hours, and how he could get easily frustrated when playing by himself. Every time, he got "stuck" (one of his favorite words right now), he would complain and cry for help. We were wondering when we might come to a point where Daniel could play by himself for more than a few minutes at a time and be happy with it.
Well, today, this happened!
My husband and Daniel had come back from shopping with a balloon (like every Sunday; this is one of the activities they both enjoy). For the first time, Daniel learned how to pull on the cord to be able to hold the balloon in his hands. When he mastered the skills, he asked to go and play in his bed (his favorite place for time alone, except that he only likes to stay for a few minutes usually). This time, he played for at least 10 minutes, pulling the balloon and releasing it, enjoying seeing/hearing the balloon hit the ceiling every time. I am sure pulling the cord was not easy, since it was his first time learning how to do it. But I didn't hear any complain during this whole time.
Later, Daniel mastered how to tie small vehicles into a train and drive the train through a tunnel. There again, he played in his bed for a long time, building the 10-piece train over and over, without complaining when things fell apart (which happened). He was so proud of his new train, and so focused in doing things right! The patience and the sense of purpose were definitely new to us, and so interesting to watch!
At the end of the day, Daniel also played well in the backyard, pushing his wagon across the yard, filling it in and emptying it as he saw fit. He seemed to make up the rules as he went, commenting on his activities with long sentences (which we couldn't decipher, unfortunately).
It was very interesting to observe this new behavior, especially in light of yesterday, where Daniel was not always in a good mood. I am sure it will take time until this new pattern establishes itself as the rule, and I expect that there will be a few setbacks (and writing about the great progress probably jinxed it for now). But it's very encouraging to see this new level of patience, focus and fine motor skills.
I will need to remember it on days when Daniel needs more help or gets frustrated more easily. He is definitely on his way to become an independent toddler!

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