I've been writing so much about Ezekiel lately that I decided it was time to devote a post to Malachi. As he nears 18 months he is really turning a corner, becoming more of a toddler and less of a baby, and his personality is really showing thru. I have to admit that this- 18mo to 4 years- is really my favorite age. I'm not so much a baby person.
Our big struggles right now with Malachi are in dealing with his temper and his destructiveness. Oh boy does my boy have a temper. He is all hot and cold, this one. He always has been, but as he gets older his physical expressions of anger become less and less acceptable. Malachi has been known to hit, kick, bite, headbutt, and throw things when displeased. And he gets displeased both easily and quickly. He is also so quick to hug, though, the biggest strongest bear hugs you have ever received. And he showers kisses on everyone; me, Josh, Zeke, the cats, and Claudia.
I have to remember that his temperament has two sides, good and bad. He angers quickly, but he's quick to forgive as well. His extremes are such a world away from Zeke's steady little personality that it has taken me a while to get a handle on Mal and how best to stabilize him though. I'm still not sure quite what to do other then wait out his storms.
As for his destructiveness, uhg. I'm trying to channel it into better directions best I can. He is such a physical being. I don't think he really means harm, he just has to be DOING all the time. Zeke and I are both thinkers. Josh as well, for that matter. But Malachi has to DO and better yet AFFECT 24/7. I'm finding very quickly that if I'm not providing positive things for him to be doing, he will find his own things to do.
So Malachi has been introduced to crayons and when I'm in good mood markers, which I realize sounds like a terrible idea but as long as I keep a sharp eye on him to make sure he's limiting his art to the paper at hand and sometimes his own body, it's been helping worlds. And now he has a phone book as well, courtesy of the city, to rip and rip with joy. It makes just the most satisfying sound and creates such a lovely mess, which he is very happy to transfer to the trash when he's done.
And when I am busy and distracted I'm making sure to keep him under my wing by employing him as my special helper. He's at the perfect age to be adoring it- both the attention and the responsibility. Zeke is still my designated table-setter but Malachi often acts as his silverware deputy, and he has his own special job now of table-clearer. He loves to put all the dirty dishes in the sink and will even push a chair up to the counter so he can retrieve the sponge and wipe the kitchen down. I'm also finding all sorts of little pieces of lint and paper for him to throw away for me, and he likes to bring me items from the laundry basket to fold, and to sweep, though I'm not sure he ever gets anywhere with that one.
At 18 months, Mal still isn't talking much. He CAN talk. Every once in a while he even does, spouting off dozens of words suddenly in a day, and even phrases. But then the next he is back to pointing, and nothing makes him madder then forcing him to talk when he doesn't want to (by pretending you don't understand him or telling him he must say please, up, ect, before you will do it). His only consistent word is "good girl", which is what he calls Claudia.
It's fitting because if forced to pick a best friend I am sure "good girl" would win hands down. They are the best of friends and almost never separated. If Malachi cries then Claudia is often found right by his side crying, and if Claudia whines Malachi will burst into tears. It makes punishing either one of them a pain, to tell the truth. But its also adorable as heck, so I forgive them.
One thing is for sure, Malachi is NOT ready to be a big boy or have a younger sibling. He is quite happy being the nurser of the family and isn't thrilled when babies come visiting, quickly pushing them out of my arms and climbing into my lap. It makes me very glad we don't have a little one due any day, like we did when Zeke was 18 months. Mal gets to be the baby for a while longer yet.