Right now J is at a very "difficult" age. I know, I know, he's not really in the terrible 2's just yet but the frustration level some days is pretty high in our house. He can talk...sort of. He can let us know what he does and doesn't want....sort of. He responds to beginning discipline methods like time-outs...sort of. We're averaging at least 1 or 2 major blowups a day now, over the smallest things. It's like trying to interact with someone from another culture. You're both people so you have the same basic wants and needs, but there are subtle differences that are hard to articulate when you don't speak the same language. Add to that all of the various rules and regulations of proper social behavior in this new culture and well...even another adult might have a meltdown here and there.
On the flip side, TH and I are in constant awe of how quick they develop at this age. J's vocabulary literally seems to grow overnight. His retention for things he's learned is also exponentially growing every day. For instance, on his walls I painted a border of jungle animals and last week when he got up from his nap we were learning the animals: lion ("lye-nin"), zebra ("beeba"), giraffe ("rath"), and elephant ("meh-fint" or something garbled like that). We haven't talked about the animals again since then. Cut to today -- we put up our Christmas tree and I have some jungle animal ornaments my mom sent me way back in vet school. J was looking at the tree and suddenly said "lye-nin!" Then a few minutes later, "beeba!!". It seems small but I was floored, because these are not exactly every day words in our house.
He's also counting. Really counting. His favorite book for months now is one by Brainy Baby about numbers. This book goes EVERYWHERE. Church, daycare, the car, bed, you name it. He used to be able to just repeat the numbers when we said them. Now he actually can go from 1 to 10 in order, by himself. Without prompting. I don't know if other 19 month olds can do this but either way it impresses me every single time he does it.
These are the things that you don't know about before you have kids. The meltdowns, screaming fits, and crying jags are not as hard to deal with as I thought they would be, because they're overshadowed by all of the learning, developing, and advancing that's going on at the same time (hmm, am I talking about me or J here?). J can have tantrums all day long and it's totally forgotten when he out of the blue says, "love you!" like he did yesterday. I guess this kid is growing on me after all:)