A couple of updates on Jonathan's newest words:
"Yay you!" (This is a repetition of our saying it to him - he's always very pleased with himself whenever he gets this response from us.)
"Please" is the newest battleground in the war of the words. A few months ago, "more" was the battle - we knew he could say it, but he would often refuse to do so. Eventually he realized that we really weren't going to give him more food until he used his words, and things calmed down. However, our wonderful son who has an absolutely amazing ability to be stubborn (please don't ask where he got that trait, ok?) has now decided that "please" is a word not to be said. We know he can say it, and when he does say it he gets praised up and down and is quite pleased with himself...but most of the time when we tell him he needs to "ask nicely, say please" we get an out and out refusal. We're having to pick our battles really carefully, which is difficult in this situation. See, we want to be consistent, but if we required him to say "please" every time he asked for more food, he would never eat enough. Because he'd rather go hungry at the table and then fuss later than comply with the request. And he needs to eat! So far my best tactic is to keep shoveling food into him as fast as possible at the beginning of a meal, so that he doesn't have time to ask for anything more. Then after I'm pretty sure he's eaten enough to survive, I'll wait for him to ask. I think it is really important for him to learn to be polite...but it is so tempting to just let it slide and avoid the tantrum. Sometimes Gabe and I just stare at each other, then at our screaming child, and wonder if we'll ever survive these pre-rational years!
On the other hand, Jonathan is starting to show some really encouraging signs of rationality. :) For example, last night he really melted down over dinner. Refused to eat, refused to play while mom and dad ate...so Gabe told him that while he didn't have to eat anything, he did need to sit in his seat during dinner. This did not go over well. He screamed and threw himself around - it is a good thing his booster seat has straps! BUT (and this is the cool part) after we had listened to this for awhile, I got really close to his face and said quietly, "Jonathan, listen to mommy" until I got his attention. When he was quiet, I explained that he needed to sit in his seat "until you are quiet and take one bite. Do you want your bite to be bread or soup?" It took about three times through this explanation, interjected with reminders to "oh, oh, remember to be quiet", but then he quietly took a bite of bread and then asked to get down!!!!!
Oh, the rapture. It was a really good "win-win" situation - Gabe and I didn't "lose" the battle, and Jonathan got to make a choice to obey (and then go to bed, which he really needed!) Parenting is awfully hard sometimes (ok, most of the time) but little successes like that remind me that working at it is worth it.