Three factors have been at work here over the past few days:
1) SNOW! We had a gigantic blizzard that dumped 30 inches of snow on the 21st. Then we had a few warm days (nowhere near enough to melt everything — some of the side streets are still quite challenging.) Then there was another blizzard on the 28th. That one wasn’t as bad as predicted in our area, though “not as bad” still meant over a foot of snow. Our Christmas trip to my parents’ place wasn’t severely hampered (though we did have to enlist some help on several occasions pushing the car out of snowdrifts), and neither was my sister’s trip here from NYC, thankfully. However, we have been inside a whole lot, which has been aggravating the next two factors.
2) Dante is going through a round of teething. How do we know? Because he drools constantly, keeps chewing on his fingers, has an upset stomach, and is way way fussier than normal. How this manifests in Dante is that he’s perfectly chipper and happy whenever you’re doing exactly what he wants to do, but gets really cranky at any other time. This would be easier to take were he not totally fixated on factor #3:
3) BUBBLES. Seriously, this boy is obsessed with bubbles right now. He’ll go over to the high shelf where we have the bubble fluid and point at it, crying piteously. Take out the bubble jar — even pick up the bubble jar — and delight replaces misery. He can sit and watch us blow bubbles endlessly, and in fact this is pretty much what he demands. However, even the most enjoyable activity turns dull with endless repetition, and blowing bubbles isn’t even on the Top 10 list of most enjoyable activities. (Nothing against it, mind, but it wears thin after 20-30 minutes or so, and that’s on the first round of the day.) We certainly prefer Happy Dante to Fussy Dante, but really, there are limits. Right now the goal is to keep the bubble-blowing to once an hour. It’s pretty ambitious, but with sufficient distraction (and the handy intervention of things like mealtime and sleeping) we’ve been managing it. Barely.