At seventeen months Matthew is now definitely a toddler, complete with temper tantrums. It's the classic fit complete with lying down on the floor and pounding his feet and hands on the floor. We are comforted knowing that Elizabeth did exactly the same thing at seventeen months, although perhaps with less deliberate biting.
Seventeen months is also when we got more serious about discipline. For the sake of our eardrums we've been removing him to his room (or living room if strapped into his chair) if he shrieks for a little while now. He knows he can come back if he a) stops shrieking and b) says/signs sorry. But this month we put the playpen in the living room and started sticking him in there immediately if he shrieks, hits, or bites. The undesirable behaviours have dropped off dramatically, though there were a few incidents where he flatly refused to apologize at first - saying all done and deliberately looking away from Dad or shrieking in his face instead of signing sorry. Both our kids seem to need space to calm down if they get very riled up. And sadly they are good at riling each other up. Elizabeth by deliberately blocking Matthew from toys that he wants and taunting him with kind words like "No no no Matthew, you are TOO small". And Matthew may be smaller but he fights dirty. Elizabeth almost always ends up on the losing side if they get into a bona fide scuffle. Yet, he is also an extremely affectionate little boy most of the time, especially with his sister. He loves to give her hugs and kisses. In general he's quite snuggly.
His imaginative play has gotten more complex too. Recently he got hold of a paintbrush and used a bucket of water to carefully "paint" the patio stones outside of the garage!
He's very observant - even if he sees something once, he may try to imitate it much later. He especially likes to copy big sister. He loves to help. This can lead to some difficult moments like the time I was trapped on the toilet while he managed to open the cupboard full of cleaning supplies and attempted to lick the toilet brush. While I was putting that away, he flushed for me, retrieved what we had thought was an empty toilet cleaner bottle from the garbage and expertly swished it around on top of the lid. The lid was not open, which meant the cleaning solution poured all over the top. What a mess! And yet hard to be mad when he's such an adorable cutie pie just trying to be helpful! He loves cleaning.