And then it hit us: DUH.
That always sets things back a bit.
Cub had just been through several days of getting whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. His days were full of playing and spoiling, which is absolutely fine--for a short while! Stepping back into the reality of boundaries was a little awkward for him. I've heard this happens a lot with kids. Once we realized the issue, we were able to relax and understand that some normal time at home would do the trick. And it did. Getting back into the swing of things, re-learning how to listen to Mom and Dad, going over our training for him to come to us (we seriously practice this at home and it has paid off in public--which is why the incident at Hobby Lobby was so weird!), and replacing his newfound love of whining with making him rub his little chest for "please" soon paid off. Yesterday was amazing. Cub was back to his old self and he honestly seemed happier, too.
I'm not saying at all that there is always a monumental reason or event that causes kids to test boundaries. They just do because, well, they're supposed to! I would worry if Cub never pushed the limits a bit. But, kids also have to know that the limits are there for a reason. And it's up to the parents to keep those limits enforced. I'm learning that there will always be setbacks. And visiting grandparents and having an amazingly fun Christmas break is, for me, a pretty awesome reason to allow another setback. We just have to remember our role as parents to gently help our kids back onto the right track once life returns to normal.
Even though Cub is only barely over a year old, I'm already understanding the importance of consistency--and consistency being at home, too. With only one baby, it is easy to take them wherever you want whenever you want, for the most part, especially when they are younger. But, as Cub gets older, I know now more than ever that home can never be replaced. Home is the place where Cub not only feels the most comfortable, but it is also the place where we can lovingly show him and train him in the way he should go.
Which is, of course, towards us, not away from us. :)