Today you are 18 months old, a whole year and a half and what a year and a half it’s been! This second year is full of so many milestones, first steps, first words, first hugs and kisses marking the inexorable shift from baby into toddler. You’ve hit a lot of those milestones already and today marked another one: we took down the side of your crib, lowered the mattress and put up a side-rail converting it into a toddler daybed. You’re already so good at climbing in and out of our bed that there was no real reason to keep you crib-bound anymore, not to mention the fact that you were getting pretty close to being able to climb over the side anyway. It will be easier for you to get in and out as well as easier for us to pick you up and put you down for naps and bedtime.
I missed your 17-month update: it’s been a busy time in our household and time has done funny things with my memory so that I’m no longer sure which things you did last month and which things within this month. Here are some of the new and fun things that you are doing since I last updated.
New words: open, up, shuz (shoes), Bati (Badri – your daytime caregiver), mine, Ah dat? (What’s that?)
You’re also shifting your pronunciation of “Victor” so it sounds closer to his name, though more often than not you call him “Buppa” which we think is “brother” since he calls you “brother” all the time instead of your name.
Your use of the word “No” is also becoming much clearer and you sure do like to use it a lot as well as “Bew” for “Boo” and are now a willing participant in games of peek-a-boo or hide and seek. You toddle along after your big brother hiding and trying to keep quiet then laughing crazily when you’re found.
Your favorite games are peek-a-boo, hide-and-seek, bang the (blocks, balls, toy hammer etc.), Yankee Doodle, jumping around on our bed, tickle fights and running around in circles crazily until you fall down.
This month you started trying to put on your shoes by yourself. Robeez don’t really lend themselves to this though, so I’m considering getting you some “real” shoes with Velcro so you can start to teach yourself how to put your shoes on as well as taking them off. You help out now when you’re getting dressed, pushing your arms in through sleeves and butting your head through shirt openings, though getting dressed continues to be one of your least favorite activities.
As with your big brother, we’re starting to let you have diaper-free time around the house and the potty will be moving into the living room shortly to help you get used to the idea of putting pee-pee in the potty instead of in your diaper. We’re laid back about this though and won’t start serious potty training until you’re a bit older. This stage is just about increasing your awareness of what’s going on.
You’re eating with great appetite right now and are well able to feed yourself. You like to have a fork and spoon provided at meal-times, but you still use your hands a lot. Though you throw food on the floor often enough (a habit we are discouraging) you are a fairly neat eater and I don’t often find much on your clothes, so a small bib is all you’ve been needing. You like food a lot and don’t stint on helping yourself to other people’s food as well, which is funny now, though it’s also a habit we’re trying to gently steer you away from.
Right now your focus is all on exploration, you’re into anything and everything so we’ve gated off the kitchen and we keep a very close eye on you as you try to climb the bookcases and pull everything out to see what’s on the shelves. You like to play with bags filled with objects for instance and this often something that I’ll give you to try to keep the books in their proper places.
You have a lot of teeth coming in. After your first eight, there was a long lull in between and now all of a sudden, your body seems to be trying to shove all of your remaining teeth through your gums as quickly as possible. This makes for some very long, very rough nights when nothing helps but nursing, so your Mama is a little bit of a zombie at the moment. I know that soon though, you’ll have a full pearly-white smile to show off and that this stage won’t last forever and before I know it, you’ll be sleeping through the night in your bed.
On a good night, you’re sleeping for about 4 hours in your crib, then you wake up, have a short nursing and go back to sleep with me for another 4-5 hours, though you are still restless very often in the early hours of the morning. I know this will pass in time and I’m pretty confident that once this bout of teething is over and you’ve finished passing through this latest stage of rapid development and growth that you’ll probably start sleeping a bit more soundly and a bit longer at night.
Your personality is upbeat and cheerful, though toddler tantrums are beginning to appear when you don’t get what you want, when you want it. The storms rarely last long though and it’s easy enough to distract you most of the time unless you’re really really tired. A little bit of “sibling rivalry” has started to crop up as well as you become more and more able to keep up with Victor and understand more and more about how the world works. We’ve had some small battles over toys lately and when one of you gets a hug, the other is usually not far behind to get one too. Sometimes you get quite upset if I give your big brother a cuddle, but overall you and he are getting to be good pals. We’ll just work on sharing and taking turns as you get older to help defus spats over toys and games.
You are funny, mischievous, cuddly and affectionate and we love having you as part of our family. In another 6 months it will be your birthday again and that time seems both long and short at the same time. For now I am just happy to enjoy the tail-end of your babyhood because this time will run away from me before I know it and you too will be a tall, strong boy going off to play with friends.
In a change, I’m writing your letter a little bit early this month. You will be 16 months old tomorrow and it’s been a busy month for you. You’ve cut one more tooth, bringing your total up to 7 and you’re working on molars. Your comprehension of the world around you made a big leap in the last month. There’s not one big thing that shows this, it’s lots of little things.
You give me high fives, not just slapping my hand when I hold mine up, but also holding your hand up for a touch. You still love peek-a-boo, only now you pull blankets up over your head, or burrow down behind a pillow to play the game, you participate and initiate it instead of just watching me and laughing. You point to things and “ask” for them with increasing fluency in your babble, meaning that sometimes the sounds you make actually sound vaguely like the thing you’re asking for. You repeat the sounds that you hear with more and more accuracy overall. You’re using “uh oh” for more than just tossing your cup off the table: any “oops” type thing earns a cute little “uh oh” and a questioning look from you now.
You’re trying to figure out what the rules are, how everything works as you become more and more able to interact with your world. This means that toddlerhood is well and truly upon us with the accompanying proto-tantrums. One of your less endearing habits right now is ear-piercing shrieks, be it just to try your voice out or expressing displeasure at being hugged too hard or having things taken away from you. You’re also demonstrating a bit of a flair for the dramatic, casting yourself face down onto the floor when you’re told “No” or when something you really wanted to play with that isn’t safe is taken away. For now, you’re still responding well to distraction and comfort when you’re frustrated. Chances are good that if I interest you in some other toy or game you will switch focus quickly and easily to the new thing and get wrapped up in that.
Every month you and your big brother get more and more attached to each other and more and more able to interact on a similar level. Now that you’re fully mobile with walking mastered and running very nearly so, you and Vic can really play together. You wrastle on the bed, climb into boxes together and play with toys side-by-side. Vic tries to involve you in cooperative play, but you’re not quite there yet of course. That will come in time and I think the two of you will have a lot of fun together building things with Legos and running trains on the tracks and pretend-cooking meals and constructing forts out of boxes and blankets in the living room.
You’ve been going through a rough patch sleeping-wise, probably due to all of these cognitive leaps you’ve been making and all of the teeth that are growing. It’s really exhausting for me, especially because you’re nursing quite a lot when you wake at night. We’ve decided to slowly start moving you out of our bed and into your crib full-time in the hope that this will help you to sleep better. You seem to like having your own space and I’d certainly appreciate being able to get more than an hour or two of shut-eye at a time. I’m also slowly starting to replace nursings with a cup of warm cow’s milk to soothe you in the later parts of the day, because you need a lot to drink these days and that means an awful lot of nursing to get the number of ounces that you need. Just tonight for instance, you spent 20 minutes nursing and didn’t want to stop, but I was feeling tired and sore so we got you some milk and you drank a whole 6 ounces on top of what you’d already nursed!
We take a slow path towards weaning, but that’s really what this is. We’ll still nurse for a while longer, but I want to start encouraging a gradual decline in feedings and see where that takes us.
You laugh more than you cry, smile more than you frown and have a lot to say in your own language about the world. You are snuggly and cuddly and love to play and run around and interact with everyone.
You and your brother get closer every day and it makes me so happy to see the two of you becoming pals as well as siblings.
Sadly I missed out on writing to you because October was a very busy month for all of us . Mommy and Daddy were both working really really hard on big projects, we got notice that we’re getting kicked out of our house and we all came down with a slight bout of the flu at the end of the month so you and I sort of missed out on Halloween, though your Dad and big brother went out and had lots of fun!
You did a lot of growing putting on a full pound and a full inch since your last Well Baby visit. You’re up to 22lbs 1oz and 32 1/2 inches, still following in your brother’s footsteps of being tall and slender though you are built very differently and look much more solid than Vic did at the same age. You’re a cuddly little guy and you enjoy curling up in my lap at the end of a long day and nestling your head in the crook of my shoulder.
You’re still a very talkative fellow, you’ve mastered “Mama”, “Dada”, “No” and something that sounds like “Victor” but comes out more like “Deetow” this is more recognizably your big brother’s name than previous pronunciations were though. You’re working on affirmatives, be it a nod of your head or an “Ah-huh” or “Yaaaa” but no definitive “Yes” yet.
You walk very well now and have a shuffly-toddling run that moves you along at a good clip. You do funny things with your arms when you’re moving fast, it’s something that’s best captured on video though, very hard to describe. Suffice it to say, you have a very distinctive walk-run. You’re doing your best to keep up with Vic in all things now, be it walking, running, climbing or playing. It’s so much fun to sit with the two of you of an evening with a pile of paper and crayons while you both draw or scribble and make paper airplanes and other paper shapes.
You’re very tuned into everything around you and take things in with intent attention before reacting. Right now you’re also in a very grabby stage and like to get your hands onto everything and check it all out. This makes for lots of exercise for your Mama and Dada and Deetow because we’re always darting across the room to remove crayons, Legos and other objects from your mouth or to catch you from falling off chairs as you try to tackle climbing obstacles that are just a little bit beyond your ability.
Sometimes it’s hard to sit back and just let you try things out, but we try really hard to let you roam, while keeping an eye on you for safety.
You cut your 7th tooth just a few days ago (finally) and your doctor says you’re budding another one, a molar this time on the left side. I’m hoping that some of these teeth will show up sooner rather than later and give you and me both a bit of a break. Your little mouth has been bothering you a lot and making for difficult nights for both of us with lots of waking up, application of gum-soothing remedies and comforting.
The weather has turned and we’re well into autumn now with some leaves turning golden and cooler nights. You don’t like being cold much and snuggle down under the blankets or plaster yourself against someone’s side to stay warm. We’re going to be moving soon to a new apartment and I’m looking forward to having central heat again to help you sleep through the night better.
You’re growing well and strong and emerging into a wonderfully curious little boy with a lot to say about the world.
For your 13th month, we celebrated your birthday belatedly with a small celebration at the local park. You really got into your cake and tried to stuff the whole piece into your mouth in one go. Sadly, your mouth is too small to permit this so you had to rip it apart and cram it in that way.
You also enjoyed strawberries and ice cream and goat cheese for your birthday meal. You are quite the fan of goat cheese and between you and Victor I have to stave off demanding little hands every time the goat cheese comes out of the fridge!
You mastered walking over the course of this past month, though you are still a little bit slow and unsteady on your feet. You took your first steps just about a week after your first birthday and it’s been steady progress ever since then: every day a little bit further, every day increased balance and poise. Your little monkey toes are coming in handy now as they help you grip tightly to the floor. You’ve taken more than one spill unfortunately, some of them face first, but some kisses and hugs soon set you to rights.
You are getting more and more expressive, your word of the month is “No” pronounced, “No-ew” or “Neahhh” in this high pitched negative as you shake your head vigorously. Your “talking” is getting more and more complex as you string together babble into combinations that make perfect sense to you, but aren’t quite obvious to the rest of us yet. You are very serious about trying to get your point across now though, scrunching up your forehead and gazing solemnly at me with those big blue eyes until I get it right.
You’re still full of chuckles and laughter too. One of your favorite games is “chase me” usually across the bed first thing in the morning, or around the living room when you don’t want your diaper changed.
You’re fully into solid foods now and are no longer interested in baby items and you’re drinking cow’s milk from a bottle or cup. I stopped pumping for you about 2 weeks ago after our trip up to Seattle. You still nurse quite a bit at home, but you no longer need expressed milk during the day because you get plenty of water and other beverages and most of your calories are now coming from food.
You can feed yourself with a spoon, though you still like to shovel great fistfuls of stuff into your mouth and you’re starting to resist being fed. This is a very messy state of affairs, but it’s also great to be able to just sit you in your high chair with some pasta to pick through while the rest of us get a bite in edgewise.
You aren’t sleeping very well right now because you are working on cutting your molars (I can see them at the back of your mouth just below the gum line) and that means I’m not getting much rest either. I’m hoping these teeth come through soon so we can all get some zzzs! When you’re not having a bad teething night, you are sleeping 6-8 hours at a stretch, it’s just not very often that we get those stretches. I know it won’t be too much longer now though and then we can settle into a nice routine for you and for your big brother.
You’re still a little charmer with an impish grin and those enchanting blue eyes and I love to pick you up and raspberry your tummy or play pat-a-cake and peek-a-boo until you’re belly-laughing.
Today you are a whole year old.
In one year you’ve come so far from the tiny bundle I brought home from the hospital. I remember our first night together like it was yesterday, curling up under the blankets with you tucked into my nightgown to keep warm and burying my nose in your hair while we both drifted off to sleep.
It’s like this the first year, fast and slow all at once, so many moments that seem like they stretch on forever and then before you know it, it’s all gone by and you’ve gone from baby to toddler in the blink of an eye.
Some things remain constant: your easygoing temperament, the sweetness of your smiles, the smell of your hair and the way you put your head down on my chest and rest a hand there as if to say “This is good, everything is all right.”
Other things change: you are no longer my roly-poly little one, you slimmed out a bunch when you started crawling and that’s continued as you’ve started cruising the furniture and taking those first hesitant steps between things. You speak now, single words, mostly names, but it’s the beginning of sharing your thoughts. You point along with your words to make your meaning more clear and to “ask” about things. Not an evening goes by now that you don’t point at something and say “Dis?” while looking up at me expectantly for the name of the object and the opportunity to touch and explore.
You’ve grown six teeth in the last 5 months with more on the way and you chew up food pretty well with them. You have four up top and two on the bottom, though one of the front two hasn’t fully come down yet to close in your little jack-o-lantern smile.
You aren’t quite walking yet, but you’re nearly there and I know that in no time at all you’ll be running to me and away from me and chasing your big brother in ways he couldn’t possibly imagine. You’re going to keep him on his toes I’m pretty sure, the two of you are quite the pair.
Sleeping through the night is still something we can look forward to, though you’re only waking once a night now to have some milk unless you’re teething. Some of those teething nights can be pretty brutal for me, but otherwise you sleep very well in the crib next to the bed.
You are a snuggy, affectionate, sweet little guy, with bright-eyed curiosity and a laugh that lights up the room.
Happy first birthday sweetheart, here’s to many more.