Sunday, July 28, 2013

17 Months and couldn't be happier

It's rare I hit a monthly "birthday" on a blogging day, but today is Theo's 17 month "birthday". At some point I will stop acknowledging the months, but I think that doesn't happen till he turns 2.

With his newfound walking skills, he's a man on the move. He went from not walking, to his first steps on a Wednesday night to walking on the soft sand that weekend! Clearly he was ready physically, but mentally, had to get there.

He's got 8 front teeth in and 2 molars mostly in. Poor guy, those things are taking their sweet old time. He is a trooper, but man, those have to hurt!

He's also working on the words. It's interesting when the second child begins to speak. I've become so accustomed to Sophia's full and rather extensive vocabulary, that I forgot that baby speak starts as exactly that.

Theo's had the Mama/Dada words for awhile. But he's not particularly interested in using them. We had a mad range of gestures and he made it pretty clear what he wanted and we got it. There was minimal frustration. He can go completely quiet for awhile, especially with new people or if he's tired. Only recently has he really begun to chat it up.

The two big advances he's made with language are

1) Picking up more sign language. This has been propelled by Sophia being re-excited about it (we have the Baby Signs book and she loves reading it). Anything Big Sister does, little man has to do too!

2) Actual verbalization. Again, I was forgetting and expecting "real" words to come out, so my guess is there have been more of these happening than I realize or have noticed, sadly. The other night at dinner
he was intent on dipping his cracker into his Tzatki sauce. I had been doing it and handing it to him and he blurts out "IDOIT!" When I handed him the cracker to do it, he just smiled, dipped, and ate. So very cool.

It's amazing to watch the development from a whole new angle. My little snuggler is growing up.

Those moments...

During our vacation this year, we enrolled Sophia at a 1/2 day camp for a week with her friend Ainsley. We figured it would be good practice for pre-school coming up this Fall.

The Pennfield School is an amazing, green, grassy place in Portsmouth, RI. Ainsley goes there for pre-school during the year so she has a lay of the land. Sophia was thrilled to be spending days with Ainsley at her school and everything went great the first day. Drop off was smooth, pick up went great and she talked about playing and having fun. She also said she missed me, which was super sweet.

On day 2, I walked Sophia in to sign her in. She ran out to the playground and was looking for Ainsley, who usually arrived earlier than us (we're notorious for our lack of promptness!) I saw her over by one of the structures with 2 other little girls playing. I urged Sophia over there but she was in that middle space between me and the 3 girls. I had that small moment of panic that I could clearly see echoed on Sophia's face. What is Ainsley didn't want to play with her today, what if she blew off Sophia and just hung with the other girls? I knew Sophia would go meet some other kids, but Ainsley was her person here. I just kind of stood to see how it would shake out.

After about what felt like minutes (but was probably only 20 seconds) Ainsley looked up, ran over (with the 2 other girls trailing behind) and yelled "Sophia!!" grabbed her hand and said, "Let's go Play!" and they ran off to play.

And I took at deep breath. Images of middle school and high school had clouded into my head. I wasn't ready for Sophia to start entering girl land. I refuse to be that intervening mom and I know Sophia would have been fine and found other buddies, but I'm thankful for Ainsley and their friendship.

The Thick of it...

There has been a very popular blog entry going around recently called "The Sweet Spot" - if you haven't had a chance to read it you should. I teared up when I read it, hiding behind my sunglasses staring at my phone. It's beautiful, wonderful and, some place I feel very VERY far away from. Especially these past two weeks.

If you didn't know, Sophia is 3.5. 3.5 going on 4. Or 14. Somedays I can't tell (Most mothers of teenagers tell me it's definitely 4 because she hasn't started to slam doors yet. Sigh...) I've known of the 3.5s grossly outkicking the drama of the "terrible two's" - I'll say for us, the terrible two's weren't really terrible at all. In fact, for the most part, I didn't notice them.

But 3.5. Oh my. It's. Kicking. My. Ass.

Sophia and I have had more knock down, drag out matches in the past two weeks than I think we've had throughout her entire time on earth. Sometimes, starting first thing in the morning. Or, my favorite, right when I walk in the door from work. And then, of course, the "I don't want to go to bed" ones. (I really do understand the "Just go the F*&% to sleep" book now more than ever.)

It's an emotional rollercoaster. In other relationship space in life (boyfriend, sibling, parent, etc.), friends would either a) Run an intervention for you or b) get you a lawyer. But here, all we can do is commiserate about the verbal and emotional wearing down, tactics for survival and, find the occasional joy in sharing the future for happy mothers of newborns. (Who, no doubt, are thinking the same thing as I did when Sophia was 1 - my kid will NEVER act like that. HA..)

My personal favorite was this interaction early one morning last week:
Me: "Sophia - time to go potty - your pee pee needs to go to the pool!" (A tactic we've had to employ up one wake up, otherwise this child will seriously hold her pee from 8pm thru 10am. My bladder hurts thinking about it).
Sophia: "Ok"  - heads to bathroom and stares at the toilet like it's a foreign object, not something she's been intimately connected with for the past year.
Me: "Pull down your undies and pants and hop up"
Sophia: "Mamamama - I CAN'T. It's soooo HAAARD!"
Me: "You can do it. Just hook your thumbs around the fabric and bend down."
Sophia: "It's TOO HARD!!"
Me: "Seriously?"

So...yeah. My other favorite is that "My legs aren't working right. I keep slipping" as she throws her body to the floor. One might appear concerned with this one, except that it mirrors Theo's new walking style.

But we'll get through it. And into the Sweet Spot soon enough. Luckily, I am rewarded with a few of these magic moments:

Hunting for Airplanes in the Rain

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Happy 4th of July!

We were lucky enough to spend the Fourth of July in Newport again. One of my favorite holidays and celebrations of all year - mostly just to get the kids all dressed up and to see fireworks! 

First stop - the Bristol parade - the oldest 4th of July celebration in the country!

With much fanfare, that included a visit from Mickey and Minnie (clearly the highlight for Sophia) the parade was a huge success. 
It was a hot one, which, in Rhode Island, means only one thing: 
Ice Cold Dell's Lemonade!

Sophia insisted on wearing her finery the next day too - 

For the first time, Sophia was able to stay awake and watch the fireworks over Newport harbor. She was a little scared of the loud noises originally, but the wind blew the sound in the other directions so she was able to enjoy! I even taught her "Oooo, Ahhhh" the traditional 4th of July refrain. :) 

Next year, Theo will get to enjoy the evening spectacle too!

Theo's First Steps

I had always heard that second children did things on their own timetable, mostly because they don't have the undivided attention of parents like the first. That couldn't be more true in Theo's case. Between getting a late start on core strength because of his helmet and just the general insanity of life, we haven't spent as much 1:1 time helping him with walking. These past two weeks on vacation have let us really focus on getting him up on his feet and building his confidence. Prior to this, he could squat, pick up things, surf on everything but just wouldn't take an independent step.

But tonight he took his first series of steps - 16.5 months old.
Sadly, blogger won't let me upload the video, but here is a link to it on Facebook!
I'm always proud of my little man, but I'm just ecstatic at his new found skill and it makes me realize even more the importance of treasuring these moments.