Little Things

Spring is here! The snow is nearly all gone, I’ve spotted flowers (daffodils and others) beginning to poke their leaves up through the ground, and I heard geese flying by today. As usual we are loving the chance to spend more wonderful time outside, both playing around the apartments and going for walks. IMG_3789 Lewis is so busy these days, so completely a toddler, that I am finding (and have been for a while now) that I don’t have the time or energy to update this blog nearly as much as I would like. So many projects, activities, games, and random daily happenings that I could share but which just end up as a snap shot in a Photo Friday post, or which maybe never get mentioned at all. It occurred to me recently that it has been a while since I’ve done a post just sharing where Lewis is at right now – his interests, abilities, etc.

He’s reaching for more and more independence recently. Choosing his own clothes more often, sometimes with interesting results. Venturing a bit farther from Mama when we are out and about, playing by himself while I stop to chat with a neighbor, or wandering off a bit in the library while I check out our books.

He is saying more and more new words every day, but also becoming increasingly frustrated when he says something and I fail to understand him. He says a word, I attempt to translate it but get it wrong, suddenly he is saying “Nah! Nah!” and kicking his feet with an angry and upset look on his face. It is a deep personal offence that I have not understood what he is trying to communicate. Luckily these little instances don’t last long. I either figure out what he is telling me, or we manage to move on fairly quickly and the moment is forgotten. I can see that he is beginning to learn the skills of having a tantrum, but we luckily have not entered into full tantrum territory yet. IMG_3817 I’ve continued to invite him into the kitchen more, giving him small tasks to help with as I cook or get dinner ready. He helps carry things to the table, puts things away in the fridge, sprinkles spices, stirs and mixes. Yesterday we made garlic bread together. He sprinkled garlic powder, oregano, and thyme into the soft butter, I mixed it in a bit and then handed it over to him to continue stirring while I checked the food cooking on the stove top. I turned back around to find him eating gobs and gobs of butter off the butter knife. Yum! Together we spread the butter onto the bread, and then he took over the empty dish and knife, sitting in the living room and licking out every last bit of butter he could find. He chose not to eat any of the bread once it was toasted though.

Poop! (Or in the Language of Lewis: "boof!")

Poop! (Or in the Language of Lewis: “boof!”)

Ever since he has been mobile we have had silly time after dinner/before bed when we all run around and play together, often chasing around and around in circles through the apartment, or pretending to be airplanes, or popping out and scaring each other. Sometimes Daddy or I will go in the other room or behind the couch and then pop out to startle Lewis, which he thinks is hilarious.

This past weekend we introduced the concept of playing hide-and-seek. We have a big box in the living room that has been used for many play opportunities, and this has now become our counting base. It started off with Lewis and I (or my head anyway) in the box counting to ten, and Daddy hiding. Then Daddy took turns helping him count while I hid. Sometimes he quickly starts running around looking for the hider, other times he demands to be picked up and to have help looking.

He had a lot of fun playing this on the weekend and has now started initiating it himself. Sometimes he will say “hunt Dada” (and he was saying hide one day but then hasn’t continued saying it) and then he sits in the box and says “Nine. Nine. Nine.” It’s a little tricky when I am the only one home with him – I have to count to ten from the other room, say “ready or not come and find me!” and then quickly hide myself. Still fun though. Yesterday evening we all were playing and when we would count with him he started saying “Ten!” after we finished counting, but I haven’t heard him say it yet when not just repeating it.

When we were in Vermont a few weekends ago he learned the word “spooky” from Daddy, used mostly to refer to dark rooms. He has been applying this to our hide-and-seek games and won’t go into a dark room to look for someone. He declares “Booka! On! On!” to let us know it is too dark and we must turn on the light.

Mostly, he continues to be extremely cute and wonderful and fun. I’m sure there are a million other sweet little stories I could share, but it is late and I think I should take advantage of something called “sleep” while I have the chance for a few hours before he decides to wake up needing Mama milk.

 

Big, Small, And Poop

Lewis has been having a bit of a language explosion recently! He seems to be adding a new word every day or two. I had read about this happening with other toddlers once they reach a certain point, and it is so exciting to see it happening now. A lot of his words of course are still not super clear, and many are probably only translatable by Chris and I, but he also has several that are very clear and easy to understand. We tried to list them all out a couple days ago and I think he has somewhere in the range of 35-40 words that he is now saying consistently.

Two of his most recent are color words. “Tan” which he says very clearly and adorably, and has now become obsessed with pointing out tan things wherever he goes. The other is “Brown” which is said as “Browm” which I love. He also has been pointing out brown things, though not as much as the tan. Another recent one is “uh-oh.” I have been waiting for this one since I know this is an early word for a lot of little ones. At first he was just saying it because he liked the sound, but he is using it accurately now. My favorite is when he purposefully knocks down a tower or knocks things off a shelf proclaiming “uh-oh!” Maybe that will wear a little thin after a while, but for now it is just cute.

Chris took a video of him about a week ago when he had first started saying tan and uh-oh:

A couple of his other “words” that he has been saying for a while now are his versions of “big” and “small.” Neither sounds anything like the word, but he has been very consistent in using them and pretty much always gets it right when telling us if something is big or small. The exception is usually only if there are two things the same size, because he still wants one big and one small, so he will often go back and forth between calling them the two. I took a video of him showing me big and small today. In Lewis language big is “Tha(t), tha(t)” said in a deep/gruff sort of voice. Small/tiny is “Tee tee, tie, tee, tie tie, tee” (or variations of similar sounds) said in a small high pitched voice like you might use to say something is “teeny teeny tiny.”

Unfortunately, not all of his words are as fun and cute. Another recent favorite has been “poop” which he says as “boof” or something similar. Since this word isn’t completely clear, I don’t always catch on immediately to what he is saying. However, he is happy to clear things up by crouching and straining and basically showing me that he is pooping, giving me a big grin once I decode his pantomime. He is recently obsessed with telling us that there is poop outside, and that it is poop from cats and other animals. He then holds out his hand, to indicate he would like to hold the poop. When told that this is yucky he mimes stomping on it, and when we explain that we don’t want get it all over our shoes he gets down and looks closely at the floor, to show that he can look at the poop but not touch it. He is certainly creative and finds ways to communicate his thoughts, but … eww! I thought we would have another year or two before the potty talk and poop obsession would kick in! We have lots of squirrels around outside and have encountered squirrel poop a few times, which he thankfully has not attempted to pick up.

Besides the poop talk, this new interest in language is a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see what new words he picks up in the coming weeks!

Sounds Of The Wild

We have been feeling very cooped up and trapped inside recently with the cold cold temperatures we have been having. So when we saw that it would be a nice warm 30 degrees this morning I decided we had better get outside while we had the chance!

Almost as soon as we stepped out the door Lewis heard a crow in a nearby tree, and as we listened to the crow we started picking up the sounds of other things around us too. Lewis doesn’t have a lot of words yet, but he loves to practice using his voice by imitating the sounds around him.

Despite the “warm” temperature it was very windy outside so after making some footprints in the snow and of course eating a little of it (Lewis, not me) we headed back indoors. Even though Lewis was clearly not enjoying the cold snowy wind blowing on him, he was reluctant to come in since we have had so few chances to play in the snow recently. Then I came up with the idea to bring some of the snow in with us, which he apparently thought was a good solution.

I brought him in then grabbed our smaller sensory bin, scooped some snow into it, and sat him down on a big towel with the bin and a few toys. Perfect.

"I'm supposed to dig with this? I thought it was just a really big spoon to eat the snow with!"

“I’m supposed to dig with this? I thought it was just a really big spoon to eat the snow with!”

We played with some scoops and things in the snow and also added in some of his plastic animals. The animals made footprints in the snow just like we did outside! He had a lot more fun playing with his container of snow than he did when we tried this a year ago.  (Wow, he looks so tiny in those pictures!)

Unfortunately the temperature is supposed to drop again over the next few days, but then they are predicting for next weekend to be a little warmer again so I guess we won’t be trapped indoors forever.

Growing And Learning

It seems that Chris and I are always commenting to each other about how amazing Lewis is with all his new accomplishments, interests, etc. Today Chris updated his facebook to say how proud he is of some of Lewis’ newest things he is learning and doing. I had been thinking of updating my facebook with something very similar, but then realized if I posted it here I could say more and would also have more of a “record” of it to look back on!

I really love how with all the billions of humans currently living and also those who have lived in the past, babies and children never stop amazing us. Every single human who has ever lived goes through the same development, learns to walk, to talk, to run and jump and cook and write. And yet, each and every one is amazing all over again. It doesn’t matter if you are a first-time parent or an old granny who has seen a hundred babies grow up – when you see a child learning or doing something for the first time it is a wonderful moment. And of course, when it is your own child and you watch them figure something out for themselves, suddenly doing something they weren’t just yesterday, it seems like the most amazing thing of all.

"Look, I unzipped it myself!"

“Look, I unzipped it myself!”

My favorite new skill of Lewis’ is something I have been waiting for for a long time. He has finally started saying Mama! (It started out as “Mum-um” or “Mum-um-um-um,” but is already sounding more like “Mama”) He has said it a couple of time for me this morning and I overheard him practicing in his crib after I laid him down to nap. He has been saying Dada forever, and also would call me Dada, so it is nice to finally have my own name!

Along the same lines of adding new vocabulary, he is also figuring out how to nod his head “yes.” This has been a very tricky motion that has been baffling him for the longest time. He has been able to shake his head “no” for months, at first just doing it because the motion felt neat. We have tried to show him “yes” and he could never figure it out, sometimes bouncing his entire body up and down in an attempt. He is still polishing up the movement and still gets his whole body moving with it sometimes, but he is getting a lot better at it and you can see how excited and proud he is of himself. He’s not using it with meaning/to answer questions yet, but I’m sure that will come soon!

A recent favorite game for Chris and Lewis is to basically play “I Spy” while reading his books. Daddy will look at the page in the book they are reading together and ask Lewis to find something in the picture. “Where is the lion?”, “Can you find the banana?”, “Do you see any flowers in this picture?” etc. Lewis loves this and is surprisingly good at it. Some of them he knows immediately because they are books he has read a hundred times and we have talked about what is in the pictures, but he also does quite well even with new books from the library. He will sit and study the picture very seriously until finding the object and pointing to it with a smile. If he can’t find it after studying the page he gives Daddy a serious look and shakes his head “no.” So cute!

He is obsessed with stars and can point to a star shape. When he sees a star he will do twinkly star hand motions like the “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” song, sometimes without any prompting or being asked about stars. He loves that all his socks have stars on the bottom as part of the no-slip stuff. He occasionally also points correctly to other shapes and some colors, but I think for the most part this is just lucky guesses.

He has been working on walking backwards and entertains himself with practicing this.

He is also finally figuring out how to sit down onto something the way you would sit onto a chair, rather than having to climb all around an area to get sitting where he would like.

We recently ordered a little potty chair for him (although it hasn’t arrived yet) because he has been showing a lot of interest in toileting for the past month or so. When I change his diaper I usually ask him if he would like to use the toilet. Sometimes he says yes, sometimes no. He is definitely starting to understand when he actually needs to pee/is peeing in his diaper/etc. He has done a little tinkle in the big toilet a few times but he seems uncomfortable being held over it (hence ordering him his own potty). Often he will sit for a few seconds, squirm to try to get down, and then run out and very purposefully pee on the carpet. Peeing on the carpet is obviously not ideal, but I do love that he has so much awareness of it already and seems to have some control as well! His diaper is still wet most of the time and only once in a while will he actually ask to go potty, so I’m not expecting him to be potty trained any time soon (I worked with two year olds – I know how long this can take!) but I do want to encourage the interest as much as possible and even one pee in the potty a day is a step in the right direction.

Signing "more" to ask for more chocolate Halloween night. (We didn't go trick-or-treating but when we paid rent the people in the office gave him a couple mini chocolates.)

Signing “more” to ask for more chocolate Halloween night. (We didn’t go trick-or-treating but when we paid rent the people in the office gave him a couple mini chocolates.)

His eating seems to have taken off recently as well. All my family who saw him over the summer got to witness his entertaining way of “eating” which has been to mush the food around in his mouth, maybe swallowing a bit, but eventually spitting out most bites before putting in the next. (This is quite normal with Baby Led Weaning, not sure how it compares to babies with traditional weaning.) He has finally mastered swallowing most of his food, and has been impressing me with the amount he now chows down at lunch and dinner. Breakfast he still only snacks a bit since he likes to have a huge nursing session when he wakes in the morning, so his tummy is full of milk.

Well, that’s all that comes to mind right now for his recent accomplishments, although I’m sure there are plenty more things I have forgotten at the moment!

Confusing

The way that babies and toddlers learn language is absolutely amazing. Sometimes I think we take it for granted a bit and forget how truly hard and amazing it is for them to learn to understand (and then speak) all these new words. Because, not only are the words new to them, but the objects/emotions/actions/etc. being described by the words are also new. And for us it feels like we have just always known and understood all these words and things, but really it all started somewhere, probably before we were even born. I am loving watching Lewis go through this phase of language learning – seeing how he reacts to new words, seeing which ones seem confusing to him, which spark him to try saying them himself, etc.

In the mornings Lewis loves to steal Daddy’s 3DS and phone from his lunch box while he is getting his shoes on. One morning Chris told him that he had “snatched” them, and Lewis stopped and looked up at him and you could just see in his face that he was thinking “What was that you just said? That’s a new word – I haven’t heard that before.”

Some words that he hears for the first time he immediately seems to like the way they sound. He might get excited and laugh, and often he will make an attempt to say the interesting word himself. This has happened with both the words “scissors” and “sizzle” which he now says both as “sizzizzz.” He also finds the word “spatula” interesting and makes an attempt at saying it, although I won’t try to type it because I don’t know how to “spell” or put into writing most of the sounds he makes. A lot of his words sound either like a string of vowels or a string of consonants.

Our language can also be confusing in that a word can have multiple meanings (bare and bear) or two very different words can have a similar sound.

When we are playing outside and he starts digging in the dirt and rocks on the ground I sometimes use the word “gravel” when talking to him about what he is playing with, at which point he begins growling.

When he sees the coffee pot on the counter or a mug he now does a fake “coughing” sound.

When he has raisins for a snack or is requesting some raisins he will rub the raisin (or his finger) over his cheek to indicate a razor, like when Daddy shaves.

[No pictures today. I very strangely seem to have not taken any photos yet this week.]

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Lewis!

Today you turn 1 year old, although I don’t think you have any concept of it being your birthday or what a birthday is.

IMG_9567

We got you a balloon yesterday, as we’ve been promising you all summer that you would have a balloon for your birthday. You love balloons and get super excited every time you see them in the grocery store. We’ve already had your party. Twice, actually. You got some presents from your Aunties and Uncle and Grandma and Grandpa when we were at camp in August, and last weekend we went to Vermont and had some yummy carrot cake and you got your presents from Mommy and Daddy.

You’ve been loving the three new books you got, and like to go get them and bring them to us to read. You love pretty much all books right now which I think is really wonderful. From the time you wake up in the morning to the time we go to bed your day is sprinkled with little quiet times reading to yourself or requesting story time from me and Daddy. Sometimes you ask for a story when it is a little inconvenient, like when I am getting my breakfast or Daddy is getting ready for work or when I am trying to cook dinner, but we try to make time to sit down and spend a few minutes reading a book or two with you. Sometimes you could sit and read ten books and still want more. Sometimes you lose interest half way through a book, even when it is one you picked. That’s ok too. We live in a big amazing world full of interesting things to do and see and play with. Sometimes you just need to go explore something else, or be on the move practicing using all your muscles.

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You’ve recently started trying to “jump” which is adorable. You bend your knees and stick your butt out behind you like you are doing squats and bounce up and down. Now that you’ve discovered this you also try to bounce up and down when in your highchair or sitting other places and even when you are nursing which is very silly. You also are a pro at shaking your head “no” but you haven’t quite figured out how to nod “yes” yet. You can’t isolate your head to go up and down so instead you bounce your whole body up and down or sometimes just shake your head “no” when you mean “yes”.

You love to answer questions now and seem to understand what we are asking you about. Daddy has been impressed about how you listen carefully when he asks you something and then stop to think about it before shaking your head “no.” You were playing the animal game on the ipad with him and he was asking you questions about the animals and if you knew how to navigate between pages and such. You also like to shake your head “no” when a question hasn’t been asked but you need to tell us you don’t want something, like when I say it is time for a diaper change or lunch or a nap. You are so busy all the time, you don’t like to quite the fun things you are doing to follow Mommy’s schedule. You’re (almost) always sweet about it though, and your little head shakes just make me smile. I love that you are expressing yourself and communicating so well and that you know what is going on and what you want. Usually if I let you play for a couple more minutes you are then ready to transition over to whatever I think you need to be doing.

Proud new Dada, 1 year ago.  <3

Proud new Dada, 1 year ago. ❤

Some people get sad when their baby turns a year old, feeling nostalgic for the too-quickly passing days and the tiny dependent little one who is now becoming an independent toddler. I don’t feel that. I love this stage and am only looking forward to the coming weeks and months and years, seeing you grow and learn more and more and become even more independent. In all my working with kids I have always enjoyed toddlers the most and never was that big on taking care of tiny infants. Your first six months or so were the hardest for me because you were so needy of always having Mommy with you, holding you. I have loved you immensely since before you were born, and that love just keeps growing as I see you becoming more and more your own little person. I love that you are happy to wander off into the other room to look at your books or play with toys when I am busy with something. I also love that you can participate more with what I am doing. You love to take a turn scribbling on paper when I am writing or coloring. You also helped me make some pumpkin oat bars last week and even took a turn stirring everything in the bowl.

Your language skills are exploding. You have words for a lot of things, which I blogged about earlier this week. You are also imitating sounds and words more when we say something that you like the sound of. I was cutting tags off your new clothes this weekend and you were interested in what I was doing. I told you I was using the sharp scissors to cut the tags off. You liked the sound of the word “scissors” and started repeating “sizzizzzizzz, szzizzzizz.”

Tomorrow we will go to the doctor for your checkup and immunizations. The shots will hurt but they will be over quickly and then you won’t need any more for at least a few months. I am looking forward to seeing you measured and learning how tall you have grown. I don’t think you’ve gained much weight, since you are so busy all the time running running running, but you have definitely gotten taller!

Three days old. You seemed big then, but looking back at these photos you were just so tiny!

Three days old. You seemed big then, but looking back at these photos you were just so tiny!

You nurse all the time, again probably because of what a busy little man you are. You never stop moving, thinking, exploring, doing. I think you nurse nearly as much now as you did when you were a newborn. You still wake me a few times in the night for a quick snack and a snuggle to help settle back to sleep. It is tiring but it’s ok. I love all the chances to sit and unwind and relax with you and take a break from how busy we are the rest of the time. I love being close and snuggly and quiet with you. I think breastfeeding you is one of the things that I will miss as you get older and grow out of it, but that is a long way off. You love it so much, there is no way I think you will be quitting any time soon, so for now I just get to enjoy all that snuggly time. You may be turning one, but you are still my sweet little baby in all the best ways.

This is a long letter because there is so much going on in your little life and I have so much to tell you and so much I want to remember. I love you so much and I am looking forward to everything we will do and learn together in this next year and all the years to come!

❤ Your Mommy

Communication

I’ve been meaning to do a post about Lewis’ speech/communication for a while, but just now seem to be getting to it. The way speech develops for babies and toddlers is so interesting to me, and was always something I found fun and exciting when working with kids.

Lewis has been playing with sounds for a while and has some “words” that he has been saying for several weeks, but it seems like he is adding new sounds and new “words” all the time recently. Of course many of his words aren’t very clear and I think I am the only one that understands some of his new words. There are also many that sound the same, but you can tell from the context that he is using them differently, and the words they are approximating often do sound similar or have similar elements (like his animal noises.) I’m not sure how many of these officially count as words, but the first five or six he uses a lot and has been using regularly for more than a month.

I think it will be fun to have a record of all that he is saying at (almost) 1 year, so I wanted to make a list of all his “words.”

“Dada” – Dad, obviously. Also used for Mom and sometimes other people.

“Tha” – That. Used when pointing at things to ask what something is or show that he wants to look at something or play with something.

“Thi(s)” – This. Used in the same way as That. Sometimes he pronounces the “s,” sometimes not.

“Boov” – Boobs? Uses this when he wants to nurse, often combined with grabbing my shirt or breasts. This has evolved from saying “Boomba” for a little while and “Na-na” before that.

“Boo” – Moo, for a cow.

“Boo” – Hoo, for an owl.

“Boo” or “Boo-Boo” – Cock-a-doodle-doo for a rooster.

“A-a” – Quack quack, for a duck.

“A-a-a” – Banana. He just started this one the past couple days but has been using it every time he spots the bananas on the counter.

“Sssss” or sometimes “Kkkkkk” – For hissing like snakes (and lizards.)

Panting sounds for dogs and sometimes cats.

Growling Sounds for lions, tigers, dinosaurs, and often any other animal that he doesn’t know the sound for.

Snorting sounds or puffing air out his nose for hippos, rhinos and similar looking animals.

I don't have any photos of "talking" but this is cute and shows how expressive and communicative he is with his face.

I don’t have any photos of “talking” but this is cute and shows how expressive and communicative he is with his face.

Besides the words and sounds he tries to make he also has many signs. Some are official sign language signs, while most are just motions he has made up or picked up from watching me and Chris.

“More” – Claps his two hands together. One of the first sign language signs he learned, but he has mostly stopped using it in favor of “please.”

“Please” – Rubs hand on chest. Used when asking for food. Also uses this to ask to nurse or anything else he wants, such as to go into the bathroom when Daddy is showering and the door is shut.

“All Done” – Hands in the air. He does this infrequently and more often just fusses and throws food on the floor.

“Water” – Bringing his finger to his lips. We have been showing him this sign for a month or more and he has just picked up on doing it himself.

Lifts arm up in air for an elephant’s trunk, whenever he sees an elephant picture. We do this when making an elephant sound.

Stretching arms up into the air to show “tall” for a giraffe.

Waving hand in front of face (and often laughing or smiling) for pee-ew, stinky!

Waving hand in air for “hot.” Started one day when we got in the car and I said “phew, it’s hot!” he also uses it for the hot stove, etc.

Waving for bye-bye. Was waving for hi for a little while, but we don’t practice that much and I haven’t seen it recently.

He also uses the same bye-bye wave to say night-night when it is nap or bed time.

Blowing kisses – puts his palm against his open mouth. He’ll usually only do this for daddy at bedtime, and not always then.

Clapping when happy or excited.

High-fives when we put our hand out and ask for it.

Shaking his head “No.” He has been shaking his head to indicate spinning or motion for a long time now, but just started using it as “No” when I ask him to do something or try to give him something he doesn’t want.

The face says so much.

The face says so much.

I think that’s everything! I may update if I think of other words or signs that he uses frequently. Can’t wait to see what other new things he learns in the coming weeks!