Monday, May 25, 2015

Latest Developments: 20 months!!

There are so many things worth doing when your child falls asleep for the night much earlier than expected. I could clean up the kitchen from dinner or continue folding laundry or pick up the toys that are still strewn across the floor. OR, I could take some time to reminisce and celebrate this little boy since it's been so very long since a developments post. So long, in fact, that I lost the list I started more than a month ago.
It seems like I just started a post with a fuzzy picture like this, but I include them because this is life these days!! It's truly a whirlwind of todderdom. He's happy, he's frustrated, he's communicating, he's screaming (unable to communicate exactly what he wants), he's bright eyed awake, and then just plum exhausted. Mostly he's a happy camper, but we certainly have our moments and this boy is obviously just around the corner of turning two.

There's hardly a lick of fat on him (compared with just months ago) and lots of muscle and definition. He grew up overnight.

I hardly find myself mourning his baby-ness anymore because he's just so darn fun!! Buckle up as to why... :)

First off, just look at this kid. Here he is in boots, a diaper, and his vest. He asked for his boots and wanted his vest. Voila, an outfit is made!

In the hand on the left in the above picture, he's clutching a cow figure. Boy, does this kiddo love animal figures!! My cousin Marianne had some at her house and Ian was hooked and would play for long periods of time. She bought him a dog and a cat and they kept him happy and entertained for loads of our travel times and still do! When we returned home, we got him a cow because of all of the cows he met in Switzerland. We plan to grow his collection every couple months, when we need feed or dogfood from Tractor Supply ;)

One of Ian's favorite things to do right now is look at animals, visit with different animals, and make their sounds. It's so very fun.

Although he still wants/needs interaction and interest in his play, he has started to play much more independently. He can stay focused for long periods of time on tasks of his own motivation. He'll spent long periods of time setting his figures and other toys all facing the same direction. He has also enjoyed stacking scrap wood pieces outside, knocking them down and starting over. He's a very exact child, wanting things to be just so and in their correct place. The same goes for his mega blocks and regular wooden blocks.

I don't hear him do this much anymore, but he connected that people say "Ow" when something hurts. He would take something and come to hit something or someone else and say "Ow" before he even made contact. A difficult thing to navigate as a parent, watching your child understand that something hurts and then continue to do it anyway. As I said, I think he may have moved through this stage, but it was a trying thing for a while. I observed that he did it when he was tired, so it normally meant he was desperate for bed. A cry for sleep.

He's been a great eater, eating almost everything we eat. The things he refuses are easier to list than the things he enjoys. He dislikes tomatoes and has an on-again, off-again relationship with cheese. I think that's it. He's now drinking a lot of cows milk per day.

His new-found favorite food is the watermelon. Who can blame him? On a hot afternoon, there's nothing better. We've been making our watermelon last, so that he can enjoy some each day. He then chooses between feeding his rind to the chickens or to Leif. Normally Leif wins out because he's lying closer.

Ian's really up for any and all adventures. We had a week of vacation which we used as a stay-cation and every day we did something different, sometimes multiple outings in a day. Ian was always ready for the next thing. He LOVES his bike seat and will often ask for a ride. It's great to be able to take him for a spin around the yard, even if we can't hit the trail. It appeases the adventurer in him :)

There was a long stretch when Ian would choose to sit on top of Jim's chest to relax or even while Jim was trying to read him a book. Pretty hilarious, really. Again, I haven't seen him do this in a little while. It's funny how things just stop. I might have forgotten, had I not taken this picture.

His language has certainly picked up within the last week. Sometimes his words are very clear and sometimes you can make out a phrase or a word just barely. Often he strings together long sentences of language that makes perfect sense to him, expecting us to keep up. There are times when we can figure it out, based on his motions, but there are also times when we have no idea. He's right on the cusp of a language explosion, we're sure. He can understand and carry out multiple step directions and seems to understand absolutely everything I tell him. I try to prepare him ahead of everything we do, by explaining where we're going, what we're doing, and who we're seeing. I think it's helped that we've developed that system and understanding together.

Ian loves bubbles! I haven't met a child who doesn't love them. We've played with them often in our yard and even in the airports while traveling. He squeals "Bubba" and runs after them. Apparently, in one session, Jim taught himself how to do multiple bubble tricks. I have yet to see them, but we have bubble master on our hands.

We continue to spend LOTS of time outside. Now that we have chickens, we start our mornings outside even earlier. And, now that it's warmer, Ian's often barefoot again. Having our huge backyard and the playground down the street is so handy with a toddler and as a stay-at-home-mama. I love having both of them as options, if we need a change of pace.

On rainy days or very hot afternoons, we still enjoy going to the aquatic center. Ian's really enjoying the fountains and is getting more daring in walking into deeper water with his life vest on.
A boy and a stick outside. What other toys are necessary?
 We signed Ian up for a five-week music course for one to four year olds. It's been good so far! I was amazed how much Ian understood and remembered when we went to the second class. And I wasn't sure how much he would participate, but he often is! We've continued to sing some of the songs and do some of the movements at home and he enjoys it.

We cleared off one of the shelves in our kitchen and Ian adopted it as his own. We even put a blanket and a pillow in there and he curled right up.

When my parents came to visit, they brought all of my childhood cassette tapes. I quickly went out and purchased a new cassette/CD/radio player for Ian's room, so we could play them. It's been so fun to listen to my childhood music and my son playing at the same time. For a little while I kept the player low to the ground and Ian was just fascinated the first time I turned it on. He sat and listened intently.

As you can imagine, the buttons got to be just too interesting and so we moved the player up to a higher location. When he goes to sleep at night, he now expects and requests that we turn on his music and the sound machine. He falls asleep listening to a CD.

Our night time routine has recently changed!! As you know, we've been cosleeping since Ian was born. It was not our plan (at all) prior to becoming parents. Soon after Ian was born, we decided that cosleeping was the only way that we'd make it through parenthood. It's brought us joy and quite a close, cuddly relationship with our adventurous, and busy-by-day boy. We've gone through periods of time when Ian would sleep in his own bed for the first part of the night and then end up with us, but every time we'd end up just cosleeping again.

Well, we finally hit a time when we thought he was ready and we were ready for a change. Fortunately, Jim had some time off and was willing to be the on-call parent in the night. After one pretty rough night, Ian started to get used to Jim's soothing him and lying with him. At the end of the week, he'd only awaken once in the night and sooth back down. He never nursed!!

Chatting with Gramee on the phone.
When Jim headed back to work, I would go to Ian in the night but stayed strong about not nursing, except for the couple times I did it out of habit in my delirious state. He's stopped nursing at night all-together! The night before last he slept the whole night on his own in his own bed. That's now happened twice!! I know this may sound ridiculous to some, but we're thrilled about it.

He's also stopped nursing as much throughout the day. I started really limiting when and how long I would nurse him during the day. We've gotten it down to right when he wakes up in the morning, right before his nap, and right before bed. He nurses on both sides and then rolls over and lies down next to me while I rub his forehead or just lie next to him.

We, of course, chose one of the hardest times to do all of these changes. Unknowingly to us, right after we started all of this, Ian's eye teeth and molars started coming in at the same time. Poor guy. He's been a trooper, even still. I've had a few moments when I've almost caved, but I'd held my ground and it's gotten way better.

Hmm. Family resemblance here?
I think I'll remember this one experience forever. Ian was crying mid-morning and begging for nursing with me on the couch. It was painful for both of us. It's never easy for a mom to hear her child crying and upset. Anyway, I was about to crack and nurse him because I was imagining out painful his teeth must be and how comforting it would be for me to just nurse him. Well, RIGHT when I was about to cave, Ian stopped crying, came up to me and gave me a kiss on the lips and a hug. It was the sweetest thing. Almost a thank you for remaining consistent. Now he knows what to expect. Since then, it's been easier all around. But it's still a work in progress.

Ian's started to enjoy taking selfies, which is kind of fun. Okay, maybe I enjoy it just a little too much. Here are WAY too many that we took one afternoon :)

He continues to just love being outside. He's happiest watching/feeding his chickens, throwing a ball for Leif, swinging in his swing, playing at the playground down the street, watering the garden, and observing each change in the seasons.

Only a few weeks before, Ian had been timid and uncertain about walking across this bridge by himself. We didn't push it and let him choose what he wanted to do. When we went back, he went for it on his own. Confident and steady, he walked across the bridge. If a group of other kids came, he'd quickly get off because of how aggressively they bounced. Safe and secure in his abilities. I'm a proud mama.
A few weeks ago we had a cookout with some friends at a beautiful home outside of Floyd. Our friends were house-sitting and we got to enjoy a beautiful evening on the patio and at the pond. We finished off the night with a fantastic fire. It was bliss. This was Ian's first, short attempt in a canoe. We can't wait to get him back out on the water this summer!!
Done with her second semester of pharmacy school (yay!!), Christine came to visit us for most of a week. It's always so nice to have her around. She's eager to play with Ian, relax, enjoy our area, and provide adult conversation for me during the day ;)

When she arrived we hosted a potluck with a bunch of our friends and it was invaluable to have her as a third set of hands!! I didn't take one picture of the potluck... oh well. It was fun! Different groups of friends came together. Every time we host one of these we wonder why we don't do it more often... so I'm sure there will be more this summer!

The next day was Mother's Day and my present request was not to make one meal the entire day. Jim made sourdough pancakes, bacon, and scrambled eggs in the morning (Yum!), we went to Gillies for lunch, and then he made xixos for dinner with asparagus and Christine made this yummy massaged kale salad. What a gift!! It was lovely.

We tried to combine activity with relaxation during her visit. I think we accomplished that :)

One morning we headed out to Jessica & Chris' farm and introduced her to our good friends. Here Iris is showing Ian the "beef" (bee) hive! It is so sweet and hilarious to hear her say it.

And then we had to take her to visit the cows!! It's one of Ian's favorite things to do :)

We're so grateful that Christine chooses to visit us during her vacations. Now she's in Germany!! Can't wait to hear about her trip.

I'm sure I've forgotten things, but this will serves has my first draft. I may be editing it over the next few days. 

Oh, Ian Forrester. We just adore you. Thank you for being the source of so much joy, laughter, and energy. You're keeping us on our toes and I don't think that's going to change anytime soon. We love watching you grow and learn.

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