Friday, January 27, 2012

(Nearly) 23 Months!

Jack will be 23-months-old tomorrow.

How is my baby on the edge of being 2 years old already?!  I should be used to the way time flies at this point since I've been trying to keep up with it for nearly 2 years now, but really?  It continues to baffle me!  There's some sort of breakdown in the space-time continuum once you have kids.  Plenty of people will tell you how quickly your child's babyhood will pass you by, but what they fail to mention is how 24-hour increments just fly by at warp speed!  The same 8 hours that used to draaaaaaaaggg on when I was sitting at a desk all day are gone in a blink now that I'm chasing a toddler around at home!

What's nearly-two-year-old Jack up to?

Within the last few weeks to a month Jack's vocabulary has exploded!  I think this stage of development is one of my favorites mostly due to his rapidly expanding vocabulary.  It never gets old hearing him discover a new word.

Prior to a month or so ago Jack's vocabulary was lacking.  He had a few core words that he used a lot, but his speaking skills seemed to be kind of stagnant.  Now, his passive-verbal skills were growing by leaps and bounds.  He understood EVERYTHING, he was just kind of quiet on his end.  But now his speaking skills have officially begun to catch up with his passive understanding.  He discovers at least one new word or sound everyday and it's tons of fun!

A few of his favorite words:

Belle Belle
Car (oh man, this one should really top the list.  I hear this all. day. long.)
Eggies (Eggs)
Blueberries (still his favorite food, he's able to say this with impressive clarity)
No (a favorite of toddler's everywhere :-/ )
Bus (one of his favorite vehicles to play with)
Grapies (Grapes)
On (side note: he's starting to get really good with using off and on properly relating to the lights mostly because he likes to be the one to turn them off and on :) )

So far no phrases/sentences, but definitely lots of new words.  He's to the point now where he'll at least try to repeat just about anything you prompt him to say.

A few new(er) words that have been getting a lot of play lately:

'Nana (Banana)
Moomb! (Boom!)
Bapple (Apple)

And random numbers and letters.  He seem to particularly like "E", and T, and the number 8.  I feel like Sesame Street: today's Jack update is brought to you by the letter's E and T and the number 8!  :)

His favorite topic is cars.  He talks about cars all day long.  We have no idea what he's actually saying, but it's definitely his favorite topic of discussion.  Often throughout the day we will hear: (unintelligible toddler babble) car.  (more babble) car (babble).  Caaaarrrr ::points to toy car or outside where he sees a car or wants to see a car::  It's really cute.

One funny thing is we can't get him to say truck.  If you ask him where his truck is, or to get his truck, etc. he'll go get it right away, but he will only refer to trucks as cars.  It's so strange considering how many words he wants to try out right now that he won't attempt truck and the term is used often in this house will all the vehicles lying around to play with!

Always a truck nearby

Anything with wheels are his favorite things to play with.  Right now, he seems to have three favorites out of his collection:  A firetruck Santa brought for Christmas, a little school bus that he got from family for Christmas, and the little pickup truck and trailer that my dad and brother brought home for him last year from a trip they took.  He spends all day pushing these around and lining them up along with all his other vehicles.  He loves to watch the wheels move and will lay down on the ground and cock his head to the side to watch as the wheels roll as he moves the vehicles back and forth.

Another favorite game is playing Ball in the Hall with DaDa.  Jack will say "ball" over and over until Mark complies with heading to the hallway to kick the ball back and forth.  If that doesn't work he'll just grab on to Mark's finger and drag him to the designated space.  Sometimes a nearly 2-year-old just has to take things into his own hands!

Jack has also discovered TV.  Mark was off work quite a bit around the holidays and he introduced Jack to a few different movies that were being shown on TV - Up, Cars, Toy Story, and Toy Story 2.  Jack LOVED watching these movies.  Of course he doesn't have the attention span to sit and watch a whole movie or anything, but he really likes when we turn them on.

Mark definitely spoiled him with TV during his holiday break and I've had to reign it in since!  For the holidays Jack got Toy Story and Cars 2 on DVD.  Toy Story is definitely his favorite and he asks to watch "Buzz" all the time.  I can't believe how attached he is to this movie and how quickly it happened.  Usually Mark will turn Toy Story on and let him watch a little bit of it while I'm making dinner.  We quickly learned he's not able to watch his movies after dinner because then he's far too wound up to go to bed.

Watching some music videos in the morning

After his naptime I will usually turn Sesame Street on while we're waiting for DaDa to come home.  Jack still likes Elmo as well.  He also seems to like the (super boring, to me) shows that PBS has on in the mornings/early afternoon like Barney, Calliou, Angelina Ballerina, and Cat in the Hat.  I usually turn on whatever show is on after he has his lunch/before naptime.  These shows don't seem to wind him up the way Toy Story does.  He doesn't sit and watch these for any length of time, but he does periodically stop to check in with the shows while he's playing and he loves anytime there is music happening.  He cracks me up by singing "Go Go Go Go" along with the song from the Cat in the Hat. 

Eating.  Oh, eating.  This continues to be our biggest struggle.  I try my hardest not to let Jack know that I worry about it because I do not want this to be a power struggle.  I remind myself often that all I can do is present reasonable food choices to him and then it's up to him what to eat and how much, but it's SO hard not to worry about those choices!  Some days his eating is definitely better than others.  I try to look at his intake over several days to a week because I know it's a lot to expect at this age that he'll eat a balanced meal 3 times a day, every day. 

Eating with his Elmos on!

We had a window of 2 weeks up until about a week ago where his eating was MUCH improved.  I really thought we had reached the light at the end of the tunnel!  Whereas before he wouldn't even attempt new things, he was trying all sorts of new items and liking them!  Those two weeks were such a gift for me because I didn't have to worry about what he was/was not eating and if he was going to have to live off the same 10 items for the rest of his life.  And then this week hit and not only has he clamped down on what he'll eat again, but he's back to throwing food, which hasn't been an issue for months now.  *sigh*  One step forward, two steps back.

The aftermath of Jack's meals lately.  And also muddy paw prints courtesy of ankle-deep (do dogs have ankles?) mud in our backyard.  Yuck.

And of course liking something one day certainly doesn't guarantee he'll like it tomorrow!  The things we can usually count on him eating is pretty limited, but thankfully he at least likes a few things from every food category so I feel like even though he's not eating a wide variety of things, his diet is pretty balanced, especially for a kid his age because I know that the pickiness is pretty normal.  I still try though.  Every night I try to get him to eat what we have and present him with a variety of choices.  One day my efforts had better pay off!

Also related to the food front we finally weaned him off the bottle.  We did this... right around 22 months.  Obviously we held off on this for a while.  I think I'll do a separate post on this whole process, but it's... going.  We're still in transition 3 weeks or so later.  In hindsight I don't know if it was the right thing to do at this time, but it's done now.  Since we've taken away the bottle he refuses to drink any milk despite our efforts.  He does drink water from his sippy cup (and has for a long time), but he won't take any milk.  Even though I'd be much happier if he did, I'm not overly worried about it as he does eat plenty of dairy products otherwise.  This whole situation is still a work in progress.

And sometimes Elmo needs a drink too.

Because of the lack of bottle situation his sleep schedule is kind of all over the place.  It takes longer (sometimes a lot longer) for him to go to sleep at night and while at this point some nights are fairly painless, there are nights where bedtime is a long, drawn out struggle and late to bed = late to wake up = late to nap and really his schedule is just really inconsistent right now.  Once he IS down, he consistently sleeps about 12 hours, or so.  He still takes an afternoon nap and sleeps probably 3 hours on average.  He's a good sleeper, once he's down :)

What else?

He finally moved up to the largest size on his one-size diapers.  I think most kids are on the largest rise before now, but Jack has a tiny hiney and he's never had large thighs.  Those two things combined left him on the mid-rise setting for a very long time!  That's good though because I feel confident that his diapers will definitely fit up through potty training and I know that sometimes kids outgrow the one-size diapers too soon.

Thankfully, we don't have much to report on the tantrum front.  Yes, Jack will get frustrated and make a show of very dramatically falling limply to the floor/crying/hitting, but he very, VERY quickly realizes when it's not getting a reaction and ends it.  Usually his "tantrums" last less than a minute.  Just a very dramatic show to try to get some attention.  Depending on the situation I will first try to acknowledge the situation to see if it helps and then employ the "ignore" tactic.

For example, if he's upset because he doesn't want to go to bed I will say something like, "I understand that you're having fun and want to continue playing, but it's naptime now.  We will come back out to play with your toys after you have rested!".  If he's just being totally randomly, unreasonable it's time to ignore it.  So far, "validating" his feelings hasn't seemed to matter a fig, but I do think it's a good habit to get into.  I'd like to make it a point to try to communicate to him that his feelings are okay, but his actions are not.   Who knows if that point will ever get across, but I try.  This whole parenting thing is really hard.  It would be SO much easier if there were "right" answers to everything. 

We haven't started any form of time out/punishments yet for undesirable behaviors (hello, hitting and throwing things!).  I don't know when/if we will start using something like this, but I feel like he was definitely too young before now.  I'm still not sure if it's the right time for it yet, but we'll see and address situations as they arise.  He can definitely exhibit some naughty behaviors and the whole discipline issue scares me (see above: no one right answer, parenting is hard).

Life right now is filled with lots of giggles, fast-moving toddler legs, and new discoveries!

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