Caleb at 24 months

IMG_5280Caleb at 24 months is something to see. He’s the kid who jumps and just trusts that someone will catch him – so far we always have. His favorite things are whatever Simon is doing at the moment, of course. He’s getting better at playing with Simon and not breaking everything. But he can also be incredibly destructive in that way only toddlers can be. He’s a ball of energy. And so incredibly sweet. IMG_5184 Some of his favorites are eating, brushing is teeth, jumping, and climbing. He has a deep love for “Mic[key] Mouse” and [Doc Mc]”Stuffins” He will sit for a whole show now.IMG_4995

He’s finally over his fear of the slide and has mastered the biggest one at the playground. He also learned to climb up and down the bunk bed ladder, so we’ll need to keep a close eye on that for awhile. Caleb also figured out Simon’s scooter in the fall and can pedal a tricycle.IMG_5187

Caleb got to move in to the 2s&3s class just before his birthday. He’s the tiny one but doing so well. I love going in to pick him up and seeing him on his little chair for story time.IMG_5284Caleb is the EXACT SAME height as Simon was on his second birthday. I haven’t had him weighed recently but I think he’s around 22 pounds, which is where Simon was as well. I pulled out a bunch of clothes and the 2T stuff is starting to fit! Although a belt is still needed for all jeans. (size 3 diapers, 18 – 24 month pants, 24 month – 2T tops, size 7 shoes)

Caleb’s ears have been clear since June, and while we are still watching it, there have been no more infections and his language is catching up fast. He understand most of what we say, whether or not he chooses to listen is something else altogether. His spoken vocabulary has exploded recently. I didn’t do an early word list like I did with Simon because he just wasn’t talking much and I was semi-concerned. But here is a list for 24 months and posterity, he says a lot of words doubled like hot-hot or cake-cake.

First Words: uh-oh, bubble

Vehicles: car-car, vroom, truck, tractor, choo-choo, train, airplane

Animals: doggy, cat, horsey, cow, bear, roar

Things: ball, balloon, shoe, boot, light, moon, star, outside, clock, bubble, book, spoon, phone, slide, monster

Food: cake-cake, treat, apple, banana, cracker, milk, drink, coffee, chocolate, marshmallow

People/Characters: Mommy, Daddy, Simon, Caleb, Grandma Val, Mema, Papo, Granddad, G-ma, Uncle Josh, Cy, Marshall, Patrick, Baby, Batman, Spiderman, Elsa, Anna, Thomas, Mickey Mouse, Stuffins, Mim-Mim, Bob

Other: more, done, yum!, mine, hot-hot, up, down, go, fast, no, boing boing, splash, boom

Phrases: Want it, don’t want it, high-five, stop it

Sings: “Let if Go”, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman”, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, “Jingle Bells”

Spring Happenings

The spring has brought lots of family fun and the continuation of “Adventures” around the city. Simon loves to go on Adventures – which can be just about anything new or travel worthy. To get around the city we’ve been making good use of the MacLaren (lightweight stroller) for one kid and wearing the other.

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Kokadi Firebirds

Simon was worn in the Ergo his first 15 months of life, then when I got a Kinderpack, the Ergo became Rob’s. With Caleb I fell in love with the cozyness of the Moby wrap and have caught the woven wrap bug. I bought a long one (above) and made a shorty from a tablecloth. To break it in and make it softer to tie we did some hammock play.

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IMG_1521IMG_1454Oh the love of babywearing. And Simon is getting back in on the action saying HE wants to ride in the backpack and Caleb wants the stroller.

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Some of our recent adventures were visiting the Intrepid Museum, brunch, and Simon’s first movie. Rob took Simon to the Intrepid last fall, but I’d never been.

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So we packed up and traveled cross town to the pier. Simon liked the Helicopters and the Space Shuttle Enterprise.

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We went inside where Simon got to crawl in a helicopter.

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Rob and I want to go back sans kids to tour the submarine and the Concord.

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Brunch isn’t really a novel adventure, but it is a family tradition and our favorite meal. Rob and I did have brunch at our wedding after all. This is Caleb’s second brunch – both at Queens comfort which is our absolute favorite. Our rules are get there early and order fast.

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Rob took off / worked from home last week while I was at my workshop. Since Simon is home on Mondays they went to the local cheap theater and saw Simon’s First Movie, Rio 2. He liked it and since the theater was empty – one other mom and kid – Simon could ask questions and run around and Caleb could fuss without a problem.

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Simon talks all the time. His new thing is to take a picture then ask to see it. His response to pictures is always the same – awww that’s so cute. He cracks me up. I’m not sure when these next two were taken, but we were on the balcony and Simon said “Look at the beautiful sunset. Take a picture.” So here you go!

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And one more set, because even though he cracks me up he has his moments. This was the park after church one week. All he could say was “I don’t want to slide.” So home for nap we went.

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And those are our recent happenings.

 

Simon 2.5

IMG_6266Oh wow! 2 and a half is here! 30 months! That seems so big. And it seems so long since I did his last “monthly update” at 2. He’s changed so much since July. And that wasn’t a true update, maybe I should do these more often.IMG_6263At 2.5 one of Simon’s favorite things to do is to “help” on the counter or on the step-ladder in the kitchen. Helping mostly consists of eating bites out of everything and making a mess. But sometimes he will pour from a measuring cup to a bowl without spilling or actually get the bread in the toaster. This morning he helped make his oatmeal and mama’s toast. Then because it’s a special day he helped put the chocolate syrup in his “regler” milk to make “special” milk.IMG_6256Before getting into other development I should explain poor scab-face. Simon has discovered pockets. Rob and I often walk with our hands in coat pockets so I guess it was only a matter of time. Monday we were walking home from school and he had hands in pockets. And then tripped and fell and well you see where this is going. With no free hands to stop him, face met concrete. There was a lot of blood. But other than a bloody nose and a cut lip the damage wasn’t too bad. We stopped in a store and got some tissues to clean up until we got home. Then I saw the scab-face. It’s healing. He’ll be fine. Now he says “no tripping with hands in my pockets.”IMG_6268He talks so well in sentences now. Back in October he was talking in sentences but couldn’t have a conversation, now he can. Language development totally blows my mind at how fast it happens. In his two year post I guessed he had around 200 words, but he was in a language study shortly after that post which showed he had 356 of 680 commonly used words. This put him above average, and I know he has words that aren’t on the lists. Being my kid it should come to no surprise to anyone that he talks a lot. From a kid who spoke approximately three words on his first birthday it astounds me. He still has some work to do on using the correct pronoun and will often put nouns and adjectives and verbs in the wrong order, but these are common errors. He’s trying to use different tenses too. IMG_6271Simon is definitely a kid of the 21st century and prefers Facetime to a regular phone, but he does now understand that all calls aren’t video calls, even though he prefers them. And he will actually talk to the grandparents and aunts and uncles on the phone, sometimes even asking to call to show them something.IMG_6270Depending on who you ask some would say he gets too much “screen time,” but as a developmental psychologist who has done research in this area and Rob an animator it really can’t be avoided. We are ok with the amount he gets. He loves his Leapster and has started being able to play the games on his own rather than just watch videos. I’m amazed at how fast he picks up a new game. One days he’s totally frustrated and the next – he’s playing independently. He also has “my phone” which is my old ipod touch. It’s set up with apps for him, Netflix, and YouTube. Netflix lets you have different accounts for a household, and Simon can log-in to his name (the yellow happy face) and watch his shows. He also plays a lot of matching and puzzle games which are fine-motor skills. He loves to color at school but not so much at home – possibly because of the screen but again I’m ok with that.IMG_6281Lest you think all he does is have “screen time” be assured that he is still OBSESSED with all things trains and spends at least an hour on school days and more on weekends building tracks with tunnels and bridges. There are conversations with the trains. It’s so much fun to watch the pretend play develop. Then when he tires of that he will build a Lego (Duplo) tower around the tracks and have a Monster Truck Jam smash-up with total destruction of the structure.IMG_6284Simon has always been good with independent play and still is, but he likes to play with us too. But in a very specific if you don’t play as he directs you way then there is a melt down. With my crazy fall schedule we’ve had fewer play dates the last few months than normal, but he has his friends and likes to have them over. So we’ve added a couple of new friends to the play date rotation.IMG_6286School is still so fantastic for him. At the parent-teacher conference last month (I love that we have these) there were only good things to say. And some of the things Miss A told us he can do I had no idea about! So sneaky kid, no more pretending you can’t do the puzzle yourself or that you refuse to try new foods. Apparently he’s quite the adventurous eater at school. Behavior wise, all is normal toddler, but he and his BFF do fight in a brotherly sort of way that is both frustrating and endearing (and gives me a glimpse of my future with real brother). Both sets of parents are of the mindset “unless there is blood let them figure it out” which they mostly do. *and yes we do step in before actual bloodshed, but that is the sentiment.IMG_6293For me this six months was consumed with being pregnant with baby brother, but also was the time of the great weaning. We started just before he turned 2 in June and his last nursing was in October. It went as well as these things go and while I truly don’t think Simon was quite ready, I was. Mostly. He didn’t as the doctor assured me start eating a ton more, he did start drinking a ton of cow milk from a cup (and now that he knows about chocolate it’s all over). The process wasn’t traumatic and all is well.IMG_6280take a picture of my arm mama.

Otherwise eating is going better, and while it may be somewhat related to weaning much more is our approach. At the 2 year well visit we ran a bunch of tests just to make sure there wasn’t a medical or allergy issue and when all came back normal and we talked with school and the doctor Dr. C said “I think this is a behavior thing, not a food thing.” So we changed our approach – to what is was BEFORE the weight scare and following stress – back to we will decide what and when, you decide if and how much. Removing the battle at meal times and allowing him to choose his snacks helped. Also the promise of desert if he ate dinner. And by eat dinner it could be one bite of each thing because it’s new or a whole portion of something we know he likes. Most times desert was enough of a reminder, but there have definitely been times where he says all done, no desert, and goes to play trains until bed time. I was so proud on Tuesday when he tried the sloppy joe, which was much to spicy, and asked for toast and jelly instead. He got it.IMG_0847there’s a monster in my hair.

Parenting a toddler is exhausting at times. All the time? It’s not always easy. There are tantrums and whining and all the things that go along with the “terrible twos” but he’s so much fun. My mom commented on what an urban kid he is, because at 2.5 he can walk down the sidewalk by himself and knows to stop at the corner and wait to hold hands to cross with the “walking man.” And what kid has a melt down because we don’t have time to stop at [Grand] Central Station? He knows his subway trains.IMG_0848I love this kid so so much.

Stats: ~25 lbs.; 34.5 inches

 

Dog days of summer.

We are entering one of my favorite times of the year, that transition from summer to fall. There are lots of nice things about summer: BIRTHDAY WEEK, the traditional vacation taking season, lots of daylight. But really, I don’t love summer. I HATE the heat and the mugginess. The heat makes me angry. I have a hard time eating. We don’t have central air and our wall units are loud so it’s hard to sleep or watch tv when they are running. While I’m happy to be getting to the cooler weather we did have a pretty good summer this year. Here’s a recap, with some pictures from the last couple of weeks.

JUNE:

– We kept Simon home from daycare and I found that I could be a stay at home mom and survive. This was previously debatable although I really like my part time work status (even if I don’t always love my work). We spent hours every day at the neighborhood parks.

Sharing homegrown strawberries with Daddy.
Sharing homegrown strawberries with Daddy.

– We found out we were expecting! Eek! Planned but unexpected, we were surprised and excited.

15 week belly (taken Aug 29)
15 week belly (taken Aug 29)

– For the first time in awhile I didn’t celebrate birthday week, but I did go out for dinner and drinks with some friends.

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PARK!

– I flew to Houston to surprise a dear friend for her baby shower. This was a fun one. A hotel room to myself was heavenly.

Played on the Big piano at FAO. I realized that most kids today probably think it's called the Big piano because of it's size...
Played on the Big piano at FAO. I realized that most kids today probably think it’s called the Big piano because of it’s size…

– Simon spent a week with Memaw and Granddad while Rob and I went to Orlando and Universal Studios.

JULY:

– Simon went back to school 3 days a week. He started in the 2s and 3s room. New teachers, mostly same old friends. His bestie moved up with him. And lots of new responsibility – they get to scoop their own cereal and help pour their milk. Simon is still one of the youngest in his class, but we are hoping that seeing the older kids use the bathrooms will spur an interest in potty training.

He knows where the button to start the water is.
He knows where the button to start the water is.

– Papo came to visit for Rob and Simon’s birthday weekend. Next year they will get their own.

– First doctor appointment for the new baby. We hated this doctor which spurred a hectic two weeks of doctor searching and finding I’m not eligible to see a midwife (because of prior c-section) and deciding on a doctor who works in an office with midwives. We think it will be good. We get a due date in February 2014.

Water balloons with Lucas.
Water balloons with Lucas.

– Simon and I spend a ton of time at the park. I find my Tuesday/Friday moms and coffee while our kids run amuck. It was fantastic.

Sharing.
Sharing.

– I tell school about baby #2 and we decide the best course of action is to pick up a second course in the fall. This way I can bank my hours and take off for the spring semester, but keep getting paid and keep our insurance.

AUGUST:

– Family vacation to Maine. Perfect long weekend, I was not ready to leave.

He was having fun. Really.
He was having fun. Really.

– Simon starts school five days each week because I realize I’m on a fast track to pack in the work this fall so I can take an actual maternity leave this time.

Playing in the wet sand puddles after the storm.
Playing in the wet sand puddles after the storm.

– Lots of prep for my school. Teaching two classes and my administrative job takes a ton of work now. This should make for easy going during the semester.

More mud.
More mud.

– We squeezed in a few more park days and some family fun days.

– Simon has finally learned the joy of playing on the balcony alone – only when we are sitting in the living room and can watch him the whole time. Playdough is an outside toy. As is the water table where he likes to make water fountains and a vortex (Rob taught him that one). When watering the plants he waters some more than others so I’ve started rotating the pots for more equal coverage.

Balcony fun.
Balcony fun.

– As is NYC tradition schools, camps, and daycare are closed the last week of August through Labor Day, so we got one last hurrah at the pool and sprinkler.

Donuts! Sweatshirts! Saturday mornings in fallish weather.
Donuts! Sweatshirts! Saturday mornings in fallish weather.

All in all it was a good summer. But I’m still happy for fall.

T-W-O!

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My baby turned 2 last week. We had a joint birthday party for Rob and Simon last Saturday. Then on Tuesday, Simon’s actual birthday he and I spent the morning at the Transit Museum looking at trains and busses. He had a great time and slept through his birthday lunch. I did give him a birthday cupcake at home when he woke from his 3.5 hour nap!

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At 24 months Simon talks all the time. I have no idea how many words he has, but it’s a lot (150 – 200 if I had to guess). He’s added things like “exquisite” and “fantastic” to his vocabulary. The phrase of the week is “look at that” in a tone that just can’t be replicated through writing. He’s likes to read along with his books and is now in the habit of saying all the little comments we make when pointing out pictures or asking him questions. He likes to talk to himself: “The train goes fast Simon,” don’t do that Simon,” “goin’ fast Simon.” It’s kind of hilarious.

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In the last 3 months or so Simon has become a climber. Hold me. He can scale the back of the couch with no help. We really have to watch him now. He can also reach things on the counter, so nothing close to the edge of any surface.

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He is in love with his trains and when he says “come play trains with you” he means come sit in my room and watch me build tracks and push trains but don’t try to help because you are doing it WRONG! While verbal, he still has a hard time expressing exactly what he wants.

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We spend a ton of time outside at the neighborhood parks. Simon can do all the slides by himself and has become quite the dare devil scaling the equipment. He is back into swings but only if he can go HIGH. Bubbles are a fun park past time. In the last month the sprinklers have been turned on and last week the pool finally opened. Simon is quite the little fish, but he likes Mama or Daddy close by.

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In February Simon discovered TV. His current favorites are Jake and the Pirates, Dinosaur Train, and Elmo. We throw in some Thomas, Bubble Guppies and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse too. The good news for the little TV head is that he rarely watches a whole episode just sitting. Usually he’s running around playing and just listens to it.

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We are also 100% into the terrible twos. The whining and the tantrums are a bit exhausting. There are a lot of days with a lot of time outs and loss of toys that he throws. On a really fun day (sarcasm font) he’ll whine because he wants X snack (which is fine to have), we have a battle to get him to ask nicely, then he gets mad about being offered X snack. We are slowly working through this.

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We took the month of June off from school and had a Mama/Simon month. It was fun, but he was really missing his friends and the structure of daycare. He just started back and is in the 2s & 3s room. A lot of the same kids, but new teachers, new rules, and new responsibility. He thrives there and we love his teachers and friends.

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Happy birthday boy! You are the best.DSC05334

stats: 22 lbs. 4 oz. 33.5 inches tall.