Gelato- 15 Months

We went to Gelato’s 15 month appointment this morning.

He has stayed small: he weighs 22 lbs 2 oz, which puts him in the 25th percentile for weight; he is 30.5 inches tall, which puts him in the 25th percentile for height; and his head circumference is in the 10th percentile.

I find it interesting that he has not gained weight in the past two months. We’ve been a couple times for an ear infection and then another suspected ear infection, and his weight has hovered right around 22 pounds. I know that he eats a lot, but he’s also a very active little guy. He burns it off quickly!

According to the (very accurate, I’m sure) development assessment that I complete each well check, he’s on par with a typical 21-month-old as far as cognitive, language, and physical skills are concerned. I found it funny that there was a question related to how many words he can say outside of family members’ names; if he could say more than 3, I was to circle Yes. This would have been indicative of a typical 20-month-old’s language ability. Knowing I was to fill out one of these questionnaires today, I laid in bed this morning counting the words I can think of off-hand that Gelato already uses on his own, and I got over 100 before I stopped counting. He even uses 2-3 word phrases frequently, like “What’s that?” or “Get it!” or “Wear it!” or “Up there!”

I love that Gelato still has a passion for accessorizing. He wears Hula Girl’s necklaces, headbands, bracelets, belts, and purses all around the house. He puts on my shoes, Jonathan’s slippers, and Hula Girl’s boots all the time. He tries to put on his own shoes but since they’re shoes that actually fit him, it’s too hard for him to wrangle them onto his feet.

Gelato loves to talk on the phone. He will carry around the toy phones (he no longer uses the dollhouse sink/mirror as a phone, much to my chagrin!) and talk all day long. He says, “Heddo, doing? Dood!” (Hello, what are you doing? Good!) Then he tells the person on the other end what he’s doing- sliding, climbing on the chairs, eating play fruit, reading a book, throwing a ball, etc. It’s pretty funny.

He still loves to climb. Lately this has taken him on top of the table in the playroom and on the dining room chairs. I don’t like him up on the dining room chairs since the floor in there is tile, so now I have a strict push-in-your-chairs rule at the end of every meal. He also climbs outside, and has gotten really good at climbing up and down the ladders on the playset. He doesn’t let go mid-ladder anymore, which saves me a bit of my sanity.

He has also discovered the joy of sliding. Since the slide from the playset is pretty steep and a bumpy slide, I make sure to be right there slowing his descent. He really enjoys the slide in the playroom and will slide down it over and over all day long.

He is not afraid of anything, which scares me to death. Moms of boys, I totally get you now. He does things that make my heart stop. Literally, I feel it stop momentarily when he does some of the things he does. WHY are boys so daring?!

Gelato certainly has his own opinions about… everything. I am thinking we might be investing in Dr. Dobson’s The New Strong Willed Child somewhere here in our future. I’m not trying to imply he’s a naughty boy; he’s just very determined. This is a great characteristic when he’s trying to learn how to take off his shoes. But when he’s trying to run after the neighbor’s dog and it’s time for us to go inside for dinner, it can be quite ear-splitting. 🙂

Gelato has some loveys that sleep in his crib with him now. He has his blanket with an owl on it, a stuffed owl, and a bunny that’s larger than he is. The bunny was a gift from the Easter bunny, who brought Hula Girl her giant sheep that she slept with for months as well. He will ask for his “Nanket” while I sing to him, then when I lay him down, he says, “Owl? Bunny?” Then he squeezes his little arms around his blanket over his chest and laughs.

Oh, he laughs, and the boy’s laugh is absolutely the best sound in the world. He laughs all day long. He finds delight in what he does and in what his family members do. Hula Girl will be sitting in her chair kicking her feet and he will notice and burst out in a huge belly laugh. Or Jonathan will peek around the corner and he’ll grin and giggle until Daddy pops out, then the chortle ensues. He loves when I say “Alligator, alligator, chomp, chomp, chomp,” and tickle his little collarbone super gently. He just laughs and laughs. He laughs when he succeeds in doing what he wanted to do. He laughs when he’s surprised, like when a ball rolls off the table. He just laughs SO much.

And he sings. All the time. If he’s not talking on the phone or laughing, he’s singing. And dancing. His current favorite is the same as Hula Girl’s was at his age- Abiyoyo. It’s a song from a book based on a South African folk tale about a giant. A boy tames the giant with his ukelele and then the boy’s father makes the giant disappear with his magic wand. Then all the townspeople join the boy in his song, “Abiyoyo, Abiyoyo, Abiyoyo, Abiyoyo…” Pete Seeger wrote it, in case you care. 😉

Gelato decided to try something out this past week- not napping in the afternoon. It’s kind of a bummer deal for him, because then he has to go to bed super early, like 5:30 early. Today is the first day in over a week that he’s actually taken an afternoon nap. I think he got overtired from the time change and then he just hasn’t been able to figure out what to do. I put him down super early this morning for his nap, and he fell asleep quickly, but I wasn’t sure today’s nap would work… yay, it did! I think we’ll stick to slightly early nap times in the next few days to see if he self-corrects. I remember Hula Girl went through a non-afternoon-napping phase at 15 months as well, but then she went back to sleeping twice daily until 17.5 months old. I am holding out hope. Gelato doesn’t get cranky with just one nap, but he DOES sleep really restlessly at night and we are wakened several times per night by him crying out or flopping around. I could do with a good solid night’s sleep again.

And you guys, Gelato is so smart. I have said this before about him, but it is more and more apparent to us every day. He learns so quickly, he speaks so clearly (and so abundantly!), and he is so independent! We are so blessed to have two amazingly bright children who love to learn and who pursue knowledge and skills on their own, without me having to direct them at all. It is such a joy to see their little eyes light up and the looks of consternation on their faces while they’re trying to figure something out. The two of them share a look that says, “I’m thinking really hard about this right now!” It’s so cute.

Oh, I should mention that he is fully weaned now, as of a week and a half ago. It’s nice, but bittersweet. Good thing he drinks well from a sippy cup now.

I love my little man.

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Hula Girl is One!

I copied this from an email update I sent out to my regular Hula Girl followers. It’s LONG! Enjoy!

 

Well Folks,

Here it is. The last of the “baby” updates. I can’t believe it’s time for this.

Hula Girl is doing so well.

I was reading back through all the updates I sent out over the past year, reminiscing and thinking, “I don’t remember that!” (This was an especially common thought when reading the emails from the first couple of months!) I am not exactly sure where to start or what all to say, but there is so much. Sorry if it’s disorganized- I’ll do the best I can.

Current Schedule:

8:00 up, nurse
8:20/30ish breakfast, then play
9:30 go for walk in stroller
10:15 nap
12:00 up, nurse
12:15-12:45 independent playtime
12:45 lunch, then play (we usually go to the park or the library here)
2:15 nap
4:00/30ish up, nurse
4:30-5:00 independent playtime
6:00 dinner
7:30 bedtime routine (bath, lotion, jammies, nurse while Daddy reads)
8:00 bedtime

Sleeping:

Naps:
Hula Girl has transitioned from taking 5-6 naps/day at 2 months of age to taking 2 naps/day. We are currently working on shortening the first nap. We’re doing this because we’re looking forward to the transition to 1 nap/day sometime around December or so, and also because she’s starting to wake somewhat early in the mornings. She does just lay there contently and talk to herself, but I’d like to get her nighttime sleep stretched out as long as possible again. She goes down for all naps and bedtime without a fuss. She sometimes talks to herself a bit before falling asleep, but that’s not really something I’m concerned about.

Nighttime:
Hula Girl goes to bed at 8 or so every night. She sleeps like a rock. The only time she’s woken in the night since she was 6 months old was when she was sick. And that night, none of us slept at all. Boo. She usually wakes around 7:30 in the morning, but as I mentioned above, once I cut her morning nap down, I expect she’ll start sleeping until 8.

Nutrition:

Nursing:
Hula Girl is still nursing 4 times/day. This is compared with the 11, 12, 15 times she nursed each day during her first few weeks of life. Whew, were those tough times! She’s been on a “four-hour schedule” since February or so; it’s been really easy. Her latest nursing habits include, but are not limited to, playing the “eyes-nose-mouth” game, high-fiving, and pinching me while she nurses. (I have had to be very serious-faced and tell her no, she is not allowed to pinch Mommy.) She also has to “kiss” her blanket before she will nurse. Not sure what that’s all about.

Weaning:
We will begin weaning her next Monday. I thought she might have been trying to self-wean a couple of weeks ago, but we just realized that she was really excited to be out of her own environment. Since we’ve been home and stable, she’s been just fine to nurse. But I’m SOOOOOOOO ready to have my body and my “freedom” back. It will be nice to make plans to do something with a friend and not have to worry about pumping, bottles, and being there as soon as Hula Girl wakes from her nap. So on Monday we’re going to begin a 4-week weaning process. I will be replacing her third nursing period with a cup of whole milk. The following week, we’ll replace the second nursing period; then the last, and then the first. I think the slow approach will serve two purposes- first, it will ensure Hula Girl adjusts to whole milk well enough to actually drink it well from a cup before it becomes her sole source of liquid nourishment; second, it will allow my body enough transition time between dropped nursings so that I don’t become engorged going from 4 nursings down to 0 nursings per day. Once she is weaned, I plan to call my best friend Joanna and ask her to accompany me… somewhere… for a whole day’s worth of fun.

Now, I don’t expect Hula Girl to like whole milk at first. I am gearing up for that struggle, as I know it will be tougher on me than it will be on her. I am her Mommy! I want to make sure she’s getting enough!!! But she’ll drink when she’s ready (or just really really thirsty!)

Eating:
Hula Girl has been eating solids for 6 months now, and I have been fascinated to see her tastes change multiple times, even within this time frame! Her current favorites are: blueberries, pasta with creamy sauce of any kind, cantaloupe, rice cakes, corn, and sweet potatoes. Her used-to-be-favorites-but-now-won’t-touch-them are: peas, pears, prunes, and toast. She still eats a wide variety of foods, which makes me really happy. She’s also willing to try anything. I think we might start doing some more adventurous foods soon. The other night she had Mexican (ground turkey and vegetarian refried beans) and she enjoyed it. I wasn’t sure she’d like it- I thought maybe it’d be too spicy for her. Nope!

Medical:

Reflux:
Gone. We took her off all meds at almost 7 months old. She has not spit up in, like, forever. Praise the Lord!!!!

Constipation:
She got a huge constipation problem right around 4 months of age. We ended up having to give her about 1 tsp every day of Miralax, mixed in with bottles of breastmilk, or, once she started solids, her morning oatmeal. We actually used to give her 5 prunes every morning at breakfast, too. Otherwise she got so constipated it was extraordinarily painful for her. Poor little girl would scream and scream, and the only way to get it out was to do a suppository, put her in a warm bath, and massage her little tummy. Plus I had a few times when I had to use a q-tip covered in Vaseline to stimulate that area to help get things moving.  Thankfully, she seems to be drinking enough water every day (at least three sippy cups are downed daily) that she no longer needs the Miralax or the prunes. Another praise!

Eczema:
She still has eczema, and her skin is prone to flare-ups when we go from one environment to another, say, to my parents’ house for the weekend. I think it’s the difference in the water. They have well water, so it’s really hard water, and I think that irritates her skin. Anyway, we still treat her skin daily with Vanicream moisturizer, and use Aquaphor over the top of that if things really get patchy (pun intended). I also have to use special sunscreen on her, without chemicals. I have been using California Baby sunscreen, but I just learned today that Vanicream makes a sunscreen that doesn’t use any chemicals, and I found it pretty cheap on Amazon. I will be purchasing that in the future, at least to try it out.  We have still not found any food or other allergies that seem to trigger her eczema, even after my 4-month-long starvation period. Sigh.

Blocked Tear Duct:
I read that I thought we had fixed this when she was like 2 weeks old. False. She has had 3 infections in her left eye and it always seems to be a bit runny, especially when she has a cold. Our pediatrician has mentioned seeing a pediatric ophthalmologist here in Colorado so we can get that opened up with a minor procedure. I’m not sure I want that… so we keep trying to massage it open. We’ll see how things go.

Milestones:

Locomotion:
Hula Girl is a mover. She is go, go, going all the time. Her preferred form of locomotion is walking; however, she will crawl if need be. For example, she likes to go between the loveseat and the wall, but she is too tall to walk between the space between the wall and the arm of the loveseat. So, she has to crawl between.

She is working on learning how to run. We practiced today at the park. She also saw me jumping today, and she decided that was pretty cool. Her version of jumping includes: a HUGE smile on her face, both arms bent at the elbow so her hands are at her shoulders, hands in fists, bent knees, bent hips, and bouncing. And did I mention the HUGE smile on her face? So funny. We sure got a kick out of her!

Other Physical Skills:
Hula Girl loves to kick her ball, then chase it across the room. She likes to push her push-toy lion, the laundry basket, boxes… anything that will move across the floor. She also likes to put anything down on the floor or on the couch and “fall” on top of it to “take a rest” so that Jonathan or I can rub her back. She really loves having her back rubbed. She looks at us and grins until we come.

She is getting really good at helping me clean up. Today I asked her to put one block in the box; she put the first one in and then picked up three more and put them in the box without even having to be asked! I was truly shocked and delighted!

She is a mountain goat, or she has some kind of spider bite that allows her easy climbing. We have a potato cellar outside our garage, with a door that is slanted at about a 45 degree angle. The other day, Hula Girl was outside with me, eating potting soil while I had my back turned, and then I found her halfway up the door of the potato cellar. She was on her hands and feet, just cruising up the slope like it was nothing! She also knows how to pull herself up the “big steps” on the playground equipment at the park and is close to being able to clamber onto her rocking chair.

Language:
Hula Girl’s receptive language skills are astounding to me. She is able to remember so much, especially about animals. For example, we have a really awesome book that was given to Hula Girl by my friend Ha as a gift for being a flower girl in her wedding. This book has a picture of pretty much every cool thing in the world, including an alligator. So I was reading it with Hula Girl the other day, pointing to pictures and helping her do sounds for animals and such, and she pointed to the alligator, and I said, “That’s an alligator! Chomp, chomp!” I clapped my hands together out in front of me, like an alligator mouth. She smiled, laughed, and clapped her little hands. Fast forward to today. I said, somewhat off hand, “Hula Girl, what does an alligator do?” and she smiles at me, pauses a few moments, and then CLAPS HER HANDS!!!! CHomp, chomp!

She also loves playing games with Jonathan, especially chase. When she hears, “I’m gonna get you!” she squeals with the thrill of fear and glee mingled together, turns away as fast as she can, looks for a place to hide, and buries her face in the couch or whatever stuffed animal or blanket is convenient at the time. Then she proceeds to laugh and laugh and laugh while she gets tickled by her Daddy.

She’s getting really good at following simple directions, too. She will hand me things, go do things I tell her to do, follow me when I ask her to follow, and point to things when asked. This is how we know her receptive language is so keen. She can accurately point to eyes, nose, mouth, ears, cheek, neck, hand, arm, leg, knee, foot, fingers, sheep, dog, lion, ball, box, books, banana, water, Riley, Mommy, Daddy, Hula Girl, blanket, Ama, Papa, elbow, tree, car, flower, rock, stick, swings, buttons, and more. It’s so fun to ask her, “Hula Girl, where is the ______________?” to see what she knows.

She is not really verbalizing that much. She has 9 recognizable words right now: Mama, Dada, wa-wa (water), uh-oh (uses this FREQUENTLY), Nona (Strega Nona is the story we read before every single nap), book, box, bottle, and… elbow! She said “Belbow!” tonight when Jonathan was dressing her in her jammies for bed. She just pointed to his elbow and said, “Belbow!” without any prompting. We just looked at each other in amazement. So cool.

She still loves books. We read to her a LOT. Every nap time is preceded by Strega Nona; every breakfast is followed by at least 2-3 stories, if not more. Every bedtime is accompanied by Jonathan reading to us. We’re 2/3 of the way through Lord of the Rings right now. Ok, not age-appropriate at all, but she’s hearing a LOT of good vocabulary! When we stop nursing at bedtime, I want to add a reading of Goodnight Moon each night before bed.

Parenting:
We have learned a lot. We no longer freak out over every single tiny thing. We are looking forward to watching this little person grow and change and develop in front of our eyes. The Lord has blessed us beyond measure and we can’t wait to receive even more blessings. Yes, we do plan to have another baby. It’s totally worth it. I think I’ve got Jonathan convinced that God told me we’re having twins. 🙂

Enjoy some pictures from today’s visit to the park. These were taken on Hula Girl’s actual 1st birthday. I will send some others in a separate email.

Thank You:
Without your support, prayers, and love, this year would not have been nearly as wonderful as it has turned out to be. We so appreciate each and every one of you in our lives and are overwhelmed by the love you’ve shown to us. Thank you for caring and continuing to support us as we meander along this path called parenthood. It’s tough, it’s overwhelming at times, but it’s wonderful to know that you’ve got our backs! We love you!!!!!!

Kim, Jonathan, and Hula Girl

View from the Top

Well, we’re all still here. And we’re all still sick.

Jonathan has a fever again, along with nausea, dizziness, and headache.

My throat is sore sore sore, my nose is running/congested, and I am coughing.

Hula Girl is adorable but coughing.

Yesterday she managed to climb up on her toy bin. I had turned it upside-down so that she could use it as a play center, instead of always playing with her toys sitting on the floor. She has enjoyed that in the past. But yesterday, she took the opportunity to climb up on it, STAND UP, and bang on the window. Smartie pants. She’s a daredevil like her daddy!

That’s really all I can manage today, as I’ve literally never felt this sick before in all my life.

What has been your sickest moment? Or, what did your child/ren do that scared you to death?

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