Gelato- 14 Months

My little boy just melts my heart.

There is only one thing about him that annoys me right now: he is the world’s messiest eater. It doesn’t help that I feed him messy foods like rice, cottage cheese, yogurt, and the like. But he drops it on the nice, clean, freshly-mopped-tile-and-scrubbed-grout floor! I keep telling Jonathan we need to invest in a splash mat or just an old shower curtain, but I keep forgetting.

Gelato is a climber. He has always been, as long as he could. He will climb anything. Rocks, trees, ladders, people, tables, chairs, desks, bookcases, cribs (we’ll be turning his around when he gets big enough- I have a feeling it will be a struggle to keep him in his crib as long as we did his sister!), couches, dirt piles, fences, cars. His favorite thing to climb right now is the “rock wall” that goes up into their playset. I think I mentioned this in a previous post, but that rock wall is over six feet high, it’s at about an 85° angle, and it has plastic rocks to hold or step onto. And he has been doing this since before he was even 13 months old. Now that he’s a seasoned pro, he’s making some careless mistakes. Just today I had to catch him (my hands were 3 inches from his body, so it more of a “steady” than a “catch”) when he decided to take his hat off mid-climb. Who knows what he’ll climb next?

Gelato is a water baby. I have been able to take him to the Y a few times lately, and since he can walk now, the toddler pool is just way more fun. The only issues come when he gets knocked over by a big kid splashing him or a current under the water that pulls his feet out from under him. Then he falls down into the water and doesn’t even try to get back up. So my hands are, again, always within a foot of him. I don’t touch him unless I have to. He needs to learn it on his own. But I have had to several times. Silly boy. He really enjoys getting his face wet, too. He’ll crouch down and bend his neck so his face just barely touches the water, then he jumps up and lets out a little shriek of happiness. So cute.

Gelato is a bookworm. Whereas Hula Girl would just come sit on my lap for hours and hours, Gelato has resisted the sitting for reading time his whole life. The only time he sits still for a book is just before nap, because that’s part of our nap routine and he’s used to it. Otherwise, he will carry a book all the way across the house and cry out, “Read-ee! Read-ee!” until I read the book. He will sit next to me for a page or two, but then he gets up and wanders off, but he still expects me to keep reading. If I stop, he will come back, open the book to the last page I read, hand the book to me while giving me a very convincing eyebrow-raise, and say, “Read-ee!” Aye, aye. His favorite right now is Baby Beluga. He calls it “Goo-gah? Baby Goo-Gah?” He loves the pictures.

Gelato is a dog lover. And a polar bear lover. If we are reading and come across a dog or polar bear picture, he gets quite excited. Our neighbor has a dog who is allowed to roam freely. Her name is Scampers. Gelato calls her “Mamper? Mamper?” He looks out the window for her every few minutes and chases her around with random objects whenever she’s outside and we go on walks. She doesn’t like that part very much, but she does like to come out and sniff us and then she takes off in one direction or another like an unpaid tour guide, and Gelato follows her wherever she leads. He adores her.

Gelato is a BOY. Kid picked up a beetle today. I think he wanted to eat it, but Hula Girl smacked it down out of his hand because she was so terrified of the thing. (You go, Girl!) Instead of letting him pick it up again, I told him he could just look at it. He followed it around for a while, saying, “Beeboh! Beeboh!” Then he forgot about it, played with a stick, and was disappointed when he remembered about it and it was gone. (Aw, shucks.)

Gelato is a Mama’s boy. This one is my favorite. He just loves me. He likes Jonathan and Hula Girl, too, but he loves me. Probably because he likes to nurse. But really, it’s so cute. He’ll just wander into the room and hug my leg. Or he’ll sit on my lap and grab my hand so he can interlock his fingers and hold my hand for a while. He likes to give me kisses all day long (“mmmm-ah! mmmmm-ah!”), and he pats my face so gently while he tells me about my eyes, nose, mouth, ears, and hair.

Gelato is a listener. He obeys really really well. The other day I called both kids into the kitchen and asked them to clean up the kid dishes they’d spilled out of the drawer in their hunt for breakfast utensils. He grabbed some cups, put them away, and said, “All done!” Smartie boy. He also tests quite a bit already, which shows me he understands what I’m saying. For example, I tell him stop before he gets out into the street in front of our house (we live on a very sparsely used dirt road, or else he wouldn’t be getting to the road before me). He stops, turns, grins like a little imp, and takes a few more steps before stopping, turning, and grinning again. Test, test, test. I take his hand and move him back to where he was when I said it first, and reinforce. Repeat. It’s a long process, but he really does listen well.

One more thing I just want to record for posterity: I’m beginning to wean him now. Hula Girl was weaned at 14.5 months, and Gelato will likely be weaned by then as well. We’re putting him on coconut milk and we’re trying to cut out all dairy for both kids as soon as we can. He is really excited to drink milk, because he’s seen his idol (big sis) drinking milk so much and now any time she has it, he wants it, too. Her influence can be so great. 🙂

Gelato’s First Sentences!

Well, he’s hit another language explosion time, or so it seems! Gelato spoke in two full sentences today, along with the thousands of one-or-two-word phrases he usually uses.

I had him outside on the swing. He looked at me and said, clear as day, “All done swinging.” I asked him if he wanted to get down and he said, “Yes.”

Then later this afternoon, he and Hula Girl were bonking each other around in the kitchen cabinets (a very frequent pastime, unfortunately), and he got offended by something. He came crying to me and said, “Hold you? Up!” I thought it was so sweet that he said, “Hold you,” because that’s what I say to him when I pick him up- “Do you want me to hold you?” Aw. What a listener.

I have really been able to understand exactly what he wants and needs all day for the past few days. His communication is getting insanely clear. And his enunciation is so very well developed. And his little voice is just so sweet. I wish he could sound like he does forever. Well, until he gets married or something. 🙂

Hula Girl Sponsors a Sister

Hula Girl is so excited tonight because she got to choose her “Sponsor Sister” today.

We talked a lot about children in other areas of the world who don’t necessarily have the love of a mommy and a daddy; who have to do a lot of really hard work at home by themselves because their parents are struggling to make ends meet; who have to skip meals on a daily basis because there just isn’t enough for the family. I assured her that we can help those children. I told her that one of the ways we can do that is to teach them about Jesus and to provide money to take care of their physical needs.

Jonathan and I sponsor several children through Compassion International  and we’d already decided that our kids would each get their very own special “sponsor sibling” when they were old enough. Compassion doesn’t introduce kids to the program until they’re three; so three is the age our kids need to be in order to have a close-in-age-to-grow-up-with child. I have been meaning to choose a sponsor child for Hula Girl, but I hadn’t gotten around to it. I am so glad Hula Girl was able to help me choose her child.

Her specifications were: “I want a sponsor SISTER, Mommy. Not a sponsor BROTHER.”

My specifications were: close in age to Hula Girl, lives somewhere we’d be excited to visit in the future, preferably in the same country as one of our other sponsored children

We opened up Compassion’s website and then opened Google Maps so I could show Hula Girl where her sisters live. There were two girls in the final round- one from the Philippines and one from Peru. She chose the little girl who is just shy of a month older than her, who lives in Peru. (We already have a little boy in Peru, too, so YAY!) She chose Yuleysi because she has pigtails and because Peru is closer to where we live than the Philippines is!

After we added Yuleysi to our sponsored children, Hula Girl said, “Now what do we do with my Sponsor Sister, Mommy?” I told her we needed to remember to pray for Yuleysi every day and that Compassion would send us a picture of her along with some more information about her and her family. When we receive the picture, we will put it up on Hula Girl’s wall with the other pictures of her family members. I told her she can draw pictures and we can write letters (and-she was THRILLED about this- emails) to Yuleysi, and that Yuleysi will write back!

Then Hula Girl said, “Mommy, will you draw her picture on this card so I can keep it in my room now? I want to pray for her now.” So I drew the world’s worst sketch of a little girl with pigtails and wrote, “Pray for Yuleysi” and it’s sitting up on Hula Girl’s dresser, right where the light from her Gro-Clock illuminates it. Hula Girl is thrilled.

I really hope the two of them communicate often, and more independently as they get older. Our family will sponsor Yuleysi as long as we possibly can, and we hope Hula Girl (and all of us) will get the chance to meet Yuleysi in person one day.

But really, my main goal in all of this is for both girls to get a little bit of Jesus. Giving and receiving love. That’s what it’s all about, right, folks?

Sudden Snuggler

Gelato at thirteen months plus a week and a half or so:

Oh my goodness, is Gelato a snuggly little guy these past two days!?!?! This is a HUGE exciting thing for me because that little boy does.not.stop.moving.or.hold.still. Ever. But the past two days he has been clinging to my leg and burying his face in my shoulder and giving my arms huge sloppy kisses and trying to bonk his head into my face at any spare moment. It’s SO cute. Yesterday it wasn’t so cute because he was also crying and whining a lot. He’s getting a couple of teeth. But today they weren’t bothering him so much, so I got a lot of goofy grins and happy squawks instead.

He has also been really cuddly with Hula Girl, which she EATS UP. Girlfriend is HUGE on touch (Pretty sure it’s her #1 love language), and it’s killed her that he doesn’t like to snuggle very much. She just wants to hold his hand and cuddle him like she did when he was little- but he doesn’t want anything to do with it. But the past two days, he will literally run into her and topple both of them over just so they can roll around and cuddle. He even came over to her bed at her naptime just to give her giant kisses on her eyes and nose. She about died out of sheer bliss.

Gelato’s second favorite activity is talking. Little Man talks all day, every day. He greets me with, “Mo-neen!” when I walk in his room. He wants to “wa! wa! wa!” everywhere we go. He grabs his “oos? oos?” and wants me to put them on his feet for him. He brings me “boo!” and wants me to “read-ee? read-ee?” He tells me when he’s “Hun-ee,” and wants to “EAT! EAT! EAT!” He hears a “doggy” saying, “Woof. woof. woof.” He tells me when he wants some water to “dink, dink, dink.” He can mimic anything we say and he spontaneously says new words every single day. Along with the words listed above, here’s what I can think of off the top of my head: [sister’s name], door, closed, open, ball, truck, car, toys, dance, happy (SO cute), night night, nurse, cup, spoon, rock, horse, phone, bye, banana, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, cheese, apple, applesauce, did it!, help, Mommy, Daddy, Riley, gentle, tickle, peek-a-boo, Ama, Papa, fan, noise, shh, climb, up, down, swing, swim, inside, outside, potty, tub, teeth, stop, and go.

Gelato is ACTIVE. He is a huge climber, and I tend to let him climb. If he can get up, he can get down. It takes a lot more time and infinitely more coaching to get down. But I let him do it. Two days ago, he climbed up to the top of our inherited playset in the backyard. Just wait until I show you a picture of that one. The rock wall (?!?!?) he climbed is over six feet tall. Kid’s thirteen months old. And he climbed to the top of a sixish foot rock wall. Ridiculous. (I need to point out that even though I LET him do this, I was also holding my hands about 2 centimeters from his body the entire time. I didn’t touch him, but I was READY. He does not get to adventure out on his own… yet.)

We’re still nursing. Gelato actually skipped two nursings one day when we were in California because Jonathan and I had taken Hula Girl to the beach (another post) and we left Gelato with Ama for the day. He did really well with it. Didn’t drink any milk, drank a ton of water, but still took good naps. I am pretty sure he’s never going to really like milk that much. Fine by me. He LOVES yogurt and cheese. And there’s always ice cream….. ha!

Gelato is still not much of an eater. Although I say he has foods he LOVES, he only eats a small amount of them compared with the amounts his sister ate at his age. Some days he surprises me, like yesterday when he ate two whole adult-sized pancakes plus a cup of blueberries for breakfast. That’s like a week’s rations, folks. Even when he’s acting cranky and whiny and says he’s hungry and wants to eat, he usually eats about a 1/2 cup of food altogether and then he’s done. He’s a pretty small little guy, I guess, but to see how much he does and compare that to how much he eats makes me worried he’s not getting enough. But I don’t push it. I just offer whatever we’re having and if he doesn’t want a lot, he doesn’t eat a lot. He sits at the table with the family and we wait until everyone is done. He has good manners and doesn’t fuss to get down. Usually.

Everyone always comments on how happy he is. He truly is happy, and he has this little squint wrinkly nose thing that he does when he’s trying to get people to smile back. It makes him look like a total goofball, but it’s adorable. Everyone smiles then and comments on how cute he is. Even when we were traveling to California and we’d been up since 5:45 am and he had to sleep in his car seat on the airplane and in the car, he didn’t cry once all the way through the shuttles, trains, cars, airplanes, airports, rental car offices, or on the drive to Ama and Papa’s house. (He also met and wooed a Swedish girl who looked the part- white blond hair, slim, beautiful. She was about 25 years old and she let him play with some animal app on her iPad. It had music [his third love] and he thought that was GREAT. The only word she knew in English was “dance” and boy did that come in handy. Gelato danced to the music and she laughed and cooed away in Swedish. They kept each other company for an hour in the rental car office. Thank you, Swedish girl!)

Gelato in three words: energetic, opinionated, happy

I love having a son.

He used the Potty!

Yep, my kid is 12 months old and he went potty all by himself (kind of) today.

We have had a little potty seat in our living room just for him ever since he was mobile at all. I wanted it to be a big part of his life- a normal but big part. He and Hula Girl climb all over it and use the foam part for a crown. He sits on it every now and then and has a good time.

He likes to watch the rest of his family members use the toilet. He will follow us in and say, “Peepee? Potty? Peepee? Potty?” He loves to help flush!

Today he was playing with his trucks in the living room with me when he started booking it toward his potty, saying, “Peepee! Peepee!”

I followed and took off his diaper. He climbed up on the potty and sat there, swinging his feet, and said, “Book?”

I got a book and started reading to him, and he sat there and WENT PEEPEE.

Then he got down, crawled toward the bathroom, and said, “Fush?”

I took the little bowl, emptied it, and he flushed. Then we washed his hands. And he went back to his trucks.

Sorry to devote a whole blog post to this, but WHOA.

Gelato Is One!

Here’s the long-overdue 1-year-old update post! I’m actually kind of glad I waited since he’s just started doing a lot of really cool things in the past week or so, and I would have missed talking about them in real-time if I had been on my game. Yay for procrastination! To be fair to myself, I did choose to wait because we couldn’t book his appointment until today. So yay for back-to-school checkups??

Anyway, before I proceed, here’s my OLD post describing Hula Girl at the same age. So fun. But let’s get on with it!

Current Schedule:

6:45 up, nurse (he wakes anywhere from 5:45-6:15 but plays in his crib until it’s actually time to wake up)
7:30ish breakfast, then play
8:45 go for walk in stroller
10:15 nap
11:00 up, nurse
11:15-11:45 independent playtime
11:45 walk
12:15 lunch, then play
2ish nap
3:30 up, nurse, play
5:15/30 dinner
6:15 bedtime routine (bath, lotion, jammies, nurse)
6:45 bedtime

Sleeping:

Naps:
Gelato has become a napping extraordinare! After months and months and months of crazy naps, it is nice to see him sleeping a nice long time for both naps. I can count on 90 minutes, at least, for every nap. Ahh. He still likes his room to be nice and warm and he naps in fleece jammies with a t-shirt and diaper on underneath.

Nighttime:
Gelato is a bit of a touchy night sleeper. We live in a duplex right now and anytime our neighbors move or breathe he startles awake, whines a bit, and goes back to sleep. I might be exaggerating a bit, but he has always been like this. I wonder how long after we move he will stop waking in the 10:30-11 time frame (usually when our neighbors get home and open their garage door, which is almost right under his room). Other than this normal disruption, he sleeps through the night every night with no issues.

Nutrition:

Nursing:
Still nursing 4 times per day, with no end in sight. He has broken the skin a few times, so we’ve had to get creative about nursing positions. Otherwise everything is normal.

Weaning:
Ha! Boy will never wean. Maybe. Or maybe I will finally lose it and MAKE him wean. I am pretty done, myself. He made it this far, and I’m ready for the freedom of going to IKEA with my mom for a day. He does drink water from any kind of cup or bottle now, which is encouraging. Maybe we’ll get somewhere this time around. Last time I tried introducing milk in a cup, he drank about a half an ounce and then smiled at me. We’ll get there. We’ll get there.  I mean, we’ve gotta get there. Right?!?!?

Eating:
He’s a good little eater. No complaints. Faves: bananas, peas, plums, cheese, and eggs. Dislikes: nothing.

Milestones:

Locomotion:
Gelato learned how to walk walk in the past few days. He toddles across the whole room, leading with the right side of his body like a tall crab. He puts his little fists up next to his ears, squinches up his nose, and smiles while he goes. Devious little look, actually!

He is a climber. Much more so than Hula Girl ever was. Jonathan was a climber, too, and man, it’s TIRING. Gelato is constantly climbing on anything he can scale- couches, chairs, me, shelves, the stairs, you name it. Yesterday he climbed on top of Hula Girl’s picnic table outside and fell off, landing on the top of his head on the rocks. He didn’t even cry more than about 10 seconds. Then he got up and went and climbed the chain-link fence that’s around the backyard.

Gelato does not stop moving, ever. Ever. And he’s speedy. And brave. It is a lot of work to monitor his movements, especially since our house is not 100% baby-proof (intentionally so- I like to train my kids to obey when they hear “no”). Fortunately, Gelato has a big sister who likes to watch and tattle just a lot bit. 😉

Language:

Gelato is a talker. He is not a listener. But he learns a lot, too. I think he’s a great example of a child who absorbs information without being explicitly taught, but who is also self-confident enough to really interact with his environment. Things don’t happen TO him- he makes things happen. That kind of kid. A lot like his Daddy, actually- gregarious, funny, charming, and very outgoing. 

I have recently detailed his talking and a lot of the things he likes to say.

I almost forgot to mention something else that’s so adorable- Gelato LOVES to sing! If Hula Girl and I are singing a song, he will join right in! Lots of “Yaaaa, baaaaa, daaaaaa, maaaa, dadada!” So adorable. Hula Girl’s ballet music includes a song with the words, “Ho, ho, ho, here we go, galloping and galloping away we go!” Gelato loves that song and sings, “Ho, ho, ho, eeee, yaaaaaaa, go!” He wavers his little voice to try to match pitch and his tone isn’t half-bad. It’s really cool to see him love music and singing the way he does.

Interests:

 Gelato’s favorite activities include:

  • playing under the dining room table- if he finds a few crumbs, score!!!! snack time!!!!
  • pushing the back door open and shut
  • walking around the house pushing his walking toys or boxes
  • tossing balls all around the room
  • clambering from one  end of the couch to the other
  • munching on rocks, leaves, sticks, and grass outside
  • swinging (any time he sees the swing, he gets a really sad puppy dog look on his face and says in a sad voice, “Wing? Wing?”)

Doctor Visit:

This morning’s checkup was pretty ho-hum, in a good way. Nothing to be concerned about, nothing abnormal. Gelato is actually on the very small end of the spectrum for boys his age. He’s in about the 10th percentile for all three measures. He’s gaining appropriately for his age, so we’re not worried.

We discussed possibly starting him on goat’s milk instead of cow’s milk. The doctor suggested soy milk for him, and I said, “Um, I wouldn’t ever give soy to a boy.” She thought I was nuts.

We also turned down vaccinations again (I’ll do a post on this soon), and the doctor (thankfully) didn’t push the issue this time.

She reminded me to keep him rear-facing until “he squirms and kicks and throws a fit about it.” I told her we rear-face until the weight limit is reached and that our carseats’ weight limit is 45 pounds. She was delighted.

Having a boy is so much fun. It is way different than having a girl, but neither is better. Gelato is such a sweet guy- always happy, always laughing, always talking and singing. I am so grateful for his little self and I can’t wait to get to know him better as he really develops in the next year or so! 

He Walks!

Well, last Thursdayish, Gelato took his official first steps. Four of them. Right to me. Atta boy.

He’s been working on it ever since, never taking more than one or two steps before gently folding his knees and reaching for the ground. His grace is quite amazing. I am glad we followed Janet Lansbury’s advice in regard to his physical development. (This links to an index; all the articles are amazing. Anyone having a baby should read them and follow the advice. Just sayin’.)

Yesterday he taught himself how to climb down the stairs. I knew he’d do it soon since he has been able to climb up the stairs for about a month. It was only a matter of time. So I moved the gate up to the 5th step so he can practice coming up and down without being in danger. (Here’s why I didn’t teach him to do it on his own, and why I trust him to be safe now that he can.)

Today I was sitting at the bottom of the steps and he was crawling around near me, practicing petting Riley, examining the screws holding the heat register to the wall, and standing up and down over and over with a goofy grin on his face. Finally he used my knee to push himself up to standing, turned around, and walked four steps over to the stairs like it was no big deal. He’s a walker now.

In the Morning, Gelato Says…

Gelato… that boy will be one in a week. WHERE DOES TIME GO?!?!?!

He has been talking since he was seven months old. For real. Actual words. Kid is NOT your typical “second child, boy.” Talk talk talk talk talk. All day long. It’s pretty great. His voice is pretty deep for a child his age. (He gets that from me. I had a super deep voice as a baby.) It makes all his talking just that much more enjoyable.

Every morning I go in to nurse him and he looks at me with glee from his crib and says, “Hi-yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” Then he quickly moves on to the topic that is ALWAYS on his mind: “Doggie. Woof, woof.” He repeats this phrase at least twelve times while I nurse him. He unlatches, looks at me, smiles huge and says, “Doggie. Woof, woof.” Over and over. It’s hilarious. His pronunciation is pretty good, but he whispers the woofs.

When we finish nursing, he starts talking about my facial features. All through the diaper change, he points out my “no, eye, owwww!” (Nose, eyes, hair. You can probably figure out why he calls hair “ow!”)

As we exit his room, he whispers, “Daddy. Daddy. Daddy. Daddy.” This goes on all the way down the hall until we find Jonathan getting dressed for work. Gelato gets very excited at this point in the day, and starts chirping out, “Money! Money! Money!” (“Money” is how he says button.) He points to Jonathan’s shirt and his back pants pockets and just wants to touch every button he can find. He smiles SO huge. And his dimples are amazing.

When we go upstairs to get Hula Girl from her room, he says, “Up! Up! Up!” and then he says her name over and over. I would put how he says it but then the general reader who doesn’t know me or my kids would know her name. And we all know that’s a no-no in my little blogland.

Breakfast is filled with “pease!” and “nana!” and “day-koo!” (please! banana! thank you!) He also laughs at whatever Hula Girl is doing and copies whatever she says. (“Gelato, can you say, ‘gorilla munch?'” “Yeeda mum!”)

The rest of the morning is filled with chatter and lots of “no-no” as he shakes his head and does all the things I tell him not to do. He is a little punk sometimes and he likes to smile at me while he disobeys. Imp much?

When I put him down for his nap, he likes to read the book with the bunny on the front, so he will say, “Book? Bunny! Book? Bunny!” until I bring it out. Then I sing to him (Jesus Loves Me) and he likes to sing along with the end,
“Bah-boh ee-mee ohhhhh!” (Bible tells me so.) Then he blows me a kiss. Love.

…and that is his morning talk show. I’ll write more about his noon edition and his late afternoon broadcast another time. That boy. A mile a minute. And we though his sister was bad. 🙂

Gelato- 11 Month Update

Gelato was 11 months old yesterday! I will no longer have a baby in less than a month. (I told Jonathan yesterday that seven sounds like a good number. He just laughed. But I kinda meant it. Babies. I love them.)

Nursing: Yep, still nursing. His teeth are kind of an issue. He doesn’t bite me, but the way he latches really irritates my skin. It’s like he rests his top teeth against me. But if I hold his head in really close we avoid pain/broken skin. One more month.

Eating Solids: Gelato likes to eat. When he finds a food tasty he will sit there and say, “Yum, yum, yum!” over and over. His absolute favorite food is peach-apple sauce. He gets so shrieky with excitement when I serve it! He doesn’t like watermelon, pears, peanut butter (Jonathan about disowned him), or red plums. Yesterday I gave him half an apple and he really liked that. He has stopped (for now) throwing his food off the tray.

Sippy Cup: After trying every type of cup imaginable- soft spout, hard spout, straw, open cup, syringe, bottle, etc.- I finally found a cup he will drink out of on purpose. Yesterday we went shopping and bought him a NUK learner cup (thanks, Rachel A, for the suggestion) AND HE DRANK FIVE OUNCES OF WATER! You guys, he has only had that much water to drink over the course of a week before. Not a day. I know, that sounds so small. But this has been hugely encouraging to me, since I have been freaking out about getting him to drink out of a cup when I wean him, especially now that his teeth are hurting me when he nurses. Hallelujah for the NUK learner cups.

Brushing Teeth: I had to go get a real toothbrush for him once his top teeth came in. The silicone finger one was not protective enough of my fingernail bed. He absolutely loves to brush his teeth. He says, “Teeth! Teeth! Ahhh,” and grabs for the toothbrush. I brush first and then let him go to town. He cries whenever I take the toothbrush away.

Sleeping: Yeah. Kid doesn’t sleep nearly as much as his sister did. And she wasn’t a huge sleeper. He sleeps about 10.5 -11 hours at night and MAYBE 3 hours during the day. Hula Girl really spoiled me as far as a sleeping kiddo goes. But we consistently reinforce good sleep habits, so he naps and goes to bed around the same times every day, and he hardly fights it at all- maybe a bit of crying when he knows it’s naptime. But we don’t have bedtime “battles” at all.

Talking: Still talking up a storm. His favorite words right now are bye, button, hi, ball, teeth, nose, hat, play, amen, apple, eat, nurse, daddy, and night night. He is a very talkative little chap, and his words sound great! I hang out with a lot of little kids, and his pronunciation beats at least two 2-year-olds’. Crazy kid.

Free Play- Gelato is cruising and as of yesterday, he’s letting go and trying out his legs. He’s quite stable- he lasted about 5 seconds before having to grab on again this morning. I was impressed. He can also squat all the way down (while holding on) to pick up a toy. He hasn’t been too interested in a lot of toys lately because he just wants to MOVE. But he does love balls. He’ll toss/push a ball all around the house and chase after it. He also likes obstacle courses with pillows, my body, toys, chairs, or whatever. He loves to scramble from one end of the couch to the other.

Independent Playtime- Still about 30 minutes each day. He’s in the “toss everything out of the pack-and-play” phase. I often come in to find him standing up, chewing on the rail, and waiting for me to put his toys back in. At least he doesn’t cry while he waits!

Personality- here’s an illustration- he skipped his first nap today (totally out of the blue, I have NO idea what caused this) so he was up 6.25 hours before his nap. He was laughing, giggling, and smiling while I put him down. He is just one delightful little man.

Our Schedule:

5:45-6:15 wakes up, plays around in crib
6:45 nurse, eat breakfast, free play
8:45 nap
10:30/45ish wake, nurse, independent playtime, walk, sibling play, lunch, play with Mommy
1:30ish nap
3:00/3:30ish wake, nurse, afternoon whatevers with Mommy and Hula Girl (sometimes we go out, sometimes we stay home)
5:15 eat dinner, then family time
6:00/15 bath, pjs
6:15/30 nurse, bedtime story
6:30/45 bed

Watch for his next summary… one year old. Whoa.

Three Years Old, Hula Girl Style

My little Hula Girl turned three about a week and a half ago. I have been putting off this post just because there is so very much to put into it. But I figured if I don’t do it now, I might forget all the great stuff I wanted to include. So without further ado, I present Hula Girl at three:

Vitals/Medical-

She weighs 34.5 pounds and is 37.75 inches tall, which puts her in the 75th percentiles for both height and weight. This continues to amaze me. Again, Jonathan and I are NOT TALL. So silly.

Her eczema flared up a while back when she went camping. The air was just so dry there. I also think it had something to do with her sleeping in a brand new sleeping bag that I hadn’t washed yet. Other than this incidence, we haven’t dealt with eczema in a very long while.

She had a couple ear infections and colds this winter. She is just not good at being sick. She is not gracious about it at all. She doesn’t just want to lay on the couch and watch movies. She wants to play games, read, snuggle, and basically be all up in my business 24/7. I can totally relate- I still call my Mommy (and cry!) when I feel sick.

She seems to have some kind of breathing/coughing thing that gets irritated in the wind or smoke or when she has a cold. The recent and current fires in our area have really wreaked havoc on her little respiratory system. She’s been waking up several times at night and first thing in the morning coughing really awful-sounding coughs. Poor baby.

Eating-

She is becoming pickier. Over the last couple months, she has actually started to show pickiness, which she has never done before. I think it’s an age thing, because really, what kid likes yellow squash and cucumbers but not zucchini?? I think she just decided she doesn’t like it. And that’s fine. We give her what we are having for dinner (I make sure to include something I KNOW she will like) and she must taste everything on her plate. She tells me every meal, “I must taste it, but I don’t have to like it.” If she wants more of something, she must have at least tasted everything else on the plate. Today she had large helpings of corn and applesauce for lunch, but I insisted on her tasting her cottage cheese and potato first. No big deal. We are just continuing to make no issues over meals.

On the positive side, she is very into fruit of all kinds, except bananas (I can’t blame her on that one- I hate them!). She really loves bread of all kinds. She requests cupcakes, candy, and hot chocolate at least twice daily. She has those treats only on very special occasions, but I guess she figures it never hurts to ask! She has recently been into soup and will actually eat it; this is something totally new to her. Before the age of 3, she never ate soup at all. Macaroni and cheese continues to be the reigning champion in the “foods Hula Girl likes” category.

Sleeping-

She is needing less and less sleep. I have heard that some kids start to skip naps here and there right around this age. Hula Girl has skipped two naps in the last 3 weeks. She just lays awake in bed, singing and talking quietly to herself. Except yesterday she got up out of bed, moved her potty over to stand on it and turn on the light, grabbed her bulb syringe, and was walking in circles sucking out her nose when I found her 45 minutes into naptime. Le sigh. Fortunately on days she misses her nap, we have been able to implement a very early bedtime and she has gone to sleep with no problems. She is averaging about 12-13 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period these days, which is a significant drop from the 15-16 she was getting a year ago. She has not experienced any bad dreams/fears yet. This morning she woke up screaming because her toddler rail had come off her bed and she almost fell out. But other than that, her sleep is still deep and undisturbed, for the most part.

Activities-

Hula Girl has started ballet classes. She looooooves ballet. We practice all her steps at home, day in and day out. Poor Gelato has had to learn how to do first position, and he can’t even stand up on his own two feet yet.

Storytime is still big in our lives. We go every Tuesday, and Hula Girl just loves it. We’re to the point where I remember doing these exact same crafts about a year ago… but she doesn’t. It’s her experience that counts, anyway.

Etc. (We do a lot of the same stuff. Swimming, playground, walks, learning activities, and so on. I just don’t feel like reiterating the content of my entire blog over the past two and a half years.)

Big Sister-

Hula Girl is a fantastic big sister. Her “little Bo” could not be more spoiled or adored by an older sibling. She is constantly talking to him, bringing him toys, and following him around cheering for him. Today he climbed all the way up the stairs and she was right next to him the whole way, saying, “Yay! Another one! Good work, Yeedoo Bubba! Yay! I am so proud of you!” Her enthusiasm over his achievements is absolutely heartwarming.

She is only very slightly jealous of him when Jonathan comes home from work. If Gelato does something cute and both Jonathan and I respond, Hula Girl will be guaranteed to do the exact same thing within about three seconds. Unfortunately, adorable things that area done innocently and sweetly at 10.5 months old are not so adorable when done purposefully and LOUDLY at three years old. But really, this is the only time we see any kind of jealousy.

Personality-

If you were meeting Hula Girl for the first time, this might be your experience. You might walk into our house and see her hiding behind the chair or behind me. You might greet her only to have her grunt out a muffled, “Hi.” You might come sit in the living room and talk to me for a few minutes. Then you might play with Gelato for a bit (who would likely have crawled into your lap and started trying to give you ginormous slobbery baby kisses by now). Suddenly, Hula Girl might come over and tart talking to you, then rope you into playing ponies, then do a puzzle with you, then sit on your lap and bring you book after book after book after book after book… Then you might be told that you are not you anymore; rather, you are an otter. Or a bear. Or a mouse. Then you might be called “Big Mousie” for the rest of your visit/life. And you might be expected to answer a lot of questions about mice, such as what mice eat and where mice live and how mice crawl and why mice like cheese… And if you decide to play hide and seek with her, well, let’s just say you ‘ll have a best friend forever. And I won’t stop hearing your name for weeks after you visit.

She is slow to warm up. Very. But once she’s comfortable, she is impossible to keep quiet or busy elsewhere. She must be part of the conversation at all times, leading us to have to enforce the “interrupt rule” and bust out the phrase, “It is none of your business.” She is very smart and it is therefore fun to talk to her and hear what she has to say. She has a lot to say. All the time. She is inquisitive to the power of annoying. She loves to learn, talk, discover, discuss, pretend, and ask questions. Her brain is fascinating.

God, Jesus, and the Bible-

Hula Girl absolutely loves Jesus. With all her heart. I hope hope hope and pray all the time that her love will turn into a lifesaving relationship with him in her future, when she understands more. For now, she sings praise songs at every quiet moment, prays out loud for everything from her “ouchies” to the fire ants crawling across the sidewalk, and gets a kick out of repeating her memory verses for anyone who will listen. She requests to hear Bible stories frequently and she emulates the way other people show their worship during church (finger pointing, hands outstretched, dancing in the aisles, etc.- she tries them all out).

The other night she pointed to her chest and said, “Right here, under my skin, it is brown.” I asked her why it was brown. She said, “Because God is in here and he wears brown.”

For Posterity-

I read a blog whose author reminded me that I wanted to do a questionnaire each year around Hula Girl’s birthday so some of her thoughts and ideas could be preserved “as is.” Today I asked her these questions at lunch. Some of her answers were funny, some were profound. None of them were surprising, coming from my little compassionate happy Jesus-loving girlie girl.

1. What is the meaning of life? I don’t know.

2. What do you want to be when you grow up? A mommy.

3. What gives you the most happiness? God.

4. When do you feel most loved? When I’m happy.

5. What are you afraid of? Tigers. (This was said after MUCH hesitation- it seemed like she was racking her brain to think of ANYTHING she might be afraid of. We don’t usually discuss fears simply because she hasn’t expressed any as of yet. I am interested to see how this changes in the next year or so.)

6. If you had one wish, what would you wish for? A boat.

7. What is the funniest word in the world? I surely do love you!

8. What is the hardest thing to do? Button my coat.

9. What is the easiest thing to do? Zip my coat.

10. What is the best thing in the whole world? God. No, I know what it is. Going to Heaven.

11. What is the worst thing in the whole world? When you don’t feel good. 

12. What makes you mad? When you cry.

13. What is the meaning of love? I love you! I love you!

14. If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it? I would put it in my flamingo purse. Actually, where is my flamingo purse? 

To My Grown-Up Baby

Dear Hula Girl,

You will always be my first baby. The first baby I smelled in the middle of the night while patting and rocking you gently back to sleep. The first baby I dressed up in supercute albeit ridiculous outfits for trips to the mailbox between naps. The first baby I watched develop and grow. The first baby I fretted over, cried over, prayed over, and loved over and over and over and over. There will never be another first, and I am so glad my first was you.

Your hair is getting long now. It is long enough to get all tangled when the wind whips it while you breeze about the backyard, shoveling piles of dirt and rocks and splashing in the water table. It is long enough to need a brushing when you wake up from a nap all sweaty and groggy. It is long enough to be blow-dried all shiny and fresh in the evenings after your bath. That hair of yours- it’s been tricky throughout your life. When you were a tiny baby still in my tummy, you had a ton of it. It even showed up on the ultrasound! When you were born, we realized it was only long on the back of your head. You had a mohawk for months and months, except for the bald spot that got rubbed off from sleeping on your back. When the bald spot was gone and the rest of the hair filled in, we couldn’t figure out whether your hair would be red like mine or blond like Daddy’s when he was a little boy. Now we can see it’s blond as can be. It looks lovely with your eyes. You know, you cut your hair recently. Right down the middle of your head, on the top, where your mohawk used to be. Perhaps you were trying to give that part of your head the chance to sport the shorter hair for once? Regardless, it was so sad and you cried your little eyes out when you saw what you had done. Don’t worry- I’ve kept the hair for you; your beautiful shiny wispy baby hair.

The other day you told me you want to be a Mommy when you grow up. You said you want to have five kids; 4 girls and 6 boys. I hadn’t the heart to tell you that 4 + 6 = 10. Sweet girl, if you want ten children, I will think you are nuts, but I will help you and give you advice and take your children for you when you just need a break to go to Starbucks for a while. Because, my Love, sometimes I feel like I already know what ten children would be like. And there is just one of you and one of your little bro. Just you wait until your little ones start walking and talking and asking, “WHY?” I promise I will giggle with you and let you vent, but remember that I will also remind you that payback is sweet. Just sayin’.

My little Chickadee, your love for Jesus is amazing. You stop to praise him in the midst of your day, several times each day. Any time you hear of any problem, whether it be dirty dishes or psoriasis, you tell us we need to pray about it. I hope you keep that faith and that your faith does not disappoint you. Daddy and I are working very hard to be good examples for you so that you can see what a life of faith might look like. We hope you like what you see in us enough to want that for yourself. If for some reason we have failed in this, please forgive us and remember that God is bigger than us and he will overcome even our multitudes of failures. If we disappoint you, know that God will not do the same. We’re working hard to do it right, but forgive us for the things we get wrong, for I’m sure those things are many! Above all, I pray that you will one day give your heart to Jesus, fully and completely, and have great joy in the knowledge that you really will be going to Heaven one day. You are so very interested in Heaven right now and to you, it’s the ultimate dream vacation. I really hope to see you there someday!

I am so privileged to be your Mommy and to know that people will compare you to me for the rest of your life. I love being playful with you and I will always enjoy being your mommy otter, beaver, bear, mouse, snake, bee, deer, and any other animal you could ever decide to be. I hope to make you proud someday the way you make my heart proud every time you talk about how much you love your Jesus or your brother or your family. I want you to know that people will tell you you look like me for the rest of your life. Well, my Chicken, that is FANTASTIC NEWS. Because, seriously. Your Mommy looks good. Shiny hair? Check. Blue eyes? Check. Freckles? Check. Dimples? Double-Check. You and I have all kinds of great attributes. We are lucky little duckies and don’t you forget it. But make sure to always brush your teeth, because bad breath will really kill the image. 😉

Well, my little Honey Bun, I just love you so so much. I can’t wait to get to know you even better as you grow up. I enjoy you immensely. And I am SO thankful that you’re you. Love you love you love you. Kiss.

Mommy

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