16 Months

I wanted to do a bit of an update on Silas as he's changing pretty rapidly and i really like having these inventory-type posts to look back on. Silas turned 16 months old two days ago and we've recently moved-out of a few phases that i'm not particularly sad to see go.

He no longer spends 98% of his bath time standing up or trying to climb up the walls. While it helped that he found it hysterical when he slid down into the water on his face, it made bath time terrifying (for me) and frustrating because no amount of no, or distraction, or ending the bath made him sit-down; at least not for more than a minute. The best success we had was when he made a game of plopping down into the water and giggling as the water sloshed out from under him.

Similarly the thrill has worn off going up the stairs at any available opportunity. This was particularly fun while on vacation because no one had gates. Gates are very important when you have a willful toddler hell-bent on climbing the stairs and without them we had a two-week long episode of "catch me before i get up the stairs!"

Silas definitely has walking down-- he doesn't lose his balance often, he walks with his hands at his sides and he's getting more adept at trying to climb onto things. He can get on and off his little push bike on his own and he started pushing his bike forward by himself just a week or two ago.

As i inserted with my late breaking news last night, i think that Silas is starting to round the speech corner. He's definitely trying to imitate words now and while his pronunciation leaves a lot to be desired, he's trying and that's a really big step to have taken-- especially before we have to report back to the Dr at 18 months.

The biggest challenge with Silas is discipline. My feeling is that there aren't that many strategies to play with at this age. The thing about Silas is that none of them seem to have any effect. I've tried getting down on his level and making eye contact while saying no, squeezing his hand while saying no, taking the toy/food/weapon away, putting him in his crib for a minute, and at times yelling. Not only do none of these curtail the behavior (which isn't entirely surprising) they don't get ANY reaction.

Silas is a different type of boy than Henry, and it's not surprising to me that his favorite trick is to stick his fingers into the mucky hole left in our front sidewalk from an old sawed off fence pole. No matter how you approach telling him not to he keeps on jamming his fingers in the hold and doesn't raise an eyebrow while you wave your arms and stomp. In fact now he makes the sound for "yucky" *while* he sticks his fingers in the goo.

I was discussing this with a friend while she watched Silas and i battle over taking bunny for a swim in the wading pool. She commented that it will probably take him a little longer for him to actually respond to our tactics, but she guessed he would always have a defiant streak. Don't i know it...


Working on Words

Similar to Henry, Silas is giving us a run for our money in the late-speech department. I need to go back and read my posts from when Henry was 16-17 months but i think we're about at the same place-- behind. At this point he has a few signs (milk, bye bye, fan, please, sometimes light) and fewer words (hot, hat, and buhbuhbuh for his bunny). Really, that's it. Frustratingly he'll seem to get a new word (past ones included, yes, kitty and cheese) and then stop using it after a couple days. I'm not sure if i'm allowed to "count" that in the number of words he should have at this age or if i'm supposed to restrict my list to only those that make it into regular use.


I started this post this morning and while we were at the pool today he started saying truck. The neat thing about it was that he was doing his normal point and grunt and whimper and get worked up routine and i said truck. He clearly was trying to imitate me and i kept saying truck and he kept practicing and now he has a word that at least to a parent clearly sounds like truck.

So maybe we won't panic after all.


New Car!

We have a new (used) car to unveil! After setting up an alert for newer model Mazda5's with less than 10,000 miles on them, we were lucky enough to get a hit at a local CarMax in just a few days.

We're now the proud owners of what we're calling a "micro-minivan." It has sliding doors on both sides-- three rows of seats (although it seats 6 instead of the 7 a traditional minivan would seat), cupholders galore and gets about almost exactly the same gas mileage our Nissan Altima gets. All four back seats fold flat to produce a nice amount of cargo space and with the six seats, when we have visitors we'll all be able to go somewhere together-- without sending an advance party on the bus.

It's dark blue and the boys are excited-- especially Silas who got his seat turned around now that he's over the weight limit for forward-facing.

Field Trip

Today is Silas' first field trip and possibly Henry's-- for the life of me i can't remember if he's been on one already or not. The boys are headed to the zoo with daycare and Henry has been excitedly anticipating the outing for a few days now. I think he's also been having some fears about seeing all the animals because he's asked me several times if the animals can get out of their spaces. I've reassured him that they can't-- that the animals stay in their spaces and people stay in theirs and that seems to have calmed his fears.

When i asked him what animals he was going to see today (as i know they voted on their favorites in advance) he told me to "wait Mommy, i will tell you at the end of the day." That's his new thing-- he seems to enjoy the power of making me wait and then filling me in only after something has happened. I can no longer get him to conjecture on what he'll do that day; whether it be a park outing, puzzles or puppets he wants to wait until it's happened and then let me know. Unfortunately his powers of capturing a full day's events are somewhat limited so at the end of the day i usually get something along the line of "i was running around and around and then NeNe told me to stop and i listened!"

I've tried to break out more creative questions like "what's the silliest thing you did today, or the most fun thing, etc." This strategy worked exactly once for each question-- now no matter what *else* he might have done he reverts back to the first thing he told me when i asked-- usually involving running around in circles and shrieking.


15 Months, 2 Weeks/ 3 Years, 2 Months

I'm not the type of parent that made a lot of bold "i'll never... " statements when Henry was first born. Which isn't to say that i didn't have a lot of internal expectations-- some of which worked out and some of which have been dashed on the rocks of parenthood.

The area in which reality has veered farthest ashore from my aspirations is food. JT takes food seriously; devoting serious time and research to improving his cooking skills, sourcing local fresh ingredients, and building a repetoir of delicious meals for us to eat. And by us i mean he and I, because the boys will have none of it.

Henry and Silas seemed to start out well, as babies they ate everything they were given: vegetable, protein, fruit or starch. They both seemed to love food and although we had to load all of Henry's meals with cream just to keep him on the weight charts-- he wasn't skinny for lack of eating.

Similarly, both of them hit a picky eating phase about the time they entered toddlerdom. Silas' phase seems to be even worse than Henry's. This isn't encouraging as Henry is still a picky eater. He's had more adventurous periods, but generally he likes what he likes and that ain't much.

Because they don't eat at the same time as we do (hallelujah for quiet dinners after bedtime!) we do we fix a seperate meal for them. Because we aspired to the "don't cook seperate meals for your children" theory we have settled into a gray area where they get a different dinner but it's not actually cooked.

Translation-- days and days of fruit, applesauce, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, mac n cheese, and chicken nuggets if we eat out. For the most part the food they get is healthy, but it's not even really a meal, and it certainly isn't what we hoped they'd be eating. As if to taunt us our friend's kids *do* eat what they eat and they're not just making cheesy chicken over there. The last i was over the girls were noshing on oxtail soup and other wonderful "adult" food.

I recently re-seized the reigns of our children's nutrition and am developing my own repetoir of "non-processed but appetizing to suspicious mouths'" meals. I've got some pizza bagels, quesadillas and tortellini lined up. Any other ideas and i'm all ears. I'm rationalizing that if we can expand the options for what they *will* eat, we can start to fashion more and more palatable dishes out of ingredients that are more varied than mild cheese and applesauce.


Vacation Week 2

Before i completely lose track of the details of the second week of our vacation, i'm finding time to post.

We kicked things off by a visit to the local minor league team. We went last year and Henry LOVED the mascot-- Sherman the Shorebird. He called him the "big booboo" last year and raved about him even when we had returned to Chicago. So, i ordered him a small Sherman doll which i remembered to pack this year (pat on the back for that one) and Henry brought it with him to the game. Turned out we were on the away team's side so Sherman only came over once but Henry was so excited to give him a hug and a kiss. When we got up close he wasn't so sure and only let me take a picture with Sherman quite a few yards in the background. Henry did pay a decent amount of attention to the game and was getting really excited by the bigger kids yelling behind us. He also had a ride on the carousel which he was still a little freaked by but mostly enjoyed.

We took the jet skis out again and Henry did great-- loved it and wanted to keep riding. Even Silas got in on the act and wanted to play on the boat when no one else was riding it.

Silas continued to improve his walking technique and within a few days went from having both arms outstretched, a la the mummy, to just one, to walking with his hands at his side. He's pretty quick to master things once he makes that initial progress.

We alternated pool and beach days and on Friday Henry, my parents and I attended the 4th of July parade. Henry and I had made a "spirit stick" the day before and it didn't take long for him to figure out how to shake it and run after thrown candy. At one point he got really serious and said, "there's candy coming!" He jumped up put the piece he was in holding in our stash and ran back around to be all ready. I can only imagine in a few years he'll be like the older kids darting in and out of the parade to get precious bits of candy.

JT and i celebrated our 8th anniversary while on vacation and had an amazing dinner at the Buttery in Lewes. It was a very relaxing afternoon and even sweeter after our same plans last year were curtailed by JT falling ill.

Finally, we capped off our trip with a day spent back at Oma and Opa's house. They got to see Henry and I again and spend some time with Silas and JT who they missed at the front-end. Uncle Eric spent the day with us as well.

The flight home wasn't great-- we spent an extra hour waiting on the plane but it was manageable and with no other flight plans in sight with the boys not a big deal.

This was a truly great vacation. Good for recharging the batteries, having fun, and taking a break from all the stuff that sucks away at least some of the good times once you're back in real life (i.e. the home refinance, parking sticker, finding a babysitter, etc.)


In the spirit of disclosure

I'm sure i'll be posting a recap of our second glorious week of vacation soon-- but in the event of disclosing what the return to real life has been like i thought i'd post a short vignette on my first morning back.

Wake up to neighbor's dogs barking ferociously at everyone that walks by. Stumble out of bed, hear that neither child ate much breakfast. Get ready to take shower but headed off in the bathroom by said boys and the Mister. Am told the Mister needs to get to work early and can i shower after i take the boys to daycare. Most certainly not. Take boys downstairs to get dressed and try to remember our morning routine. While i pour coffee realize the bathroom door has been left open with (close your eyes this is gross) an unflushed toilet. Find Silas stirring the waters. Some blessing-- it was only liquid and he only used one hand. Wash, soap and scrub Silas' hands and arms as if he's to perform baby surgery. Than wash him down with a generous does of hand sanitizer. Return to coffee. Remember that i used to take a shower while Silas bounced in his doorway bouncer. Herd the boys back upstairs, set Henry up on the computer with a document, hook up the bouncer and install Silas-- take a shower. Thankfully the day looked up from here.

There are new pictures up in the June folder, the bethany beach folder (with a slideshow on the left) and pictures of our backyard and garden in the maplewood folder.