Yes, the word “two-ray,” created by my niece, Torrie, when she was a toddler, seems to sum up the feelings around here as we dive into the fun, ever increasing, and sometimes volatile world of the two year old. I used to cringe at the thought of having a two year old. I’ve heard the horror stories and seen the worn, frazzled faces of mothers who just can’t take one more thing their toddler dishes out. However, now more than two months into it (and yes I know we’ve got a ways to go yet), I have found it to be a lot of fun and just, well, precious.
Caleb continues to be an independent, but obedient little guy who loves to laugh and be silly. Even though at times he likes to be quiet and enjoy a book, he is certainly all boy and likes to run around making lots of noise. I have found his need to jump, run, wrestle, throw, and destroy (only his toys of course) to be ever increasing. Having all that energy and noise around has been wonderful. I love listening to it. It also helps me keep track of what’s going on; if things get quiet I know to check on him. Caleb’s love for all things boy has not overshadowed his sweetness, but has instead seemed to highlight it. He still gives plenty of hugs and kisses through the day and will even cuddle sometimes.
The two-year checkup went well, as it always does. He was even braver than I was when they had to stick his finger to do blood work (all of which came back fine). He is around 32 pounds and very tall. My only complaint is that he grows out of his shoes too fast, which is a good problem to have so I’m not really upset about it. The summer has given us a break from the frequent nose issues. They have recently made a comeback, but I am determined that they won’t be the constant bother this year as they have been in the past.
Travels, parties, and learning have been the name of the game since the last post. In August, we made a very long overdue trip to Tallahassee to see the Kelso family up there. Grandma and Grandpa were as thrilled to see him as we were take him. He had fun reading and cuddling with Grandma. He spent most of his time following Grandpa around the house and the garden with an extra cane. He continues to use a “cane” sometimes when he can find one, such as his bat. They spoiled all of us with good food, laughs, and sweet stories. We won’t wait so long next time!
In September, our travels took us to go see his cousins, Evan and Avery, to do an early celebration for both Caleb and Avery’s 2nd birthdays. Uncle Shaun, Aunt Robyn, Grandnana, Twodaddy, Aunt Mindie, Laycie, Torrie, and Bah (Caleb’s name for my mom) were all in attendance. The theme was Toy Story, which was perfect. Both of the boys really like the characters and were thrilled to see them on plates, cups, balloons, and more. The visit in itself was wonderful, as always. I enjoy watching all of the boys play together and it just gets better the older they get. It’s also great to see the girls interacting with and entertaining the younger ones. I’m so glad that we live within a reasonable amount of time from one another so the boys can celebrate together with family. I can’t thank Aunt Robyn and Uncle Shaun enough for allowing us to invade their house. And on top of that, they did ALL the work for the party. Shaun made an incredible cake and Robyn did all the planning and got all the decorations. It was fantastic guys, thanks again.
A party was held later just for Caleb so that his Lakeland family could celebrate with him. Again, we were fortunate to have family sweet enough to let us invade their house. I love our little home that is just perfect for us, but it is way too small to hold any event of this scale. Although, in some areas of the country, a September birthday is the perfect reason to spend an afternoon at the park, this is not the case in Florida. So, Grandma and Granddaddy Kelso opened their home to us. We filled it with around 20 adults, several kids, and Veggie Tale decor. I must say that I was quite proud of the decorations. I couldn’t find any decorations that were within a reasonable budget, so I decided to make them myself. Those that know me well know that Martha Stewart-ish stuff is not my strong point, but I think I did okay. It involved a lot of coloring, cutting and gluing. The bonus is now we have some stuff to decorate Caleb’s “big boy” room with, but more on that later. I also tackled the cake on my own with my own idea. I was happy to hear the compliments and that my hard work had paid off in a somewhat cute cake. It was a great day for Caleb and thanks to everyone who came and made his day so special. And thanks too, to everyone that lives a little too far away, but thought about him on his birthday. You are important and appreciated as well.
October was a lot of fun this year. We paid a visit to a local pumpkin patch where we picked out our “cat pumpkin.” Halloween was great this year because he is finally old enough to enjoy dressing up…well, sort of. He was Woody this year. As you can see it isn’t an exact match, but I pieced it together rather well, I thought and he looked awfully cute. We took him, along with his new friend, Noah, to a festival at Southeastern University, where they played a few games and got some candy.
The weeks leading up to and just past his birthday have brought with them an explosion of growth and changes. He is an active part of conversation and processes throughout the day. He is no longer in his own world, but is very interested in the world around him and the activities of others. He wants to know the names of objects, what someone is doing, where objects and people have gone, and so many other things. He isn’t shy about asking, which means I answer countless questions every day, but that means he’s learning and I’m okay with that.
He not only likes to receive information, but enjoys sharing it as well, which is simply what he uses to reinforce the concept to himself. For example, most Tuesdays he will give the person bagging our groceries a vocabulary lesson in which he will name off several of the items that we have purchased as well as some other things in his immediate surroundings. That, accompanied with his sweet little grin and his recently departed curls have resulted in more than one comment about how cute he is, with which I certainly agree. He’s also had cookies offered to him, but our trips are way too close to his dinner time for me to accept those. The gesture is sweet nonetheless.
Playtime has changed a lot. He is no longer interested in an object simply because of its color, texture, etc., but is more interested in the toy itself and what it can offer to his playtime. For example, cars go “vroom, vroom” and he can race them around the kitchen which is lots of fun; therefore, Caleb likes to play with cars. He has started to create scenarios and has begun showing his imagination. Toys converse with one another, trains crash into cars, and pirates explore the unknowns of the bathtub. He remains happy to play by himself and doesn’t seem to have any trouble making things up on his own. His interest in characters has also grown. He identifies those that he is familiar with and can show favoritism for them, which has made passing by almost any toy aisle a thrill. Currently, he loves all things Toy Story, Thomas the Tank Engine, Veggie Tales, cars, trains, and planes. There is a thing about a purple dinosaur, but I’m pretty sure Keith would rather I not go into that one.
It isn’t all action, though. He still enjoys a few quiet activities, one of which has recently caught my attention. He loves puzzles or anything that uses the same basic idea. He can sit and play with a puzzle almost all day. The other day, he brought home a Mr. Potato Head home from Grandma and Grandaddy’s and spent most of the next week designing and redesigning the toy’s face. He enjoyed seeing all the different ways he could put it together and the different looks he could make. I also see this a lot in his play with his Duplos, which are still among his favorite toys. He will design something, but then he will move some of the pieces around to different places. He can sit and do that for a long time.
I have especially enjoyed his increase in communication. He no longer babbles in his own language, but uses English, and he uses it better every day. Communication has almost reached two-way, with a few exceptions. There are still concepts that he can’t understand, but he understands most instructions and can answer most questions. The only problem is that some questions are answered with an enthusiastic “yeah” when I know for a fact he really means “no” or vice versa. The cutest so far is when he answers questions such as, “what color is this?” with “yeah” or “nope.” However, my favorite answer is the one he gives to the question, “who loves you?” to which he answers, “God.” He will also name off several others, but his first answer is always “God.” His vocabulary continues to grow and he will at least try to say just about anything he hears. He loves to repeat things, except for when he is asked a question. Even manners have made their way into his vocabulary. He says “thank you” very well, but “excuse me” is used the most. Many times, if he walks past someone or the cats, he will say a very cute “cew me.” We are currently making a lot of progress with "please."
Caleb has started to count and identify colors and animals. He can count to three on his own and will count to ten if helped. Sometimes, he can tell what color an object is, but most of the time it’s green or yellow. Right now, his favorite game is to identify animals and the sounds they make. My favorites are elephant and monkey. I can’t explain the noises he makes for them; you’d just have to hear it for yourself. I’m beginning to see a trip to the zoo in the near future.
Potty training continues to go well. We are still taking things slow and simply watching for him to tell us when he is ready for things. There are days when he just isn’t interested, but those days have become fewer and he is excited to be a “big boy.” I am excited at the number of diaper changes and purchases being reduced.
“Big boy.” The term is used more and more around here. It is all too true that the bits of baby are all but gone; he really is a little boy now. Some of the last few pieces fell to the floor a few weeks ago in the shape of soft curls and were lovingly scooped up into a small envelope and placed in his room to await their turn to be put into his baby book. His room is even showing the change as nursery pastels change into boyish bolds. A crib has transformed into a bed. Stuffed animals and rattles have been replaced with things that race, fly, and chug down tracks. Legos, cowboy hats, balls, and Viking helmets dot the floor. I miss the baby, but it is amazing to watch all that God has placed in him begin to emerge. Oh, the plans that He has for this little man (Jer. 29:11)…
Yet again, two months have passed without a post and, again, we’ve been busy. Lots of things have been going on during this time, so hold on while I review the highlights.
Physically, Caleb is doing very well! We haven’t been to the doctor since the croup issue and we are so thankful for that. He is getting so tall and is looking more like a little boy and less like a baby every day, which to me, has its good and bad points. I am trying to focus on the good though. The two teeth that have been causing so much trouble have finally come through and are being followed quickly by a third.
One big task we have started is preliminary potty training. I will spare you the details, but he is doing extremely well. I call it “preliminary potty training” because it is just getting him used to the process and the idea without pushing him. This has started much sooner than what I wanted, but, as his progress has made plain, he was very ready. I am very excited about how well he’s doing and I hope it is a sign that actual potty training will not be too difficult.
In June, we took our annual trip to St Pete Beach. What a fun week! Caleb was able to see all of his Hill cousins, aunts, and uncles. Of course, his Gramma, Grandnana, and Twodaddy were there for all the excitement. Our days were filled with sun, sand, and water. As I mentioned on the last post, we are dealing with the discovery of danger which caused the water portion of vacation to be slightly different from last year. My post from last June included pictures of a smiley faced boy floating in the pool. This year, he was not a big fan of the pool. At the beginning of the week, he was very clingy and only wanted to sit on the side and watch everyone else. This was okay because his cousin, Avery, kept him company. Keith and I decided to continue encouraging him to get into the water and by the end of the week he had begun to enjoy playing on the steps with his cousins Evan and Laycie.
To our surprise, the ocean was a different matter entirely. Most small children don’t like the openness of the ocean and prefer the pool because it is calmer, predictable, and smaller. Caleb, however, LOVES it! The first time we went to the beach, he and his daddy built his first few sand castles and after the demolition on those was finished we headed out to a very choppy ocean. I was somewhat hesitant to take him out there, but we decided we should try it and I’m so glad we did. He really enjoyed the waves and didn’t mind the water splashing him in the face. In fact, the more he was hit with the salt water, the more he laughed. I enjoyed it too, but most of all I liked the feeling of relief that I had about him having a good time.
Not all of our time was spent on the beach or in the pool. We decided to visit a local aquarium while we were in the area. All of the kids really enjoyed seeing the dolphins, otters, turtles, and fish. We even got to see the famous Winter up close. It was a nice change to our daily routine and go somewhere together.
We also took the opportunity celebrate some pretty important people and their accomplishments while we were all together. His cousin, Maddison, turned 1 in late June, so we had an early birthday party for her. It was so much fun to see her tear into her cake. She’s such a doll! I can’t believe she’s already a year old! We also had a luau for Gramma, who recently graduated with her Bachelor’s degree. Caleb had so much fun with all of the things we did together and even came back with a great tan.
July brought an opportunity for Caleb to experience his first fireworks show. We went to a local event the city holds every year. He got to run around in the little bit of rain that was coming down and watch all the people that had come out to celebrate. He doesn’t seem to have too much use for the pyrotechnic portion of the day’s activities yet, but I imagine that will change next year.
Caleb has also added to his treasures and I have been able to finish a project that has been nagging at me for a while. I have mentioned before how much I would like to create a family photo album for him in order to acquaint him with everyone’s faces and names. I think this is especially important to do with family members that don’t live close so that he feels a connection with them even though he only sees them once in a while. Well, thanks to his Grandaddy, he now has something even better! Grandaddy gave him an old laptop computer that wasn’t being used so that he could be like mommy and daddy and use the computer without doing damage to important equipment. The next day, it dawned on me that I could seize the opportunity for the family album using the computer. So, now he has a Power Point slideshow on his laptop that has pictures of all of his immediate family and I am very excited about it. Names are slowly being learned, and there are a few that can be said just about every time. With the exception of Mama, Daddy, and Abby, he says his cousins names the best and sometimes says all of them. Those of his immediate family reading this, he says “night, night” to all of you every evening before he goes to bed.
One night while looking at the family photos, I noticed that he has memorized the order of the slides and says some of his favorites when he knows they will be appearing soon. I am amazed that he has already memorized the order. What has surprised me the most is that when a name is said, even when he’s not watching the slide show, he will sometimes say the name of the person that comes next.
Along those same lines, he has figured out that some people have similarities or special connections and it seems that he sees them as a unit. Mama is preceded or soon followed by Daddy and Churchill is followed quickly by Pippin. I am fascinated as I see him start to “put two and two together.”
He has started to understand processes too. When we come home, we take off our shoes; a nap always follows lunch, and other such daily activities. It has been fun watching him learn this and want to carry them out on his own. It also makes these things go quicker and smoother and I’m always glad to see that.
Caleb’s vocabulary grows daily now and is sometimes very surprising. Not only can he name the object, but can sometimes mimic the sound it makes. This is particularly entertaining when he attempts to communicate with an animal by mimicking the sound it makes. He is attempting phrases, most of which cannot be understood, but there are some that are recognizable and the others are getting clearer every day.
Communication has improved immensely and is coming closer to two way communication. He understands some questions and can answer with “yes “or “no”, although most of the time the I get “no” even when he means “yes.”. Because of his progress we are encouraging him to say what he wants instead of simply crying and it has worked in many cases. I am glad to see that this has reduced some frustration because he is better able to communicate his wants and needs and I am better able to understand.
Attachment to items has developed recently and he already has a number of items and characters that he favors He insists that his Woody and Buzz placemat be in attendance at every meal. It’s really funny when he sees the two characters on an item in a store. He will point and proudly announce that he sees Woody and Buzz. We are teaching him the phrase “To infinity and beyond,” but right now he just puts his hands in the air and babbles something in the same tone and with plenty of excitement. He really likes Woody and Buzz, but more than them, he loves Veggie Tales, which he calls “Deba.” On difficult days, this is really a blessing because it holds his attention and gives me a little break. I am glad that he enjoys the shows so much because they teach really important messages and will have a lifelong effect as he grows older. Because he loves them so much, I have decided that his Lakeland birthday party will be Veggie Tale themed and I’m very excited about it.
As you can see we've had a lot of fun the last couple of months, and with his 2nd birthday right around the corner, I'm sure we're going to have a lot more!
The past two months have been filled with events, issues, and of course, changes for Caleb. The changes have not been major, but are small differences that show he is tapping into different facets of his personality. He continues with his growth physically and cognitively. His understanding is always growing to include more. Instead of being able to carry out a request that only involves his immediate area, he can now go into another room and come back to complete the task, such as getting a diaper for his diaper change. Caleb has also become quite the little helper. I was fixing breakfast one morning and I saw him bent over, his blanket underneath him. He was scrubbing away at a spot on the floor. So, I gave him a wet paper towel and let him go at it. That same morning he put a pot holder away without me asking. I have never asked him to do that before and I didn't know that he knew where to put them. Later that day after Keith got home, we saw him running down the hallway with his daddy's shoes. He knew they were supposed to go in our room, so he put them there. So, I've put him to work. He now helps me put groceries away, put laundry in the washer, and we have a toy clean up session before bed each night. I have been thrilled with how eager he is to help. He seems to get such a sense of accomplishment from it and I am more than happy to encourage it.
Caleb has also shown an increase in decision making ability. He can look in the refrigerator and, to an extent, pick out what he would like to eat. One day, before I had realized his new ability, I had opened the refrigerator to see what to make for lunch. Caleb reached in a grabbed a container of leftover carrots. I just knew he couldn't actually want those, but he was adamant. So, I cut them up and he ate them with joy. A year ago they made him gag! This has its pros and its cons, but I am enjoying his ability to express his preference.
He has begun to mimic what we say as well as what we do. He likes to comb his hair and put on his shoes. He'll even rub his hands together to wash them. I love how he soaks up everything around him. It can be surprising what he takes in when I don't even realize he's paying attention. He will even try to repeat what we say. At first, it still sounds like nothing but gibberish, but when you listen closely, you can distinguish something that sounds like English. He says "Where did it go" and "It's you." He says some others, but I can't think of them right now.
There has been a new growth in his emotional development, the understanding of fear. Really, it is more of an understanding of danger and that not all situations are safe and that not everyone provides the same security as mommy and daddy. Although, this comes with knew challenges for both Caleb and for us, such as visits to the nursery, I am happy to see it arrive. This isn't because I want him to be afraid or to cling to me and Keith all of the time, but it is a time for him to develop caution that provides safety for now and when he gets older. It is a time for Caleb to grow in facing fears while being able to depend on the security we provide. I see an opportunity to strike a balance between caution and facing one's fears that will stay with him when we no longer provide that security. So, for now, we are walking that line of showing him that not all things are scary, but sometimes it's okay to be afraid.
Caleb has stayed busy in other ways besides growing. He's had events, visitors, and some not so great days too. Right now, he is working on some new teeth. This is never pleasant and has caused some sniffles and grumpiness. However, I hope to have something to show for it soon. At the 19 month point we got our first experience with croup. In fact, our Easter was, well, croupy. Caleb has had several bouts with sickness, but this was a little different. It wasn't just the sniffles and a fever, this was horrible, as I'm sure many of you know. The coughing fits were terrible and made him gasp for breath and it came complete with a raging fever. The first fit came late at night and was very scary. That night, I slept sitting up in a chair with him on my chest so that we could sleep. I know I got more sleep in that chair than I could have in my own bed that night. Recovery was slow, so we were still dealing with the remnants on Easter weekend, but we were still able to do a small Easter egg hunt that he had no interest in at all.
It hasn't all been bad, though. We've had some great celebrations, one of which brought some special visitors. On May 1st his Gramma graduated with her Bachelor's Degree. We actually took him to the ceremony, which stressed me out at first. However, I left the ceremony thinking how great it was that we took him. He enjoyed the singing during the first part and watching all the graduates walk into the auditorium. I let him run around the lobby during the "speech" which was nice because it got me out of having to sit through it. He went back in to see his Gramma walk, which was special. More than anything else, he enjoyed listening to all the celebration as everyone got their diploma. He didn't even mind the blow horns. He laughed and clapped and just had a lot of fun. That weekend he spent time with his Grandnana and Twodaddy who had come to see mom graduate. It was so great to see him have fun with my Nana's silliness. And he loved playing with his new trains and with his Twodaddy. Aunt Mindie and cousins, Laycie and Torrie, dropped by as well. Caleb really enjoys his cousin Laycie and Torrie is always so sweet.
While I was writing, he took a tissue, wiped his nose, then threw the tissue away - I love it!
Anyway, today, we went to his cousin Thrasher's 1st birthday party. It's hard to believe that he is already a year old. He is so sweet and cuddly. I hope that Thrasher stays around so that he and Caleb can be good buddies. Kevin and Jessica are two really wonderful people and have taken this little guy into their home and showered him with all that he needs. I know that even if he doesn't stay all the love and care they have poured into him with stay with him. We were so very happy to celebrate this day with him, he is such a sweet little blessing!
Hopefully, I won't wait so long to write the next post. I know I'll have a lot to share and a lot of pictures!
Caleb has now reached the 18 month milestone! In many ways, this one has been the same as other milestones, but in some ways, it has been very unique. It is so much fun to have an 18 month old in the house. There is never a dull moment! He’s always on the move and exploring! He continues to be a very good toddler that is fiercely independent and but incredibly sweet.
According to his 18 month check-up, he is doing well. He continues to be above average in height and weight. He received only one shot (and did great by the way) and isn’t due for any more until he is five. That was a very welcome piece of news. His molars are still coming in and it seems that a couple of them are taking their time in breaking through completely. We will all be happy when the teething process is over. Then daddy can take over the whole “pulling teeth thing."
This month, we took a trip to see his cousin, Evan who turned five on the 17th. He spent time with the birthday boy and cousins, Avery, Laycie, and Torrie. We were also able to catch up with his Uncle Shaun and Aunts, Robyn, and Mindie. Twodaddy and Grandnana also dropped by for some fun. Our visits to Macon are always so great.
He played well with everyone, including Avery. I was especially glad to see them connect. They are both so sweet and didn’t even fight over any toys. I have been thrilled with his social skills. Although, at times he can seem uninterested in interaction, he has not shown signs of aggression. He is a normal toddler in that he has to learn to share, but that doesn’t seem to bother him. However, he doesn’t allow others to bully him. I hope this nice balance sticks around!
Caleb has added a few more phrases and words to his vocabulary. “Go away” is something he hears a good bit, and no it is not directed at him, and he says it quite well. He can also say “ball,” “juice,” “dog,” “meow,” “woof,” “bubble,” and several others. Because he is able to repeat words pretty well, I have started to teach him the names of family members. Some of them come out very clear, and others are just funny. “Abby” comes out the clearest. He adores his Aunt Abby, and happily says her name. “Nana” is another one that he has mastered. We had a little fun the other night with names and had some laughs with the way that he says them. He attempts “Avery,” which is cute. My favorite is Owen. He actually says “O-ey.” It’s precious! Now, I just need to make an album for him so that I can point to faces as I teach him the names. So many projects…
I have also seen that he is starting to understand and recognize surroundings more. Every time we drive up to Southeastern University, he says “Dada” over and over because he knows he is about to see his daddy. He understands that the doctor’s office isn’t always a pleasant visit and gives the nurses disapproving looks.
This month has brought with it subtle, but important changes. It marks the time for Caleb to start pulling away from me and identify with his daddy in order to develop his masculine identity. This will take a long time, but this early period is very important. He is so blessed to have a daddy that he can look up to, spend time with, and learn from. Not all little boys get such a privilege. I have backed away a little in order to provide activities that are just their own so that this process can begin. Caleb’s favorite games to play with just his daddy are crashing cars and building with Duplos. It gives me a little “mommy time” too! Okay, so most days it’s dinner prep time, but at least I’m not chasing after anybody. I am now the kisser of boo boos, the wiper of tears, and biggest encourager. Daddy is now the one to follow after.
Backing away has given me the opportunity to see little cracks appearing where a little boy peaks out as he tries to break through the shell of infancy. My first reaction to seeing him look out at me was to find something to seal up the openings. I rushed to find anything, a toy or outfit that will make the little boy retreat and the baby stay longer. As I reached for the glue, I stopped and realized that there is no amount of adhesive that will close the cracks. I must allow Baby Caleb to give way to Super Caleb – the little boy who prefers to wear his blanket as a cape instead of sleep with it. As my role changes, I will celebrate the journey from baby to boy and hold on to what my mom told me when she found out that we would be welcoming a boy into our lives: “Little boys always love their mommies.”
“Uh, oh” is a phrase I hear a lot these days. Caleb has started to move from non-verbal to verbal communication. The change has been slow, but compared with last month he has made great strides in the process. “Uh, oh” is currently his favorite, and most of the time he uses it correctly. At other times, he just wants to experiment with it. “Uh, uh” with a shake of his head is also pretty popular and is the answer to most of my questions no matter his feeling on the subject. Right now, his vocabulary seems to be based around circumstances and occurrences instead of objects or people. However, I have already seen some changes in that. Last week he began calling our cat, Churchill, by name. It comes out pretty clear and is attached to just about any cat he sees in a book and some of his favorite toys. For the most part though, it is attached to his favorite “toy” in the house and that is the furry creature that tries to get away when he hears his name squealed with joy. Along with this he continues to say “hi” (only to the cats), “mommy,” “daddy,” and a variation on the word, “tummy.”
All of this verbal communication has not decreased his ability to physically communicate his emotions. His ability to show affection has gone from my requesting it to him giving it freely. He has his own version of a hug, which involves him laying his head on you and giving a sigh and an “mmmmmmm.” Churchill currently holds the record for receiving these (when Caleb can catch him), but I am a close second…okay, so maybe not close. He is definitely able to say, “I love you,” he just doesn’t say it yet.
I have been pleased to see his understanding of words and objects increase since last month. He understands longer sentences and more complex ideas. For instance, I can ask for a kiss and a hug and he responds accordingly even if he is across the room from me. He can tell me what he needs by reaching for the object that will fulfill it, such as his juice or cheerios. He knows that shoes go on his feet and he likes to try to put them on whenever he gets a chance. Currently, he is pointing at our DVD player (something I just told him not to touch) and saying “uh, uh” while shaking his head. Of course, in another little while, he will forget and I will have to go back over the boundary marker. As the popular saying goes, communication is a two way street and it looks like we will be zooming down that highway in no time.
Caleb has also developed a lot in a whole new area - social skills. He now wants playmates during his playtime, which is a big change from what has been his usual preference for independent play with interaction with others accepted, but not necessary. Keith and I are now the readers of books, throwers of balls, huggers of stuffed animals, and the watchers of dances. This has been very enjoyable, but not without its drawbacks. I now know nursery rhymes more than I did 6 months ago and have recited the “1,2, buckle my shoe” (his favorite) rhyme countless times in the past week. Of course, there is the inevitable “mommy is busy” moment when he proudly wants me to read to him that causes some issues. However, it has caused me to re-evaluate the “important” activities for the day. Is it more important for me to check my email or to spend 2 minutes with a little boy that won’t be so little soon? No, not really. Okay, well, maybe if I have to read “1,2, buckle my shoe” again. No, email still isn’t as important.
Now, to what do we owe all this growth? There are a few things, including just the natural process of development. However, I think I can attribute a good portion of it to a 2 year old boy named Carter. Carter is Caleb’s new playmate and what a little team they make! Even though Carter is a little more than 6 months older, Caleb towers over him. However, what Carter doesn’t have in size over Caleb, he has in cognitive and social abilities. Carter has really made a difference in Caleb’s vocabulary and has taught him the phrases like “uh,oh” and “uh, uh.” In addition to this, Caleb has recently approved Carter’s application for interaction. They now play with toys together and will even make up games together. With this increase in playing with another toddler has come the need for Keith and me to be his playmates at home. It has been fun watching the boys get to know one another and form a friendship. I think it’s been really good for both of them.
Caleb has also grown physically. At his 15 month check up, his doctor told me that his legs would start to lengthen as the growth of his torso slowed. I have started to see this happening. I looked at him just a couple of days ago and was surprised to see that his legs had actually gotten longer. I mean, a lot longer. Goodness, what are we going to do about pants with this kid? We have also been through a fun round of teething. Okay, so “fun” is the wrong word, but at least it is over…I think. He is now up to 12 teeth. His 18 month molars broke through in the months of January and February and not quietly, either. However, through all the trouble we are happy to see them. I am especially happy that I won’t have to take so much time to cut up his food now that he has teeth to do a little more crushing. Of course, that doesn’t mean I won’t do it at all, it just won’t take as long.
This month has also had some unexpected, but always enjoyed, visitors. The Tennessee Kelsos came for a short visit last week. I was relieved that we were able to spend some time with them even though we were all fighting colds. Caleb was a little more mobile than he was at Thanksgiving and was able to run around with Owen, Ivan, and Aron. I am excited to see their relationships grow as they get older. I am also very excited that I actually remembered my camera this time and was able to snap a few pictures! They enjoyed playing on Grandma and Granddaddy’s back porch, and I just had to capture that.
I know that I will probably say this many, many times, but I have to say that this stage might be my favorite. His personality is growing, his is starting to show a need for relationship with others and is expressing it, and is just, well, extremely cute. I know that this stage also comes with a lot of discipline and testing of boundaries, but that is so small next to the bigger things happening. I am proud of my little toddler. His mind and body are growing at very fast speeds. On a daily basis, he has to learn to deal with new concepts and new abilities as his development proceeds that weren’t processed the day before. I know it has to be so overwhelming at times, but he is dealing with it very well. That isn’t to say we don’t have “toddler days,” but overall I think he has done great so far.