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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!
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