Okay, so maybe it's more like a penguin/crab combo. I've also heard T-Rex. Well, whatever he looks like, he is walking here, there, and everywhere! Actually, he started walking just a few days after my post about our Thanksgiving in Nashville. Of course, he would choose the holiday season to reach this milestone when I had little time to record it and share. I know most of you that read this have already seen him and know that he is whooshing all over the place, but I just couldn't go on with the blog without doing a post about it. Besides, how could I waste such a good title?
With his new found mode of transportation, Caleb has become more busy than ever. It is very difficult to keep up with him. He is never still, unless he's sleeping. When he's out, he's out. I must say that is one good thing about all this activity. Once we get him to be still with his blanket, he is asleep very quickly. The busyness has also made taking pictures more challenging. You will notice that there are very few in which he has taken the time to look at me.
At 16 months Caleb's ability to communicate has increased quite a bit. He still uses his own language when speaking, which continues to entertain us, but his ability to communicate on an emotional level is what has developed the most. He can now show affection in several different ways as well as demonstrate negative emotions. Most mornings I walk into his room to be greeted by a smiling toddler that is standing on his toes in his crib stretching up to give me a good morning kiss. On the other side of this, is the little boy that informs us that he is unhappy with Keith leaving to go to work and that he would rather his daddy stayed and played. He has also developed an new interest in stuffed animals that he can cuddle with. He has a few that are his favorites and will walk around holding and hugging them. He is growing into a busy, but loving toddler.
He has recently recovered from yet another cold. I really wanted to help him fight it off, but when he woke up one morning with one eye almost completely swollen shut, I knew we needed reinforcements. I hope that we have better luck this year than we did at this time last year.
Caleb's understanding of verbal cues has also increased and continues to do so daily. He understands short phrases and is obedient most of the time, thankfully when it is the most important, such as in the bathtub. He hasn't added very much to his vocabulary, but he is using those he has already mastered more often and with more purpose. He says "Hi" a lot, but mostly to the cats, with everyone else it makes few appearances. He asks "what's that?" and points at objects. He has mastered "momma" and says it for many things including me. In addition to words having purpose, objects do as well. Brushes are for brushing hair, phones and remotes are for talking into, remotes are for turning channels, and so on. The phone and remote are his favorites. He spends much of his playtime "talking" on his cell phone or remote, anything with numbers on it.
His play has become more complex as his behavior organizes and his ability to interact increases. I now see some imagination as he manipulates his toys. He pushes buttons, pulls levers, and flips switches all to see the cause and effect relationship. The development of organized play has been the most evident with his bathtub toys. For Christmas his Uncle Kevin and Aunt Jessica gave him some little monsters that squirt water. They are now his favorite bath time toys. He will line them up on the side of the tub, have them speak to each other (I think that's what he's doing), then push them back into the water. I know that doesn't sound like a big deal, but to me it speaks volumes about what is happening in his brain development. His play with Keith and me has also become more complex as he mimics our behavior. He can recall a game that we played with him yesterday and can initiate it. Peek-a-boo is a whole new game now that he realizes that he can use his own hands to cover his eyes and when he does so, we react by playing the game with him.
Other things have remained the same in some ways and have changed in others. He still loves music, but now he can react to it and become a participant. He has found that he can dance even better on his feet and that he can use his voice to create music. He "sings" a good bit while he plays, especially if it is something that he is very interested in or if it is a new discovery. He has a favorite dance in which he walks in circles to the music. It's quite the crowd pleaser.
The past few months have shown a slowing in Caleb's physical development and an incredible increase in his cognitive development. We have been introduced to the wonderful and crazy world of toddler hood and are loving it!
Caleb had himself a very stuffy Christmas in Atlanta this year. Our Christmas Eve was spent running around the metro Atlanta area trying to find a place to get care for our red eyed, stuffy nosed, slobbery, grumpy little prince. My sister, Mindie, recommended a place and it REALLY paid off. If you are ever in the Atlanta area and are in need of a pediatrician, go to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, they are wonderful! Anyway, he received medicine and a blue bunny. Keith and I also got a little something too – relief that he would be back to our smiley Caleb soon, which, as all you parents out there know is a precious gift. So, shortly after midnight we started the first of many medication sessions (dubbed “torture sessions” by my family because he screams so much). By the way, the little angel sleeping in the picture above is Avery. He decided that he was tired, so he took a pillow from off of the couch, put it on the floor, and went to sleep. So cute!
After our Christmas Eve journey we were able to enjoy merry, noisy Christmas. It was so great to have everyone (17 in all) crowded into one house for a couple of days. I love being in a noisy,crowded house during the holidays. It just makes for a merrier Christmas! On Christmas morning the living room was transformed into a sea of wrapping paper and toys. It was a priceless moment as I looked around and saw the people I had once known as the kids swimming in the Wrapping Paper Sea holding cameras, reading instructions, and introducing their own little swimmers to traditions and magical Christmas moments. I now see mothers and fathers who that are building Christmas memories with their own kids and the two generations before getting to watch – it was beautiful.
Caleb was able to spend a lot of time with his Hill cousins while we were there, which was so much fun. He met his cousin Maddison for the first time. She is a beautiful little girl that can melt anyone’s heart. I know she has claimed both her mom’s and dad’s heart. Evan and Avery were loads of fun, as usual. Laycie and Torrie are great entertainers for all the younger cousins which is a big help – they are both so sweet and are growing up entirely too fast! I think Gramma, Nana, and Twodaddy were in heaven with everyone there and so many kids to laugh and play with.
You can really see how sick Caleb was in the picture above. This is after two doses of antibiotics! He was pitiful!
We also had some early Christmases here in Lakeland. Keith and I celebrated a sweet little Christmas with him on the Sunday before, so that we could reduce the amount of items we needed to pack, which was such a good decision. He was happy to wear his Santa hat while he and his daddy ripped into his gifts. Afterward, he munched on some cinnamon twists while Keith put his Little People play set together. The morning was topped off with a trip to church to be encouraged in God’s love. Can you ask for a more perfect Christmas celebration?
Later, we enjoyed dinner and exchanged gifts at his grandma and granddaddy’s house. He was also able to spend time with Mema, Uncle Kevin, Aunt Jessica, and cousin “Thrasher.” Caleb had so much fun with his new cell phone and blocks.
Thanks to everyone for all of Caleb’s gifts! He loves and plays with all of them. The bath toys he received this year were especially nice for me because they have made bath time a little less…trying. Our little home is now filled with toys. I have had to divide them up between the living room and his room because they don’t all fit in one room. Before Caleb came, this was one aspect of motherhood I wasn’t excited about. I was thinking about this yesterday as I was trying to figure out the best arrangement for his little treasures and I realized I don’t mind it at all. I don’t see it as clutter, but rather signs that a little mind is being developed. That he dreams, learns, and imagines here and that I certainly don’t mind cleaning up after that. Of course, one day soon he will be one cleaning up after a day full of learning.
Having a child to share this precious holiday with makes everything so much more special. I get as excited about giving him his gifts as I used to get about my own gifts as a kid. Keith and I return to our own childhood as we share our Christmas traditions with him. This year, what I have loved the most is reading this story of Jesus’ birth to him. Although I know that he probably doesn’t understand much of what I am talking about, I feel that I am planting little seeds of God’s love that will one day grow into a place under which he can find refuge, peace, and strength. Of course, that is something that I get to do every day, not just at Christmas, which is one of my greatest joys as a mother.
The New Year came will more smiles than Christmas. The runny nose and achy ears were all gone and he was completely back to normal. We had a quiet New Year’s Eve celebration here, which was nice. Although I have enjoyed the trips we have taken this holiday season, it was nice to just sit and relax without having to figure out if I had packed everything we needed. My only regret is that we missed the Kelso gathering in Tallahassee, but we decided that it would be best to stay at home and recoup from our travels. Maybe we can make it next year.
We are looking forward to a fun and happy 2010! I can’t wait to see what it holds for Caleb!
Caleb spent his second Thanksgiving in the beautiful state of Tennessee. It was packed with fun activities, good food, and special company.
He did well during the trip up. On our way, we were fortunate to be able to visit with Keith’s cousin, Michelle, her husband, John, and their son, Gabe. They will be moving to Washington soon, so we were very excited to see them before they go. Caleb liked Gabe a lot. He tried to show this by patting Gabe, but the only problem was that Caleb usually had a toy in his hand which I’m sure Gabe did not enjoy. We had a yummy dinner and continued to Atlanta to visit with my grandparents and rest.
Caleb always enjoys my Nana’s silliness when he sees her and this was no exception. She does crazy dances that he doesn’t get around here. He also visited with his Twodaddy , Aunt Mindie, and cousins Laycie and Torrie. He was glad to have plenty of playmates for the overnight stay and was even happier to be out of the car seat.
We arrived in Mt. Juliet, TN late on Monday and Caleb greeted everyone by screaming his head off. I think it was a mixture of exhaustion, frustration, and unfamiliar surroundings. He soon warmed up to things thanks to the three angelic beings that live there – also known as his cousins Owen, Ivan, and Aron. He was watchful for a little while as I tried in vain to get him to eat a good dinner. He started playing soon after and had fun from then on. He also received his first set of Duplos courtesy of his Uncle Kris, Aunt Mary, and cousins. He has really enjoyed them and is trying to get the hang of putting two blocks together. Every once in a while he will be successful at it. Before long he will be making all sorts of things. Thanks guys!
We went for a walk in downtown Nashville on Tuesday. It was a beautiful day for a walk and Caleb took advantage of it a little bit. He even gave us some trouble about staying in the stroller, which didn’t bother me too much. It shows that he is eager to strike out and explore on his own and I am happy to encourage it. It also helped that he can’t walk very well and needs to hold my hand most of the time anyway.
While at a war memorial, Caleb decided that some of the leaves there needed sorting. His grandma and granddaddy told me that he would pick up each leaf, inspect it thoroughly, then carefully set it down on the ground. Organized behavior! I can check that one off the emotional development milestone list!
Wednesday was a mixture of getting ready for Thanksgiving and celebrating Ivan’s 4th birthday. That afternoon, we took a train into Nashville to have dinner. Owen and Ivan loved it, while Aron was less excited about the first trip, but was just fine during the trip home. Caleb was a little different. He was anxious from the start, maybe taking a cue from Aron. I’m not sure what it was that he didn’t like, although I know he wasn’t crazy about the train whistle, but he was very clingy and eventually clung to Keith for the ride into the city and didn’t move until we arrived. He enjoyed dinner and babbled throughout the evening. The ride back was better for Aron, but remained the same for Caleb. He just clung to me until we arrived at our station. It was still a lot of fun and a great idea to celebrate the occasion. Later we had cake and ice cream and Ivan opened his gifts. All in all, an enjoyable evening.
Thanksgiving was a busy day and Caleb was a little more tired than usual which worked out well for preparations. I no longer give him a morning nap, but because he was so tired I thought it was a good idea. So, I was able to eat without having to be concerned with him, which was nice, and he worked up a good appetite for Thanksgiving dinner by sleeping through what is usually his lunchtime. He ate a good bit and enjoyed it. I think his favorite was the sweet potatoes. Later I gave him some of my dessert, a little pumpkin pie and a little apple pie, which he ate gladly.
We also took pictures of the Kelso cousins on Thursday. They weren’t perfect, but I thought they turned out well. To me, they show all the personality of boyhood, which isn’t always perfect but has so much joy and playfulness that it doesn’t matter. Sometimes, it’s an imperfect picture that captures the perfect moment. Mary did a great job of picking out the shirts, they look great!
On Friday, we made the trip to visit some extended family that lives nearby. I always love spending time with Donald and Brooke Kelso (cousins to Caleb’s granddaddy). They have big hearts that seem to have no limit. I was excited at the chance for Caleb to meet them. We had lunch with their family in their beautiful home. In the basement sits a carousel that at one time was in a store here in Lakeland. Donald can remember riding it as a child. He now owns it and his grandchildren ride on it. Caleb got to enjoy it as well. After lunch, he was able to take in some good mountain air while we took a stroll around their property. Later we visited his great-aunt Gloria’s grave. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the area and the sweet little church that she is buried near. I know that the memory of her life is preserved in our hearts, but I couldn’t help thinking how that gorgeous place is a perfect place to preserve the memory of her life. I am so glad that we had the chance to see it.
On Saturday we started the long trip home. Caleb went through periods where he was bored and tired of being trapped in the car seat, but overall he did well. He even slept some, which is unusual for him when on a trip like that. Keith and I were certainly exhausted by the time we made it home, and were very glad to greet our cats as they were to see us. We all enjoyed the holiday. It was a great start to the Christmas season!
On the update side of things, Caleb is doing well. He had a little problem with the sinuses before our trip, but was well before we left. He is struggling a little bit now, but I think it will pass without too much trouble. I am trying my best to stay ahead of it.
He is making great strides in walking since we returned from Tennessee. I think it is a combination of watching his cousins run around and exploring on his own. He uses the wall to steady himself so that he can walk almost anywhere. He will let go from time to time to walk short distances and does very well.
Caleb continues to grow more independent and is more open with his dislike for any situation in which he is not allowed to do something for himself. For instance, dinner time can become difficult if I serve something that I have to give to him instead of allowing him to pick it up with his fingers because it is too soupy.
He loves exploring and is curious about everything. He is especially interested in how things work and will flip his toys over to investigate. However, frustration quickly follows because it seems that he can tell that they have hidden the inner workings and he cannot get to them.
I have been playing Christmas carols a lot lately and he has loved it. He will dance and smile. His favorites are the live tracks when he can join the audience in clapping after the song is through. I am having a lot of fun sharing the joy of the season with him.
Caleb is moving from baby to toddler and while it is difficult to loose the baby,I can rejoice in his pursuit of understanding more about himself and his environment. It is such an amazing process!
Caleb changes so much from month to month. He is now over 13 months old. I think at this point last year we were just getting used to having him around. He didn’t do much more than eat and sleep. The eating, I felt, was constant! Now, I watch him crawl around, talk (well, he seems to think it’s English), and toddle around.
He is starting to interact on a new level. He is now an active part in initiating play. He will peek around furniture, or around your shoulder like he is doing now, to get attention and play. He likes to be silly in his own way and loves it when it makes someone else laugh. Right now his favorites are playing peek-a-boo using whatever piece of furniture available and looking at things while he is upside down (see above picture for further explanation).
We also had a First Birthday Party – The Sequel since the last post. It was a special day for the Kelso side of the family to celebrate with Caleb. I wanted to wait until the last weekend September so that having a party at the park would be more bearable. It was so much fun! There was a nice view of the lake and a breeze that cooled things down a little. Caleb really enjoyed tearing into his cake. He has really gotten very good at demolishing cakes. I think his favorite part of the evening, though, was spending time with everyone! He had a lot of great company to celebrate with him.
He also enjoys all the gifts he has received, from both parties. I have to say, though, that his favorite gift was the set books that Aunt Jan and Uncle Danny gave him. He now prefers to sit and look through books to anything else. If he is particularly grumpy, the only thing that does the trick is to let him sit and look through a book, or two, or three…
I like reading, but he really takes after his daddy with his interest in books. Typically, naptime and bedtime come right after story time. Caleb usually falls asleep before I am done reading the story, but now there are times when he is too interested in the book to fall asleep. Of course, I don’t want to discourage his interest, so I will let him flip through the book or find a smaller book that he can play with while I read. I want to encourage a love for books and learning.
Oh right, the second part of the title for this post is “First Steps!” Yes, Caleb took his first steps a few weeks ago. In the last post I mentioned that he needed some balance and some courage to really get going, and I think he has almost mastered the latter of the two. I would have preferred that he get his balance in order first, but I think that is my fault. I have encouraged him to let go of objects and walk short distances, which he finds fun. Well, it’s more like a step and then a lunge. Of course, I am always there to catch him as I have never been a fan of nosebleeds or anything else that would certainly result from his face meeting the carpet in a not so friendly way. So, now he just has to find his balance. I’m sure it isn’t too far away. He can stand on his own for a few seconds now and seems to really get a sense of accomplishment from it. He’s at the gate and should be off running soon…
You can’t come away from a doctor’s office with a better diagnosis than, “he’s perfect.” She also could have meant that he is a perfect flirt, which he what he does when he’s there, but I think she was talking more about where he is physically and cognitively. However, Caleb would probably say that we could have left a little better. He left with a red, tear stained face. He had to get some shots, which is never fun, but he didn’t do so well this time. This is never easy for either of us, but I know that it is important so that part of it makes me feel better. Of course, Caleb couldn’t care less about that part, so I gave him a snack to munch on and it seemed to distract him from his sore legs. The other results from 1 year visit were all good. He is now up to 25 pounds, 11 ounces and is 32 inches long. Our grocery bill also received good news because he is now on whole milk. A whole new world of food has now opened for him too. He has now had his first taste of eggs. He likes them and I don’t have to feed them to him, so it’s a win-win. He can also eat what we eat now as long as it is easy to chew and in small pieces. So, for the next while Caleb will get to discover lots of tastes and textures. It is going to be fun…and messy, which is okay.
Of course, to me he is perfect in many other ways. We have certainly been blessed with a very compliant, sweet child. I am always being told how good he is. He goes with the flow of things very well. Of course, that isn’t to say that he doesn’t give us clues if he is tired or bored. I think God has given us an “easy one” so that we can get used to being parents, which I think is very thoughtful.
Caleb is extremely observant and is a people watcher. There isn’t much that gets by him, which is both good and bad. No matter what his environment is, he tries to take everything in. This makes it difficult to get him to eat well when we are at a restaurant, but if it is late, it distracts him from being tired. So, I’ll take the good with the bad. I hope this continues to develop in him. Being an observant person certainly has its benefits. Although, I have found that because of this I have to be careful of my reactions to things, because he really pays attention and will react accordingly.
Even though Caleb is compliant, he is determined and goal driven. My brother Shaun and my Nana found this out the hard way not long ago. If he wants to get a better look at something he can be very determined in his efforts. I can appreciate this in him, but can see how if this sticks with him will need some guidance.
Caleb is certainly on the move. I have been told several times how busy he is. He is all boy! He crawls very well and would crawl all over the apartment exploring if I let him. I do sometimes, but only when I am not involved in something else and can keep a close eye on him. He is moving toward walking and will probably be running around here soon, but isn’t quite there yet. We bought him a toy that he can push around and he really enjoys it. He is very disappointed when he runs into something and can’t go any further. I think the only challenge left for him in this is balance and maybe a little courage which I am sure will come before I am ready for it. I am looking forward to seeing him walk because I know that it will open up more opportunities for growth, discovery, and independence.
His love for music is very evident. He prefers toys that play songs or make musical sounds to others that do not. He likes to hear music on the TV and will stop what he is doing at the time in order to listen and dance. He really enjoys playing on his xylophone. He pounds away on it and smiles at the “music” that results from his “playing.” I will be happy to see a passionate love for music continue in him.
Caleb is still a great eater and will eat anything I put in front of him. From spinach to cake, he eats it all. I couldn’t be more thrilled about this. I am not much for pickiness in the area of nutrition, so I really hope this sticks with him. If his taste continues this way, I might have a sushi partner eventually! Even if that doesn’t happen, I will still be happy if he just finishes his vegetables at dinner.
He continues to be very vocal and is still attempting words. He says something like “get” for cat and has said ball, dada, mama, and hey. He doesn’t do these on a regular basis, but every once in a while an actual word will make an appearance. He still prefers to just babble, which is cute. Right now, I think I prefer it. It is so cute to hear all the sounds he makes in order to communicate. His favorite conversation partners are still Churchill and Pippin, who seem to tolerate all of his antics very well.
1st Birthday – Part 1
A while back…and I mean a while back, I had the great idea of having a special birthday party for Caleb and his cousin Avery (who is the same age). I thought it would be fun for them to experience this together. A couple of weeks ago this became a reality, which was a lot of fun. We had a great time with all of them down here, including my grandparents who really enjoyed the visit as well.
We had a wonderful weekend of cake, presents, pictures, and mini-golf (thanks Mindie for all the great pictures). It couldn’t have gone better. My brother Shaun, was so sweet to make the cake, which was great. He also made little cakes for the boys and my niece, Laycie who was celebrating her 14th birthday that weekend.
The boys had a lot of fun with their cakes. We just put a plastic tablecloth under them and let them go. It was fun seeing them interact with cake and icing all over them. As you can see, Caleb even tried to “share” some of his with Avery.
It is always fun to see the two of them together. They are still too young to really know what to do with one another, but I know that eventually they will be getting into all sorts of things together. I can’t wait!
For the day of his birthday, I took him to a park here in town. He really enjoyed it. So far, he likes the swings the best. It was nice to get him out and let him play a little.
Next weekend we will be having another party for him with his Grandaddy and Grandma Kelso and many others. We are looking forward to celebrating the occasion with them and I will be sure to post about his second birthday party.
We have truly been blessed this year. Now, for year two! Let the learning, growing, challenges (in all of us) – and FUN begin!