(Humor me, if you will, and imagine this was posted on Arden’s birthday, March 25th…)
What a year it has been. My little baby has grown from a completely dependent little tiny thing who only ate, slept and produced soiled diapers into a walking, babbling toddler. In some ways I feel like I have a completely different child at the end of his first year. But what I know has really happened is that he has more and more grown into his big personality and revealed to us little by little who he is. And I just love that little boy!
I guess I’ll just go down the list and describe where he is at in different areas. A little grace is needed as it has been almost a month since he actually turned one, so some of these things may not have been true a month ago. We’ll see.
Height and Weight: As of his birthday, he was 23lbs 11oz and 29.25 inches. 75% weight, 50% height, and 98% head circumference (insert crying-while-laughing emoji here — I knew he had a big head!!). So all in all, he is growing really well!! Loving his big belly, fat feet and toes, pudgy arms and legs these days. I just want to bottle up the way he is right now forever. It’s SO cute!
Other Physical Developments: He had 8 teeth as of 12 months. Right now, at almost 13 months, he still has 8 teeth, making this the longest stretch since 6.5 months that he has gone without growing a tooth. Haha! But judging by the way he has been a drool factory for weeks and has done some brief night-waking I’m guessing some other teeth are trying to come in.
Also, one defining physical characteristic since he started really walking has been the presence of a bruise somewhere on his forehead, almost every day. He just kind of falls a lot, usually when he’s trying to walk faster than his feet can keep up with. He is good at catching himself with his hands, but sometimes something else is in the way right by his head, and…bonk! Cry. Console. Start playing again after about 30 seconds. Repeat :)
Mobility: Well, he’s a-toddlin’, that’s for sure! He took his first official step a week or so after he turned 11 months, but it was a couple weeks before he really started walking. But let me tell you, he is getting really fast! Thankfully he hasn’t tried climbing a whole lot yet… I know that’s coming soon though. As always, I’m bracing myself! ;) To be honest, I really do love the fact that he’s walking now. It’s definitely not as “scary” as I thought it would be. It’s great because I don’t have to carry him everywhere anymore, especially outside. Around the house he could crawl, but when we get outside it has just been too messy and the risk of everything going in his mouth has been too high until just recently. Let me tell you: on good weather days when we can go outside and he can walk around and play with a ball or something while I sit and watch… it’s pure bliss!! One great investment we made was to buy him these leather-ish slip on shoes from Target. They look like real shoes but they aren’t as bulky, while at the same time being thick and sturdy enough to walk on outside. They are great!!
Words: This boy loves to babble. Especially when he is just playing at home by himself, he just babbles all day long. Most of the time he repeats the same sound over. and over. and over again! He still says “dah” and “bah” sounds the most, but lately I have noticed him adding more complicated sounds like “r”, “ch” and lots of “ssssss”. But to the cute stuff: his actual words. Of course he still says dada and mama, ball and uh-oh. But here are some of his new ones:
–“ba-ba” — means a lot of things :) But most recently I have noticed he says that in reference to babies and bananas. I have been watching my friend’s baby the past few weeks and he will point to her and say “baba”. He hasn’t figured out how to make a long “a” sound yet so it’s still all short vowel sounds. But it definitely also means banana too :). –“chsssss” — okay, this is one that TOTALLY took me off-guard but it is so stinkin’ ADORABLE. It actually took me a little while to figure out that he was really trying to say a word. When he says that, he’s saying “cheese”. This boy loves mozzarella cheese sticks and has been eating them for a few months now. I noticed him making that sound but didn’t connect it until I realized that he was making that same sound every time I was giving him cheese. Now it makes total sense and sounds clear as day to me. So funny!
–“cruh-cuh”— that’s as close as I can get to how it really sounds — but he’s saying “cracker” –most of the time in reference to a graham cracker:). This is another one it took me a little while to connect what he was saying. Again, so stinking cute. What’s funny to me is that these aren’t words that I imagined being among his first words. I guess I thought he would say “milk” or “water” or “more” first (Lord, please, help him to say “more” and “please”. Those are two words I have been trying to teach him with the sign language since he was six months old. My guess is that he knows it but just doesn’t have enough motivation yet to start using it. Sigh.).
Anyway, this boy keeps me on my toes! This is a fun time because I know that new words could pop up any day. I’m always listening to try and see if he’s trying to say something. He’s smart and loves to read books and babble so I’m predicting he will continue to be a very verbal child as he grows up, just like his mama!
Eating: This is one area that changes sometimes daily! But here are foods that he consistently likes:
-Whole Milk (the transition was seamless!! Thank you Lord!! Every time I walk by formula at stores I whisper a quick prayer of praise that I don’t have to buy that anymore. Oh my goodness. Words can’t express how happy I am to be done with formula. Though I know I will probably have to buy it again at some point in the future I honestly hope I never have to again.)
-Pretty much any fruit. His faves are GRAPES (this boy is obsessed!!), bananas (though it sometimes depends on the day. But more often than not, if he sees me eating one, he wants one too), pineapple, and blueberries.
-Grilled cheese sandwiches
-Chips (this is a recent one. A desperate attempt to keep him happy at a Mexican restaurant…)
-Smoothies. It makes my heart so happy that he likes these! He sucks them down. Such an easy way to add tons of fruit, protein and spinach :).
-Grape tomatoes (most of the time…. the other times, he just makes a mess with the juice from the tomatoes and then throws them all on the ground one by one. *sigh*)
-He has recently started to like roasted carrots!!! A big victory. Haha. Notice there aren’t a lot of veggies on this list… so carrots have become almost a daily routine ;) he’s even eating broccoli a little bit. My method so far with veggies is to present them and just let him experiment with them himself. He’s still at the age where I really can’t force him to eat. I’ve noticed that if we don’t pressure him and just present the veggies consistently he will eventually eat them. At least that’s how this boy operates! Of course, he knows what he likes and what he doesn’t like, and there are some foods that he just will. not. eat. no matter how many times I put it on his tray. But ya know, we all have our preferences…
-Cheese pizza (noticing a trend? Cheese and bread. Lord help us.)
Those are the ones off the top of my head. Not necessarily a model toddler diet, but I’m not worried about it too much. One thing I have learned about him is that he really will change preferences about different things sometimes from day to day. He’s still very finicky and developing so, to me, I have so much grace for him. Right now the name of the game is keeping him fed and happy and not killing myself in the kitchen making super duper healthy things for him that he may or may not eat. One of the hardest things for me has been spending time preparing food for him and it literally just ends up on the floor.
(About the food on the floor thing, I’m assuming this is a normal thing… he drops food on the floor if he doesn’t want it or if he’s just done with his food. It’s of course very frustrating but when he does it he doesn’t seem angry or super-rebellious. I can just imagine him thinking with his little toddler logic that of course, I don’t need this food so I’m just gonna put it off my plate and mommy will pick it up and do something else with it. It’s hard because it happens so quick so I can’t correct him in the moment the way that I can correct him when he opens up the trashcan or something. Anyway, this is something we will have to work on :) Again- so much grace for this little guy!)
Generally, I’m happy with his eating habits. I know that all the areas he needs to eventually grow in are areas that I need to grow in (like less carbs and more veggies and protein). That’s another thing I’ve learned…I can’t expect Arden to keep to a standard that I don’t keep to myself. It’s a fact that very often keeps me in check.
Schedule: He is on a WONDERFUL routine right now. It is glorious!! One key factor is that I feel like he has finally given into naps. Meaning, in the past I feel like I have had to “trick” him into taking a nap by taking him on a long walk or watching Praise Baby before every single nap to get him really calm before trying to put him down. Now, though I still take him on walks sometimes before naps, sometimes all I have to do is read him a little book or something — or even nothing at all if I need to put him down quickly! Once I turn that sound machine on, he knows it’s nap time. Of course, he’s still not always happy about it, but he usually only talks and “fusses” for 5-10 minutes and then he is out. It’s like he understands now that he needs naps. Definitely not the way it used to be!!
Anyway, so here’s a quick snapshot at his routine:
-7:30-8 (or sometimes lately even 8:30) — Wake up, have sippy cup of milk
-8:30/9 — Breakfast
Playtime, and sometimes a sack and water before nap time, depending on how much he ate at breakfast.
-By 10:30 do some kind of winding down then a nap around this time or at 11 at the latest. He usually sleeps for an hour to an hour and a half. Glory.
-11:30/12 — Wake up, have another sippy cup of milk and soon have lunch.
Play, have another snack and some water sometime during this time. If we do go out, sometime between 12-2, after he’s eaten, is the best time to do it.
-2:30/3 — Wind down and put down for a second nap. This one is usually close to an hour and a half without much of a fuss. Again…glory :).
-4/4:30 — wake up, feed snack while I make dinner.
He plays while I make dinner. This time of day is generally his fussy time. Not always fun especially because it’s when I’m trying to clean and prepare dinner but I’ve found the secret sometimes is to just keep him fed and let him watch me in his highchair. Other times, he is perfectly content to just play… but others I think he just gets bored of being inside and playing with the same toys that he wants a change of scenery. Sometimes if there is time this is a good time of day to take him out to the swing to calm him down and have that change.
-5:30/6 — eat dinner. He’s a little spotty when it comes to eating dinner… which is another reason why I try and feed him snacks before. Most of the time when Joey and I sit down to eat, ideally with him, he wants to just get down and play.
-6:30/7 — A little bit of playing and then bathtime on some nights, jammies and a sippy cup of milk while cuddling with daddy and then daddy puts him in his crib usually by 7:30.
There you have it, folks!
Play: He is very good at playing by himself! A skill he practices a lot, seeing as how he is an only child ;). I’m not sure when he’s going to get more interested in playing with other kids, like his cousins or kids at church. But I think it’s pretty normal for a child his age to play more independently. When he’s around other kids, especially bigger ones, he usually just watches and laughs. We mainly stay in the living room these days with the baby gate up in the little exit from the kitchen, leaving the living room and kitchen for him to roam around in. It’s feeling smaller and smaller the more mobile he gets :). I have lots of toys that just stay out here now that I pull out at the beginning of the day and put back at the end of the day. Some of his favorite toys are balls (of course), his little basketball goal (he’s figured out finally how to “shoot” a basket! haha :), a couple little shape puzzles he got for his birthday, random books (especially this tiny book about a counting Hippo. He brings it to me daily while saying “buh”, usually several times in a row. Needless to say I have it memorized;), his shape sorter and stacking cups. He’s definitely beyond “baby-ish” toys. He still puts lots of things in his mouth but I don’t think it’s as much as it used to be. He loves putting things inside other things and then taking them back out. Recently he’s also been opening up cabinets and taking random things out. I used this to my advantage and decided he could have full rein to our old plastic tupperware in a box in one of the cabinets. I either let him find it himself or put out the box and let him have at it. That will entertain him for at least five minutes;). He LOVES lids for some reason. He likes to swipe the lid from the blender in the bottom cabinet. Oh, and he loves swings too!! We usually swing at least once a day, especially now that he has his own in the backyard now!
-He loves to wear sunglasses! And hats. And bunny ears, haha. Pretty much anything that goes on his face. He likes it. Oh, and he also likes anything on your face. So watch out — he might try and swipe your glasses if you aren’t careful ;)
-He has become very interested again in his baby toys since I have had them out while watching Alyssabeth (the little baby I watch). It’s very comical to see this big boy climb into the monkey bouncer and lounge in it like it’s his little personal chair that he is way too big for…. makes me laugh every time, and he does it at least once a day :).
-I can tell that he can understand different questions I ask him, such as “can you give that to Mommy?” or “can you put that back?”. Of course, he doesn’t always do what I ask him, but I’m pretty sure he understands even more than I think he does. He’s a smart boy! I need to remember that fact–there’s probably things he can do or respond to that I’m not yet aware of. One random thing, I’m really trying to get him to learn where his belly is. Haha. I just love when kids respond to “where’s your belly?” by pulling up their shirt!
-He LOVES his cousins and both sets of grandparents!
-He loves to make friends when we are out and about :) He is very much a charmer. Smiles and waves at strangers. Pretty much every time we go out to the grocery store or to Target or something someone makes a comment on how cute he is and they wave back and forth. Very fun!
-Like I said, I have been watching my friend’s baby for the past few weeks. He has done very well with it, though I can tell that he gets jealous sometimes when I am feeding her or something and can’t get up to hold him at the moment. It’s good practice for him! ;)
I could say so, so much more about him at this age, and I know that I need to add pictures, but frankly it’s getting late and I really want to go to bed. I have honestly been thinking about this post for weeks now so it was good to just get it all out there. I’m sorry if it made you cringe grammatically or if it was just plain boring. This is not one of those posts I have time to proof. Honestly, if you read all of this, kudos to you– you are probably one of his grandparents ;).
Happy birthday, my little Love!!! You are now and forever will be my “crazy babe”. I LOVE your fun personality and all your waddling and babbling that you do. Your eyes still captivate me daily and your smile is just infectious. I admire your passion and focus on things you really like, such as “cruh-cuhs” and “bahs”, and I pray that I will be the kind of mom who helps direct and not squelch your passion. I pray that you will come to know Jesus at an early age with faith like a child and come to know that He alone can rescue you from your sin. I love you so dearly and strive to remember daily to ENJOY this time to the fullest, with all its unpredictability and mayhem at times. The only thing I ask is to please learn to kiss me soon so I can have some sugar every once in a while. That and to stop throwing your sippy cup when you are done with it while I am holding you or you are in your highchair because sometimes it lands on my foot and it really hurts ;). LOVE YOU LOVE!!!!!