This Is 18 Months: A Window Into the Life of Our Toddler
My son turns 18 months today. 18 months. That's about 548 days and nights MainMan and I have shared guiding, raising, nurturing and protecting him.
Looking back at photos of the past 18 months I wonder how can this be? And I marvel at how so much has changed since he arrived on his due date back in 2016.
Before having my own child, I rolled my eyes at the countless parental monthly birthday photos.
"A photo for 14 months? A photo for 15 months?!" I'd grumble. YAWN.
But now that I'm on the other side of this glorious, blessed thing called motherhood, I completely get it. Can we just keep celebrating every month like he's an infant? Please?
In honor of our LG's one-and-a-half-birthday, and for posterity's sake since I've done a pretty bad job of keeping track of milestones, I decided to share 18 of our son's favorite toddlerisms -- things he's saying and doing that melt us every moment of every day. May they all linger for as long as possible. I am eating up this stage.
"Boookk": I added an extra "o" and "k" because he doesn't say it like we do. He really emphasizes the o's and the "k" on the end. This morning I walked in to his bedroom and he hadn't seen me for three seconds before he was pointing at a book on the floor and saying "boookk." I love it. He might not listen to the words that accompany said "boookk" very well, but he's an expert at pointing out who the main characters are: pelicans, birds, dogs, turtles, owls, etc.
Tootsies: I started calling LG's little plump round feet "tootsies." Now whenever I say, "Show me your tootsies!" he sticks them up in the air. It doesn't get old. In the car. In the stroller. While I'm changing his diaper. It's a literal kick.
Sign language: I can't emphasize enough how much a game-changer learning signs has been for our LG. We took him to classes when he was about 8-months-old and it took about four months for him to understand the concept that he could actually ask for something with his hands, but once he did it was really amazing to watch. Unfortunately by the time he had figured out the sign for milk (think milking a cow) we yanked bottles from his routine, but he still uses the sign whenever he wants a sip from a cup.
"Buh-bye": Funny some children might pick up "hello" or "hi" as a first word/phrase. Our LG picked up "buh-bye." I have our nanny to thank for that. Whenever they'd get ready to leave the house to go on an adventure she'd ask him, "Are you ready to go buh-bye?" Now it's his go-to for wanting a change of scenery. Over the beach? "Buh-bye." Over the walk? "Buh-bye." This morning Yi-Yi walked in (what he calls our nanny) and he was at the front door eager to go "buh-bye."
"Byeee": For a while LG was only using the phrase "buh-bye." Until he suddenly echoed us at the end of a phone call and blurted out "byeee!" We could not stop cracking up at how cute it was. He has become a little bit of a parrot so we've wiped some words out of the vocabulary. We can get him to say "hi" and "byeee" now fairly regularly, but he's turned "byeee" at home into a kind of hide-and-seek game. Like if he looks at you and says "byeee" he expects you to take off and go hide somewhere. If you don't he whines with frustration.
"Moppeetz": At the end of December after eight months of working full-time, I found myself back in SAHM mode. Our nanny was off for the holidays and my work contract had come to an end on 12/15. I'd forgotten how challenging it was to look after LG by myself all day. Out of desperation, I hoped I might find something on television he might be interested in for a few moments' break from running around the apartment in circles. Enter "Sesame Street." It worked and he became an almost instant fan of the show and "moppeetz" is now a part of his daily vocabulary. From time to time he'll run over to the coffee table ottoman, pick up the remote and say "moppeetz," followed by rubbing his chest with his palm, which is his sign for "please." Then away we go to Sesame Street, to laugh and dance with Elmo and Abby, where the air is sweet.
"Dlah-dluh": This is the best I could do for LG's word for banana. It's the cutest sound I think I have ever heard. And he says it with such conviction every time we say "banana." He eats cereal with bananas every morning and saying the word "banana" is a surefire way to get him over to his highchair.
Making connections: He does it by waving and saying "hi" or "heyyy" to strangers from his stroller. And he does it several times a day while watching the moppeetz and reading books. One of the first "Sesame Street" episodes we watched had Ernie telling Elmo he could have fun in the tub with a rubber ducky. LG sprinted away from the couch and into his bedroom where he fiercely starting yelling "DA! DA! DA! DA!" (his word, we believe, for "that") while pointing at his rubber ducky light at the top of his bookcase. I got it down for him and he ran back into the living room with it. The same thing happened during a spot about brushing teeth. He dashed off to the bathroom and started reaching for his toothbrush in a cup on the sink. OK, bud. OK! Another way he does this is by gathering stuffed animals that he sees in the books we're reading. If the story's about an owl, he'll run to get owl. If the story's about a turtle, he'll run to get turtle, etc. If the story's about a toucan, he'll point to the wooden toucan on his shelf.
Animal ID cards: I don't know what possessed me to buy one in the first place, but now we rarely go on walks without them. If I see a bird or an animal I'll try and find it for him on the cards and he'll point at it and then try to repeat its name to me. He's really good at pointing at the hawk, owl and seal when I ask him, "Where is the...?"
"Mee-mee": Our nanny introduced the phrase to LG very early on in her being with us. She said it was her childhood word for napping and bedtime and she wondered if it might stick with LG. Well, it did and we say it often when it's getting close to naptime -- particularly when we're driving home from morning activities or when we're wrapping up tubby time and it's time for him to go down for the night. It can be a real hoot when you're starting the day with a car ride, it's barely 9 o'clock and LG suddenly says "mee-mee." You might be in for a long morning.
Pickles: LG could be on a hunger strike, refusing to eat all items he eats on the reg: yogurt, sweet potatoes, cheese, pasta, avocado, etc. But throw some chopped pickles on his tray in a bowl with a fork and BAM! It's what's for dinner (lunch, breakfast, snack, etc.).
Wave-runner: We are an ocean-loving family and we are fortunate enough to live by the coast. As someone who loves any and all ocean/water activities (paddling, surfing, kayaking, swimming, SCUBA, etc.), I feel it is my duty to raise a child who ultimately loves the ocean as much, if not more, than we do. Which is why we take him to the beach as often as we can. When we lived in San Diego, we'd bring one of those halfsie-tents (the kind for sun coverage mostly) to the beach. Before he was walking, LG would happily crawl around the inside of this tent, but he was not a fan of touching the sand. When he did he'd stick his hand or tootsie in the air waiting for someone to wipe it off. I don't remember when this behavior changed, but now he loves sand and he is not afraid of the ocean. I wish he was slightly more afraid, then I wouldn't be running after him as he waddle-sprints to just where the waves are breaking. I often have to hold him back from charging the water. Which is why I've dubbed him our little wave-runner.
Ball: Volleyball, basketball, golf ball... Any time he sees a ball on TV or in a book he wants to run and grab one from his stash. He's got a pretty good arm, but we're still working on the catching aspect.
"May": I forget how this initially started, but one of LG's favorite things to do (like mother, like son) is check the mail. He can be in the throws of a meltdown for whatever reason and you ask, "Is it time to go check the mail?" and he immediately runs to the front door and points at the keys on their hook while saying repeatedly, "May. May. May. May." I pick him up, give him the proper key and we waltz outside to our little mailbox on our front stoop. We've informed the grandparents about this favorite activity of his and they've humored us by sending him letters and musical cards (one of his favorite distractions in the car).
Golf: We live about 200 yards up the road from a popular public golf course and one of our favorite weekend activities is to head over to their cafe for breakfast (they make the most amazing egg sandwiches). We're on a first-name basis with the wait-staff and even some of the regulars, and everyone just loves our LG. As soon as he could walk, if not before, we ordered the Little Tikes golf clubs and we always bring them with us so we can hit the putting green after breakfast. LG doesn't last super long and he swings the club more like a one-handed hockey player, but we'll keep taking him because he seems to enjoy the concept of hitting balls at something.
Knuckles: At some point while eating lunch with our nanny, she tried to fist-bump with LG. He wasn't quite getting it. After a few tries and kind of helping him learn what to do with his fingers he started to return the knuckle/fist-bumping. If you say "fist bump" he won't know what to do. But if you say "knuckles" he'll stick his hand out for a bump.
"Da-da": I remember the first time I heard LG say "mama." It was in my bedroom in San Diego. I think I was changing his diaper. I couldn't believe it and I asked him, "What did you say!?" He may have repeated it, he may not have. There was a run where he would say it regularly then it stopped and it was a while until I heard it again. Fast forward a few months and he was saying "mama" and "dada" so often I'm not sure he really knew who was who. I work from home and MainMan commutes to work every day. Which means dada is at the front door lacing up his boots with the help of LG if he's up. We'll say "buy-bye" and for the rest of the day, any time LG hears any noise coming from outside the front door he'll scream "da-da"! It's so cute. Then when MainMan does actually come home, we might be in his room reading books, in my room running up the doggie stairs into the bed, and LG will dash to the door with arms flailing, screaming "Dada. Dada. Dada!" It's truly one of my favorite parts of the day.
Kisses: For most of his life, LG's kisses were merely us bringing his mouth to our cheeks. He'd be a willing participant, but he didn't move his mouth at all. Now suddenly he's gotten the whole smooch thing and it's so cute to hear him do it. Our nanny even got him to attempt blowing kisses. It is similar to the sign he does for "thank you," but we'll take it. All day. Every day.
Are you a parent? How old is your child? And what are some of the memorable things he/she/they are doing? We'd love to hear your stories in the comments.
Oh, and make it a rad day!