John turned 18 months old yesterday, WOW!!!
I remember getting an 18-month baby outfit from someone right after John was born and thinking it was strange to give that size as a gift to a newborn. I obviously didn't realize how quickly the first 18 months go (nor did I realize that John would start being able to wear 18-month clothes just after he turned a year old!)
18 months is a really fun age. It certainly has its challenges, as has every age up until this point, but I feel now that John's learning is really taking off. I'm having a difficult time keeping up with all his "firsts," since he has a new "first" almost daily! Here's a list of some things John has started doing just in the week since we arrived in Chicago:
- Repeating what you ask him to say. I had tried this with him in the past, but he never seemed interested. But the other day I started asking him again, trying to get him to say "Halley" (the name of my mom's toy poodle). John said "aa-ee." He now consistently says "aa-ee" when I ask him to say her name! I am not too surprised he wanted to learn how to say Halley's name, since he just started calling Elise's dog by his name: "ba" (Boss). The next task is to get him to say "Elise."
- Signing "please" after signing something else (a polite command, hehe). He has signed "more, please" and "help, please."
- Feeding himself with a spoon in one hand and the container of food in the other hand. (Generally he has the spoon in his left hand and the container in his right.) He does this with really lightweight containers like yogurt containers or plastic baby food containers. His hand-eye coordination is amazing! And he's not too messy afterwards.
- Making new animal sounds. Before this past week, John only did monkey sounds. Then on Monday, he started quacking like a duck! We were out on a walk, and since there are a ton of ponds within walking distance of Grandma's house, we often get to see ducks and geese. We were watching this one group of ducks and I was quacking like crazy to see if John would catch on. Sure enough, he started doing it too! Also, yesterday, while we were reading a book, John started making roaring noises and pointing to different animals. He "roars" for all the animals that I roar for when I'm reading to him: lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!
- Blowing kisses. I thought he started doing this back in March, but I couldn't be sure because he only did it one time at the airport (when saying goodbye to Grandma Kay Ellen). He's also been leaning in to give someone (or Halley) a kiss when he's asked to tell that person (or dog) "I love you." The other night John even gave his Daddy's West Point photo a kiss when I told him to tell Daddy "I love you"!
Here are some other random tidbits about John at 18 months.....
Thanks to a wonderful book on sleep that my friend Nikki lent me (Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child), we were finally able to get John on the right track with his sleep schedule towards the end of May. (We thought we had solved his sleep issues -- especially the crying -- several times before, but we always ended up back where we started.) The key, we learned, was putting John to bed earlier at night. We had been putting him to bed around 8, so we tried moving his bedtime up to 7:30, and then 7:15. Then we moved it up again to 7:00. He cried the least when we put him down at 7:00, so we made that his official new bedtime.
With this sleep schedule, John wakes up at his normal time (sometime during the 6 o'clock hour), having gotten at least 11 hours of overnight sleep. If he wakes up before 6 a.m., we let him cry it out, and he usually just falls back asleep on his own. We try not to go into his room until 6 a.m. unless it is obvious from his cries that he's not interested in falling back asleep.
Through trial-and-error, we figured out that noon was the best naptime for him (again because he cried the least when we put him down then). His naps range in duration from 1-2 hours. Sometimes he surprises us and sleeps longer than 2 hours, but most of the time he's up and ready to go again by 2 p.m.
It has been so nice to have John on a predictable schedule that maximizes the number of hours he sleeps and minimizes the amount of crying. We know John is getting enough sleep now, and it's great that he can put himself to sleep so quickly, too!
John LOVES to eat. People usually can't believe the quantity of food he eats. We are amazed, too (although I really shouldn't be, since I think he gets his appetite from me)!
He still eats a wide variety of foods, prepared in a wide variety of ways. He is not too picky about textures, which is great, since I can give him the adult or baby "version" of most items (except, of course, for a few green vegetables like peas and broccoli, which I can't get him to eat in any form). Although he likes to be independent and feed himself, he is still pretty good about having someone else feed him, too.
Usually John will tell me when he wants to eat. He makes the eat sign while saying "mmm mmm" to mean he's ready. When we're at home, he sits in his highchair for meals. When we're out somewhere, we either bring along our booster seat (which has a built-in tray), or we borrow a highchair if one is available. As long as he's hungry, he doesn't mind being strapped in because he knows food is on its way! We tend to be more lenient about snacktime. I often give him his snacks in the car when we're driving somewhere, or if we're at home, sometimes I'll put his snack in a plastic bowl or cup and set it on the seat of one of our kitchen chairs so he feels more independent.
John's eating schedule is:
Breakfast - between 6 and 7 a.m.
Mid-morning snack - between 8 and 9 a.m.
Lunch - 11 a.m.
Mid-afternoon snack - between 2 and 3 p.m.
Dinner - 5:30 p.m.
John's favorite foods include:
Fruits - bananas, mango, pineapple, strawberries, grapes, or a fruit puree
Veggies - sweet potatoes (his very favorite veggie by far), butternut squash, corn, avocado (I know this is technically a fruit, but I consider it a veggie)
Meats/Seafood - chicken, turkey, ham, shrimp, scallops
Dairy products - yogurt, cheese
Bread/Cereal - any type of bread, crackers, Cheerios, and waffles, pancakes and muffins
Miscellaneous - peanut butter, black beans
John is a very playful creature. He basically likes to play right up until the very second Mama takes him to his room for naptime or bedtime, and sometimes I even have to pry a toy from his hand before I lay him down in his crib (lately it's been his golf club).
The great thing about John is that he is very open-minded about what he considers to be entertaining. He can amuse himself for a good half-hour if I give him a little bag full of sample-size shampoo, conditioner and lotion bottles! Of course he does like playing with typical toys, too. His current faves are these plastic toy boats that he got from one of my mom's friends. There are about a dozen of them in all different sizes and colors, and he makes "vroom vroom" noises with them, hehe.
The Fisher-Price farm and fire station boxes that John got for his birthday are still a big hit with him (and they are so easy to transport!) He likes putting the chunky little figurines in the vehicles (i.e. tractor and fire truck) and making "vroom vroom" noises (for the tractor) and "wee-uh-wee-uh" noises (for the fire truck).
Now that we're in Illinois, we play outside a lot more. We play a lot on my mom's back deck, where there's enough space for him to use his ride-on toys. He likes to help his grandma water the flowers and plants, too. He is a gardener-in-training.Talking:
John uses a mix of signs, gestures, and words to communicate. Here's a list of them:
"more" (14 months old)
"help" (14.5 months old)
"eat/drink" (15.5 months old)
"please" (17 months old)
Shaking his head no
Shaking his head yes
Putting his hands to the side to say "I don't know"
Ba (Mama and Boss, the name of Elise's dog)
bo (boat and bowl)
daw (dog) (He originally said "gog," which was his very first word of all!)
go-go (plane or helicopter)
Of course we think every word John says is cute, but a few of them, like "Ba," "no," and "uh-oh," are especially adorable.
I have no idea why John calls me "Ba," since he knows how to make the "m" sound and can use it in a word "mo.'" If I ask John to say "Mama," he still responds with "Ba." Haha! It's so funny.
John just started using the word "no" regularly at the end of June. When he was a lot younger, he used to shake his head no and say "no, no, no," but then he stopped doing it for awhile. The "no" he says now is more like "noooooo." It's really sweet sounding, so it doesn't get on my nerves at all (at least not yet), which is good.
"Uh-oh" is a multipurpose word for John. It's usually his way of saying that he's about to do something he knows he's not supposed to do. He also uses it in the sense of "whoops!" when something happens that isn't his fault. I love how sing-songy John gets when he says it!
John, we all love you so much and can't wait to see what other amazing things you'll be doing in the next six months. Thank you for making our lives so wonderful!