Monday, April 12, 2010

Happy Half Birthday!

Today my little guy is 18 months. I'm a big fan of half-birthdays. My parents used to make a small deal out of them, making an announcement at breakfast and singing half the "Happy Birthday Song." So with all the focus on Baby lately, I thought we'd do a little something special for the Jack-man. I had an adorable 1/2 b-day celebration all planned out in my head. What really happened was Jon worked late, Jack had a short nap and was downright cranky, and I was tired and sore from random contractions all afternoon. I did manage to pull a pumpkin chocolate chip muffin out of the freezer, top it with some whipped cream and put a candle on top. We later found out it was a trick candle and Jack required Daddy's assistance in the blowing-0ut process.

So what is 18-month old Jack like? He's still my little lover-boy. He hands out random hugs, still gives kisses, still squeezes my neck like he'll never let go. He's also my rough and tumble boy. He's discovered that the cushions come off the couch and make great summo wrestler pads. He likes to get a running start and attack me when I'm not paying attention.

He is obsessed with dogs. He points them out on anything and everything - the TV, the refrigerator magnet, every book or magazine, when we're outside. He also calls things which are not dogs, dogs. We're working on that, studying up on our farm animals in books. And then practicing their names with the Little People Barn we got him for his birthday. I'd love to take him to a real farm this summer, or some sort of petting zoo. But for now all the dogs on the beach are enough to satisfy his curiosity.

He's still a fantastic eater. Sure we have our moments. Sometimes nothing I give him is good enough. But I try not to hold back. There are so many foods I didn't like as a kid, simply because they were weird or unfamiliar. I figure I'll give Jack the opportunity now and we'll see where things go. I'm quite certain his most favorite food in the whole world are cherry tomatoes. He sneaks them out of the fridge when my back is turned, pulls them out of the grocery bags when we're putting things away, and will steal them right off your plate if you're not watching. Most fruits and veggies are an easy sell. Whole wheat breads are also a list-topper. Beans tend to go over well, but for some reason he's just not into meats. And like his Dad he is very much a cheese-lover!

So he's a good eater, but also very messy one. We are working on not throwing or dropping food. But in spite of that he's just plain sloppy. He gets sauce stuck in all his chubby crevices, peas down his pants, and peanut butter behind his ears.

Thankfully, he likes to "help" clean up. In fact, he's really into helping Mommy and Daddy these days. He holds the dustpan when we're sweeping. He bring me books and balls when we're picking up toys. He picks up laundry I'm folding (that he threw on the floor in the first place). And he gets the groceries out of the bags. The other day I was bringing bags up from the car and there he was, lining up all the jars and cans in a row on the floor. Of course, there was also a carton of eggs lying there, with yolks oozing out of the corner. Oops.
Sleeping is going well again. We're back to full 12 hour nights, and no more early wake-ups. Which is a HUGE relief to me! He's really good about "telling" us when he's tired if we happen to keep him up too long. Either he crawls on our lap and puts his head down, points to his bed if we're in his room, or is extremely emotional and in meltdown mode. He goes down easily, but doesn't necessarily fall asleep right away, as I learned after we got our video monitor. Sometimes he runs laps in his crib, other times he does bicycle kicks, and he always twirls his free pacifier (he takes two to bed) in one hand. Watching him fall asleep has been a great source of entertainment!

He's really starting to exercise his independence lately. Running halfway down the beach by himself, walking up the stairs without holding Mommy's hands, giving me a hearty bye-bye wave when I drop him off at the church nursery, and entertaining himself in the Pack 'n Play while Mommy gets a shower every morning. This has been the greatest development these past few months. He actually enjoys going into his PnP, and usually asks me to put him in before I get a chance. He sits in there with a few books and some toys and then I have a chance to get ready for the day without worrying about what he's into now! It's been very nice, now I just have to figure out what to do when Baby arrives and needs a place to sleep.

We've been reading to Jack every since he was a little guy, but just recently he's been showing a keen interest in books. He constantly wants me to read to him. While I'm cooking dinner, while I'm doing work, even while I'm trying to go to the bathroom! He still turns the pages a little faster than I can read, but he's definitely paying attention. He really, really loves books. And I love that he loves books. But I don't love reading the same books, over and over, every. single. day. I don't even have to look at the words anymore, which is helpful when Jack begs me to read while I'm doing something else. If I'm washing dishes I can even turn the pages with my toes. This probably isn't the best way to spend time with my son, but believe me, we spend plenty of time snuggled up on the couch reading through a large stack. Jon says we have too many books. Clearly, he is not the one doing the majority of reading in this house, otherwise he'd be ready for some new ones too! I think Jack's due for his 18 month well-baby appointment, but I didn't think it'd be a good idea to schedule it with a baby arriving any day now. Which reminds me of one other thing, at 18 months Jack is one healthy dude. Other than the occasional cold and current allergies, we haven't had to deal with any kind of illness or infection since his arrival. Which is something I'm very thankful for! Now, bumps and bruises, scrapes and splinters are another story ... but I can't be held responsible for his every action can I?

So that's our Tank. It's not hard to believe that he's 18 months already, but it is hard to believe that he's only been a part of our lives for 18 months. I really can't imagine our life without him!

P.S. I've added another poll to the blog, just for kicks. Feel free to take a gander at when you think #2 will arrive. I've been having some decent contractions the past few days, but nothing I can't walk or talk though, and nothing consistent. The anticipation is killing me! And today, for the first time in 9 months, I'm actually ready to have this baby!! So humor me and take a guess!

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