... of their short little lives.
Can I just say I'm thoroughly enjoying my two boys' ages right now? Jack's been 2 for two months and I keep waiting for things to go horribly wrong, keep waking up wondering "Is this the day the terrible twos are going to hit?" But it's just not like that. If anything, he's getting a bit easier. I've heard from numerous other moms that 18 months was actually more difficult. And I'm starting to think that is the case with Jack. It definitely was a rough patch for us, but I haven't yet decided if that was because of his age ... or because we introduced a new baby brother. Only time will tell.
For now, we're thoroughly enjoying this guy. He's hilarious. I just had no idea how entertaining life could be with a 2 year old. He's moved on from just words to two and three-word sentences. And he copies everything you say, right down to your tone and inflection. He's also started doing what Jon calls "attribution". There may be a real name for it but I don't know. Basically, he spouts off a list of names tied to an object i.e. "Jack's soup, Mommy's soup ..." or "Jack's chair, Mommy's chair, Daddy's chair, Jori's chair..." He's big on Jori's chair. My friend Jori came over for lunch once weeks ago and Jack's been saving her seat for her ever since.
After numerous opportunities to practice it, he's mastered the term "sorry" which comes out sounding like "saree" or more typically "Saree Mum". He also always adds a head pat or hair stroke to it.
Our pastor used to emphasize the importance of "waking up happy" to his kids. If they didn't come down to breakfast with a smile on their face they had to go back upstairs and try it again. It would appear that Jack is a natural at this, as long as you don't get him out of bed too soon. He's definitely a morning person, and makes it obvious by chirping, in an exceptionally high voice, "Morning!" to everyone he sees. "Morning Dad, morning Mom, morning Jude!" It's hard to be grumpy if you share your morning with Jack!
We also think he may have a future in news reporting since he's very good at alerting everyone to current events. i.e. "Jude burp" or "Baby crying, baby crying!" or "Where Daddy go? Daddy work" or "Mommy potty ... Mommy flush." To borrow a phrase I saw on Facebook, if you want to get information out you can use a telephone, television, or tell a Jack.
But the best part of it all is that he's finally, FINALLY figured out how to say "I love you." Okay so it's more like "lub you" but after waiting for 2 years I'll take it!
They say that kids thrive on routines, and that the best way to establish good sleeping habits is to have a bedtime routine. So we do this little thing for naps and bedtime where I let Jack pick out 3 books, I crawl into his little bed next to him, we pull the blankets up over both of us, and read some stories. Then I get out of bed, tuck him in, and then we pray and give kisses goodnight. If it's naptime Jude is usually there and he too must participates in the kissing. So that's my routine but Jack likes to add to it. The same thing. Every. Day. First he refuses to get under the covers and makes me manhandle him onto the center of the bed and hold him down to tuck him in. Then he insists that I kiss Monkey as well as himself. But of course he doesn't make it easy to get kissed in the first place. And then he always, always pretends like Monkey is going to fall out of bed. And then I always, always have to say "Monkey, get in bed and go to sleep." And then Jack giggles and I say goodnight and shut the door and he always follows up with some sort of murmur because, even at 2, Jack likes to have the last word. It's funny, these routine things and what we end up getting ourselves into.
At almost 8 months, Jude has quickly learned how to make himself heard over his boisterous older brother. We're in the yelling, jabbering phase right now. It's funny, but can also be inconvenient. Like when you're trying to have a conversation with your husband and you have to pause because Jude's "bla bla blab, blab, blabbing" is drowning out your voice. He falls asleep talking and wakes up the same way. He just doesn't stop. He started saying "Mama" and "Dada" a few weeks ago ... and then stopped. No amount of dancing, smiling, chanting, etc. can get me to squeeze it out of him, and the one video I did happen to catch was interrupted by a phone call. I'm sure he'll pick it back up again in a few more weeks. And his laugh - love it! It sounds like a courtesy laugh, but it's genuine folks ... and well worth working for!
I remember thinking that 7-9 months was my most favorite age when Jack was little, and I'm reminded again of just why this age is so cute! Jude is terribly interested in what's going on around him, whether it's his big brother running around in circles or Daddy's glasses or Mommy's hair. He simply wants to know more. His favorite spot to sit right now is next to the Christmas tree. He's already attempted to open one of Jack's gifts and he's a pro at removing ornaments.
If he was mobile, he would be "in to everything" but for right now, he's just in to everything within a 1 foot radius. And I constantly underestimate that radius and his curiosity. Like the night he was sitting in the Bumbo on the counter while I was making dinner. I turned around just in time to watch him fling an entire plate of Christmas cookies unto the floor. I tell ya, I'm worried about this kid. We asked for a walker for him for Christmas in hopes of keeping him contained, and not walking, for as long as possible!
I've read that babies realize their mom can leave the room (and not come back) at around 29-30 weeks, which would explain why he started crying whenever I would walk away a few weeks ago. But lately he's been pretty good at independent playtime ... as long as he remains upright. He has a horrible habit of reaching too far for a toy and winding up flat on his face. And recently the two boys have started playing together on their own (and without injury). And I know they're not old enough to truly interact or reap the full benefits of being brothers, but I'm enjoying these moments nonetheless. Jack's much more aware of his little brother's needs, and we've had plenty of opportunities for lessons on sharing.
I'm relieved to say that at 8 months Jude is still nursing strong. Breastfeeding got very difficult with Jack around this time, and though we stuck it out after that I don't think my body ever fully recovered. So I was a little anxious when things started heading that direction with Jude about a month ago. But we've pushed through and we're back to healthy, hearty eating habits. I finally gave up feeding him before I went to bed and he's happily slept straight through, so now we're down to 4 feedings a day and typically 12 hour stretches at night, although Jude-bug definitely has his fair share of early mornings!
But every hero has his tragic flaw, and this little guy's is most definitely naps. Thankfully, I think we've finally moved past the 45 minute intruder, although now we often deal with a new foe - the 60 minute intruder. If he does decide to go longer he gives me about 1.5 hours and ocassionally busts out a full 2 hour sleep session, but very rarely. He's also dropped the third nap, just won't take it anymore. And this is the appropriate age for that, but since he's only sleeping a total of 2-3 hours during the day ... well, let's just say evenings have gotten a little rough around here! As in, I end up holding the baby through dinner and then giving him my undivided attention for about an hour until he eats again at 6. Last night, the only thing that made him happy was watching the musical nativity scene go around in circles. Two nights ago, it was me holding the vibrating teether in his mouth for 30 minutes straight (and no I don't think he's getting any teeth ... yet!). The night before that, it was playing songs on Jack's xylophone. He typically falls asleep when I nurse him, and then is wide awake with a second wind by the time we're done. Since I know he's tired I put him to bed right after he's finished eating, but we can hear him kicking and jabbering up there for a few more minutes before he finally falls asleep. I'm sure it's just a phase, I'm just hoping it ends soon!
They're both such sweet, wonderful boys. And little joys to have around. In the words of my mother-in-law, I just want to put a brick on their heads and keep them this way forever, but I'm sure there are some other favorite ages to come down the road. I just hope we don't reach them too fast!