18 Months

Brace yourselves, this is a long post…

Oh my goodness, Jaxson turned 18 months today! Our little man is now halfway between one and two. Two? I can’t believe that’s only 6 more months away….

First off…18 Month Check-Up

Jax had his 18 month check-up visit with Dr. Helft along with shots this past Tuesday.

  • Weight: 28.4 pounds – 80%
  • Height: 34.75 inches – 95% (yes, he’s almost 3 feet tall, a 2-inch increase in the past 3 months!)
  • Head Circumference: 19.25″ – 75%

He’s actually been growing at about the same rate since he was 4 months old, which is awesome and apparently very unusual. I guess most kids have a deviation in their ratio of height/weight, but our boy has just kept going up in a straight line. He’s well-proportioned and healthy, so really it doesn’t matter what the charts say. We had a few concerns going in to see the doctor, but as always, he put our concerns to rest and gave us some good information:

  1. Jax had a little bit of a rash last time we took him in, when he wasn’t feeling well about a month ago. It went away but then Jax started getting little bumps on his arms and thighs and cheeks, so we were concerned he was having a milk allergy or perhaps something else was aggravating his skin. Come to find out this is called keratosis pilaris and is just a buildup of excess keratin in the hair follicles which clogs the pore and makes a little bump, generally harmless and very common among children and adults. J and I both in fact have the same thing on our upper arms, and the solution is to scrub the heck out of them with a loofah in the bath/shower and moisturize, so this is what we’ve started doing for Jax and it’s helping already.
  2. We also spoke with the doctor about Jaxson’s feet turning in slightly when he is walking or standing, he’s done it for a long time and both sets of grandparents have pointed it out, so we feel like a broken record when we keep bringing it up at the doctor. I wasn’t too concerned since he’s started walking more and gained balance, he’s not doing it as often. Plus I also lean on the inside of my feet a little when standing and walking (guess he got that trait and the big feet from me!). The doctor also wasn’t concerned, and gave us some stretches to do with him to help him develop those muscles and told us he wants Jax in Stride-Rite shoes (wide-width) to give him the support he needs while he’s still growing. No problem, Nana has been wanting to buy him a pair for a while now so let’s go shopping!
  3. As for milk & weaning, we spoke with the doctor last time about his milk consumption (or lack thereof). We were told not to start weaning him until at least 18 months and to try to get him about 24 oz of milk per day. Most days we’re lucky if he’ll drink milk in the daytime, but he’ll always take his night bottle. So at a minimum we’re at 8 oz and on a good day, maybe 16-20 oz. Dr. Helft didn’t say anything about it being a concern, since obviously he’s growing quite well, so we’re going to continue letting Jax take the lead on milk – after all what are we going to do, force-feed milk? Ew. Neither of us drink cow’s milk so I’ll be glad when it’s no longer a necessity for him to drink it.
  4. He’s been rubbing his eyes A LOT lately, so we were concerned about allergies. Dr. Helft talked with J about using allergy meds when needed (like Zyrtec or Benadryl) but that it didn’t seem like it should be an every-day thing. He also said we could use eye drops for him, which usually helps J with her allergies, so we’ll be trying that. Jax actually broke out in hives the other night after playing outside in his sandbox, so we dumped the sand and gave him some liquid Benadryl. Needless to say the hives went away and he slept through the night.
  5. Also, as suspected, his canines are coming in and the doctor could see the “shadows”, so that cycle of fun should be starting soonish.

Jaxson, of course, charmed all of the nurses and even got to play with the toys in the waiting room which he thought was great fun. He did great for his shot, but he got a little WTF face when the doctor was checking out his boy parts. LOL Also, he passed his autism screening, and the doctor said that children don’t suddenly develop autism, that there are markers to look for early on that unfortunately many don’t catch until much later. So I was glad to hear that he is healthy all the way around. 🙂

Jaxson is amazing. Not only is he a good boy but he’s also got a genuinely kind heart and sweet disposition. I couldn’t be happier to see our handsome baby growing into an even more handsome, good and kind little boy. He is gentle with others and with animals and gets upset when someone is crying. Mr. Sensitivity, this one. He loves people and manages to charm the heck out of everyone he meets. He’s even managed to get freebies (such as fancy candy from Kilwin’s) just because he’s so darn cute and charming. Of course, he just has to blow kisses and he has hearts melting all over the place.

Over this past month he has physically changed in so many ways, leaving behind the ooey-gooey baby phase and literally growing like a weed before our eyes. Mentally he’s expanding his horizons by leaps and bounds. It is truly amazing how much babies really learn from birth to now. This month it’s felt like almost every morning he’s changed overnight in some way – height, weight, language, expressions. He’s changing on a daily basis and sometimes its hard to keep up, as things he may have enjoyed yesterday have lost their appeal today and vice versa. He definitely keeps us on our toes!

Food

He doesn’t want you to cut up his food anymore or he’ll refuse to eat it. Mealtimes are still a continuous struggle, although finally J and I have had enough and are done making him a separate meal if he won’t eat what we have. We’re tired of buying “baby” food and having him turn his nose up at it and end up letting it go to waste. So far its gotten better, and there have been times he’s gotten down from the table without breakfast or lunch because he refuses to eat anything, but usually the next meal time he’ll make up for the lack. His new favorite thing to do is to push you away if you want him to try something, he’s so stubborn sometimes and refuses to try anything (even something he loves!) just because you want him to try it. Leave him alone with some food for a minute and he’ll generally end up going for it on his own and then he’ll say, “mmmm! good!” and end up eating his whole plate. Asparagus is a new favorite food of his as well as sausage of all kinds. We even got him to try slices of roasted dill potatoes and he liked it! This kid loves flavor in his food so we try to have him eat “exciting” food and even try things we don’t necessarily like. So we celebrate our food victories when they happen and try to let it go when he refuses. It’s a work in progress, but at least its improving somewhat. Obviously he isn’t wasting away to nothing, so we’re not too worried. We know it goes in cycles with his teething and growth spurts, so we’re just learning to go with the flow.

Language/Vocabulary

Jaxson’s language has continued exploding and I personally can’t wait for him to really start talking, as in constructing sentences. Even a basic “give me” or “I want” would suffice! I hate having to guess at what he needs, although he’s gotten very good at getting his message across in whatever way he can. For instance, he’ll use hand gestures if he wants something, first pointing to whatever it is he wants, then pointing to himself. If he “knows” the word he’ll name it and point to himself. Words that were only partial before have now become full-on words that anyone could recognize, such as turtle morphing from “tuh” into “ter-tull”. He also uses “cool” in proper context when he’s fascinated with something, as well as “more” or “done” at the table when we ask him if he wants more of something or if he’s ready to clean up. He thinks that every animal (real or not) is called “Bubba” until we explain that no, that dog is not Bubba and neither is that fluffy stuffed animal. He picks up on songs in the car and sings along with the tune in his sweet little voice. What this all means for Mamas is we (I’m a big culprit) need to start watching what we are saying so our little sponge doesn’t repeat inappropriate words.

He’s gotten a few colors down, such as blue and purple, which he pronounces perfectly. He’s learned more shapes and the other colors thanks to his Sesame Street placemat and some flash cards we picked up at Target for $1.00 each. He knows circle, square, yellow, green, pink, and red although he doesn’t yet say them. The closest he’s gotten is green sounding something like a growling “grr”. Of course he’s still got “star” down pat and I think it just might be his favorite shape. He also says “bubble” really well and has started calling pillows bubbles as well, although he has called it a “plo” a couple times). Since he loves snuggling with our little throw pillows on our bed, we lucked out and found a black sparkly star pillow for him for his crib and he loves to snuggle it (see this post). We have one of those ladybugs (now named Star) that lights up and projects the stars on the ceiling and he now loves to lay on the bed in the guest bedroom with the lights out so he can see the stars and moon on the walls and wind down before bedtime. And if you ask him to, he can find the one moon shape projected on the wall filled with stars.

He’s also learned the names of the Disney Jr. characters and will now say “Mimi” (for Minnie usually, and sometimes Mickey), “Jay” (Jake), “Huh” (Hook), Doc, “Goo” (Goofy), “Too-dull” (Toodles), and Callie. He’s known “duck” for a while, and so we laughed the other day because as we were trying to get him to say Donald Duck and he would just keep saying “Guh-Guh” instead. How he knew that Grandpa’s name is Donald, I’m not sure, but that’s how smart he is! He loves Jake & the Neverland Pirates now and started singing along with the song, chiming in with “meeeeeeeeeee!” at the right time. It also helped that Disney Jr. came out with “The Power of Me” song so he gets to say “meeeeeeeeeee!” a lot! He’ll also say “Yo Ho Ho!” and “Ahoy!” now and it’s gotta be one of the cutest things ever.

He’ll also now say “uh-oh” when he drops something or something happens he didn’t intend or expect. He’s really really trying to say thank you (sounds more like “kuh-you.”) and even popped out with excuse me (sounds like “kuu. me.”) last night after a really big, gross burp. Whenever you sneeze, he’ll try to say bless you (“bluh”). J has been teaching him soft, regular, and loud voices, and so this morning as I was making my coffee before work I could hear him bellowing from his room “MAMA! MAMAAAAAAAA!” as loud as he could. He gets the concept of sorry now and he’s even started saying it without prompting, recognizing when he does something wrong and you call him out on it. It no longer sounds like “die” at least, so instead we hear something more like “dowwy”. He’s also learning please and has the “pluh” down. And he also now says “baba” for bottle. I know I’ve missed some words because honestly, it’s so hard to keep up at this point. He’s growing his vocabulary by leaps and bounds daily and I know it won’t be long before he won’t ever be silent again. LOL

Snuggles

Jaxson loves to give snuggles and some mornings will just lay with J on the couch and watch TV or snuggle in bed with us on the weekends. If you ask for a kiss he’ll always oblige, and the other night I was holding him and J goes, “Kiss Mommy!” and he leaned in to give me a big kiss. She then said, “Kiss Mama!” and he leaned over to kiss her. Back and forth, back and forth, and I think its pretty clear I’m who he considers Mommy and J’s who he considers Mama, although he still uses Mama for both of us. Not only that, but its pretty clear this kid is a lover, not a fighter (except when getting a diaper change or trying new food). So many moms ask us, “How do you get him to snuggle/hug/cuddle you like this?!” and our answer is, “We don’t, he wants to.” Boys love their mamas and we are definitely two very loved Mamas right here. 🙂

Miscellaneous

As we’ve said before, this kid is SO tall. People will ask J “is his dad tall?” and I told her to start saying, “Why yes she is!” and point to me if I’m around. I’d like to see peoples’ reaction to that one! LOL We can’t help but wonder if people think something is off when we’re carrying this 3 ft (almost!) baby around or he’s walking and falling all over the place, because people genuinely think he’s 2 or 3. For instance, cashiers at Publix will always try to talk to him like he’s going to respond and are kind of puzzled when he won’t respond, until they ask his age and we tell them. Then you can see the lightbulb click on like “ohhhh okay” and then usually they say something along the lines of “He’s so tall!” We passed by a little girl at Ross the other night and Jax was sitting in the cart, and the little girl said hello to him and us. J is ever talkative with the little ones and so she had a little conversation with her, and the little girl ended up asking “How old is he? Two or three?” We replied that he was only one and a half and the little girl and her mom were both amazed because he’s just so big.

When we take him to the play area in the mall, bigger kids always try to get him to play or talk to them, thinking he’s much older, but I think the interaction is good anyway. It always amazes me how these kids, regardless of age, find some way to communicate to each other, even if we adults have no clue what they’re saying. Jax always walks away, from an interaction with another child, having learned a new skill or concept. Sharing, however, is not high priority among many kids and while Jaxson struggles with it since he’s an only child and doesn’t go to daycare, once you tell him to he has no problem sharing a toy or letting someone else have a turn. He’s always fascinated with what other kids are doing (unless they are “bad” kids, pushing/shoving/being mean/etc., and then he wants nothing to do with them!) and is absolutely captivated anytime a girl of any age is in the vicinity. We’ve got to get him to stop staring at them, but for now most (older) girls just giggle and laugh at him. All the other moms at the mall play area watch him running around, these big grins on their faces, and of course he makes the rounds to see each and every one. I can just see it now – droves of girls following him around once he’s older. Oh boy. Good thing we have a few years until we have to worry about that!

I know this was a long post, but it’s a big milestone. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, I can’t believe he’s 18 months old. Two is creeping closer with each day and he’s leaving behind babyhood and fully embracing toddlerhood and all its woes (and fun!). His charming little personality grows brighter each day and we are so lucky to have this boy in our lives. We couldn’t ask for a more loving, more snuggly, more wonderful little boy and we are so thankful for him. 🙂

Finally, Pictures!

 

Mr. Clean

Mr. Clean

Snugglin' with Mama J

Snugglin’ with Mama J

Ready for Swim Class!

Ready for Swim Class!

Blowing Kisses

Blowing Kisses

All Smiles

All Smiles

Mommy & Jaxson

Mommy & Jaxson

Need a lift?

Need a lift?

This boy loves his MoMo!

This boy loves his MoMo!

Family Snuggle Time!

Family Snuggle Time!

Oh, Bubble

Since Jaxson will be 18 months at the end of July, we were expecting him to hit a pretty big growth spurt this month. So far it seems like he’s gotten taller, heavier, smarter, and more handsome (but we could be biased). Coming along with all these good things is the fact that his molars are all pretty much in, which means his canine teeth should start making their appearance soon. You can feel the ones up top starting to move down although they aren’t yet poking through. Compared to some of his past growth spurts, this one isn’t too bad, but of course, sleepless nights accompany his growth spurts and it’s been almost two weeks now of him waking up early yelling (5, 5:30) and/or being up throughout the night, “talking” and tossing and turning. Keeping the monitor on at night has become a burden more or less, since it picks up every sound he makes, so for our sanity I told J to turn it off last night so we wouldn’t be kept up all night by each sigh and shuffle coming from our son, thinking maybe we could get more than two hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Of course, he was up at 5:30 again this morning, screaming. We could hear him from our room, so I hopped out of bed and grabbed the monitor from J’s nightstand, turned it on, and saw him standing up in the crib. He had laid his head down on the crib rail and was using MoMo as a pillow, and yelling. I pushed the button to talk to him and said, “Jax, baby, lay down and go back to sleep”. I waited a second, and then he basically collapsed (for lack of a better word) back onto his mattress, snuggled up with MoMo. He didn’t move for a minute, and I thought he’d fallen back asleep. A moment later he was tossing and turning, rolling around the crib, adjusting until he found his star pillow to snuggle up with, and then I heard his small, sweet voice contentedly sigh “Oh, bubble”, which is what he calls pillows. And then, he was fast asleep, for real this time.

I think he may be sleepwalking a little, or at least doing things like standing up and whatnot without necessarily realizing he’s doing it or being fully awake. We’ve come to expect it with his growth spurts and with learning new skills, like climbing and running, and I think his brain is just rehearsing at a most inconvenient time for all of us. It’s annoying and wearisome when he wakes up like this, yet I couldn’t help but smile when he whispered “Oh, bubble” and happily curled up fast asleep with his pillow and MoMo. If only it were that easy for us adults! It’s moments like these that I never want to forget, although I’d gladly forgo the tiredness that comes with it. 🙂

The Magical Mom

Last night Jaxson woke up crying three times. The first time around 10:45 he cried for a minute while sitting up, then just flopped over and fell back asleep. No big deal, so J and I finished our TV show and we finally went to bed around midnight.

He was up again at 1am crying. Thanks to the video monitor we just kept an eye on him to make sure nothing major was going on, and watched as he fumbled around in the darkness trying to find MoMo (who we could see was partially hidden under the blanket, but Jax could not). After a few moments he gave up searching for MoMo and grabbed the nearest stuffed animal he could find (Simba), curled up, and stopped moving. J had taken some medication before bed and wasn’t feeling well, so when I asked if I should hold on to the monitor for the night, she said yes.

We fell back asleep but at 2am, the same situation repeated itself again, and we both were woken up by Jaxson crying and moving about his crib. We watched as he finally just paused and sat there, looking around, crying and babbling. He wasn’t in distress like he has been in the past when he’s had a bad dream and was visibly shaken/scared, but he was persistently whining and after 5 minutes this go-round I decided to get up to check on him.

Generally we don’t go into his room at all and instead let him figure it out on his own and get back to sleep. And usually if we do need to go get him, J will go because she can always get him back to sleep in record time, whereas it will usually take me forever. This has been a point of contention his whole life, where I have asked her to go tend to him because she could get him to sleep and I couldn’t get him to, because she was “the mom”. It’s ridiculous to think that way, I know, but seriously, so many times she would come in after I’d been with him for 30 minutes and she’d have him to sleep in 5. It’s not necessarily a skill I’m lacking, but just on the basic genetic level I think the bio mom is comforting in a way no one else can be. I think that even in hetero couples the bio moms have some magic super-power that lets the baby know its okay to chill out.

But seeing as she wasn’t feeling well and we were all tired and it was the third time he’d woken up, it was obvious something was going on and so I went to check on him. He’s had some belly troubles lately so that could have been bothering him, or perhaps he did have a bad dream after all. He was sitting in the middle of the crib and had MoMo clutched to his chest and when I opened his door he stood up and started calling Mama! Mama! with relief. I scooped him up, gave him back his nu-nu, sat down in the rocker in his room, and turned on his lullaby machine.

I didn’t speak, I didn’t make a big deal out of it, I just held him and rocked him. At first he was fidgety, like he is when going to bed at night, playing with MoMo’s ears and humming. As we rocked, his eyelids slowly started drooping and his hand motions slowed and finally, he passed out fast asleep in my arms, his long legs draped over mine. He’s gotten so tall that he doesn’t really fit on my lap anymore, but I held him like a baby just the same, storing this memory away for the future. One day we’ll have another baby to cuddle, but it won’t be Jaxson, and so I just sat there with him and listened to his snoring, soaking it all up while I still can.

I won’t lie, maybe I held him a little longer than I had to. And once he was asleep I hugged him and kissed his forehead and started to get up, but instead just sat there and kept rocking him. For some reason I just didn’t want to let him go and I was remembering all those months ago when he was just a little guy, so fragile and small, when night wakings were far too frequent and it was easy to get upset with him for waking up yet again. Last night was different though…instead of being upset with him I was honestly happy to see him. And so I held my baby boy and rocked him back to sleep. Just like old times. Yet something felt different inside of me and I felt the most like a mom than I have any other day of his life.

Maybe it’s because J and I have been talking so frequently lately about our next baby, about it being my turn to be the bio mom, and we’re impatiently waiting for the right time to come. Maybe the fact that its slowly drawing nearer is changing something inside of me, because I want to have a baby more than anything in the world right now. I’ve always wanted to be a mom, but being the non-bio mom is hard. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and once I have a baby I’m sure J will say it as well. It’s not that you’re not thankful for this wonderful child, it’s more like you just don’t have that extra ounce of natural ingrained instinct telling you to suck it up and deal with all the stuff that comes with. It’s especially hard when they are demanding young infants, waking hour after hour, utterly helpless and selfishly taking up all of your time and energy, and its easy to get upset with them. I guess some people are better at non-bio-momhood than others, but it doesn’t make you a bad person if you’re not, it makes you human. And I know plenty of bio moms who get just as fed up. I’m sure I’ll be counted among them once I have a baby, too.

But last night, I didn’t even think the usual “I’ll never get him to sleep, I’m not J, I’m not the magical mom, it won’t work for me.” Instead I walked into his room without a second thought and just did it. And I think that was the difference, I had the confidence and a mom’s instinct to do just what he needed. In less than 5 minutes he was asleep, no muss, no fuss, no frustration on my part or feeling inadequate or lacking as a mom in any way. I kissed his forehead again as I slowly got up from the rocker, and I gently placed him back in the crib, covered him up, and quietly shut the door to his room, leaving him to peacefully sleep the rest of the night away. I padded back across the house to our room, silently congratulating myself on my victory. Mama B – you did it!

I needed last night to realize that I’m also the magical mom. Jaxson is just lucky enough to have two. 🙂

Our Little Monkey

This morning, J left Jax in our living room while she went and put on her bathing suit for swim lessons. We have left him alone in the (babyproofed beyond belief) living room countless times and he is either a) really good about playing by himself, watching TV, or some combination of the two, or b) screaming his head off and crying for you while standing at the gate between the living room and our hallway. Usually its the latter scenario.

This morning, Jaxson was quiet as J (quickly) got changed, which was a relief I’m sure, as its especially unnerving listening to your child screaming first thing in the morning for no good reason. When she came out a moment later, he was sitting in the middle of his water/sand table, which is empty and still inside as we’ve been unable to set it up outside due to all the rain lately.

IMG_1989

Troublemaker!

He stood up as soon as she came out, like “Uh oh! I’m in big trouble!” The water table was an unexpected conquest for our little monkey! Granted, its not too surprising since he’s been able to climb up on the couches for a while now. Lately, he’s even been throwing his leg up over the coffee table trying to hoist himself up on it. And he’s been pulling up on the crib rail but is nowhere near being able to get his leg up and over that hurdle yet, thankfully.

We’re not ready to move him to the toddler bed just yet, but I have a feeling that milestone will be coming sooner than later. The last thing our clumsy boy needs to do is climb over the railing, fall on our wood floors, and break something. So for now, we are just playing the waiting game, and thankful that the video monitor in his room is super-sensitive for the day he does manage to climb out of the crib, so we will be quickly alerted if/when he does climb out. Look forward to a post about that adventure soon. LOL

Off subject though, wouldn’t he make the cutest little underwear model?! Seriously, we need to get Calvin Klein on the phone ASAP. 😉

Blue Steel!

Mr. Serious

Posing with his trusty chicken leg.

Posing with his trusty chicken leg.