To Olen Ray,
18 months, yep, 18 months and you have turned into a little boy for sure. I definitely dropped the ball on keeping your updates going over the past few months. We’ve just been so busy hanging out together and learning new things (you - new words EVERY day, me - how to be a mom to a toddler), I haven’t had a chance to sit down and update the blog. You know what? I am okay with that at this point. I’ll remember all those fun times over the past few months and after the blog is read a few times, it will be forgotten.
Now, on to the fun stuff, all about what you are up to these days.
We just had your 18 month check up and you weighed 28 lbs 8 ozs while measuring 33 1/2 inches tall. You are in the 60% for height and 90% for weight, staying strong with those percentiles over the past few months. I can really tell you are getting taller by looking at your clothes. I had to hem all your shorts earlier this spring because they were WAY too long, but now they are starting to look too short. I am hoping I can let the length out so you can wear them next summer since most of the tags read 24 months or 2 T. You are pretty consistent with those sizes across the board, 24 month tops and bottoms. There are a few 3 T pajama sets thrown in the mix and still some 18 month shirts here and there. The shoes are the the clothing item that are giving us the issue. Can your foot really grow that fast? Right now you are wearing a 7, but it’s hard to find shoes that fit well with enough room across the top to avoid leaving marks on your foot. Your chunkiness goes all the way down to your toes, and I love every bit of it :-) We have two pairs of shoes getting us through, some blue and orange stride rites and a pair of old sandals. You could care less though and happily pick out a pair to go out and play every day. It’s pretty cute because I bought some new (well used) Merrills for you and you love to put them on and walk around the house. No fights in the clothing department yet, you pretty much wear what I suggest. Unless of course a diaper change is thrown into the mix, then we have to negotiate with vitamins and yogurt drops. Yep, thats right, I bribe you to lay there with snacks. I got tired of having to pop your little thigh for every diaper change to keep you safe (well keep you somewhat close to being on the diaper changing table) and you are much happier with the current arrangement.
Speaking of snacks, you still love to eat. Of course you love all the fun little snack packages with yogurt-covered raisins, craisins, goldfish, fruit snacks, and crackers that we try to save for walks and weekend outings. Manufacturers of foods are getting really good with marketing these things, I only wonder what will be around when you are picking out foods for your kid one day. At home, we stick to fruit, string cheese, and yogurt for snacks most days. You LOVE a popsicle (yogurt freeze or pedia-lite pop) after getting hot outside though. Let me tell you, we have had more temper tantrums over popsicles than anything else I think. I did discover that some of the ones your Maw-Maw brought you had a lot of red dye in them, since I stopped giving you those, the tantrums seem better. Coincidence? Maybe? Maybe not? During meals you are always willing to try new foods, even if you don’t take another bite. Your first choice is always meat (with dip of course) and noodles. Green beans, sweet potatoes, fried okra, cooked carrots, olives, and onions are favorites in the veggie department. Are all of those even considered veggies? Bread is a staple for you and dinner is usually ended with some applesauce and playtime with daddy using animal cookies. You still drink from your straw cup (water or water with a little juice) and we are working on milk. It isn’t a favorite, but you take some at the babysitter’s house when the other “big boys” are drinking it. We pray to Jesus before each meal and you hold your hands, say some jibarish, followed by “Amen”. Yes, my heart melts every time.
In regards to milk, you stopped nursing right as you turned 17 months. I offered for a few days still but you would look at me and say “milk”, then “no”, and ask to get down or read your books. It was a little sad, but our nursing journey was great and I have no complaints. We have been giving you some formula at night before bed to help with sleep and make sure you are getting enough calcium since your milk intake is low. We have transitioned that formula from a bottle to a spout/sipper cup without any hesitation from you over the past week. Guess we will work on making the switch to milk next.
Say what? Say anything is pretty much what your rule is. Over the past month you have started putting 2-3 words together and you can really carry on a conversation. In the mornings, I am greeted with “mommy”, then you ask for “daddy”, tell me “daddy work”, lay back down and say “mommy bye-bye” and “night night” as you pretend to sleep again. I pick you “up” and you say “heaby (heavy)” because you are getting heavy. Then when I lay you down for a diaper change, you kindly ask for “biamin (vitamin)”, “jus one”, and “bue (blue)”, followed by “yodut dops (yogurt drops)”, “fee (three)” when the vitamin is gone. We chat about what you want for breakfast, “badel (bagel), “oatmeal”, “nana”, “fuit tup (fruit cup)” and anything else you have on your mind. Each morning we check on “Baiwey (Bailey)” and “Aye-Aye” or “Addie” the cat. You still love to call cats “meow” and it is so cute. I could go on and on about the things you say because I really am impressed with your speech, I wonder why? Some of the funny things you say are “woo doddy (woo doggy)”, “up and down”, “right dere (right there - there is a two syllable word in case you are wondering)”, “deer pettin (petting)”, “hahaha funny”, “John Deere”, “tank-oo (thank you)”, and pretty much anything you want us to do. It’s fun to watch you learn other people’s names as well and you are pretty good at remembering them.
You walk around the house pretending to be a bear or a chicken or dancing the booty-booty dance. Now its your goal to get us to do it so you will say “mommy”, “bear”, “right dere” while pointing to spot on the floor. You love to ride your daddy’s back around the house and play hide-n-seek anywhere. You can name a ton of animals and their sounds in pictures, books, or at the zoo. Counting is fun for you and we have even heard you count from 1-10 a few times. You know what “one” and “two” is for sure as you pick things, hand them to me, and say “two”. Books, cars, tractors, blocks, play food, animals, tools, lizards, frogs, bugs, worms; the list of things you like to play with is endless. Yes, I mean live lizards, frogs, bugs, and worms. A big rattlesnake was the most recent topic of animal discussion as your dad killed one in front of our driveway, 66” long. It was a little hard to explain to you that you couldn’t “pettin” the snake, but I think you are starting to understand. Each day, we walk down the side path to throw corn out for the deer and check the game camera. You love it and really love it even more when daddy is home to go. Just yesterday you refused to go with me because daddy was at work, and you relayed your message quite well with words.
A little farm hand you are with shoo-ing the chickens, checking for eggs, and hauling limbs into the woods. Helping daddy with his “tools” is at the top of your fun list and super cute I might add. Any outside activity is right up your alley. A new found adventure is playgrounds! It works out well as the weather is starting to cool off so we try to stop by them for a bit when in town.
Ms. Elaine “Mimi” is still your babysitter and she is wonderful. We are so thankful to have her and she takes great care of you 2-3 days a week while I work. Some days you cry a bit when I drop you off, which really tugs at my heart, but you calm quickly as soon as breakfast is served. You nap on a nap-mat there just like the big boys and play well with the huge selection of toys. She just started to keep a baby as well and you are fascinated with “baby A-vee (Avery)”.
Speaking of babies, you are going to be a big brother soon. I am pretty sure you have no clue what that means, but you can point to my belly when asked “where is the baby?” and are pretty sweet to other babies now. I am sure you two will be great playmates, it just might take a few months of adjustment - for both me and you.
Let’s see, you can tell people your name and how old you are. You sleep from 8:00 to 8:00 most nights, sometimes more or less depending on how much you have played the day before. Naps are down to one, which makes scheduling things A LOT easier on me. You normally go down for your nap around 12:30/1:00 and sleep for 2-3 hours. I really can’t complain about your sleeping anymore, glad that has changed. Our morning walks have turned into both of us walking for the first part, yes, it takes a while longer, but it is fun to watch you explore, learn, and chat about the things you notice. You have a great memory and know where everyone (and dogs) live along our route. Riding in the carseat goes well for most trips thanks to “Mick Mouse” movies on the Ipad. Your favorite movies have animals and singing; we try to limit the TV time to 30-60 minutes per day. I usually cook dinner during your “moo-moo (movie)”. You run everywhere, climb on anything, and try to drive all things that could possible resemble any sort of vehicle. Gosh, this update is getting really long! Of course, you are doing so many more things since 12 months, crazy how much changes in 6 months. Oh, you love to dance and sing at church during worship, but HATE the nursery there. We are going to have to work on that I think.
The best part is just playing and talking with you. Your “daddy” and I have so much fun with you each and every day. Yes, our world does revolve around you right now, but in a good way, a fun way, a joyful way. We find so much joy in spending time together as a family and I thank God for our little family EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Your smile still brightens a room and you have a way of warming the hearts of others. Everyone loves you, your laugh, your animals dances, your words, your hugs, and your kisses. I pray that you continue to show people how to smile, laugh, and play each day. Life is short and we need to live it to the fullest, something you do every day. Your joy radiates Olen Ray, your love for us is unconditional, your happiness brings tears to my eyes, and your kindness warms my heart. There are times when you stop playing, but your hands on my cheeks, look into my eyes, smile, and say “mommy”. You make me a better person, a better wife, and a better mommy. Thank you for being you and teaching us so much. Keep on growing (just slow it down a bit would ya?), stay strong, stay healthy, and stay sweet. Hang on to that joy in your heart. I know Jesus put it there for you to share.
Love, Mommy and Daddy (because you have moved on from Mama and Dada)