Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Bit by bit

More changes, every day. Tonight he fed his pretzel snack to his stuffed dog, and thoughtfully followed it up by offering some milk from his sippy cup (pretzels are thirsty things, you know!). It's a small thing, but it's a milestone - true imaginary play. He's utterly fabulous.

At our pediatrician's suggestion, I've been using time-outs to try to curb the hitting. I'm shocked at how quickly he's figured the whole thing out. Right now I'm just doing 30 seconds, and I count them out verbally (no eye-contact, though). The first 3 or 4 times were a struggle, and I was beginning to think he really was too young for it, but now he's really sitting still. My favorite part is when he starts asking to get up "Bah? Bah? Bah?" which shows me that he understands that he's not in charge of when he gets up - I am. Powerful stuff. Today he only had time-out twice (a few days ago he was in time-out five times before 9 am), and a few times after the warning ("Nate, if you hit me again you will go in time-out.") he just didn't hit me again. Super powerful stuff.

I've also been really consistent about taking things away from him when he's misbehaving with them, and boy is he understanding it. I think he's figuring out that I mean what I say, and that the consequences are coming his way. His behavior is really improving: much less hitting, much less testing, much less blatant disobedience. I'm really proud of both of us.

Gratuitous photo of Nate finger-painting with pudding:

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Counting my blessings, again.

Nate had his 18-month appointment today and he's doing great. Moved to 50-75% for both height and weight (up from 50% at his 15-month appointment) and 75-90% for head circumference (up from 75%). She asked all sorts of questions about what he's playing with, how he's playing, what his interests are - all of which is fun because what Mama doesn't want to brag on her kid? To someone who's actually interested!

She ended the appointment by saying what a treat it was to see such a healthy normal kid in her office, and then told me about an a little boy she had to refer for a formal autism diagnosis. She said Nate was hitting all of his neurological marks and that he was almost certainly in the clear for any of those types of problems. I'm sure it's just hormones, but I teared up with thankfulness.

If you're a Davis family member, STOP READING NOW. We'll surprise you in two weeks.

For everyone else, the thankfulness continues: Nate is going to be a big brother! I found out this morning, so it's very early. Lots of stuff can go wrong. But most things seem to go right for us, so I'm hoping the tradition continues.

We are so lucky.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Do you clean your kid's toys?

Seriously - I need you guys to chime in. I've looked at the stats. I KNOW you're reading this.

Do you put the plastic toys in buckets with bleach and water? Do you run the plush toys through the washer/dryer? What else should I be doing? (Not that I'm saying I will do it, but at least I'll know what I should be doing.)

I confess: the only time I've cleaned Nate's toys is when I packed up all of his baby toys. I ran one load through the washer/dryer before I stored them away. If I see blood or poop or something it certainly gets cleaned off before he gets to play with the toy again, but if it looks clean it's fine with me. He's been sick twice ever.


Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Monthly Newsletter, Month Eighteen

Dear Nate,

You are a year and a half old now! I counted your age this morning by tallying up the new wrinkles I have. At first I thought you were 13 years old, but it was just the double vision. This is the part of the blog in which I'd insert a photo of you sticking your tongue out at me, but since Daddy's the one who takes the pictures, and you never sass him, no such picture exists. Except in my mind. Front and center.

I am writing this letter with a pretty ugly week behind us which no doubt sets the tone. We were all sick last week, and then you got yourself your first ear infection, and then I ended up with 103 and a lovely hacking cough. I'm not sure if Daddy's sick or not because I don't have the energy to care.

What all this sick has added up to is a very tired Mama and a very demanding Natey. Lots of whining, lots of hitting, lots of tantrums. It certainly doesn't help that Daddy thinks you walk on water and can't bear to deny you anything. Mama had a good long talk with him this weekend, so you can just go ahead and blame me if he gets tough with you now. I have my doubts, but I also have high hopes.

The problem here is that you're very, very smart. You know darn well that Daddy will give you whatever you want. Whenever I discipline you during the day, you cry for Da Da straightaway. You also cry for Dada whenever you see someone on a bicycle. And also when you hear a bicycle outside of the house. Also whenever a male person is in the house. Let's just say you're a Daddy's boy. Thanks a lot, kid.

You're not just smart, you're hard-working and dedicated. There's nothing more in the world you like than a good project. Your favorite types of projects are "fit this thing into that thing" exercises, and you can do them over and over and over. When Daddy takes his tools out to do a home repair, it's the highlight of your week. I love the typical concentration on your face in this photo:

You really love helping out. You've gotten great at projects like "Can you pick that up and put it in the trash for Mama?" You love carrying boxes around, and pushing carts and strollers. We had a fantastic snowfall last week and Daddy put you to work shoveling the walkway. When you fell into a puddle and got wet, Daddy brought you back inside - you lost your mind entirely. We had to put you into a dry jacket and put you back to work outside.

You have "friends" now, though they're mostly neighbors and kids I set you up with on playdates. But you do always have fun and seem to really enjoy the interaction!

Part of our tough week is that you've beyond wanting just milk, or food, or up. Now you want us to go somewhere and get something specific and you just don't have the words to be the powerhouse dictator you want to be. You have recently started tugging on our sleeves, or physically pushing us where you want us, but it's still not eloquent enough for you. Thus, the tantrums when we don't understand that we need to get up and get you that one specific toy right at this instant. Here are some of the new words you do have:

* Down
* Door
* Baby
* Off / up / out (not exactly sure; you use them interchangeably)

I've always been able to be very confidant about you - you've hit all of your milestones, kept progressing, were friendly and social and normal. All except for one thing: you've been entirely disinterested in books and reading. You darn near hated the things. Daddy's been reading to you every night while you completely ignore him and run up and down the hallway. Except that a few weeks ago something clicked and now you're all over them. You can't imagine how good I feel inside when I walk into a room and you're sitting on the floor with a book open in your lap.

Here's how it makes me feel: full-up and content, like you're safe and smart and happy and well taken care of. Like I'm doing okay raising you.

I love you, Natey.