We have entered the toddler stage and it is hilarious and nonstop.
This is our first winter in daycare and we’re feeling it. We all took our turns being sick during these past few months. Ben and I were hit the worse, from fever to flu to stomach virus to this neverending cough that Ben still wakes up to. We’re lucky that Milo was just the messenger and bounced back quickly from his congestion and cough. At some point he did have to go on antibiotics for an ear infection and it turns out he has a possible allergy to amoxicillin. The plus side about being sick? Milo sleeps more.
The sleep has gotten SO much better. After the holidays and visits, we did some intervention. Milo had to cry a few times, but was most effective was telling him it’s time to sleep. “More sleep”, we sign and say. Now, Milo consistently goes to bed around 7:30pm and wakes between 5:30-7am. The bedtime routine is quick and enjoyable and when we leave, he lays down awake yet motionless. The mornings are less consistent. We try not to go in before 6am; often he’ll fall back asleep after some babbling and moaning at 4:30am. He’s noticeably happier (and easier) if he sleeps in, but some early mornings he simply feels ready to go. These past few weeks as we battled the afternoon nap, it also became clear that Milo is transitioning from two naps to one.
We think Milo has been going through a growth spurt because he is eating a ton. For breakfast, he can eat half a bagel with cream cheese, a slice of cheese or most of a banana, and a bowl of yogurt. Mealtimes have magically gotten better too. We’ve converted to his schedule and have family dinner at 6pm. Milo watches intently as we cook over the stove, eagerly blows on the hot food, and gets impatient as we serve up. The kid has a salty palate! This past week he ate spaghetti with meat sauce, shepherd’s pie, Vietnamese pork and egg, and he and I both discovered on our trip to Cabo that we LOVE Mexican cuisine. He self-feeds in the beginning, alternating between spoon, fork, and fingers. Once he starts to play, I feed him the rest. It’s an absolute mess, but it’s worth it if he’s not picky. At his 15-month check-up last week, Milo was 33″ (91st percentile in height) and 24 lbs. and 5 oz. (47th percentile in weight).
At school they’ve weaned the kids from bottles so now Milo takes all his milk from a cup. We’re trying the same at home, reluctantly because it took forever to get him on the bottle with us. He still gets a warm bottle before bed, but we’re starting to wean him completely from me. I’ve been nursing first thing in the morning and as part of the bedtime routine. It’s more for comfort and we both enjoy this time together. But we have to break the dependency because in a few weeks, we’re going on a climbing trip and leaving Milo with Nana and Grandpa for four days. The weaning process has been challenging; we think it’s the reason why Milo has been extremely clingy to me for the past few months. When I’m around, it’s all Mommy, unless Tata Chippy and Daddy can put on some really entertaining circus acts.
Many of those acts involve music. Milo LOVES music. He was thrilled when he learned how to dance in place. But when he realized we can *make* music, that opened a whole new world of many, many jam sessions in the kitchen. This Sunday we’re taking him to his first orchestra. The Oregon Symphony is performing a Dr. Seuss musical — it’ll either blow his mind or we’ll leave after 20 minutes.
The language continues to fascinate us. Milo has become really interested in the alphabet; he will point out and say the letters A, B, I, O, and Y. Some new words he uses are: BIB, BLOW, BOOK, CLOSE, DOWN, GLOVE, GO, HOT, POTTY, POO POO, POP, SHOES, THIS (which sounds a lot like, ahem, sh*t), and WAVE. Now that he wants to understand and learn words, he’s more choosy about his books; his current favorite is “Go Dog, Go!” which is perfect for his vocabulary.
I still crack up every time he uses the word, “WOOOOW”. Like when he found the water pitcher, i.e. the mother of all cups. Or when he ran out to the middle of the soccer field to watch all the kids running and kicking the BALL, BALL! Or the first time he saw spaghetti. I guess it wasn’t what he was expecting for dinner.
Milo is definitely showing interest in the potty. Twice Milo has pointed at it, said “PAH PAH”, and then went poo! We didn’t react quick enough to put him on the toilet, but time to start.
But communication has become really important and effective. Understanding–internalizing–what’s going on makes all the difference. Drop-offs are easier; we give hugs, blow kisses and wave good bye. At night, we tell him everything–from giving me a hug goodnight to when Ben’s last song will be–and he no longer starfishes onto us the second we shift our weight. We do have to repeat rules, but most of the time, he listens. It’s amazing when we don’t have to say anything, but he has the internal debate. He shakes his head, as if to tell his Gollum-self that “we don’t touch or eat that” or “crayons stay on paper.” My precious.
There certainly have been tantrums. Usually it’s because he’s overtired but a few are inexplicable. We offer alternatives, which sometimes work; other times, we wait it out. I’m not looking forward to the real deal.
But Milo is very sweet, sensitive, and inclusive. He has several games where anyone within radius has to join in. Drinking from the cup and saying “aaaah”. Ring around the rosie (Tata tries to get out of this one). The laughing game, where everyone takes turns breaking out into laughter (we blame Ben on this one). Clapping after he takes a bite (it started out as a reward, but now it truly is a happy meal). Milo loves to play together, and MORE, he will sign again and again.
We’ve been video-chatting with family as often as possible. Milo is excited to see and definitely recognizes their faces on the screen. He shows off his tricks and toys; he even tried to virtual tap heads (cuc dau) with Ba. After we got back from Christmas, we had a nice visit from Nana and Grandpa. Besides having extra hands, Roger kindly taking the morning shift, and getting out on a date, it was really sweet to watch how enamored they are with Milo. It seems like no matter how many times you’ve been through it, this young stage will always be nostalgic and amazing. I try to remember that because I have my moments where I’m all business, watching the clock for meal/milk/diaper/bedtime. But I can’t believe how fast Milo has grown, and often I want time to stop moving (or him, literally) and enjoy taking turns laughing at this super fun stage.