18 Months or, FIRST STEPS!
You know what, friendos? I’ve been bamboozled. Today is the time change day and my wife and I were straight up tricked by our surprising little offspring. We woke up to a cry and I looked at my phone, it was 530. Uh. The kiddo woke up a little earlier than we wanted but not too bad. My wife said, ‘is it Sunday or Monday?’ I answered it’s Sunday and she said ‘ok, I’ll get him.’ About an hour later I get up to let the dog out and look at the time on the stove … 530? 530? But. I …
Turns out the kiddo woke up at FOUR THIRTY, but with the time change that registered as 530 on my phone.
First of all, he shouldn’t have woken up so dang early. And second, for him to wake up at a time where we would ordinarily just go in and say, ‘shhhh, sleep little crazy, sleep’ but instead the kid conspired with stupid daylight savings to bamboozle us.
Well done, trickster.
Anywho, it’s now 1030 (aka 930 if it was yesterday) and the kiddo has been napping about an hour and a half and I’m finally sitting down to do this to do list item that has been on my list for about two weeks. So of course (OF COURSE) all thoughts are on this month but I have to block those out and go to last month, which is basically all of the month of February.
The 18th month.
Last month, the 17th month, we finally made an appointment with early intervention to find out more about his delayed walking. The doc had scared us at our 15th month appointment saying he’s way behind, get thee to a doc (a different doc). My wife called for an appointment and they said, basically, call back later because your son is a preemie so that sort of throws off timing. On the month or two later callback they went ahead and booked the appointment. It was a pretty fascinating experience, and we are very fortunate to live in a city that has such great resources.
We went to a school district building and into a room with four women. One of them was our case worker, and then the other three each had a specialty with little kiddos: one was gross and fine motor skills, one was social (?), and one was language I think. We all sat down and made ourselves relaxed and comfy right away which, by the way, is more of an art than one might expect. They each had such an unassuming and quiet presence that the kiddo just took to playing with the toys in the room straight away. Had they been ‘big’ presences I’m sure our son would have gone to my wife or I for comfort, but instead he seemed to feel right at home. One of the women (the motor skills one) would hand the kiddo various toys and watch how he played with them, trying to get him to do one thing or another. Meanwhile the other two ladies asked my wife and I questions about how he plays, interacts, how many words he knows. (Including the distinction of, ‘how many words does he know that only mom or dad would recognize?’ … His word for banana comes to mind, because banana is, no joke, ‘lalala.’) The ladies seemed to enjoy how at ease and comfortable the kiddo was, including crawling over one of them on the way to a toy they asked him to get. (Which continues to impress and amaze me.)
After a while they must have communicated with each other in some little nods because they had their assessment. The kiddo, was rated right on for this, that and the other, and even older than his age for language, but for gross motor he was ranked as at least 25% behind his age. This meant he qualified for assistance. Both a good thing to have, but a blow. 25% behind? That’s just … so much.
My wife and I left and processed things on our own. It would be a good thing to hear from a PT person the how and what to do, but boy … he just seems so close to walking and he’s not even 18 months and he was almost born two months early and just … 25%!
The next week we had our first appointment with a PT person and it was great. He’s now had I think two appointments and it is just so impressive how smart and crafty the PT person is. She comes to our house and looks around and comes up with ways to exercise the kiddo using things we already have. For example, his right leg is weaker than his left so she suggested we take this one noise-making toy and strap it around his right ankle so that it’ll be fun for him to stomp with his right foot. Clever and impressive stuff. We got some good tips from her and began using those right away.
The tips plus the natural progression of development played well together and before the end of the month we had our first steps! Hooray! (Which he can repeat, by the way.) My wife was witness to the first time or two of steps but then we really got cranking a few days into the next month. But shhh, that is next month’s thunder so we won’t steal.
The weekend after the initial assessment the kiddo and I had our first solo trip – party! We went to Phoenix from a Friday to Monday, and it all went pretty darn well. The flight out he took himself a nice nap, and a woman seated behind me on the plane commented on what a good traveler he was. Sure. Yes. True. But hey man, give me some credit for not moving a muscle while he napped on me too. Ol’ dad worked a little magic too, LADY. And the kiddo enjoyed the flight because we were surrounded by people who engaged, waved, smiled, all that good stuff with him when he wasn’t napping.
The kiddo had a blast playing with cousins in Phoenix, which is definitely fun to see, and we went to an ostrich farm (yep, you read that right). The ostrich farm involved looking at various farm animals and feeding them. And in a little bird area one of the birds landed on my head and just hung out there for a while, and the kiddo didn’t even bat an eye which I found surprising and disappointing. Come on kid, this is funny!
One of the really fun things to see while there was how much my son LOVED ‘baby.’ Baby was a doll my parents had at their house which the kiddo enjoyed holding while scooting around. And baby would elicit many a happy ‘baby!’ being said by the kiddo which was fun to see, too.
Most of the time was spent hanging out with his almost three year old cousin and the two of them have a very strange and adorable relationship of enjoying staring at each other. My sister propsed the idea of some matching PJs so many a cute picture was also taken, you can be sure of that.
One of the best new things this month was kissing: the kiddo gives little kisses now! They are basically him making a little noise (sort of a ‘mmmmmah’) while holding his mouth open slightly and then gently pressing his face against you. So, most of the ingredients of a kiss. I don’t remember how those started, but once we realized he could do that we jumped in. The funny thing too is that at first he would only kiss our lips, which my wife and I both had not intended to do that but you know … whatever. Now he has moved on to kissing cheeks, shoulders, and even the dog (which we try to prevent because blech). He also stepped up his kissing game later in the month by adding blowing kisses, which takes you a second to know that is what is happening but once you see it it’s obvious.
The best is when you get a kiss unprompted. I don’t know why the kiddo decides to deal those out, but it makes you feel pretty good to be sitting there and up crawls this tiny crazy person and plants his little lips on your cheek for a kiss.
And now to do a 180, one of the most unfortunate parts of the month was a multiple day really high fever the kiddo rocked. My wife and I did a good job of trading off with missing work to be able to stay home with the kiddo, and thankfully he was in decent spirits aside from the fever. I think that week he was home three days. It’s funny how deviations in my normal routine really wipe me out these days. Before if I was sick, or some things came up that caused schedule shifts it was annoying but ok. Now I feel five times more wiped out by the time I get to the weekend if I’m sick, my wife or kiddo are sick, work is weird, or I can’t work out … basically if the big parts of the routine get disrupted then I get disrupted. But if I can still work out and go to work like normal I feel more ok even if I’m sleeping less with a sick kiddo. Funny how impacted I get these days. Whenever my son is sick the idea of a second child (which we want) becomes more daunting and scary.
I decided to start keeping track of when the kiddo is sick to the point daycare is impacted (the lingering cough would be tracked seemingly forever …) because I realized I have no concept of time. I learned this when my boss was out sick and I said to her, ‘oh that’s awful, and you had the flu last week too!’ and she said, ‘last week? That was a month or two ago.’
A very fun new game (for us) this month is what I call the ‘smelly game.’ It started with me holding my son up to my wife and saying, ‘smell his hand and pretend it smells awful.’ He LOVED it. The bigger, more dramatic reaction, the bigger the laugh. It’s also a fun way to learn what body parts he knows. ‘Have mama smell your knee!’ ‘Have mama smell your elbow! … No? Ok, foot!’ I think the most fun I had with this game was when I flopped my whole body on the ground reacting to, apparently, what must have been the world’s smelliest foot. But oh was he laughing.
One thought I have started to have creep in my head more is how much of my son is ‘typical boy’ kind of behavior. For example, I’ve read that boys are three times more likely to bang their heads to relieve stress (babies are fun, eh?). The things that make me think about this are when the kiddo head butts my chest with the back of his head (I’m holding him, he leans forward a bit, then boom, back with a bit of force) or when he sort of tackles and wrestles with stuffed animals or pillows.
Something that I find funny is the kiddo picked up a new skill which *I* found very exciting and entertaining but he didn’t really care about at all. He can now give raspberries! I had him give me a few on my belly and I wriggled and squirmed and laughed a bunch just like he does but his reaction was akin to, ‘ok whatever dad, back to my toy trains.’
And speaking of trains … boy, what a transition … When the kiddo and I were off galivanting in the greater Phoenix area, hanging out with weird alien birds and such, the Mrs. put together our Christmas gift for the kiddo! (Yes, it was a Christmas gift that we didn’t bother busting out til February because the kid has more toys than he knows what to do with.) When we got back home he immediately took to the table and loved banging the little knock-off Brio trains on the table. After a few days he also figure out how to plop a train inside a bridge and then push it down where it inevitably flies off the track which always elicits a quiet little, ‘wheeeee!’
Here’s a dilemma … do I waste space and text by apologizing for how long something already is, thereby making it even longer? Oh, a quandary!
The kiddo has really stepped up (EH!?) his walking game, and as a result he got less chatty for a while. But! When he does talk he has more and more things he is saying where he repeats himself over and over, and I just have to stare befuddled and sorry because I have no idea what ‘ah-do’ means. And then he says it more emphatically, and his little eyebrows furrow and his brow knits and oh he feels so passionately about pointing in that direction (or that direction, or that direction) while repeating ‘ah-do.’ Buddy, I’m sorry.
On the plus side with communication he is now helping (ish) with clothes. Often when he is getting pajamas on he has one pacifier (aka baba) in his mouth and one in his hand. He’ll switch the baba from one hand to the other to make it so you can actually put sleeves on, which is helpful. And he’ll kick his little feet up to help with pants, socks and shoes. He even tries to put shoes on, too, but I think he somehow gets the wrong shoe on his foot 100% of the time. How is he so consistently wrong?, statistics shouldn’t allow this!
Anywho, the ol’ rambler … OUT.