When Caelan turned 1, I remember thinking how OLD he looked toddling around in his Robeez, drinking from a sippy, and saying a couple of basic words. But looking back on those pictures now…WOW, he was still a tiny little baby!
But that was a year ago, and though this second year seemed to go by faster than the first, I can’t believe how much older he looks now! He’s losing a lot of the “baby look” and looking much more like a little kid! But he’s still pretty little – I’m not trying to rush him!
I looked back on my post from last year at this time just to see what was going on with him when he turned 1 and things are so different now. Last year we were coming to the end of the road on bottles, transitioning to all table foods, and trying to get a handful of words out of him. He wasn’t even saying Mama yet! Now, about a month ago, he made up his own song – the Mommy song. All the words are “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy” – it’s the best song ever, haha!
The major leap in the past 3 months, and really in the past year, has been in Caelan’s speech and language skills. I can’t even remember what it was like when he didn’t talk! And I’m so glad he does talk because I love having a conversation with him! Sometimes the things he says are so random and hilarious, but it’s also nice to really be able to communicate with him about what he wants and needs. Although he’s not quite clear on the difference between wants and needs. We got a 20 minute screaming fit one evening because he NEEDED to go outside.
Around 21 months, Caelan started using the words “want” and “like” in sentences. Caelan and I took a quick trip to Party City and he quietly held my hand while we walked through the store. We we left, he whispered to me that he liked balloons. Of course, we always assumed that he liked balloons given his usual pointing and excitement when he saw them, but it was so nice that he could confirm it now with a simple statement. He also started using a few pronouns around this age, mostly “I” and “me”. And he now uses “my” and “mine” all the time. Now, by age 2, everything is Caelan’s (“My toy.”, “My turn.”, “No, it’s Caelan’s.”) and he’s started to tell us when he doesn’t like things as well (“I no like yucky medicine.”).
A word we heard very often for a few weeks was “gigum” which seemed to be a stand-in for several sort of similar words: getting, cooking, taking (“Mommy gigum [took] milk away”, “Daddy gigum [cooking] dinner”). But then all the sudden it was gone…replaced by the correct words. Before we even realized it, he was speaking in full blown sentences rather than choppy phrases. At this point, I think Bill and I understand about 90% of what he says and even people he doesn’t see as often still seem to understand him fairly well.
One of Bill’s and my favorite words of Caelan’s has always been elephant (“a-pa-lumb”). As he started clearing up some of his other mispronounced words, we sort of avoided trying too hard to get him to fix this one because we loved it so much. But he started changing it on his own, and we were delighted to find out that his new version was even better: “a-pa-lumb-T”, with much emphasis on the T!
Bill and I have really been astonished by the things Caelan says. (“I like macaroni and cheese.” “Whatcha do-nin Mommy?” “Oh my gosh!” “Hey Daddy, let’s go outside.” “Uh oh, what happened?”) Anytime he says something new (which is daily) we kind of laugh in disbelief and beam with pride all at once. Even Caelan’s pediatrician was very impressed by how well he was speaking when we were there for a sick visit in April. Around 22 months, he started up with the “Why?” questions. They aren’t spontaneous (“Why is the sky blue?”) but they are in response to something we say. (“No, you can’t have meatballs for breakfast.” “Why?”) Sigh. Both Bill and I have replied “Because I said so” more than once but I’d really like to come up with a better answer than that!
Caelan can count to 15…sometimes. 1-9 is in order and he doesn’t skip any, but 10-15 is a bit fuzzy. He knows all his letters by sight but can only sing the alphabet (sort of) from L to Z, though he is working his way back to the beginning. One thing we heard often for awhile was “Come on, Mommy/Daddy, sing ABC’s!” He also seems to have his colors down pat – well, the basic colors of the rainbow anyway, plus black, brown, white and pink. He’s also beginning to memorize some songs – “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Baa Baa Black Sheep” are his favorites. His favorite book up until recently was ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas. I’ve read it approximately 8 billion times. Sometime in April I hid it in his closet. I’ll bring it out again in November 🙂
In addition to his leaps and bounds in his speech and language, he’s also a pro when it comes to gross motor skills. He’s been walking for over a year now and running for almost as long as well. He loves to climb and ride his bike (though he can’t reach the pedals yet, he’s getting good at steering). He’s managed to jump with both feet off the ground and I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before he’s jumping off the furniture – he jumps ON it now, something that gets him in trouble pretty quickly At the playground, he likes to walk carefully on the 4×4 that surrounds the area like a balance beam. He’s also starting to get a handle on the idea of catching a ball – at least he holds his arms out anyway. He’s been able to throw and kick for awhile now.
The obsession with vacuum cleaners continues. Anytime he sees them in a store, we MUST go and look at them! He’s less terrified of them turned on these days but he still says he’s scared. He continues to love Sesame Street and particularly loves The Count. He also loves animals, especially jungle animals and farm animals. This Spring, he’s loved listening for and seeing the ice cream truck come through our neighborhood every evening (“Eye keem tuck comin!!”) and looking for school buses on the way to daycare every morning (“I maybe see another school bus!!”).
Caelan had his first visit to the dentist at 22 months old. He was timid, as he usually is with strangers, but he didn’t cling or fuss or cry at all. He enjoyed playing with all the dinosaurs (he LOVES dinosaurs – dineynors – lately) and did reluctantly allow the dentist to take a look at his teeth.
We just finished up a 6 week course of swimming lessons at our local athletic club. It was a “Mommy and Me” type class for kids aged 6 months – 3 years. Caelan was not at all sure about it at first and spent the first lesson telling me he wanted to get out, but reluctantly agreeing to stick it out. With each lesson, he seemed to enjoy it more and more and by the end of the course he was willing to be dunked all the way under the water! I wish we had regular access to a pool (oh how I miss Columbia Association pools!) but maybe next year.
I said in my last post that I feel reasonably comfortable and confident in my role as a mom lately. That’s still true, to a certain extent. I’ve got a handle on his daily routine, meals, baths, bedtime, and even discipline (although really that’s still kind of a shot in the dark). Bill’s said that this is his favorite stage to date. As Caelan is getting older, they’re having a blast playing together, wrestling and roughhousing and enjoying father/son bonding. I know that’s their relationship and I love watching them together, but as Caelan becomes more of a person and less of a helpless baby, I can’t help but wonder how I fit in. Of course I’m his mother and he loves me, but I feel like the un-fun parent sometimes. Although, in fairness, I’m also the pregnant and less-able-to-roughhouse parent for the time being.
Caelan’s personality is really coming out. He’s shy and easily overwhelmed in certain situations – even with familiar people – but he warms up if he’s given time and space. He’s funny, smart, and I can see the makings of a smart ass kid in a few years. Wonder where he gets that from? 😉
We still get tantrums from Caelan, though the complete melt downs are fairly rare. Now that he’s learned how to tell us that he doesn’t like something or doesn’t want something, he’s been testing that out on us by refusing our requests (for him to eat dinner, for him to put toys away, etc). So far, a stern tone/redirection from us has usually kept him from being completely defiant, but we’ll see what happens from here on out. Bargaining has also worked fairly well, especially at meal times.
Just in the past month or so, we seem to have stumbled into a phase of clinginess and separation anxiety. It’s nothing too extreme at this point, but we weren’t expecting it since Caelan has never shown any signs of separation anxiety before and is definitely not usually clingy. He’s also started waking up in the middle of the night and crying for one of us. I really can’t complain about a single wake up that only takes about 15 minutes to resolve, but again, we weren’t expecting this given the past 18 months of solid sleeping through the night. We thought we’d escaped this, but really by now, we should know to expect anything!
Despite the challenges, I can’t even put into words how amazing it is to watch Caelan growing up…to teach him and help him learn. It’s heart-bursting love and pride, is what it is. Obviously, as I already said, we do still get tantrums and there are days where he is just wild and we’re threatening time-out constantly and counting the minutes until bedtime. There was one day where he wouldn’t stop shrieking (for fun!) and I may have actually cried. The range of highs and lows is extreme but somehow the lows get forgotten – or at least the details are harder to recall.
Caelan’s time as an only child is coming to an end very quickly and while I am sad about that, in a way, I am excited for him to become a big brother. I can’t wait for him to meet his sister and adjust to his new role in our family. I’m sure that this year is going to be a very big year of changes for all of us, but Caelan is a pretty go-with-the-flow kind of kid so I’m sure he’ll handle it well!
I think this will be the last of my quarterly reflections posts about Caelan. Not to say that I won’t post about him and what he’s been up to lately because I certainly will, but 2 years seems like a good stopping point for the regular posts. Plus I’ll be starting up with regular update posts on another little one soon enough, so stay tuned for that 🙂
Happy 2nd Birthday, monkey!! We love you meelions!!