Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The End of the Beginning: Alex turns one!!

So this is it. The much anticipated one year post. Am I the only one who is completely overwhelmed by the fact that Alex turned A YEAR OLD at precisely 6:14 this evening? Is it possible that one year ago today I was lying in the hospital waiting to meet him for the very first time?

To be completely honest, I always dread these momentous occasions where I'm expected to say something sappy, like about how incredible this year has been, how I can't imagine my life before Alex came along, how I thank God every day for the gift of this precious little boy, and about how thanking God just once a day is not nearly enough. It's mostly because there are so many emotions attached to an occasion like this, and to try to express that jumble of emotions in a way that is concise and poignant is a pretty intimidating task. That said, I will continue this post according to "Monthly Post Protocol", and if I figure out how to organize my thoughts in some meaningful way, I will consider sharing them at a future time.

Size: Alex's one year well-child appointment with the pediatrician is on Monday morning, and I am very anxious to find out his stats. I'd say he weighs at least forty or fifty pounds based on how I feel after lugging him up and down five flights of stairs. But I guess we'll have to wait until Monday to find out for sure.

He seems pretty proportionate as far as I can tell, since he is still mostly wearing 12 month clothes. However, I think his stats will still be on the high end since he recently outgrew his 12-18 jeans and is barely fitting into his size 5 shoes.

Eating: He's still eating like a hoss, and we are continuously encouraging him to add to his repertoire. There are very few things he has not tried, and even fewer things that he has tried but not liked.

We even experimented at an Indian restaurant last week, which was a major success. From the second we walked in, he was hooked. When the owner came up to take our drink order as we were setting up his booster seat, he lunged towards her in a very presumptuous manner, like "Hey lady, hold me or kiss your tip goodbye". Fortunately, the owner was elated and snatched him right up while we finished getting his seat together. He danced through dinner, totally grooving to the Indian music being pumped through the restaurant speakers. When the owner saw him dancing, she would come by and dance with him, which excited him even more. He tried several not-too-spicy things off of our plates, including curry chicken and naan, and loved em.

So basically, he eats what and when we eat, with the exception of his 5 ozs. of formula at each meal. He's still hanging on to one last sippy of watered-down formula before bed, which we plan on nixing once he starts on whole milk next week.

Sleeping: We finally figured out how to keep most of the light out of Alex's room. Two bedsheets, a set of thick drapes, and six-cardboard-boxes-taped-together later, his room finally resembled nighttime during the middle of the day. It made me feel better about letting him whine himself to sleep, knowing that the light was not a factor. And these methods seem to have worked. With a couple of exceptions (conveniently when guests were here), he has been sleeping well, usually from 7 to 7 with two daytime naps. The length of his morning nap varies, falling somewhere between one and two hours. Before, we could pretty much count on him staying down for two full hours, so I assume this is the beginning of the morning nap phase-out.

Physical/cognitive milestones: Sooo...walking. I'm pleased to announce that, in the last two days, Alex has thought about considering to maybe possibly walk. Someday. Many times over the last two days, he has purposely removed his hand from one of his many trusted leaning posts and stood on his own for minutes at a time, as opposed to his usual m.o. of accidentally removing his hand, realizing that he is standing on his own, and immediately lowering himself to the ground ever so slowly. Progress...

The biggest shift in his development this month has been in his speech. He has added several new words to his vocabulary, as well as a bevy of new noises that might mean something to him, even if we don't have a clue what he's saying.

He still has his old stand-bys - "mamas", "dadas", etc., and "ball" is his current favorite and most reliable "says when prompted" word. Of course, he also says it when not prompted, often, and at high decibels.

He says "yum-yum" or "mmmmm" when referring to food, will sometimes impatiently say "bite" when we don't get his food to him fast enough, we still hear "baby" now and again, and whenever he sees a dog on TV or in person, he says "bog". Close enough.

My new favorite developed as a result of swimming in the freezing cold pool at our complex. Whenever we'd get in, I'd say "brrrrrr, it's coooold". After a couple times, he started saying it on his own as soon as he'd touch the water. Then one day when I had thrown him in the bathtub after a messy dinner and proceeded to turn on the water, he said, "BRRR" as the cold water rushed around his feet. Now he says it anytime he touches cold water. Brrrrr.

We've also been working on S sounds and F sounds, which he has a hard time distinguishing. He'll say "ssssss" when we tell him to, although he leaves his tongue between his teeth so it comes out sounding more like "ttthhhhhhh". Oh, and a lot of times when we put him to bed, he barks himself to sleep.

Even more remarkable than what he says is what he understands. He has clearly made a big jump this month in his comprehension. He seems to understand that his actions often have reactions and loves to experiment with things to see what will happen. He understands a lot of the things we say and will do many things when prompted. He will clap, sit down, high-five, hand things over, and blow kisses on command. Not surprisingly, he knows what a ball is and will "fetch" when told. He's almost as well-trained as Murphy!

Speaking of Murphy, he and Alex are getting along just like any other siblings. They play together, they fight, they share food with each other, they chew on each other's toys, and like any little brother, Alex loves to imitate his big bubba.

His favorite pastime lately is reading - he LOVES books - and will bring a book to whomever might be willing to read to him. It's probably the sweetest thing ever, and the most impossible thing to resist. He understands the words "read" and "book", although it is a rare occasion that we actually have to ask him to bring us a "book" to "read". When I am busy making breakfast (or lunch or dinner), he will sit down by himself with a book and turn the pages, so intent on what he is doing.

Another favorite thing is pushing his cars around and pretending to drive and making "car noises" just like the boy that he is.

Unfortunately, all of this communication still doesn't always get his point across. And that's when he pulls out his secret weapon - an obnoxiously loud honking sound that means everything from "do this" to "don't do that" to "read to me" to "don't even think about eating the rest of that sandwich until you let me have a bite". I'm afraid we'll have to put up with this until he figures out how to tell us exactly what he wants. That said, improving his speech has definitely moved up on the priority list.

Other than that, he is still climbing on everything and getting into lots of trouble.

He is so fun and so charming and still attracts tons of attention when we are out. So far, he has been held by half of the cashiers, salespeople, and waitresses in Dallas. He is so entertaining and is learning so much and we can't wait to see what he does next!


Rachel said...

What a cute munchkin! I so wish I could be at his birthday party, but you guys will have to find a way to have fun without me. I know you can do it. Have tons of fun!
Oh, in the book picture in this blog, either Murphy was standing right behind Alex, or the kid has grown one heck of an impressive mullet. Business in front, party in back!

leah said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU....HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU....HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR CORN DOG....HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!! Cant wait to see you guys in a few days!! yeehawww!!

Oliver said...

This was so not posted on Wednesday, July 9th...

Happy Birthday to Alex!!!!!

We can't wait to see you guys this afternoon!!

Alison said...

Happy Birthday Alex!