At the beginning of January, my baby turned 18 months old! I’m kind of in a state of shock over this bit of news. In many ways it seems like he just arrived and we are still adjusting to having a baby and being a family of 5. In other ways it feels as though he’s always been a part of our family and his birth day seems so long ago. It’s been a ridiculously long time since I did a post on Alex’s accomplishments … in fact, I’m pretty sure I haven’t done one since his first birthday. Lately, I’ve been having horrible anxiety over the fact that he’s doing so much and I’m not recording any of it! (I’m talking wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-in-a-panic anxiety … totally ridonkulous, I know!) I’m pretty sure it’s going to take me a couple of days (at least) to get through this post, but you all should know how fabulous this little guy is and I need to have it in writing for posterity’s sake! So, let’s get started:
- The biggest change we’ve noticed over the last 6 months is his talking. I was beginning to get concerned that he wasn’t talking. It seemed like I remembered the other 2 kids saying words before they were a year old, but Alex didn’t say any real words. He could definitely communicate and get his point across and he seemed to speak his own language. We even asked the pediatrician about it. She told us that it was very normal for kids to start talking right at about 18 months. Sure enough, about a month ago, Alex started talking! Today he has quite a little vocabulary: Ball , Dadda, Mamma, Gabe (which sounds like “day”), Bapa (Grandpa), Dow (Down – he says this for up and down), Ah Dah (all done), Bow (bottle), Waw (water), hi, bye bye, nigh nigh, Daw (dog – he uses this for all animals), NO (of course), Wah! (his version of yeah or yes), eye, and today he started copying me when I say “I love you”.
- He isn’t walking …. he is running! This kid never stops moving! I mean NEVER! Even when he is sick or not feeling well, he is always on the move. He is always so busy. We are exhausted from trying to keep up. A couple of months ago he had his first bout with the stomach flu. I thought he might sit calmly on the couch for a day and I had this grand idea of snuggling with my babies on the couch and watching movies. Alex had other plans. He ran around like a crazy man until he had to throw up. He’d throw up and then go right back to playing. (Sorry if that’s TMI) He’s a bundle of energy!
- He is so expressive! His face will tell you everything you need to know about how he is feeling and what he is thinking. His eyes really are the windows to his soul! I’m interested to see how this trait plays out as he gets older. When he was maybe a week old the midwife was over here doing a check up on him and she said to me, “Look at how bright his eyes are! It seems like he is smiling!”
- He is a ham if ever there was one! He loves to entertain! He puts on a good show and if he knows you are watching then it only encourages him to be more dramatic. We love that about him! He has us all laughing all of the time.
- He adores his big brother and sister. I mean A.D.O.R.E.S!! I was worried when he came along that we had waited too long (AHEM- Joel Cutter!!!) and the age gap between the kids would be so great that they wouldn’t really be close. I’m so happy that this is not the case! The kids love each other and they love to play together! Alex and Gabe love to wrestle and Alex packs a pretty good wallup!! Alex has won more than one wrestling match against Gabe! He also loves to play house with Isabel. It’s not uncommon for all 3 kids to play together upstairs while I make dinner. Alex is usually either the baby or the dog!! he even barks! I can always hear giggles and squeals of delight.
- Alex is a little bundle of love! I was pleasantly delighted to discover this. As a baby he wasn’t one who loved to cuddle. He never liked to be swaddled and he hated it if he felt smothered. He never really liked to sleep in our bed with us – that’s was always a guarantee for good sleep with the other two – and he didn’t like to be snuggled close. Now he is probably the most affectionate of the 3 kids at this age. He is always giving us hugs and kisses just because. He puts his fat little hands on my face and plants a big wet kiss on my lips all the time! He’ll go up to Gabe and hug him around the neck and stroke his hair. Each morning when he gets up he has a bottle of milk in our bed before we get up and he almost always holds my hand while he drinks. I hope this affection lasts for awhile. Nothing fixes a bad mood like some baby love!
- He loves his Daddy! Ever since he stopped nursing, I’m like chopped liver! If he gets up in the night, he wants Daddy. If I go in, he has a fit. He refuses to let me pick him up – the little poop! If Joel is around, he wants Joel to do everything for him. I’m not allowed to give him dinner or put him to bed or brush his teeth or even hold him. It’s all about Daddy! When Joel comes home from work he gets so excited. He usually hears the door open and it doesn’t matter what he’s doing, he perks up, and goes running to the door! Most days he makes a flying leap into Joel’s arms and then hugs him and pats his back for a couple of minutes.
- Another major milestone is Alex stopped nursing. (I’m sure most of you don’t care about how Alex was weaned, but it was a big deal to me and I want to record it for my own memories.) This happened sooner than expected and was extremely traumatic …… for me. Since Alex is my last baby I actually spent a lot of time thinking about the day he would stop nursing. I had plans to travel by myself about a month before he suddenly stopped nursing and was planning to wean him before I went, but honestly, I was dreading it. I was often brought to tears just thinking of that last time. Well, one day he suddenly refused to nurse and got so angry at me. He turned his head away and pushed at me and then cried and cried. He continued to do this for several days. I was a complete basket case! I worried that something was wrong with him. I worried that I was pregnant – I think I took 2 home pregnancy tests and then went to the doctor and made them do a blood test to be sure! NEGATIVE – thank Heavens! I was worried that my milk would dry up while he was on strike. I was uncomfortable! And my feelings were very very hurt. I emailed a doula friend and asked her to give me advice. She told me about something called a nursing strike – yes, apparently it is a real thing! I spent a couple of days reading up on it and found out it can be caused by several things: a traumatic nursing experience, hurt feelings, sickness, pregnancy. One website even suggested you apologize to your baby for whatever you did to hurt his feelings — I had to laugh at this one! I’m sorry, but that just sounded a bit ridiculous! Anyway, most babies come around after a couple of days and begin nursing again. Alex didn’t. He wanted nothing to do with me for awhile and never nursed again. My heart was broken. I literally grieved for a few weeks. I didn’t tell anyone he wasn’t nursing anymore because I couldn’t even talk about it. One day Joel made an innocent comment about Alex not nursing and I ran out of the kitchen crying. I’m pretty sure I sent a not-so-friendly email to my doula friend because she waited a couple of days to answer my plea and I felt like I had lost precious time. HOLY HORMONES! Well, I eventually learned to accept it and Alex and I were soon on speaking terms again. I learned some new ways to soothe and settle him and we moved on, but I have to say that was an awful way to wean!
- Ok! On to happier things! Alex has 10 teeth!! I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t even remember when all of his teeth came in (don’t judge me). I do know that he had his 4 front teeth when he had his birthday. Shortly after that he cut 2 more front top teeth, but after that we had a dry spell. Several months went by where he didn’t get any teeth. I began to worry (again – I’m a worrier and for some reason it’s worse with this one) that he had some condition where his teeth wouldn’t come in. Well, one day, around Thanksgiving maybe, I was changing his diaper and he opened his mouth wide and low and behold there were 2 molars on the top of his mouth! WHAT??? When did that happen? To be honest, I’m kind of glad I missed it! He wasn’t fussy or sleepless or anything! About two weeks after that he cut two more bottom molars. Unfortunately, he was fussy and sleepless when these were coming in. He is currently working on two more bottom front teeth. They are slow moving, but I think they’ll be poking up soon.
- Boy has a temper! I’m pleased to say that it is nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. I could tell pretty much from the get-go that he had a short fuse. It was much worse before he could express himself. Now that he can communicate it’s much less volatile! Still, he has been known to throw the occasional temper tantrum.
But, mostly, he’s a happy little guy!!