Wednesday, December 2, 2015

18 Months

Last week, Marshall turned 18 months old! A year and a half. Some days I can’t believe he’s already “so old” and other days I can’t imagine what our life was like before him. (Although I do vaguely remember more sleep.)

The big event this last month was that Marshall started day care. He is attending a daycare center with about 15-18 (it varies) other kids in his age group, and it will also be his preschool when he is a bit older. Terry drops him off and picks him up each day (it’s very far out of my way for work, so I’m bummed I miss out on seeing him interacting with his teachers and peers, but I also think it’s awesome that Terry gets that time with him). I think one of my favorite parts of the day now is hearing all about day care. Obviously I look forward to when I can hear about it from Marshall directly, but for now it’s so fun to hear Terry’s version of what the teacher tells him, and I completely melt when Terry describes little details, like if Marshall blows a kiss to say goodbye or hurries into his classroom.

The last week or two have also brought on an explosion of language. It’s likely a combination of starting day care and his age, but Marshall has easily doubled his vocabulary recently, and is learning words at an alarming rate. He also now repeats words that interest him and is refining some words (“Scout” used to be “dat” and is now “Dout”). His expression is hilarious; when he sees something big he exaggerates the “biiiig!” to emphasize his enthusiasm. His first two-syllable words were bubble and better. I’m sure he’ll be talking in phrases and sentences before we know it!

But of course, with all the good day care brings, we’re seeing some expected downsides too. Marshall got his first high fever and has been sick twice in a month. His nose hasn’t stopped running since he started, so we keep lots of tissues all around the house.

And we’ve also seen a serious uptick in what I’m going to call emotional outbursts. I’m trying to be patient and see things from his perspective; he used to spend all day with his mom and evenings with his dad. We used to go for lots of walks in the afternoons when it was still light out. We used to all be home by 4:30, and Terry would take over while I would prep dinner, and because Marshall had been with me all day that seemed okay. Now we get home later, and it’s dark and cold, so the walks are infrequent. That also means we get maybe half an hour before I have to get some dinner going. Naturally, Marshall gets less time with his mama, and that’s tough on him (and me!). I’m trying my best to give him lots of attention in the morning and evening, but it’s never going to feel like enough. Still, it’s tough to be patient with a little kid screaming while I try to cook dinner and Terry tries to wrangle him out of the kitchen and the cat is asking to be fed. We’re all working on it.

Sleep has been decent lately, despite the illnesses. We went through a short “sleep regression” where Marshall woke up multiple times a night and really struggled with going to sleep in the first place, but I think we’ve made it out of that. Right now he goes to sleep at 7 and wakes up between 5:15 and 6 ish, but we’re really hoping to move that bedtime to 7:30 if he’s willing. More time for family fun in the evenings!

Eating is pretty good! Marshall has always been a happy eater, but he does have more preferences than ever before. Meat on its own is almost always a no-go; fruit, sweet potatoes, and bread are huge favorites; soup is almost a guaranteed two-serving meal. He’s started saying, “No!” very clearly if he doesn’t want something and saying, “Mmm!” if he loves something. You can imagine which we prefer.

Some other fun facts:

- My mom taught Marshall to say “wine” and also how to firmly tell someone to get "out!" if they're in his chair. Sure, it's cute now...
- Marshall still loves reading and learned to say "read" for when he wants us to sit with him for a book.

- He seems super interested in cooking--stirring, pouring ingredients into bowls, etc. I'm trying to find more and more ways for him to get involved in the kitchen. Tips welcome.
- Some "skills" that we have seen emerging for a while are finally starting to seem a little more well-developed, like dancing, walking backwards, and running. He also requests games of catch ("cha!") and runs out to the living room with a ball. Except--even though he knows how to throw a ball--he never throws. He just walks the ball to us, lets us throw it, and runs after it. Repeat.
- He seems pretty into helping us with stuff now, like throwing things away in the garbage or putting items where we ask him to. (How do I ensure he'll still enjoy these tasks as a teenager?)
- This kid is observant. It's scary. When we're out for walks, he'll spot objects (dog! truck! bird!), and Terry and I have to look for several seconds to find what he's seeing.
- Marshall has been sucking his thumb since he was maybe four months old, and it's definitely a full-blown habit now. It's comfort when he's tired, overwhelmed, shy, or just wants to cuddle, and we don't really think it's a big deal. But we are also wary of letting it go too long, so we're thinking of ways to wean him from it. Again, tips welcome.

I could go on forever about this little boy who is growing and learning and developing so quickly I can hardly take it all in. I miss him terribly when I'm at work, but hearing about his days makes me so proud and excited for all he's learning. I soak him up in the evenings and mornings, and that will have to be enough for now. 

Meanwhile, Marshall, we truly love this age. You are hilarious, sweet, observant, shy, focused, and loving. We look forward to learning more about you as you communicate more, and we absolutely love watching you grow. Happy half-birthday, Bug! 


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