Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tuff-man's 16 Month Update

16 months is a strange and incredibly wonderful time for us. It's only been a year and 4 months since I've given birth to my precious angel, yet, it feels like ages ago that we brought Tuff home for the first time. I can't imagine our home ever without him.

Now for my man's update... When mom's say it happens fast, boy does it! Here are my top 5 milestones for 16 months:

1. "What's that?" I have heard this phrase for a month a million times a day. When I pick him up from school, he immediately starts pointing and wanting to know what everything is... The flip side is that he also wants to show mommy everything. "Mommy, 'yook... 'yook mommy..." Another question that is specifically clear is "Where’d it go?"

Of course, adding to the dramatic faces that I receive with each question (not sure where he gets that from???) is very extravagant hand gestures. The pointing finger, big arm circles (when explaining something very important), clinched fists (when something really exciting happens) and a little bit of sassy-hands (imagine Bon-Qui-Qui at 16 months old).

2. "Do you want to help mommy..." Never did I know it would be so much easier to get a toddler to do what you want them to do if you ASK, rather than TELL, them to do it. Nugget-man loves to follow directions, but he gets an attitude when he is tired or isn't into what is going on. However, I've noticed that if I ask him to "help mommy wipe your nose, please" he stops refusing and actually takes the washcloth or Boogie Wipe and wipes his face and nose. Instead of fighting with a tired baby to put night clothes on, I ask him to put in one foot or hand at a time, and he stops crying and lifts one leg… then the other… and then slips his arm into the sleeve, and when his fingers pop out it cracks him up every time.

Watering plants and herbs
 Swiffering the kitchen
Yes, I know, simple concept... and while in extreme conditions this doesn't always work, it's about
95% effective which is about 95% more than I expected. I'm positive the first time I asked the question out loud, it was directed to Jesus in prayer... maybe he gave me my answer! "Ask and you shall receive"

3. Chow hound! I can't help but be so proud of my kid’s eating habits. He eats everything but white potatoes (and that's just fine with me).

He loves to eat. The biggest milestone with meal times is probably his determinedness to use the spoon/fork to feed himself (and anyone else sitting within utensil-reach). He will actually pick items up with his hands and put them back in the bowl so he can try to spoon them out again. If he’s really hungry, he will let you spoon feed him… but most times he wants to do it himself, or all hell breaks loose!

 He totally fed all those fries to the dog, and opted for avocado instead :)
Water day at school
4. Sparkler Free Zone! July 4th was a fun day for us. We played in the pool outside, drew on the walls with chalk, ran through the sprinkler, cooked on the grill and popped fireworks… that last activity was not Nugget’s favorite. My husband was so excited to get him some sparklers and was overly confident Tuff would be AMAZED (me, not so much, but what you gonna do).

Brock started out with the little smoke bombs and whistling chickens, Keegan was not impressed. Out come the sparklers, and while my hubs face was alight with joy, my sons face was flooded with tears of fear! As long as he was sitting on someone’s lap, we were cool. Otherwise, he wanted nothing to do with the fireworks. He much rathered trying to fix my car with his toddler pliers or spraying the dog with the hose!

5. Ascent! I’ve read so many stories and seen so many pictures of toddlers climbing, but they do not prepare you for the moment that you turn your back for 5 seconds while your child plays quietly on the floor with a dinosaur, only to turn back to find that he has fashioned an entire step pyramid out of toys so he can reach atop the back of the couch to get the remote control. He has also started to climb in and out of the bath tub, and will any day be able to seat himself in his highchair.

I love how much fun he is getting to be. Watching his personality evolve amazes me every day! He picks up on things so quickly (good and bad) and sometimes I think he teaches me more than I am teaching him.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Welcome to the toddler house...

Food and crumbles are all over the kitchen floor. On the refrigerator, you likely will see a little green handprint… most definitely from the avocado the night before (or last week). Walking space in the living room is restricted due to a car crash between a tricycle and a fire engine that has also produced several fatalities, including one of the 20 TV remotes and a monkey named Nana. There are 7 rolls of toilet paper in the bathroom, none of which are on the dispenser. In the guest bathtub, the walls resemble an ancient Egyptian ruin… vibrantly colorful with my child’s first works of art (and maybe a list of groceries I thought of while giving the Nugget a bath). There is cornstarch powder on the mirrors, bespeckled with splashes of water which remind me of some kind of cheetah skin. When you sit on the couch, don’t be surprised if it squeaks violently at you (or if you are thrown out of the way by a little person who has been eagerly waiting to find the source for 4 long days). The kitchen table is a collection of diaper bag items, snacks, ingredients for homemade potions, several pairs of shoes and a couple phones of which I am sure my Nugget has pilfered from friends and family (if you are missing one, my bad). There are tiny little socks in every corner, and the ones on my sons feet probably don’t match. If you would like your beer or any other beverage cold, then you need to bring your own ice chest because all 3 of our refrigerators are chock full of milk, eggs, empty Tupperware, miscellaneous jugs, pureed food, a couple deer, half a hog, a truckload of veggies for mommy’s juice fast and some mason jars that I’m not positively sure of the contents. Yes, the milk is separated and you will have to shake it first because it’s raw… Oh, and if you find a little person hanging from the lamp shade or tangled in the mini-blinds, please remove him and place him on the floor so that he can retry whatever it is he was set out on accomplishing.

Yep, my house is a circus… and surprisingly, I don’t mind. 2 years ago, I could not fall asleep at night if I knew there were dishes in the sink, or if I suddenly remembered I didn’t wipe of the counter after cooking. The yard was always cut, the clothes were always laundered and put away, and the bathrooms were scrubbed weekly from head to toe… I had time to relax and watch a movie (on the same day)… I could work out or grocery shopping after work without worry. The winds they are a changin’ and for the better. Honestly, I hardly remember my other life. There was Kelli BC (before children) and Kelli AD (after delivery), and I like this Kelli much better, however big of a mess she may be!
Yes, that is food on the floor, this still kills my husband. That is what happens when a child is learning to feed himself with a spoon and mommy is brilliant enough to fix impossibly transportable foods like small field peas, corn, ground turkey, peaches, blueberries or pasta that roll and slide or can be wedged in the sides of his diaper (for a snack later) and the cracks in the floor. It’s funny, because he is so set on using that damn fork or spoon. If food spills outside the bowl, he picks it up with his fingers and puts it BACK IN THE BOWL! God forbid the husband switches on the table saw or starts the lawn mower at the exact moment li’l Nugget finally scoops a spoonful of veggies, his face lights up like a Christmas tree and his spoon hand instantly flies in the directly of the commotion, flinging whatever was on the utensil across the room and into vases, baskets and other random objects. You can sweep twice a day and still have a smorgasbord of food items in the most random places in your kitchen. If the hands are not immediately washed (which we are trying to teach him before and after eating), then little handprints litter the walls and cabinet doors. It’s impossible to spot them all until you go to get something from that specific place. Then most times I forget to go back to wipe that area because I am being dragged by little hands for a game of Ittsy Bitsy Spider, being begged for a horseback ride or am wopped over the head with the Clorox toilet wand.

We take turns picking up toys, but don’t really see the point on days when we are hanging out around the house. As far as the kitchen table goes, I have no idea what is on it. It’s layered like lasagna with tools and shoes and phones and articles of clothing and diapers (clean, I think) and I can’t keep it clear to save my life… and if it is empty for some special occasion, please do NOT go in the extra bedroom! Another area I can’t keep free is the sink. It always has dirty dishes because we cook and prepare every meal, and to be perfectly honest, I’m to the point of using all throw away dishes and utensils until after the age of 2 to free up some of our time.

It’s not like I’m wearing my underwear inside out and have mold growing in the ceilings, but I have relaxed many of my OCD ways as my Nugget man ventures further into toddler-hood. It’s really too much fun, who’s got time to worry about all that other crap. My husband and I work 50 hours a week… We get up at 5:45am, home at 5:30pm, cook dinner and feed ourselves and watch the toddler propel chunks across the room, clean up and play for 30 minutes, bath time and put him to bed. By this time it is after 8:00pm. We do a little more picking up, put a load of clothes washing and watch So You Think You Can Dance or Mountain Men while posting a couple pictures of the kid on Facebook so family can see what a lovely mess he is and then it’s snuggle (bed) time!
No complaints here, so don’t get me wrong. I am just not sweating the small stuff as much as I used to. Watching him explore and imitate and problem solve completely fascinates me. If my husband is hammering away, you better believe that Keegan is right there beside him trying to do the same thing. If mommy is sweeping, Keegan is right there waiting for his turn to push the dust mop around for a while. He can’t reach the light switch, no problem for li’l KeeKee, he spent about an hour figuring out that he could move the bag of blocks right by the coffee table so he can climb onto the chair and over the back to reach it (he’s also realized that this is a comfy place to take a breather).

He is blossoming into this absolutely brilliant human. While I know our house may be a little messier than what I consider usual, it works for us right now. It’s interesting that Nugget-man wants to help us do a good bit of the cleaning too. I like taking the extra time doing chores because I’m also teaching Keegan how to do them. He thinks they are fun and entertaining, and I’m hoping he continues to think so. If not, at least I would like to teach him the value of picking up. I also like to let him get a little bored so he entertains himself. That is most of how we grew up… no TV or video games for hours on end every day. We played outside, inside, and would make believe we were in far off places or in different worlds. Making a mess and getting dirty play huge parts in play time and in getting creative. I like to think I am being reintroduced to my creative side through my son. I have become too comfortable with all of this new age technology and it truly makes us lazy humans. While I appreciate the technology and the convenience it brings to life, especially when it creates more time to spend with my family, I find keeping it a distance makes our family so much more happy…