Sunday, December 12, 2010

Letter to sixteen month old Nathaniel

Dear Natey,

This past month whipped by at lightening speed. But at the same time it feels like ages ago that we visited our family for a four night stay over Thanksgiving. It seems that every time we travel you come home with a whole new set of tricks and all the predictability in our routines fly out the car window. This trip was no exception.

Verbal speech
Your speech is really taking off. It's so exciting. You seem eager to try to mimic anything we throw at you...except for the name of our dog Ava. You're content to sign DOG and refuse to attempt saying her name. Daddy and I made a list and you say far more than I thought. You now say at least 39 words regularly (including animal sounds), although I'm sure Daddy and I would be the only ones who understand quite a few of them. And several of the words sound the same (Ali, Ernie and iron sound remarkably similar as do door and drawer). Here's the list of your first words:

1) daddy 2) mommy 3) duck 4) cat 5) hi 6) down 7) bat 8) Bert 9) Ernie 10) Bubba 11) Nana 12) Ali 13) iron 14) go 15) moo 16) boo 17) yak 18) door 19) drawer 20) draw 21) Elmo 22) coffee 23) cookie 24) Sesame 25) peep 26) boom 27) rice 28) owl 29) denude 30) poop 31) burp 32) Nate 33) apple 34) no 35) cook 36) Jets 37) juice 38) teacher 39) treat

You now play a number of games with us. Some of them are just designed to torture mommy. Favorites include pretending to throw food from the high chair and/or putting it in your hair while you smile, waiting for me to tell you to eat the food instead. You also enjoy trying to (and often succeeding in) taking gulps of your bath water. You laugh like a maniac when I tell you "stop, it's disgusting!" And of course you love the classic toddler favorite where you run from forbidden thing to forbidden thing, testing your limits.
Mama: No, don't touch the tv. No, don't touch the Christmas tree. No, don't touch the cable box. No, don't pull on the curtains....
Nate: Heeheeheehee!!!
Other games are much more fun for all. When we say "Go, Nate, go!" you yell loudly, "GO!" in the cutest little voice while you run across the room. We really have to get that on video. When I sing "Old MacDonald" to you I pause so that you can fill in the animal. You proudly say "duck!" almost every time. Occasionally the farm will be lucky enough to also include a "gaht" (cat).

Like any toddler, you love repeating things ad nauseum. But you seem to accept the end is near when we tell you "one more time, and then we're all done." You now hold up that one finger for "one more time." It's totally adorable.

You and your daddy invent new games all of the time. I love watching you two together. It's already so obvious that you think he's the coolest thing on earth (well, other than Elmo). Daddy does crazy, fun stuff with you that I would never think of and you love every second of it.  He makes you laugh so hard on a regular basis that you scream. We're so lucky to have you, but you are also so lucky to have him for a daddy.

Other stuff
You continue to pick up new signs. The newest ones include SLEEP, FROG and DINOSAUR. There are very few signs that I show you that you don't imitate or at least try to imitate. Your ability to learn new signs seems to only be capped by my ability to teach you. I need to learn more and I haven't made that a priority. Perhaps it's because you seem to understand just about everything I say anyway. But it's on my to-do list.

Your current favorite activities include coloring/drawing (which you call "dudu") and playing in a dresser drawer in which I have put your summer clothes. I've also recently discovered that you like to clean and are content to wipe various surfaces in our home with a paper towel. Keeping you entertained in our home has been a challenge, especially with the weather turning cold and a nose much too runny for open plays or the library play room. I need some new material!

Your sleep has been totally wacky. You were sick (allergies), then we traveled, then you got a cold.  So I don't know how much all of that is to blame. It could be that things are just changing. Also, I wrote a blog post about our lovely bedtime routine and how well it was working, so clearly that jinxed things. You now may or may not nurse before bed. I'm hoping that you're weaning yourself and that will last after your cold goes away.

But you also now won't just lay down and go to sleep. It's been different every night this week. A few nights I had to sing hundreds of verses of "Wheels on the Bus," one night I had to rub your back and tell you about all of the things in the world that were going to sleep. Tonight I just had to sit by your crib until you fell asleep. But you continue to wake up frequently throughout the night. Naps are a complete mess and I am once again at a total loss. Ferber just hasn't worked for us and we need a new plan. Sweetpea, you can be really exhausting! Mommy needs breaks, you know!

But as exhausting as you can be, I love staying home with you. I love teaching you things and watching you develop from day to day. I know I am so lucky that I've been able to stay home with you this long and I'm not looking forward to that changing. But I know we'll make it work when the time comes. Especially if you keep those hugs coming. You're such a snuggle monkey.

Christmas photo outtake

I love you more than tongue can tell.

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