My little Liam is 18 months old now, as of July 23rd… a whole year and a half. How crazy is that? By this point in our lives, we’ve done away with all those silly apps and charts, and I’ve just been going with the flow, enjoying his toddlerhood, and trying not to worry too much about his development as much as I have in the past. I know he is perfect, even ahead in many areas, and I am done comparing him to all these super babies I see online. So, let’s look at Liam at 18 months! Continue reading Little Milestones 18 Months
Hello, friends. Despite yesterday being not-so-fantastic, today was pretty good! It was unbearably hot, and we had made zero plans for the day, but I knew I wanted to stay indoors as much as possible. I wanted a little bit of alone time with my son, just to bond and relax, so I told my mom that we could meet up later in the day, some time after Liam’s lunch and nap, and then maybe do some afternoon shopping. I made delicious grilled cheese sandwiches for Liam and I for lunch, which had provolone cheese, parsley, avocado, and tomato (his was deconstructed, since he still doesn’t have many teeth), and they were so delicious. I haven’t cooked, or really made anything at home, in days!
We ended up meeting up much later than planned, thanks to some technical difficulties on my mom’s end with Facebook. Even though she was on it all day, she never saw any notifications for the half a dozen messages I sent her telling her she could come over at that point. After over two hours of waiting for her, I messaged Kyle and asked him to text her (I still don’t have minutes), since I knew she would get that right away. Sure enough, she did, then messaged me back immediately, very upset that she had missed all my messages. I was thankful for the time I got to spend with Liam (as well as a fantastic nap that I snuck in before lunch), but happy to finally get out and do some shopping.
She picked us up, and told me all about her morning and afternoon exploring the town. She went down to the waterfront, somewhere I didn’t even know existed, and relaxed by the water, sipping her coffee. We talked about possible plans for tomorrow, and I pointed out a few possible dinner options for tonight. We got to Walmart, and did a couple laps around the store. I picked out two shirts, two pairs of shorts, and a package of socks for Liam, and we found a cute sensory animal book for him as well. It has words I can read to him, as well as pictures of animals, and little patches of “fur” textures for him to touch. When you press on the textured spots, it makes the noise of that animal. I was excited, because I’ve been looking for a book just like that for him, and this was the first I had seen. It wasn’t until we got home that we realized that the whole back half of the book is a misleading block of fake pages, where the batteries and noise boxes are, and that it is actually only a few pages long. Very misleading, and definitely not worth the $13 it cost. Oh well.
I didn’t see anything there that I liked, mostly because Walmart only has three options for women: Too tight junior clothes in neon colors, workout clothes, and… well, clothes that even my 50 year old mother thinks are too old for her. So I got nothing, which was fine with me, since I’m still not comfortable letting her spend money on me. She bought some cute things for Liam, so that seemed to satisfy her urge to spend.
After Walmart, we went to Culver’s for dinner, since she had never been, and talked about the past. She asked me if I still kept in touch with the handful of friends I had in high school, which I do, and told me that she bumps into them every now and then. She asked me questions about my ex, and his family, and about our breakup, which I honestly didn’t mind answering. It’s not like I really have friends I can talk to about it, even though it was over 3 years ago, it was nice to be able to bitch about him and his family for a minute, ya know?
After dinner, we headed to the mall to visit with Kyle before he got off work, and Liam happily ran barefoot through the empty store. We decided that since Kyle has tomorrow off, we would head to one of the neighboring towns, where there is a huge indoor swimming pool, and do some swimming. It is supposed to be stormy and yucky for the next few days, so this will be a nice alternative, assuming it isn’t really crowded. The hotel pool where my mom is staying is still being renovated, and we spent a lot of money on swimsuits, and don’t want them to go unused. I am excited. Liam hasn’t had a lot of exposure to water, aside from the tub, and when he dumps his water cup on himself, so I am hoping he has fun. As for me, I haven’t been swimming in nearly 7 years. And I looove swimming.
It was a good day. I got some alone time with my kiddo, as well as a nice nap. Kyle is home now, so we are going to cuddle up on the couch and continue watching The Adventures of Merlin on Netflix. I can’t remember if I recommended that yet, but seriously, you guys should check it out if you’re into magic and fantasy and lore and adventure. It is quite fantastic!
Hope you’re all having a fantastic holiday, thanks for reading!
Hello, friends! It has been a looong time since I gave you an update on Liam’s milestones (5 months actually, holy crap!), so I figured, now that he is into his toddlerhood, it would be a good time to share with you where he is at with his development. Like the last few times, I will be using several development charts from the BabyCentre UK site. These charts are not set in stone, and of course all babies develop at their own pace, but I just wanted to share with you all a look at where my kiddo is at.
As of today, Liam is 13 months and 3 weeks old. He wears a size 7 shoe, 18/24m clothes, and a size 5 diaper. I am not sure of his exact height and weight currently, but at his 12 month exam, he was 33 inches tall, and weighed just under 24 pounds. He is a tall boy! As he is constantly learning and doing new things, I will be showing you the charts for 13-18 month olds. He does at least a little bit from each chart!
One of the biggest things that bothers me about these charts, as well as many other charts on other sites, is that they all claim that my barely one year old should have been saying anywhere from 2-5 real words from the age of 12 months. Well, he doesn’t, and I honestly don’t know any babies his age that do. Heck, I know two year olds that still only say “mama” and “dada“. Liam has been saying “mama” to me for months, but as his daddy is hardly ever home, he doesn’t say “dada” very often. He can say it, he just doesn’t. He has also started saying “oh yeah” recently, and just yesterday, he said what sounded like “no” for the first time. I have also been trying to teach him “hello” and “bye bye” to go with his waving. He also freaking LOVES “peek-a-boo” and plays it with me all the time.
The rest of the chart he has mastered, and we are especially proud of his cup drinking abilities. At 12 months, we switched to a cup with a real straw, not a sippy cup, and he picked it up within two days, and has only used a straw ever since. He can also grip and tip a real cup, without the lid and straw, but I need to hold it so that he doesn’t spill.
This is where things get frustrating, as far as these charts go, because several of these same things were listed on earlier charts, from 8 or 9 months old. He has been finger feeding since he was 7 months old. Most babies definitely are at this point, right? He does everything in this list, except for pointing. He does not point. He does not point to things he wants, he just grabs them, and he doesn’t point to body parts. We have been trying to learn “tummy“, but he still hasn’t picked it up.
This is where we get into the supposedly advanced stuff for someone his age, which seems odd to me. I already covered the talking bit, and as I said before, he just used “no” for the first time ever yesterday. The rest? He’s done it all. Liam has been walking since 10.5 months old, running since 11.5 months, and going up and down steps, and walking backwards, for the last month. He loves running around at the park, or at the store. He also tried to “help” me sweep by carrying around the dust pan, and also knows how to put his toys away, and the laundry into the basket. We also started coloring at 12 months, and he can grip and use a crayon pretty well now, although he doesn’t snow much interest in it. I never would have thought that all of these things didn’t come until 15 months.
Another confusing chart. Aside from the talking bit, Liam does all of this. He can turn the pages of his board books when we read, he throws EPIC tantrums when he doesn’t get his way, he is obsessed with both his Scout and Froggy toys, and makes sure to let me know that he needs to bring them to the living room in the morning and after his naps, and he has developed fussy eating habits over the last month and a half. Some days, he takes two naps, but most days it is only one. He can also unzip and pull ff his coat or sweatshirt, pull off his shirt by himself, and drop his pants, but needs help stepping out of them. He can put a shirt on over his head as well. He’s been able to stack his blocks for months. He also climbs onto the couch, climbs at the park, and climbs onto his activity table. He has yet to get out of his crib, thankfully.
I only wanted to include this list because, once again, it contains two things that Liam has been doing for a little while now, and one thing that he is starting to do. He has a riding toy that he got for Christmas, and has been able to get on and off of it on his own for about a month now. He can also dance, and does it regularly. He also recently started being able to get about half of his shapes into their correct holes on his shape sorter. He also responds to the phrases “sit down” “give me kisses” and “come here“.
Now, this chart, he doesn’t do too much from, obviously. We started brushing his teeth twice a day when he got his first tooth at 10 months (he still only has 4), and I will often hand his toothbrush to him to “brush” them himself while I am changing him for bed. He also can take apart block towers, and put blocks together, and has one amazing throwing arm.
I’m starting to not put much weight into what these charts say. I know that my son is a rock star, and is pretty on point in his development, but for him to be doing things that are supposedly moderately difficult for 17 and 18 month olds? I don’t know if I buy into that. It’s a nice thought, but really? Am I not giving him enough credit, or are these charts catering more to parents of children who may have slower development? Who knows.
Anyway, there’s a look at where my kiddo is at in his development. 🙂 As far as feedings go, he is drinking about 20-24 ounces of whole milk every day, and water for the rest of the day (no juice for us). He also eats 3 pretty hefty meals, and two snacks, every day. This kid eats like a high school football player, I swear. We haven’t really had any issues with constipation either, though some days he only poops once, and strains a bit, but he does go 1-4 (sometimes 5) times a day, depending on what he ate. No allergies so far! He’s also had every possibly seasoning out there (no salt!), and has loved them all. He has started his fussy eating phase, and has all but stopped eating vegetables, unless I sneak them into something he really likes.
His current favorite foods:
Broccoli and cheese omelette/scrambled eggs
Toasted English muffin with cheese and garlic
Baked cinnamon brown sugar apple bites
Soft carrot chunks with brown sugar and butter
Elbow noodles with shredded cheese and garlic
Cinnamon apple/banana/cinnamon raisin wheat pancakes
Mozzarella cheese cubes
Plain broccoli and butter
Banana slices rolled in crushed Cheerios or graham crackers
Okay, maybe he isn’t that fussy, but he no longer eats sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, or raisins on their own, and it has been a pain to sneak those particular foods into things!
Okay, I’m done now, haha. What do you guys think about these development charts? Are they just really loose guidelines? Did/do your little ones seemed further in their development as well?
Thanks for reading, friends!
Hello, friends! Today, I wanted to tell you guys about a newer toy that Liam got for his birthday from his grandmother, that has quickly become one of our favorites of all time, for several reasons. It is seriously such a great toy, and Liam has found that it has multiple uses.
I present to you, the LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set. It is a mouthful, I know, but it is totally worth it.
The toy is pretty self-explanatory. The bus and the letters are magnets, which you just stick on your fridge, and have a fun time. When you put a letter into the slot on the bus, you get to hear two cute jingles about the specific letter.
“H says [H sound], H says [H sound]. Every letter makes a sound, H says [H sound].”
“H – Horn! Honk the horn! [Honking sound].”
If a letter has more than one sound, like any of the vowels, and a few other consonants, it will tie in both letter sounds into the jingle, which is a great learning tool. There is also a little music button, which plays the ABC’s, as well as The Wheels On the Bus! This is Liam’s favorite button, and he presses it every time he runs by the fridge.
We have an older fridge, which is not stainless steel, complete with a long, deep indent on the side, but I haven’t had any problems with getting the bus or the letters to stick. The magnets are strong, and don’t slide around too much, or fall off, yet are easy enough for tiny, toddler hands to pick up. I have seen one review complaining about the toy leaving scratches on her fridge, which I assume was stainless steel or something similar, but I haven’t had any issues with scratches.
At the start, Liam had a hard time putting the magnetic letters into the slot on the bus, but he mastered that skill in about a month, and is now a total pro.
Like I mentioned before, Liam uses this toy for more than just its intended learning purpose. He uses it to let me know when he wants to go to his room to get a toy, or when I’m taking too long in the bathroom, both of which are on the other side of his baby gate. He will wiggle his gate, making all sorts of noise, then will repeatedly press the music button on the bus until I come out. He’s a brilliantly impatient little boy. We’ve had this toy since January, and it gets use every single day, which is more than I can say for the majority of his other toys!
I have absolutely nothing negative to say about the LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set. It also boasts a volume control button, which is huge for mommys like me, who are sensitive to overly loud toys. I hope this persuaded some of you to run out and buy this awesome (and inexpensive!) learning toy. It is seriously awesome.
Thanks for reading, friends!
Recently, I stumbled across a Good Mythical Morning video on YouTube, which inspired me to create a bit of a writing challenge for myself, revolving around The 5 Love Languages Test. The 5 Love Languages Test was developed by Dr. Gary Chapman, who is an accomplished author, as well as a marriage counselor, and motivational speaker. The test is a series of only 30 questions, which help you determine your love language (or your child’s), and what is most important to you in a relationship. There are 5 different love languages: Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Quality Time, and Receiving Gifts.
Once you complete the test, these 5 love languages will be listed, in order of importance to you, based on how you answered, and you will be given a complete breakdown on what your results mean. Here were my results:
According to the website, my highest scoring language was Acts of Service, with 12/30 points. The website defines Acts of Service as the following:
“Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. Finding ways to serve speaks volumes to the recipient of these acts.”
Do I agree with my final results?
Nail. On. The. Head!
As a stay-at-home mom, nearly all of my time and energy is spent on my son. Cooking meals, cleaning up spills, changing diapers, teaching, playing, etc. The time that I’m not spending with my son, such as during his naps, are usually spent taking care of myself. Things such as showering, finding something of my own to eat, or even catching a short nap so that I don’t fall asleep in the middle of building a Mega Bloks tower, become priority when my little monster is in his crib. Dishes, vacuuming, folding laundry, scrubbing the toilet, and other household chores, just melt away into the chaos, and my apartment slowly turns into a war torn country. Acts of Service are like tiny Christmases in my life. They don’t happen nearly as often as I would like, however, and that is a problem for me.
My fiance works 55-65 hours a week between his two jobs, and is usually exhausted by the time he gets home. He simply does not have the time, or energy, to help me with the housework, or with our toddler. I hate my apartment being messy, and while I do manage to find the time to keep my living room, and my son’s room, neat and organized, there is so much more that I wish I could get done, but I definitely don’t really have the time or energy either.
Recently, my son had been going through a bit of sleep regression/separation anxiety, and was waking me up every hour to hour and a half. I slept terribly, and so did he. Despite this, he still managed to wake up, bright and early, ready to begin his day. I, on the other hand, could not move. My fiance, who did not have to work until later in the morning, and was still home, got out of bed, changed our son’s diaper, and occupied him for a bit so that I could get a few extra minutes of sleep before making them breakfast. In the 13 months my son has been in this world, my his father has only changed 7 diapers, including that one. He’s verrry squeamish, and even pee diapers make him queasy. For him to realize that I was basically comatose, and to take care of our son so that I could get those few moments to myself, truly meant so much to me. It wasn’t exactly emptying our sink of all the dirty dishes, but it was a huge help. If we weren’t already engaged, I would put a ring on that man so fast if he did my dishes for me…
What about my other scores?
If you had asked me all these same questions pre-baby, my answers would have been completely different. My obsession with keeping my apartment reasonably clean has basically consumed all of me, and at the end of the day, I have no desire for anything else, much to my fiance’s dismay. I’m not surprised that Physical Touch is at the bottom of the list, as it has never been that important to me to begin with, intimate or otherwise. I’ve never been big on affection in public, but lately, we have both just been too exhausted to even cuddle with each other on the couch. Well, about half of the time.
Which brings us to Quality Time, the second highest result. While I may be low on my desire for Physical Touch, I do very much love my fiance, and I value what little time we do get to spend together. We don’t have date nights, or anything like that, but even sitting next to each other, watching Netflix, means a lot to me. I look forward to the one day a week that he gets off, just so that we can go to the store as a family, or go for a walk. That means so much to me.
Words of Affirmation and Receiving Gifts are also low on my list of results, and there is a good reason… I simply don’t like them. Pre-baby, these things would have been tied for the absolute bottom, because both make me quite uncomfortable. Sure, I appreciate hearing, “I love you.” every once in a while, but other than that, I do not take compliments, or gifts well, even from a significant other. Every birthday, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day, I insist that Kyle not get me anything, but he refuses, and I end up with flowers, candy, a cute stuffed animal, or a new piece of jewelry. I don’t mind getting these things from him (as opposed to getting presents from family, which makes me incredibly uncomfortable, but they will not listen to reason) but they aren’t things that I actively desire. Same thing with compliments. It makes me smile when someone tells me I am a good mom, but I definitely don’t like compliments pertaining to my appearance, even from Kyle. I just don’t. Never have.
All in all, I would say that I completely agree with my results, and I understand why I got them. I didn’t necessarily learn anything new about myself, as I’ve always been pretty in-tune with my needs, but I feel like I should sit down with Kyle, show him my results, explain what they mean to me, and have him take the test as well, so that we better understand what we need from the other person. Our relationship is great, but it is not without flaws and challenges, and I feel like this exercise could help us out.
My challenge to you: Take the test, and write a post about your results, and how you felt about them. Were you surprised by your results, or were they expected? Did you learn anything new about yourself? I encourage anyone reading this to take the test, whether you are in a relationship or not. You can even take the test for your child. Who knows, it may help you understand your own needs, or someone else’s, a bit better. Let me know if you do!
Thanks for reading, friends.
The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 2/12/2016 | Alma Mater
“You’ve been asked to speak at your high school alma mater — about the path of life. (Whoa.) Draft the speech.”
“Hello, young humans. This school looks so different than the last time I was here. My name is Jan, although I used to go by Janise when I went to school here. I made a conscious decision to change my name, thanks to twelve years of mispronunciations, and it made my life so much better. So, if I don’t mention it later, my first bit of advice to you is that if people are mispronouncing your name, and it is driving you nuts, go by something else. Anyway, I’m here today to talk to you all about the path of life, though I’m not sure why I was asked to fly 1,200 miles to come back here and speak, when my path of life hasn’t exactly been successful.
I was an above average student most of the time, but I was easily distracted by things that had nothing to do with school. Boys, family drama, having fun with friends, etc., and that was a huge mistake. If I could change one thing about my high school career, I would go back and try harder, and focus more. I got lazy during my senior year, and my grades reflect that. I was smart enough to start applying to colleges early, which is super important, but I played it safe, because I was afraid of rejection. Some of my top choice schools never even got my application, because I just didn’t want to hear a “no”.
I got accepted into every school that I applied to, but sacrificed my education, as well as my friends and family, for a boy, and ended up leaving the country to attend school with him. Big mistake. We didn’t last, and I am still in debt to that school, over seven years later. I had to drop out, and bounce around from crappy job to crappy job, just trying to stay above water, and pay my bills. I would do anything to be able to go back to school, and finish my degree, so that I can have a good career that supports my family.
If you take anything away from my speech today, anything at all, please, focus on school. Boys will come and go, and drama will pass. High school doesn’t last forever, and things will get better. Even if you don’t believe in yourself, and you’re afraid of those rejection letters, apply to schools that you feel might be out of your comfort zone, or even out of your financial reach. There are scholarships and grants out there to help you, and I wish that I had done more research on the matter before I graduated. Who knows, I might have actually graduated.
Thank you for inviting me to speak here today. Stay in school, kids!”
Thank you for reading, friends.
Hello, friends! As some of you may know, I wrote a 3 part series of reviews for all of the toys that Liam got for his first Christmas (if interested, here’s Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). Well, his first birthday was less than a month later, on January 23rd, and he got some great toys! About a week has passed, and we have had time to thoroughly explore and play with all the new toys, and I thought it would be fun to do another toy haul review! Unlike my Christmas toy haul, I’ll be doing just one post for these reviews, as I am only doing 6 toys.
As with the previous posts, I will post the name and link for each toy, as well as an image. Beneath these, I will be using a 4-star system, rating each toy on their:
Attractiveness: Colors, shapes, detail, and how well it captured and kept my son’s attention.
Interactivity: Age settings, movement, how much can he do with it, etc.
Noise: (If applicable) Music, sounds, volume control, sound quality.
Quality: Flimsy plastic, not baby-proof, etc.
Overall Score: A mix of my opinion and my son’s opinions.
I will also list Pros and Cons.
Here we go!
1. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Learning Table
Pros: Amazing learning toy! Very interactive. Power and volume control, as well as four ways to play (learning time, Spanish, music time, and play time with real sounds). Very colorful and eye-catching. My son attacked it and wanted to play before I had even put it together. The piano keys are our favorite!
2. Bizzy Square – The Buckle Toy
Pros: Colorful, soft material. The back has several numbered tabs that baby can lift to reveal animals. Clips are very easy to clip and un-clip, great for babies who like to play with and chew on clips, with little risk of pinching their fingers. Comes in several colors/characters.
Cons: Toy is smaller than it appears in pictures, has a cheap feel for the price.
3. Fisher-Price Little People See n’ Say
Pros: Colorful. Features a variety of animals, a song option, and a little game.
Cons: Lever is a bit difficult for my 12-month old to pull, and can be awkward. So power or volume control, and volume is VERY loud. Animal noises are unrealistic and sound a bit weird.
Pros: We have the full set of 3, and they make excellent learning tools, that double as great, cheap toys, and my son loves them. Colorful and eye-catching. Move very smoothly.
Cons: No power or volume control. The volume on the Monkey car is much higher than the other two, and his voice is very shrill. I actually get headaches from that little green car.
5. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Tablet
Pros: Great learning tool, features power and volume control, as well as 3 stages of learning. Each button has the option of saying the letter, character/object, and the sound it makes. Plays several different songs, different on each learning setting. Lights on top and sides light up in several, bright colors.
Cons: NOT a touch screen, which is fine, but baby does need to press a bit on the buttons, which seemed to put my kiddo off a bit. When you are playing with the alphabet buttons, it randomly cuts you off and plays music, which is a bit annoying.
6. Mega Bloks Jeep Lil’ Off Roader Building Set
Pros: Instantly caught my son’s attention in the store. Great size for toddlers. Looks like a realistic, tiny Jeep! Comes with 7 pieces, which includes a little removable character, and 6 Mega Bloks blocks. Blocks can be played with on their own, or can be arranged on the roof of the Jeep.
Cons: Very basic, limited interactivity. A bit expensive for what little it does.
There you have it! I have to say that my favorite toy is definitely the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Learning Table. I love how many settings it has, and I actually really enjoy composing short piano pieces with the 4 colorful piano keys. Liam loves the piano keys, too, and plays with me! I’d say his favorite toy is probably the Learning Table as well, but he is definitely a fan of his Mega Bloks Jeep, as well as his Fisher-Price Tablet (but only if I’m using it with him), and his Fisher-Price train that he got for Christmas, of course!
We are really loving all of the Fisher-Price learning toys! I love toys that have multiple learning stages, and look like “real” items that mommy and daddy use, and these are all just fantastic! I hope this helped out a few folks out there who are hunting for gifts for little ones!
Thanks for reading, friends.