Thane at 18 months

Today, my baby was graduated to the Toddler 1 room. No longer is he a Sweetpea. No, nor does he reside with the babies. He has been officially designated as a Toddler. And it’s true.

Thane and cars - modeling fashionable head gear
Thane and cars - modeling fashionable head gear

I’ll start off with confessions. It’s harder to “see” Thane than it was Grey at the same age, or even Grey now. Thane is in constant competition with his brother. One of these people can use words to form interested sentences. One of them cannot. One of them has a high-attention personality. The other of them, when all is well with him, happily entertains himself. So I notice that it’s much harder to focus on Thane, to see him for the delightful wonderful kid he is. Even when I try to set time aside, I find myself either appreciating the silence, or having his brother come up to see what’s going on. It’s hard to get one-on-one time with him. And as is pretty standard with 18 month olds, it can be hard to figure out what to DO together — at least after the 7th round of “Where’s Thane?!!?!” (Thane thinks wandering around with a blanket over his head is HILARIOUS!)

Thane loves his father, especially
Thane loves his father, especially

The great news is that Thane seems to be flourishing in this environment. If I sometimes rue that it’s hard to focus on my youngest because my eldest requests and requires my attention, that’s not how Thane sees it. Thane’s greatest hero is Grey. He’ll wake up in the night and ask after his brother. He perks up whenever Grey’s name is mentioned, even at daycare. He is unhappy if he knows Grey is nearby and he can’t be with him. When Grey cries (a common occurrence — we’re in the middle of another tantrum period) Thane will insist over and over on going to his brother “Gwey! Gwey! Gwey!” He’ll walk up the stairs and lurk outside his brother’s door, hitting it with tiny fists, calling his brother’s name. It may yet be early in their relationship, but the two of them seem to have a strong bond — each eager to be with the other.
Grey found a fun toy in the toybox
Grey found a fun toy in the toybox

This is not to say, of course, that there is no conflict in their relationship. Thane pays so much attention to Grey that it’s inevitable he’ll want to play with whatever Grey has. Although Thane seems to understand that some toys are not his, all chaos breaks loose when Grey is playing with one of Thane’s cars. The filial relationship is not always harmonious, but it’s still painted with overtones of loving and kindness.

Project “Use Your Own Two Feet Already” is meeting with rousing success! Thane is regularly walking from the car to the house (you don’t know what a big difference that can make until you make the trip with: one work backpack, one purse, one coffee mug, one bag of blankets for daycare, one bag clothes for the gym and two lunch boxes for daycare). He will walk about two blocks, nicely, holding hands. He can usually be propelled forward with the old chestnut of “Look, Thane! Grey’s up there! Let’s go get Grey!” He’s made tremendous strides in walking on his own, although if he sees a stroller he is still very interested in getting in it. He really loves being taken on walks, and even in his worst days will sit quietly as we walk through the neighborhood, as long as the scenery changes.

Confirmation Class of 2020 all lined up
Confirmation Class of 2020 all lined up

In further gross motor news, Thane is doing very very well with the stairs. Previous bloody incidents aside, we have great stairs for beginning crawlers — carpeted, not too steep and with landings. Thane walks up and down them holding hands, and can ascend and descend with great speed crawling. My heart always is in my mouth as he approaches the stairs, since he often looks like he’s going to try to walk down them, and his legs simply aren’t long enough to do that without toppling over. He is also becoming an expert at slides. We have a great “first slide” at church, which he gets up and down without any assistance. He likes the big slide at the playground, but I’m too chicken to permit him to use it much.
Unafraid of heights
Unafraid of heights

Linguistically, Thane is just about on target. He’s starting to work on the “ABC” song, but doesn’t get very far. He doesn’t have the patience for repetition of the letters of the alphabet his brother had at the same stage. This is ok — he has another 5 or so years before he really needs to have mastered his alphabet. He’s getting much better at mimicry, and will finally say his own name. (It’s really pretty adorable. He thumps his chest and says “Tay”). Then again, he’s also been known to call himself Marilyn (the name of his previous provider in the infant room). He knows a duck says “quack”. He says “genty” as he pets the “gat” (often quite ungently – patient animals!). A complete comprehended list might include: no (in answer to every question), apple, yogurt, applesauce, milk, water, cheese, oatmeal, cereal, blue, yellow, red, Grey, Mama, Dada, Thane, up, down, car, truck, bus, cat, puppy, ball, block, book, balloon, shoe, sock, coat, pants, diaper, bath, duck, quack, dinosaur (da-do), toothbrush (goo-ga), belly, nose, eye, ear, hair, happy, Spongebob (Bob Bob), cough-cough (he does fake coughs so I’ll say it) and probably some others. That’s not a bad list for 18 months old. He probably says many other words we don’t understand. He talks all the time, but much of it I still can’t understand.
It's hard to get pictures of his face, not just his golden curls
It's hard to get pictures of his face, not just his golden curls

Thane has exceptional patience and focus for particular tasks (when not hungry/tired/thirsty). Cars are currently the great joy of his life. He loves them. He carries them around and lines them up on any available surface. He LOVES being sat at the table to play with his trucks and toys, and sits quite nicely. He is particularly fond of my grandmother’s bells, which I have on a windowsill. He’ll sit on the old teak chest and ring and line up the bells, gazing out the window. His love-affair with dinosaurs seems only slightly diminished. He still really likes books about dinosaurs, and now points out other elements of interest in them (ducks, balls, balloons, puppies – don’t ask why these are common elements in dinosaur books. You don’t want to know.) But the cars seem the greatest theme to his play. He hasn’t yet started paying attention to screens. He very rarely sees them, since he’s usually with us while his brother is watching them in the living room. I’m just as happy, although I think I’d rather have Grey watching Sesame Street that Cartoon Network and their appalling wrestling-themed programming.

My baby is still the best sleeper I’ve ever witnessed in the age group. For Christmas, Santa gave him a rabbit we named “Mr. Bun”. He was having none of it. That rabbit’s name is and always shall be “Puppy”. You should see the joy and welcome that flash across his face when he reaches out for Puppy. Then he takes one ear in his hand, and while holding on to the ear, sucks his thumb. It’s the only time he ever does so. He’ll lie down, so content in his bed. I tuck him in and turn out the light and leave the room. Sometimes I hear him talking to himself after that, but he rarely needs attention.

What do you mean no more cake?
What do you mean no more cake?

For quite a while he gave the most hilarious kisses. He’d bring his sweet rosebud mouth next to your unsuspecting cheek and blow a very sloppy wet raspberry on it. I loved it, I confess. Made me laugh every time. Now, though, his kisses are taking on an actual kiss-like aspect, to my great regret.

When he’s tired, he’ll lay his head on my shoulder, and rest there for a brief moment. Usually, though, he’s indomitable, fearless, sturdy, adventurous, resourceful, charming, talkative and persistent. The experienced parents reading this list may note that some of these generally excellent attributes can make for, uh, challenging parenting. That’s true too. He’s nearly impossible to pull from an object he desires without simply picking him up. He’s strong, and has not yet learned that hitting is wrong. He can and will throw an epic tantrum when he believes it is called for. Sometimes, he can tire me out. But mostly, he brings me and those around him great joy.

And now, friends, he’s a true Toddler.

Thane, patiently being shorn
Thane, patiently being shorn

Edited to Add:
For my reference (since, let’s be honest, this blog is as much of a baby book as the poor kid gets), here are his stats:
Weight 27 lbs (65th %)
Height 33.5 inches (85th %)
Head circumference 19 in (65%)

1 teaspoon tylenol suspension (160 mg/5ml)

Thane at 15 months

Thane had his 15 month checkup today. First, the stats.

His right ear actually looks pretty ok, which is a little frustrating given that he’s headed in for surgery next week. At least his left ear looks bad, still.

Weight: 15lbs 5oz (60th percentile) — this shocks me. I could’ve sworn he was over 30. Dude is heavy.
Height: 32 inches (75th percentile)
Noggin: 19 inches (80th percentile)

He seems developmentally right on target, in social, verbal, gross motor and fine motor skills. He got three shots (H1N1, MMR, Dtap/Hib).

Thus, the nitty gritty. But when it comes to the larger question, “Who is Thane”, I’m still in the course of discovery.

Thane is determined. His attention span is breathtaking for a 15 month old. When there is an object of his desire, it is very difficult to distract him or dissuade him. He will crack out his increasing verbal skills, as well as his super-expressive body language to get his point across. Tchz. Tchz. TCHZ! (Cheese)

Words are entering into his world. He will (sometimes) follow simple instructions. For example, if he’s clinging to my leg I can sometimes rescue myself by saying “Car!” or “Ball!” and pointing. And off he goes to get the car or ball, before returning to cling to my leg. He seems to understand many simple instructions, although I always forget he can and don’t use them enough. Regular residents in his vocabulary include: car (he says this ALL THE TIME), book, ball, milk, cheese, cookie (it only takes once….), yogurt, Grey, mama, dada, dinosaur, vroom, up, down, puppy, woof woof. Other periodically expressed words are: blue, noodles, one, two, three, various letter names, leche and agua. He’s getting much better about repeating words back to me. I think he’s hearing much better right now, and I really think he wasn’t hearing well before.

Physically, Thane is the little engine that could. It’s almost impossible to change his diaper. He turns and thrashes and kicks. Not my favorite part. He climbs the stairs. He climbs chairs. He LOVES being up high, and will often demand to be put up on the couch. Then he’ll get down. Up up! Down. Up!!!! He stacks blocks beautifully, and will spend several hours carting around between 2 – 4 little Matchbox cars, carefully passing them from hand to hand, and holding them against his chest. He’s distraught if he loses one of them, and remembers. He loves using (or attempting to use) spoons and forks when I’m feeling courageous enough to let him have them. He eats whatever the rest of us are eating. He loves loves loves playing with water, and will often experiment with the milk served at dinner, to my chagrin. The bathtub is a haven of joy. He is much more patient in the car than Grey ever was, often just clinging to his beloved cars.

The brotherhood of Grey and Thane is an increasing delight to me. Grey plays really beautifully with Thane. Today Grey was blowing on his belly, making him laugh. Then he was playing peek-a-boo with Thane’s socks. Grey often plays much rougher with Thane than I would, but Thane always just laughs and laughs. I’m really struggling, with Thane, to see him as a small person instead of a baby. Grey is way ahead of us in treating Thane as an autonomous person. Last night, Grey decided Thane was hungry, got a cheese stick out of the fridge, unwrapped it and gave it to his brother (after asking me for permission). I mean, how awesome and useful is that? The boys love chasing each other around the house, although there are also the inevitable conflicts when Boy 1 has a toy that suddenly looks fun to Boy 2.

The other night, Grey decided he was a puppy (hardly an unheard of event). As “Puppy” helped me brush Thane’s teeth, Thane started saying “puppy” too, and then “woo(f) woo” just like Grey’s little barks. For a couple minutes, I had two little puppy-boys cavorting around my feet. It was awesome.

As I got dinner ready, Thane was looking particularly cute so I grabbed my cell phone to take a quick Grandma-picture. As I lined it up, Grey came around the side of the high chair and give his brother a quick, sincere hug. I couldn’t wish for a more fun family.

The boys, as they are
The boys, as they are

Boy update

My sons are definitely the greatest source of change and newness in my day to day life, so it makes sense that so many of my posts are about how different they are today than yesterday. But hey! They’re so different!

Grey likes the dinosaur books too
Grey likes the dinosaur books too

The biggest milestone moment lately comes with Grey. Those of you who aren’t parents (or wish to be) probably can just skip the entire rest of this post. Really. Because Grey has successfully gone sans-pullups for the last 4 nights without incident! (For those not in the know, incident here means “Having to change the sheets at 4 am”.) The ability to stay dry through the night is actually more a physical one than one he has much control over, but imagine! Having one child completely out of diapers!!! If he makes it to this weekend, I’ll take him to Target (home of all delights) and let him pick out the bedding set of his dreams. I’m thinking it will likely be Spongebob and made of sandpaper, but only because they don’t have Spiderman sheets made of sandpaper.

Grey has been super wonderfully snuggly lately. He wasn’t a snuggly baby or toddler, but he’s an extremely affectionate preschooler. The best part is that it’s not only directed at his father and me, it’s directed at his brother too. He plays very nicely with Thane, bringing him toys, using this hilarious voice to try to talk him into things “Daaaane LOOK! It’s a caaaaar!”, tickling his belly and playing peekaboo. Sometimes when Thane is dead-set on getting into one of Grey’s toys conflict occurs (which, to be fair, a dead-set Thane is a very difficult commodity). The other day I watched Grey sort of herd his brother with these not-quite-pushing body-checks all the way across the room away from Object Of Desire. I’ve never seen Grey do anything unprovoked to his brother, and he usually withstands a great deal of provocation before behaving inappropriately. (And hey, sometimes a guy wants to build a transformer out of blocks and not have his baby brother ruin it. I can dig that.)

On the flip side, Thane is actually pretty solicitous of Grey, when not attempting to eat his block-transformers. The other day Grey was playing with a Bakugan card and then turned and played with something else on the other side. Thane picked up the card and brought it over to Grey and gave it to him. Awwww!

So generally, the whole brother thing is going well.

Thane is driving me less nuts. I think he’s not sick at the moment, which is a great boon. He has two major passions in life right now: cars and dinosaur books. He often carries a Matchbox car in each hand. Yesterday when I took him out of the car to go to Abuela’s, I removed from him his two cars. When I picked him up, as soon as I put him in the carseat he started saying “ca! ca! ca!”. He wanted his cars back. He remembered. The dinosaur books are specifically the “How do Dinosaurs…” with his favorite being “How Do Dinosaurs Go to Bed”. He adores the page “Do dinosaurs ROAR?” and does his own little roar. He also loves the page “Do they up and demand a piggy-back ride?” and always says “Oh!” If you are not fast enough to volunteer to read dinosaur books to him, he will hit you in the head with it, then turn around and plop his heavy little butt into your lap. That, my friends, is clear communication.

Happy Thane reads his favorite book
Happy Thane reads his favorite book

His verbal skills are taking off. He can request his favorite foods. He says “Vroom” when playing with his cars. “Up” “down” “more” and “all done” are awfully helpful, but his main discourse is around those two passions of his. I’ll give a more complete update next week for his 15 month checkup!

RANDOM:

My mother-in-law bought me a reading chair for our bedroom (from afar) and here’s a picture of how it looks!

Cozy reading chair
Cozy reading chair