Life with Arthur: 2 Years Old

Dear Arthur,

Happy belated birthday! We celebrated your second birthday in New Jersey with many of your extended family members, including all four of your grandparents.

For two weeks leading up to your birthday you talked about cake and sprinkles non-stop. You requested star sprinkles on your cake, so that is what you got! I made you a homemade funfetti cake with chocolate frosting and loads of sprinkles. You were so excited to eat cake on the day of your party that you skipped lunch entirely and just ate a massive piece of cake. In fact, we had to convince you to open up presents (you were that excited to eat cake).

You received so many fun presents, but didn't really look at them until the next day because you were so focused on unwrapping that you would move on to the next present as soon as you tore the wrapping paper off each box. There were a few presents however that caught your attention, including a new dump truck toy. You love anything construction related these days!

We read Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site multiple times a day and you point out all of the construction trucks that we see on the road. On the way back from New Jersey you spent an entire hour staring out of the train window yelling "Struck-she" (your word for construction) over and over (and over!) again.

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Speaking of words, you continue to increase your vocabulary. You like to say "alright", "okay", "thank you", "dirt," "Big" (for the big vacuum), " "cheechos" (cheerios),  "cheese" (for smile), "Day Day" (for Gammy), "Memi" (for Meli), "Po Po", "boo boo", "mess", "mass" (for massive), "pears", "bust" (for our dustbuster), "chase", "choose", "papis" (pacifiers), "Pepi" (penguin), "zoo", "baby", "doctor", "bear" and "snow".

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Your new favorite game to play this month is chase. You love having other kids (or your dad) chase you in the playground or down the hallyway of our building. You also love to play with your bristle blocks, your wood train set, your pizza making kit, and the vacuum (of course). You ask to bring out the "Big" vacuum every day, multiple times a day. I often have to tell you that it's too early to take out the vacuum because people are still sleeping. Sometimes you are okay with that answer and other times you get upset. You barely even vacuum anymore, you prefer to take the various pieces of the vacuum apart and connect all of the attachments. It's quite amusing watching you work.

When we took you to the doctor for your 2 year checkup you were very brave despite being a bit nervous. You cried for only a second when you got your TB test, and were excited to get a bandaid to match mommy's (I had my blood drawn the previous day and also got a bandaid). You weigh 29 pounds and 5 ounces and are 36 inches tall. I'm surprised you don't weigh much more than that, considering the quantity of food that you eat on a daily basis.

You still love your "chouches" (your word for baby food pouches) and your tradition of eating "cheechos" (cheerios) in the mornings when I eat my breakfast and we watch Bob the Builder.  You also love going out to eat at restaurants and ordering fries! You can eat an entire portion of fries on your own and you are now convinced that all restaurants serve fries. In fact, you also think that I go out to eat fries whenever you have a babysitter (you kept saying "Fries, Fries" when I told you that your babysitter Courtney was coming over). 

In the last few weeks you have been eager to help me get ready for your baby brother or sister's arrival. Together we have investigated and tried out all of the new adaptors ("Daptors"!) for the stroller and organized newborn clothing. You have also helped to clear out and clean multiple closets (you like to look for the dirt and dust with your flashlight). This past weekend we also packed our hospital bags and you packed a special bag with items for yourself and the baby. You even wrote a card for the baby using crayons.

This year is going to bring so many changes for you, including a new brother or sister, moving out of the city (we are moving to New Jersey this summer!), and going to school for the first time. But I know that you will be excited for all of those changes and adapt quickly. The other day when your dad and I were filling out your baby book, your dad insisted that we write "Happy" for the word that best describes you (keep in mind he has suggested that every month). I was hesitant at first because I wanted to come up with a different adjective, but to be honest, you really are just a happy, fun-loving little guy and I hope that never changes. You have a wonderful sense of humor.

So with that being said, I hope that this year is filled with love, happiness, excitement, laughter, and lots of "BIG" vacuuming!

Love you tons,

Mommy

 

 

 

Life with Arthur: 22 Months & 23 Months

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Dear Arthur,

You are now 23 months old (I totally dropped the ball and had to combine the last 2 months into one post), and definitely turning into the typical 2 year old. I would say that the biggest change since last month is your increased vocabulary. You are constantly saying new words, some of which include Mama (finally!), Dada, ball, more, tree (for Christmas trees), cookies, Melmo (Elmo), ewww, bubbles, cheese, turkey, pizza, bus, car, truck, socks, clock, and shoes, no, hi, bye, show, fish, sheep, pig, cow, cat, guitar, shower, bath, keys, Po Po, Matt, T (for Uncle TJ), Ca Ca (for Uncle Connor). When we are out in the stroller you are constantly yelling at either your Mama or your Dada to look at something and when you want our attention you repeat Mama and Dada over and over and over again and drag us over to whatever you want to look at or play with.

You love balls of any shape and type. You will throw and then chase after tennis balls on the playground for long period of time with your dad, and you have a really good arm. You don't like to catch balls, but you do love to hide balls everywhere in our apartment, from under the sofa to underneath the oven. It's quite the chore to retrieve the balls that you hide, and we've definitely lost a few.

You also enjoy playing with blocks and you had a great time knocking down the block towers that your dad and uncles made for you over Thanksgiving at your grandparents' house in New Jersey.

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We celebrated your 2nd Thanksgiving in New Jersey and you insisted upon eating "Pa" (pasta) the whole weekend, you wouldn't even try the mashed potatoes and turkey that we put in front of you even though I tried to get you excited about turkey for a whole week leading up to Thanksgiving Day. On the morning of Thanksgiving we took a walk over to the turf field to watch your dad play touch football with his high school buddies. We played with a tennis ball and attempted push-ups and you intermittently would go over and wave at your dad or Uncle TJ as they were playing football.

Since the holidays have begun, you have become increasingly interested in Christmas lights, trees, and Santa. Our building has a big Christmas tree in the lobby and lots of lights outside on the trees and you have a huge smile on your face whenever we visit the Christmas tree. You also point out all of the Christmas trees and lights that you see along the way when we are walking.

We spent Christmas week in Virginia with Meli, Grandy, Aunt Laura, Marley (the dog), Smokey (the cat), Aunt Alessandra and Uncle Cassidy. You adored all of Christmas decorations, in particular the Christmas tree because you were able to turn on the lights with a remote control. You insisted on turning on every Christmas light in the house when you woke up each morning. We also went on a number of walks through our neighborhood and spent a lot of time throwing sticks and rocks into the pond behind our house. You enjoyed bringing Marley on walks and even wanted to learn some of his dog tricks. 

You were a handful at times, but generally speaking you loved all of the attention and the Christmas treats (like Panettone and ice cream). We also took you to a really fun playground and you had a great time running around and learning how to race after we said "Ready, Set, Go!". By far your favorite activity during Christmas was going to Meadowlark Gardens to see the Christmas Lights Show. You were walking around pointing at the lights for almost an hour and didn't get tired or bored, you absolutely adored it and ever since then you have been asking to go to the "Show".

On Christmas Eve we set out cookies and milk for Santa by the fireplace and you were quite disturbed that we left them there, but the following morning you went right over to the chimney and pointed at the stockings (that were filled with presents) and the missing plate of cookies, and you were very excited to hear that Santa had eaten all of the cookies. You LOVED opening presents, so much so that you constantly yelled out "More, more, more!". You were more interested in taking off the wrapping paper than in opening the gifts themselves but a few presents did catch your attention, including a Fisher Price Giraffe Guitar that Meli & Grandy gave you and a pasta making kit from Aunt Laura and Uncle Connor. Aunt Alessandra and Uncle Cassidy sent a new cleaning set (complete with broom, mop, dust pan and duster) to our apartment which you also love.

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The day after Christmas we took the train up to Philadelphia to spend New Years week with Po Po, Gammy, Uncle Matt & Uncle TJ. I wasn't feeling that well (I came down with a cold), so I slept in most mornings while you played with Gammy and your dad downstairs. On the day that your dad and I went to New Jersey for our home inspection (we are moving to New Jersey this summer!) your Uncle Matt and Gammy took you to Discovery Zone, which you of course loved. You apparently enjoyed squeezing fake ketchup onto a baby doll and you wouldn't let the baby doll out of your site. Speaking of baby's, you are excited to become a big brother. You constantly point to my belly and say "baby" and you ask to give it hugs and kisses. It's very cute. 

You were spoiled in New Jersey as well, and received a bunch of Christmas presents, including a talking Elmo doll and a new guitar. At times you refused to put either of them down. You continued to ask to see the "Show", so we took you to see a house that had Christmas lights that were synched to music and you loved it. You jumped up and down and pointed out the Santa in the window. I'm not sure what we are going to do once Christmas is over and there are no more lights to see.

 I can't believe that you are turning 2 later this month! I like to think of you as my baby but you are definitely growing into a toddler. You are very loving, energetic, opinionated, obsessed with routines/cleaning, devoted to your mommy, shy in front of strangers, and a trouble maker (definitely a trouble maker!!!). I'm so excited to see you become a big brother this year, I have no doubt that you will love your baby brother or sister (even if you do pinch him or her in the face a dozen times).

Love you,

Mommy

 

Life with Arthur: 21 Months

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Dear Arthur,

It's mid- November and I'm already way behind with your 21 month post. It's getting more and more difficult to write these because I feel like I never have time to do anything! Pretty soon I'll have literally no time because in February (or March) you are going to be a big brother. I haven't officially mentioned it on the blog but I figured I should since we only have 3 months to go (where did the time go?!?!!). You have no clue, but when we ask you were the baby is you point to either my stomach or your own. It's very cute.

We went trick-or-treating for the first time this halloween! You dressed up as King Arthur for halloween and you looked fabulous. I took you trick-or-treating in your friend Eden's building and in our apartment building. At first you were a little nervous and unsure of what to do, but pretty soon you got the hang of it. You loved knocking on people's doors and took multiple pieces of candy at every apartment that we visited. We didn't let you eat most of the candy, but we did give you a Kit Kat for the first time and you LOVED it. No surprise there.

The weekend leading up to halloween we were in New Jersey for your dad's cousin's wedding so we didn't go to any halloween parties but we did have fun visiting Discovery Zone for the first time. I have never seen you quite so over-stimulated. There were SO many things to do and so much space compared to the typical playroom in NYC. You loved playing with everything and anything that you saw.

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While we were in New Jersey Gammy took you to see her bus and you thought it was the coolest thing ever. She let you honk the horn and press the buttons on the school bus and you were so happy. You love pointing out buses and singing Wheels on the Bus so nothing could have impressed you more. 

Speaking of favorites, vacuuming is still high up there on the list, along with throwing balls. You get so excited and energetic when your dad gets home from work. You like to throw balls and chase after them, and you also think that it is hilarious to hide all of your balls underneath furniture so that we have to find them and retrieve them. The other day you spent an hour at the playground just throwing and chasing a tennis ball. And when we were in New Jersey you played a new golf game over and over again with your dad. Daddy would chip the ball with his club and you would chase after it.  

We are still having fun at your weekly gym (PEP) classes and music class at Applause. I can tell that you are becoming a better climber because you recently decided to climb up your high chair. Now that you feel comfortable at gym class you completely ignore the obstacle courses that the teachers have set up and instead run at top speed around the gym, sometimes throwing yourself on the mats. You of course think it is very funny.

Speaking of funny, you love saying the word "Pa" (for pasta). Whenever we ask you what you want to eat you respond "Pa!". You have started to show much more interest in talking and now say (or attempt to say): Dada, Quesadilla, Blueberry, Cheese, Giraffe, Socks, Shoes, Boots, Teeth, Shut (which sounds like shit, kind of hilarious), Uh-Oh, Meli, Matt, and Laura. You have yet to say Mama or Mommy but you will occasionally respond "Ma" or "Me Me", which may or may not be your name for me. You say a number of animals sounds too, your favorite being "Baa" for a sheep. You love to hide in our bedroom closet and say "Baa", pretending that there is a sheep in the closet. 

Generally speaking you laugh, smile and play all day long. However, you have gotten to be very difficult on the changing table and when we are getting ready to go out. You don't mind finding your shoes on and bringing them to me, but it is always a battle getting your socks, shoes and coat on and getting you into the stroller. And at the grocery store you like to flirt with the women at the checkout counter and show them how you can take your shoes off. 

You are definitely asserting your independence and can throw mini temper tantrums when you don't get your way, but so far it's manageable and I would say that we are lucky. Hopefully we won't experience the so called "Terrible Two's"! (crossing my fingers). One of your favorite ways to assert independence is by rejecting food. For example, you used to love roasted zucchini but now won't touch it on most days. It's difficult to know what you will eat (other than pasta of course). Recent favorites include pizza, pear cups, hot oatmeal with banana, and cheese quesadillas. 

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and pretty soon you will be 22 months old (how do I already have an almost-2 year old!!!???).

Love you forever,

xoxo, Mommy

 

 

 

Life with Arthur: 20 Months

Dear Arthur,

We have been so busy this month, both traveling, attending new fall classes, and vacuuming. Yes, vacuuming! We vacuum, at your insistence, at least 5 times a day. You love vacuums of all sizes and would possibly vacuum all day if I let you. Our floors have never been cleaner.

At the beginning of the month we went all the way to San Francisco to visit your Aunt Alessandra, Uncle Cassidy, and their dog Kona. I was very nervous to take you on such a long flight, but as usual you were a great traveler. You fell asleep about 2.5 hours into the flight and slept the rest of the way there. When you were awake you ate your dinner, watched the Mickey Mouse Club on the individual screen in front of you (you wouldn't wear the headphones I bought you, so you couldn't hear anything), and read a few books. 

We spent the first night in California in Menlo Park visiting our good friends May and John, and their 7 month old baby Jack. You were up at 4:00am on the first morning, which was painful but there were plenty of toys to play with and you were quite happy. Later in the afternoon we took the Caltrain and BART to Oakland and Aunt Alessandra picked us up. You were absolutely thrilled to meet their dog Kona and you spent most of the trip harassing her, either getting her to fetch balls or trying to sit on her. Thankfully Kona was a great sport and tolerated most of your antics. You loved taking Kona to the dog park in Rockridge but unfortunately you fell flat on your face when you were chasing her and had dog hair (yuck!) and dirt all over your bruised face when we picked you up. You cried for a few minutes, but were fine after that. You were quite the sight to behold.

We spent our second full day in California eating brunch at Betty's Oceansview Diner, where you somehow managed to consume scrambled eggs, half of a massive souffle pancake, toast and some potatoes. We took a walk and went into a number of shops on the way back and you were going absolutely crazy, running around in every store and trying to get away from us. You have gotten so much faster in the last month.

During our trip you barely took any naps in your crib, and on one occasion fell asleep in the carrier during a hike. With that being said, you were in a great mood the entire time and loved being away. You were awake most of the plane ride home, but were content to sit in your carseat and play with all of the new toys that I bought you just for the trip. Eventually, you fell asleep, utterly exhausted.

When we got back from California we started our new PEP class, which meets 2 times a week and includes music, gym and classroom activities. I am so happy that I signed you up for the class, because you are really enjoying yourself. You love climbing through all of the obstacle courses in the gym and you have had a very good time painting and playing in the sandbox in the classroom. We also take a music class at Applause called Rock n' Roll babies and are having fun there too, especially since all of our friends take the class with us.

Less than 2 weeks after returning from San Fran we packed our bags again and flew to Chicago to spend a long weekend with Aunt Laura, Uncle Connor, and their new dog Marly. Once again, you were great on both flights (I am SO thankful for that), and ecstatic that Aunt Laura has both a dog and a cat! When we were in the apartment you constantly followed Marly around and pointed at Max (the cat) behind the baby gate (he wouldn't let you get anywhere near him).

Aunt Laura took us to playgrounds, dog parks and to the Lincoln Park Zoo during our visit. You were so excited to see giraffes, zebra and lions for the first time, and we spent a long time looking at a baby gorilla play with her mom and siblings. You truly love animals.

While we were away in Chicago you were an incredibly picky eater! You refused to drink the smoothies that Aunt Laura made for you, and essentially wanted to eat pouches for every meal. However, you did love the homemade banana bead and pasta with bolognese sauce that Aunt Laura made for you. On our last morning in Chicago I bought a doughnut and coffee to have for breakfast and you ate about half of the doughnut, stuffing it in your mouth ridiculously quickly. You also wanted most of my coffee (which was decaf). You have a peculiar affinity for coffee, which is kind of funny. I don't let you have it often but occasionally I let you have a few sips and you always ask for more. Goodness knows what other people think when they see you drinking out of a coffee cup!

Since we have been back at home, you haven't been quite as picky about food but breakfast has been a challenge. You appear to be bored with our usual breakfast fare, so I have started to make you hot oatmeal (made with rolled oats, not baby oatmeal) and you even ate cold cereal with milk for the first time the other day.

Your favorite thing to do around the apartment is to take out the vacuums, both the new vacuum that I bought a few weeks ago, our small dust buster, and a new toy "dyson" vacuum that I bought you the other day. You take my hand (or your dad's) and lead us to the closet, hoping that we will open the door and get the vacuum out. You still enjoy reading and throwing balls around, unpacking the groceries with me,  emptying the dishwasher, and hiding in our bedroom closet. In general, you love routines! You will point at the window blinds before nap time, because you know that we always close them before you take a nap, and if anything is not in its designated place you make it known to us.

You are showing much more interest in being vocal, and recently began saying "oooo" when I ask you what sound a cow makes. You also try to make a "woof" sound for dog, and you say "baaa" for sheep and "meow" for cat. You also love it when we sing "The Wheels on the Bus" or "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" and you copy a lot of the hand gestures that I make during those songs. Since becoming so fond of "The Wheels on the Bus" you have started to point out all school and city buses when we pass them on the street and you get very excited.

Unfortunately, you have a new habit of pinching other babies/kids right in the face, which is becoming a serious issue. It's most likely because you can't talk and are just excited to play with other kids, but we are trying to teach you the word "gentle". When we say "be gentle" you will very lightly stroke my head (or another kid's head), but about 5 minutes later you will go back to pinching. Hopefully you'll start to understand sooner rather than later that pinching is not an effective way to make friends. Overall you are a very fun-loving, sweet baby who loves to give mom and dad slobbery kisses on the mouth and wave hello and goodbye to people.

The other day you got your very first haircut! The hair at the sides of your head was kind of crazy (and turning into baby dreadlocks), so we took you into Cozy Cuts expecting to get a very small trim (mostly at the sides), but you walked out with a full hair cut and a new (temporary) mohawk! You look adorable but also a bit older, which makes me realize how quickly you have become a full-fledged toddler.

It's astonishing to see how much you understand these days and how quickly you learn new things. I'm sure that I'll have a whole new list of things to share in your 21 month update.

Love you forever,

xoxo, Mommy

 

 

 

 

Life with Arthur: 19 months

Dear Arthur,

Summer is coming to a close unfortunately, but we have really enjoyed the last month or so. We took a trial class at Gymtime when we got back from Keene Valley and you had so much fun that I decided to sign you up for their PEP class, which meets two times a week. It's 45 minutes of gym and another 45 minutes of music and/or classroom time. I'm really looking forward to taking you in the fall and it should keep us busy.

It was pretty brutally hot and humid the first week or so that we were back in town, so we spent those days either in the playroom of your friend Eden's apartment building or checking out some of other playroom spaces on the Upper East Side. And of course on nice weather days we spend lots of time on the playground. 

We went to New Jersey for a short weekend in early August to celebrate your Uncle Matt's birthday and to attend a Riley family reunion. We spent time in the pool every day that we were away and you absolutely adored it. You did not however nap well or sleep very well. Every time that I tried to put you down you would cry, so I ended up rocking/cuddling you to sleep. Thankfully when we got back home you were back to your normal routine.

And speaking of routines, those great naps that you took while we were in Keene Valley happen very rarely now. You often sleep for only an hour and a half and wake up crying after your nap. I'm not sure what is going on, but hopefully you will start napping for longer stretches of time.

We also took the train down to D.C. this month and you had a great time visiting Meli and Grandy in Virginia, and seeing Ian and Sam and Judy. You especially loved when your grandmother let you throw all of her potting soil out of her flower pots. You made such a mess that we had to give you a bath afterwards. I wasn't sure what to expect on the train, but as usual you were a great traveler that weekend.

You have learned all kinds of new tricks, including turning in circles (which can be dangerous when you get dizzy and fall over), and walking backwards. You find both new skills to be very amusing. You also play with your food, sometimes putting pieces of watermelon under your armpit (weird, but hilarious), and other times flicking cheerios from your tray across the room. I'm not encouraging either of those by the way.

Although you comprehend a lot, you are still not talking. Unless you count "Pa" for pasta, which you say quite often. I even had a speech therapist from Early Intervention come out to evaluate you, but you didn't qualify because you understand too much! In fact, you love to follow directions or give me directions. Specifically, you are obsessed with vacuuming. You walk over to the closet multiple times a day and point at it, hoping that we can get out the vacuum or the dust buster. I'm not sure why you like it so much, but I'm tempted to buy you a toy vacuum. You also point at areas on the carpet that we should be vacuuming.

You still love to eat, but are definitely becoming more and more selective (picky). You no longer eat baby oatmeal and instead prefer having either a smoothie with toast in the morning or homemade muesli (soaked oats). Your dad and I joke around that you want to be a vegan because you used to love cheese but now rarely touch it except in the frozen papusas that I buy you (or occasionally grilled cheese). You are starting to like pieces of chicken and turkey meatballs, which is good, but you still refuse to eat most fruit unless it is in pureed form (although you do love watermelon and canned mandarin oranges). And you clearly prefer variety because I'll give you pasta one day and you will devour it, and the following day you won't touch it. I guess I need to mix things up for you! I should also mention that you LOVE pouches. You always point to the pouches and want that instead of the food that I make for you. 

September will be a busy month because we are traveling to San Francisco to visit your Aunt Alessandra and Uncle Cassidy (and their dog Kona) and to Chicago to visit Aunt Laura and Uncle Connor (and their dog Marly). We are also starting our new fall classes, including PEP and a music class at Applause on Thursdays. 

Love you!

xoxo, Mommy