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





Life with Arthur: 18 Months

Dear Arthur,

Happy half birthday!!! I

We recently returned from a three week vacation in the Adirondaks with your grandparents and extended family. You had a blast! You loved spending time outdoors and became a very confident (and speedy) walker during our vacation.

Our first weekend away there was a kid's fair and you rode your first pony! You also went into the bouncy castle with your dad and you were laughing and smiling the whole time. It was also Fourth of July weekend and just like last year, you slept through the entire (very loud) fireworks show.

There is no doubt that you LOVED all of the attention that you received while we were away. Some of your favorite things to do in Keene Vallley included swimming in the pool, playing at the playground (especially in the sandbox), running around the golf course, taking rides on the golf cart, and investigating every inch of the club house. We also took you out to dinner and lunch a few times and you adored having special treats like sweet potato fries and pasta. Your dad also took you out for your first ice cream cone at the Noonmark Diner. You ate your entire vanilla cone and some of Po Po's cone too. 

Every meal time was an opportunity to consume ridiculous amounts of food while simultaneously charming us with your smiles and funny antics. And of course you were on top of your game every evening during cocktail hour. You would take "laps" around the back deck, walk in the house, and then come back out again for a nibble of cracker (you fell in love with entertainment crackers in Keene Valley). And every now again someone would yell "Touchdown" and you would hold up your arms doing the touchdown sign (a new trick that Uncle Tom taught you).

Your dad carried you up Indian Head twice this year on his back and I carried you up Baxter, pretty soon you will be climbing on your own! We also had our first bear sighting! The two of us were playing at the beach at the Lower Lake when a mother bear and two cubs walked over to the boathouse and stole the trash. I was scared out of my mind, but we hid in the boathouse office and watched the bears from inside.

When you weren't playing outside (which was most of the time), you spent a lot of time pushing your new toy stroller up and down the hallways of our house, Silver Birches. We also spent plenty of time collecting rocks and pine cones outside the house, and walking up and down the pathway to the driveway. 

Our vacation coincided with a new nap schedule. You are officially down to one nap a day at around 1:00pm, and you typically sleep for between 2 or 3 hours. Some mornings are more difficult than others because you get tired, but for the most part you are doing really well on the new schedule as long as we stay busy.

Unfortunately, you did get sick for a few days and we had to take you to the doctor in Keene because you had a high fever. I felt so bad for you because you weren't your usual active self during those few days, but thankfully you bounced back pretty quickly.

You are still not talking, but you understand so much. When I ask you to go get something, like your toy stroller, you will go off and get it and come back to me. And as soon as you want to eat you point at the kitchen or your high chair. I feel like I have conversations with you all the time, which is kind of funny considering you don't speak a word. I'm sure that you will start talking when you want to, and not a minute before.

I sound like a broken record, but you are truly such a happy and fun baby to be around! We love you so much.







Life with Arthur: 17 Months

Dear Arthur,

You are walking everywhere these days and getting faster and faster. It's difficult to keep up with you! You are also becoming more independent and let us know very clearly what you want and don't want. For example, you really don't like diaper changes and insist upon having something to hold and play with when we change your diaper. You also squirm and arch your back and do everything that you can to avoid being put into the stroller.

Lately your favorite activities include pulling out all of your books and opening and closing the sliding closet doors in our bedroom. You like to play peekaboo and hide in the closet. And for some reason you are infatuated with my coffee maker and like to open and close the top and pull the filter out. Your toys barely hold your attention, although you do like to play with balls. You have learned how to kick balls (like you are playing soccer) and think it is very fun. 

We go to John Jay playground at least once a day, where you like to walk around opening and closing the playground gates (not the best choice on a busy day), climb stairs, chase pigeons, and play in the fountains. But you get really excited when we let you push your stroller around the playground. The other day your dad took you to the playground early on a Sunday morning (it was empty), and you pushed your stroller in a circle around the playground no less than 15 times. By the end you were so tired that you tried to climb into your dad's arms and nodded your head emphatically when he asked you if it was time to go home. 

Despite all this walking and activity, you rarely take two naps. You are in the process of dropping your morning nap and we will mostly likely transition to one nap in the next few weeks. I won't lie, it scares me because I use your morning nap to workout, eat breakfast, and get ready for the day. 

We spent Memorial Day in New Jersey with your parents and uncles and you had a great time visiting your great aunt and uncle's pool. You spent more than an hour in the pool splashing around and playing with cups. The weather was beautiful and it was a fun start to summer. We also went to a family wedding on the Jersey shore and you did very well but were exhausted by 9:00pm so we left early.

A few weeks later we took you to Colgate University for our 10 year reunion (and your grandfather's 40th). We loved introducing you to friends and walking around campus and town We were exhausted by the end of the weekend but it was worth it!


We also left you on your own for the first time ever with your Gammy and Po Po in mid June when we went to Maine for a wedding. I was worried that you would cry and have separation anxiety but you absolutely adored spending the weekend with your grandparents. They took you to Central Park Zoo and to the playground and you were laughing and smiling the whole weekend. And we got back just in time for Father's Day!

Which brings us to the end of June. We leave this week for Keene Valley, NY, where we will be spending 3 weeks on vacation with family. I am excited to bring you there, you were only 5 months old when we went there last July, and couldn't even sit up on your own. This year I expect you will be all over the place, enjoying the pool, playground and tons of green space!



Life with Arthur: 16 Months

Dear Arthur,

Your are officially walking! You still fall down frequently and sometimes prefer to crawl, but you are getting so much steadier and confident and I think that you are ready for your first pair of real shoes!

We've had another fun month, including visitings from both sets of grandparents and Aunt Laura, a first birthday party for one of your friends, and multiple visits to the Central Park Zoo. Your Meli and Grandy (as we call them) came the last week of April. We celebrated Grandy's 60th birthday with a trip to the zoo and a delicious dinner at a special restaurant (you stayed at home for the dinner...sorry).

Your Gammy and Po Po also happened to be visiting that weekend so we were lucky enough to get a shot of you with all of your grandparents. You also showed off your new swimming skills.

This past week your Aunt Laura came to stay with us in New York and you spent tons of time laughing while she chased you and blew raspberries on your belly. You also generously showed her your entire library (and by that I mean you took out every single book and made a mess). We also went to the zoo and saw the penguin exhibit (your favorite) and the sea lions.

Now that the weather is warmer we have been going on more walks to the parks and playgrounds and you have loved getting the opportunity to point out all of the pigeons that you see in the parks. You also like to point out flowers, dogs, trees, cars and bicycles. 

While you still aren't talking, you do have a knack for copying sounds, like clicking your tongue and blowing raspberries. 

And one of your favorite ways to show affection is to give us big slobbery kisses. Thank you!

Books still capture your attention and you spend a good deal of time when we are at home in your room flipping threw pages. You also learned how to zip and unzip bags this month so I often find you standing by the stroller opening and closing my diaper bag and wallet. You also enjoy throwing balls and just about everything else that you can find. I often have to take cover when you start throwing the DVD's out of their drawer (you nailed your Gammy in the head with a DVD the other weekend). And you think it is is very funny to hide balls underneath the furniture, especially the sofa. You also love to open and close doors and crawl up stairs (when we visit your grandparents you climb up the stairs at least 20 times a day).

You are still eating a ton! You often crawl over to your high chair when you are hungry for breakfast, lunch or dinner and your eyes light up when I tell you that it is time to eat. Your favorite food is probably roasted zucchini, followed closely by oatmeal, cheese and cheddar bunnies. Actually, your favorite food is really cake, but that is a special treat. We went to your friend Sienna's first birthday party and to a baby shower this month and you easily ate a large slice of cake at both parties. You also had pizza for the first time last week and managed to eat two entire slices of mushroom pizza (minus the crust). 

You are a good eater, but you can be picky at times. For example, you loved blackberries last month but will barely touch them this month, and the other day you randomly refused to eat pita bread with cheese on it. I should also mention that you don't like cream cheese but do like plain bagels.

Sleep is still going well. You go to bed anywhere between 7:15-7:45pm and you sleep until 6-6:30am. You are generally content (playing with your seven pacifiers!) until around 7:00am when I come in to get you out of your crib. Naps are still inconsistent. You almost always take a morning nap (that ranges from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours) but you rarely take an afternoon nap. Next month we will probably drop the morning nap and switch to one nap a day.

Now that it's summer our music class and temple class are ending for the semester, but I'm looking forward to taking you to the sprinklers in the playgrounds, to having picnics in the park and to being outside in general.

We love you so much!