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