Van @ 18 Months

Growth & Appearance: You’re still a big kid. You look like a 2 year old but waddle like an 18 month old. Your hair is blond and thick. We shave it often. Currently you have a scab on your knee and a scratch of unknown origin the side of your right eye. We can no longer leave you in just a diaper because you take it off every time. Even with shorts on the other day, I saw you trying to pull the thing off. Not sure that it’s quite time to potty train; I think you just like to be naked. 
You have all your teeth, next ones should be the two year molars.
You wear a size 2T clothes / PJ’s, size 6 shoes, size 4 diapers. 
Eating: You’re a tank. You love to eat and waddle as fast as you can over to your high chair as soon as you see food being made. Sometimes you require a snack just to shut you up until the food is ready to be put in front of you. You prefer to have a fork in your hand and are okay at using a spoon, but more times than not you use your hands because you can shovel it in faster.
You’ve consumed entire meals before your brother takes his first bite.
You love blueberries, cereal, carrots, cheese, oatmeal, banana… who am I kidding… there’s really not anything that you don’t like. You love eating ice.Sleeping: You’re still taking two naps a day. You wake up around 8:30 and nap around 10:30 for two hours. You nap again in the afternoon around 4:30 for an hour and a half or so. You’re not the most fun to be around on the days where you miss your nap. 
We’re hoping to switch you over to the bottom bunk. We took you out of the crib and you are now sleeping in a big boy bed in your own room. Eventually we hope to put you and Hooper in the same room. You’ve transitioned out of the crib okay but nap time is more like whack-a-mole. We’ll keep at it, with fingers crossed. You love your blanket, as well as your stuffed animals. But your blanket is a must.
You still suck your thumb and put on your “hand hat” when you’re tired.
Talking: You say a ton of words and communicate well. The other day you handed me your empty sippy cup, asked for my “hand”, told me to “come”, and led me straight to the fridge where you pointed at your sippy cup and whined. You just started saying “thank you”, which is the first time you’ve put two words together. You also say “pee” for “please” and “side” when you want to go outside. Every time we go over a speed bump, you say “bump”.
You follow directions well.
Development: You started a little gym class and go with the nanny since I’m still unable to lift you. She says you’re the tallest in your class and you do well with everything. The balls, she says, are your favorite.
You join in on the bike rides by pushing your feed off the pavement as opposed to pedaling. Your shoes are all warn in from where you push off and one time, when you went out without shoes, you came in with wounds on your big toes from pushing. It won’t be long until you can reach the pedals.
Your laugh is as hearty as can be and seems to come from deep down in your belly. You love to be around laughter and occasionally snort when you laugh; it’s adorable.
You love being chased.
Perhaps it’s a second child thing, but you definitely have a sense of what is yours (of what you want to be yours) and refer to things as “mine”, accompanied with a whine and / or cry.
You’ve discovered that the computer is pretty cool and I can no longer sit at my desk without you climbing onto my lap. Sometimes you simply want to draw with a pen, other times you want to smack all the keys on the keyboard, and other times you request to watch a video on YouTube (you love the Fox Song and any nursery rhyme and all the truck / fire engine videos that your bro loves).
You love to steal my pen and get pissed anytime I’m writing with one and won’t hand it over.
Following in the footsteps of your brother, you love to do what we’ve coined as “the grandfather” (where you walk around hunched over and shuffle your feet like a little old man) and “fancy feet” (where you stomp your feet back and forth in quick succession).
You refuse to go down steps by yourself and ask for one of our hands to hold. You finally did it by yourself the other day, but it took a lot of coaxing.
Favorites: You love to have books read to you over and over and over again. Your favorites are “Goodnight Moon”, “I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly”, and any beginner books that has cars or trucks. You ask me to sit and then plant your little bottom in my lap constantly. You’re fascinated anytime a police car or fire truck goes by with their sirens on and you could sit behind the wheel and pretend to drive the car all day long. You also love to put your hands under the facet in the bathroom. And, of course, you love cars.

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Van @ 12 Months

Growth & Appearance: People keep asking us if you have red hair. To me, it appears brown on top and blond in the back.
You have four teeth on top and four on the bottom.
You love wearing shoes on your feet which is funny because I have yet to put shoes on your feet. Instead, you’ve picked up on the fact that we all wear shoes and in an effort not to be excluded, you come crawling up to me often with your brother’s shoes in your hand pointing at your feet.
You’re wearing size 4 diapers, size 18-2T clothes. You seem incredibly tall.

Eating: You’re still a champion eater, but you’ve developed some preferences. Some days you simply eat more than others. And you may refuse something you loved just the day before. When you don’t like the food sitting in front of you, you like to swipe your hands from one side of the table to the other making food fly everywhere. Sarah loves this.
You’ll eat, or at least try, everything. Your current favorites are watermelon and bananas.
I’ve cut our breastfeeding sessions in half with hopes of weaning, but then I got emotional about it, so we’re sticking to four feedings a day plus 1-2 bottles of frozen breast milk. You’re able to drink from the bottle on your own.
You have a serious desire to use silverware. You’re always wanting to be just like us. Your ability to do so, however, sucks. It does keep you entertained, so oftentimes we give you a spoon.

Sleeping: You are officially attached to your blanket. It’s funny how that happens. You love to snuggle with it and often point and whine while you’re on your changing table until I grab the thing out of your crib and put it in your arms. Then you like to put it over your face and play peek-a-boo. You’re quite the peek-a-boo fan these days.
We had to move the noise maker out of your crib because you not only figured out how to turn it off, but also how to reach your little arm out of the crib and unplug the cord from the wall.
Breastfeeding puts you to bed most nights, but some nights you’re still awake when I put you down. When this happens, we can hear you playing with your activity center. Eventually you fall asleep on your own, without a fuss.
You wake up around 8am, nap from 10:30am to 1pm, nap from 4:30pm to 6pm, and go down for the night around 9:30pm. When we’re out and about, we forgo the second nap. Sometimes we pay the consequences, but most of the time you function off of whatever sleep you get in the car.

Talking: More than words, you point and whine. You point at everything and expect everyone to obey your commands.
You’re good with D’s and are able to say “down”, “done”, and “dog”. You say “hello” whenever you have a phone in your hands. “Boon” is “balloon” and “ka” is “car”.  And, oh yes, you say “mama”.

Development: You dance anytime there is music on. In fact, one of your favorite things to do is to crawl over to the record player, pull yourself up, and turn the music up as high as it goes while you drop it like it’s hot.
To say you’re still crawling is kind of a lie. You’re more like motor-crawling. You’re faster than all hell and often crawl up on all fours without your knees touching to get wherever you’re going as fast as possible.
You’re able to stand without holding onto anything, but it always has to be on your own terms. Anytime we try to put you down on your feet, you drop to the floor. But when you’re playing, you’ll let go of whatever you’re holding onto and stand without a problem. You’ve taken a couple steps on your own.
You like books, especially the touch and feel books. You’ll grab a book and bring it to me to read to you.
I have little doubt that you are right handed. You do most everything with your right hand.
You’re a climber. You love climbing onto chairs and rocking back and forth. It’s totally safe and not scary at all to walk into a room and find you on top of a chair rocking back and forth. The other day Papa found you in the bathroom; You had climbed into the empty bathtub and were playing with your toys.
You suck your thumb, but not on a regular basis and not for any real length of time.
The toilet paper is almost always unraveled from the roll and the baking supplies are almost always strewn about on the kitchen floor. We ought to childproof the kitchen cupboards, but there’s not much in there that can cause anything more than a mess.
You’re still ridiculously strong. You love pushing your highcahir all over the house. And when your arm comes down on my chest when we’re playing on the floor, there is definite force behind it.
You love to laugh.

Favorites: Hands down, the four wheeler is your favorite. You spend the better part of the day on that thing and have got quite good at maneuvering around every corner of the house. You’re on that thing so much that when you opt to get down, we comment that you’ve chosen to “de-saddle”.
You love using a pen and paper. I think you got this from Hooper. My pens are constantly missing from my desk. You also love playing with the plugs; unplugging the record player is a daily occurrence.
My computer mouse is always on your wish list. And you love balloons.

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Van @ 9 Months

Growth & Appearance: You’re not chubby so much as you are girthy. You’re solid. We joke that you have emphysema because you are so barrel chested. Maybe you spent your overdue days in the womb hanging out and smoking?
You also still have an “old man” appearance and several people have commented that you seem “wise”; I think the two are intertwined. Whatever the case may be, your Papa’s Aunt self-diagnosed you as a genius and I’m not arguing with the woman.
You weigh 21 lbs, 6 oz. (60th percentile), 30 inches long (91st percentile), head circumference 18 inches (60th percentile). You’re wearing size 4 diapers (same as your brother), size 18-24 month pants (you got some long legs), and size 12 month onesies/tops. Your hair is brown with little specks of golden. Most people say, like your brother, that you look like your Papa but have my eyes. I agree.
Teeth: It only took 9 months, but your first tooth has sprouted. Your bottom left has broken through and your bottom right is right behind it. I can see the top two working their way down as well. You’re about to have a whole new look. We won’t wait until they turn yellow to brush them like we did with your brother, promise.
Eating: Baby led weaning has been bliss. You love it, we love it, and feeding you is easier than asking a bronco to buck. You eat everything. In fact, you cry when there is nothing left in front of you. I’ve learned to cut your food into tiny pieces before setting it in front of you because you get too frustrated by the fact that I cannot cut it as fast as you can gobble it. You’ll eat just about anything, but your favorites are bread products. You eat everything on your own. I offer you 2-3 meals per day and you eat a lot at each meal.
You jump up and down in your high chair when we have oatmeal for breakfast. And you still eat a lot of the pieces of the shag rug in the office.
You breastfeed 8 to 9 times a day. Some sessions last as little as 5 minutes but the morning and night feeds are always longer sessions. Our schedule is similar to what it was last month, though you seem to phase at least one feeding out most days: breastfeed twice before breakfast, then once after, breastfeed before lunch, then once after, breastfeed twice before dinner, then once before bed. I feel more relaxed about breastfeeding now that we’re on the home stretch. My plan, at this point, is to make it to your first birthday and then go as long as you are interested and as long as it’s enjoyable.
I pump after your morning feed and get anywhere from 1 to 3 oz. It doesn’t seem like much, but I combine it with the next days pumped milk and store it in the freezer for the days I work. I have way more milk than I need, but not enough to donate. 
Sleeping: I’ve found you sitting up in your crib for the first time ever. It seems to have taken you awhile to move off your back. Now you’re up sitting every time I come in and I can tell pulling to stand is just around the corner. Since you started crawling, you’ve also started sleeping on your stomach. We come in to spy on you and, oftentimes, you’re little bum is sticking straight up into the air. I love this stage.
You sleep through the night, consistently. I sleep soundly and don’t go to bed at night with one ear to the monitor. It’s like heaven. Thank you. Here’s your sleep schedule: Wake up between 7-8am, nap around 11am until 1pm, afternoon nap from 4pm to 5:30pm, bedtime around 9pm. Your schedule has to be more flexible, so you don’t always get a second nap, though I’m sure you need it.
Nursing doesn’t always put you to sleep, but you have no trouble going down despite being placed in your crib awake.

Development: You have old man strength. We caught on to this early on but it’s manifesting in more ways now that you’re more mobile. The other day I sat you on a tricycle. A friend tried to pick you up off the tricycle and ended up lifting you up only to find the tricycle still in your grasp. You’ll be the one we turn to when we can’t open cans and banging the damn thing on the bottom to get the air out isn’t working.
You’re used to things being taken away from you, but rest assured that taking anything away from you is no easy feat. I think I’ve mentioned your death grip in every update thus far, but it’s worth repeating because it really is deadly. Every now and again (as in numerous times a day) I’ll have to take something away from you. It’s difficult to baby proof when you have a brother that throws everything on the floor. Accompanying your death grip now, however, is the sassy cat growl. You sense when somethings about to be ripped from your claws and start to draw it in closer to your body and bury your little head to your chest to protect your prize. Then you growl. When Hooper manages to take something away from you anyway, you scream and shake your head violently back and forth. You aren’t talking, per say, but you are a fantastic communicator.
Speaking of communicating, you say “ab da”. A lot.
You know your name. You’ve responded to it for quite some time but I’ve failed to mention it here.
You’re a wiggle worm on the changing table. I can’t even lay you down before you’re lifting your head up off the table to get a better view of something to grab. It’s nearly impossible to get a diaper on you; you contort your body in such a way that resembles this guy.
You mimic our waves and are starting to learn to clap.
You crawl with your right leg tucked in. You look handicapped.
You crawl under the desk often and then cry when you hit your head.
When you’re sitting, your arms are always up and out as if you are holding onto the handle bars of your motorcycle.
You make fantastic eye contact. We went to dinner with your Aunt KiKi and Chris and Chris insisted you starred him down. I believe it. You’re very personable. You love to laugh and even when you aren’t feeling good, you always smile. As long as no one is taking something away from you, you’re quite happy.
Now that you are crawling, you’re able to entertain yourself. As I write this, you’re underneath the pinball machine playing with the wire. You’ve been there for at least 10 minutes and you are perfectly content. Now you are eating the rug. You like eating the loose pieces of the rug. Damn the wool rug.
You’ve found Sarah’s food and when you’re near it, you want to eat it. Your brother ate so much dog food I was beginning to wonder if I shouldn’t just put it on a plate and call it breakfast. 
Favorites: To say you love me seems like an understatement. Doggonit, it is understated. You L O V E me. No matter where I put you on the office rug, you always seem to meander your way over to my chair. You grab on to let me know you’re there and then look at me with these eyes as if to say, “These toys are cool, but you are cooler”. Despite your love for me, now that you’re crawling you’re quite fond of traveling all over the place to find something new to get into. You like balls, the dog leash, and pretty much anything you see Hooper playing with.

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Van @ 7 Months

Growth & Appearance: You hair is lightening up, just as your brothers did, and I suspect it will officially be blond in a few months time. Your eyes are transitioning to brown. You have a chubby belly and chunky little legs that I can’t help but squeeze. You face is round and your eyebrows and eyelashes are still hardly visible. You are exceptionally long and fit into 9 month 12 month pajamas as a result. You are in onesies your brother wore after he had already started walking. You wear size 3 diapers (which are almost too small) and size 9-12 month clothing.
We moved you into the bigger car seat this month. For the record, your brother didn’t make the move until he was over a year. Just saying, for the record.
No teeth yet.
Development: Not only are you ticklish, but you also find all the ridiculous faces and noises we make at you funny. You now have a sense of humor, which means you’re officially part of the family. Your arms never stop reaching and your eyes never stop tracking. Your grandma and grandpa call you “Boris” because they imagine you growing up to be a girthy guy that lifts weights. I can’t say I disagree. You’re strong and sturdy and you hold on to things like a magnet holds on to metal.
We left you both with a babysitter for the first time this past month. You cried the whole time.
You’ll be crawling soon enough. Currently you like to reach out to the side when you’re sitting, which ultimately lands you on your belly and frustrated. In general, you’re frustrated by your limitations.
You haven’t quite mastered the pincer grasp, but you able to get small items (like peas) into your mouth. You appear to be right handed.
You rock back and forth when music is on. Every time.
You’ve started waving, or at least imitating our wave.
You’re fine with others holding you until you spot me. Once you spot me, you throw your body in my direction and whine until the person holding you starts to feel uncomfortable. You prefer me over anyone else and are rather vocal about your preference.
You’re able to help us get you out of your car seat by reaching your arms out. This sounds rather minuscule, but I’m sure all the other mamas out there know how difficult it is to get a floppy infant in and out of a seat. In any event, thanks for helping out. 
Eating: I thought you’d be like a well oiled machine when it came to eating. It started so promising. I gave you green beans and you looked as though you were in heaven. Given the fact that I gag on green beans, I thought we were off to a pretty stellar start. Then you spit carrots and sweet potato out and currently I’m not sure if you’re more into the food or the spoon it’s on. Each time I try to put the spoon in your mouth, you grab for the spoon and don’t appear so interested in the food. I suppose I’ll let you lead the way and, truth be told, I’d rather keep you on as much of a breastfed diet as possible anyway.
Things you’ve tried and liked: squash, peas, green beans, blackberries, sweet potato, pieces of the wool rug.
Things you’ve tried and not liked: carrots, sweet potato, broccoli.
Breastfeeding has been boarder line abusive. I’ve almost considered throwing in the towel. It’s like Chinese torture to feed you. Your hand is constantly smacking me in my face or pulling my hair. Your tiny little death grip of a hand pinches the backside of my arm. And I wasn’t kidding when I said last month that your grip could kill a small mouse. In fact, I think it could kill a large rat. You also like to bite down on my nipple and jerk your head away. I’ve had to hand you off to your Papa from time to time out of frustration. Other times I simply feed you while starring straight up at the ceiling to avoid being slapped around, as that’s the one that ruffles my feathers the most.
I breastfeed you on demand, which ends up being 9 to 10x/ day. Not all of these feedings are of great quality, some are just quick snacks. I’m still donating milk, but in a lesser quantity than before.
Sleeping: You have an official routine. And, as luck would have it, it coincides with your brother’s routine. I may not have won in the food category, but I think I take home the trophy for the best sleepers in town. This is not to say I’m not exhausted on most days and that I don’t complain on the days I do have to get up during the night. On comparison to other babies, however, I think you’re both pretty stellar. I’m hoping you continue to follow in the long-nap-footsteps set before you.
We quit the swaddle cold turkey, mostly because you outgrew it and the velco was shot. We had ordered another one but had to send it back because you were too long for that one as well. We’ve also given you full range of your crib by removing your sleep positioner. You seem to stay on your back nonetheless, but wiggle around to different areas of the crib.
Here’s your schedule: I breastfeed you around 9pm. You drift off to sleep when you’re done eating and I put you in your crib for the night around 10pm. Some nights you wake up at 3am and want to eat, other nights you wake up briefly but drift back to sleep. The last few nights you’ve gotten up at 12am. It’s really a crap shoot as of late. You’re typically up for the day between 7 or 8am, depending if you had a middle of the night feeding. You nap around 11 or 12 for a couple of hours (fingers crossed) in the afternoon. You’re ready for another nap come 5pm and usually drift off to sleep as I feed you around this time, but more times than not, as soon as I put you down to nap, you scream. So the afternoon nap is hit or miss. 
Favorites: You love the toy guitar, which is a recipe for a fight because it’s one of Hooper’s favorites too. You love pushing the buttons and rock back and forth when the music plays. But your favorite, hands down, is your mama. You’re not a happy camper when I’m in the room and you’re not in my arms. You also love to bounce in your jumper. You’re actually able to jump, with both feet pushing off the floor. You’re bouncing right now and giggling while you do it. You also love sitting alongside your brother while he plays with his toys and, oh yes,  you love the remote controls. I’m quite sure if you had to chose two things to have for the rest of your life, it’d be me and the remotes.

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Van @ 6 Months

Growth & Appearance: Your head has rounded out and grown and your larger right ear isn’t so noticeable anymore. I remember thinking one of Hooper’s ears was larger than the other one too and now that he has hair, I can’t tell you which one it is. Your hair is slowly growing and still appears light brown. You eyebrows and eyelashes are light and hard to notice. You have the most perfect belly button and a round face. You are 28 inches long (92nd percentile), weigh 18 lbs. 3 oz (65th percentile), and have a head circumference of 17 3/8 (60th percentile). For comparison, you are roughly the size Hooper was at 9 months.
Eating: You eat often. I’m still feeding you every two hours it seems. Sometimes even more frequent than that. It’s hard to squeeze pump sessions in with how often you’re eating. Right now, our schedule looks something like this:
5am- Pump (Some days you wake up at this time and I have to feed you instead of pumping. If that’s the case, I try to pump one hour later so I have some milk to save in the freezer for donation)
7ish am to 9ish pm- Breastfeed on demand (if you chose to nap, I pump one hour into your nap)
You are very handsy while you eat and I find myself starring at the ceiling while I feed you to avoid having your hand smack my face around. It’s endearing and annoying all at the same time. You’re also easily distracted. If all attempts fail, I feed you in your room with the door closed and the light off.
I’m considering delaying solids but intend to discuss it with your pediatrician first. More to come on this later.
I don’t personally give you a bottle, but on the days I work I hear you are a bottle sucking monger. As soon as that thing gets within a foot radius your eyes reportedly get googly and your hands jittery. You definitely like your breast milk. 
Sleeping: Once a week or so you were waking up in the middle of the night, usually around 2am, to feed. More often than not, however, you would go down around 10pm and sleep until 7ish am. That’s changed. Now you wake up during the night almost every night. You’re starting to nap (praise the f’n lord) for about an hour to two hour stretch during the day though it’s still inconsistent.
This month has been a tough one. You’re waking more often and between feeding you in the middle of the night and waking up at 5am to pump, I’ve been exhausted. We considered trying to take you out of the swaddle at night, but you woke up at 2am and fed and continued to scream afterward. We put you back in the swaddle and you fell asleep. So looks like we’ll have to keep an eye out for that infomercial that sells the adult sized sleep sacs because you’re clearly too big for your sleep sac.
The picture looks something like this: I feed you for the last time around 9pm and put you down 45 minutes later. Some nights you wake up at 2am while other nights you sleep until 5am but either way, you go back to sleep and are up for the day around 7:30am. Toward the end of this month, you’ve been consistently napping for about 2 hours from 11-1 and, on occasion, again around 5 for an hour or so. Development: You are friendly and warm. You’re in your bouncer starring at me and giggling as I write this. You have loads of energy and are constantly distracted by what’s going on around you. I just got that bad omen feeling in seeing how this translates in the classroom. You are in to touching and tasting everything around you. You’re still giggling at me, by the way. Oh you melt my heart you little booger.
You began sitting at 5 months but would tip over as soon as you reached for something to either side. It was quite the scene to find you turned part way on your side with your little bum up in the air. It doesn’t seem to upset you and more times than not you’re happy to have got whatever it was you were reaching for into your chompers despite the contortion it took to get there. Midway through your fifth month you started sitting with ease. Now I can leave you on the wood floor with some toys and not worry so much about tipping. You’re happy to sit and play with a few toys. You’re also happy to hang out in the high chair… now if only we could get your brother to keep his ass planted in his big boy chair…
You are strong. Your grip alone could kill a mouse. It’s a good thing we don’t let you play with mice.
You’re transitioning from a crack-crazed-crying-one-minute-laughing-the-next infant to an even-keeled smiley little dude. Your mood is less labile and your schedule is more predictable.
You like pulling your sock off your foot and shoving it in your mouth. More times than not you have one sock on. I find single socks strewn about the house.
You’ve taken notice of Sarah and reach out for her when she’s near. You open your mouth, instinctively, when she licks your face. It’s gross, considering she eats shit.
You’ve discovered my camera, which always seems to be in your face, and you like to grab at it with your grubby little fingers.
You have strong lungs. I’m pretty sure the neighbors know when you’re upset.
Favorites: You love, and I mean love, your mama. You bounce wildly when you’re in your Papa’s arms and I come into view. I’m not sure if you love me or the fact that I feed you. You sure like to eat, so I’m not so sure. You also love the crinkly sound of a plastic and more than anything else, you love playing with a plastic bag. I know, I know, it’s not safe. Whenever you get your grubby little hands on one, I have to do a quick switcheroo. You also love Hooper’s cars and like to fling your head back anytime your nursing on the sofa to catch a glimpse of one because, you know, your brothers cars are always strewn about on the sofa.
My favorite thing is giving you kisses in the middle of the night between feedings. I lay you on your changing table and watch as you peacefully stretch your arms up above your head and curl you chin down to your chest. I kiss you on your sweet lips, which are soft and smooth… not filled with the drool and slobber that takes over your chin and chest during the day. As soon as my lips leave yours, a smile spreads over your face but your eyes remain closed. I fall deeper in love with you each time we share this moment.

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