Since yesterday's a-ha moment, I've started paying more attention to all the wonderful qualities Owen does currently possess and thought I'd take a moment to document them here. I like to use this blog as a diary of sorts to record certain milestones as they occur in Owen's life (I can't tell you how many times my sister Jackie and I have referred back to old posts to remind ourselves what Owen was doing at her baby, Brody's age). Plus, I am just so over the moon about how FUN Owen is these days that I thought I'd brag on him a little bit.
Despite my intense fear of stairs, we have started teaching Owen to "walk" up and down them instead of insisting that he always crawl. Remarkably, he's taken to this very well. He seems to understand that he needs to hold on to the railing or someone's hand in order to feel steady enough to proceed, so so far, he's remained fairly cautious and has had tremendous success. I am still quite nervous about this new practice, though, and — whereas I allowed him to freely go up and down our newly carpeted basement steps on his own when he was crawling them — I now insist on one of us supervising the process. But, so far, so good.
His vocabulary, which has always been fairly remarkable for his age, is pretty solid now. He's gotten very good at communicating his needs to us on his own (which probably has something to do with the reduction in tantrums!) One phrase that just cracks me up whenever he says it is, "I take a nap." Sometimes it's because he's telling me he's tired, but more often, I think he just pays attention to what's happening around him and if something happens that is typical of his pre-nap routine (like the rolling of credits at the end of Yo Gabba Gabba, or even changing his diaper), he assumes that it must mean it's nap time.
He's also much calmer when changing his diaper these days. Where he used to get upset and flail around (hitting and kicking had become a major problem for a while), he seems to understand that it's just part of life and there's no reason to fight it. I've also started changing him on the living room floor (I keep a towel handy in there for easy access) instead of always taking him to the changing table in his room. Not making him leave the room where other people are or where he was having fun playing or watching TV seems to have helped in that respect, too. Incidentally, for those wondering, we have not done much else as far as potty training because I'm pretty certain he's just not ready yet (despite my high hopes in this post). But I'm not too concerned; all in good time!
He still goes down great both at nap time and bed time. Thankfully, the days of 1-2 hours worth of chatting to himself before settling to sleep seem to be over for now. But the duration of naps has been reduced a bit. I used to be able to count on 1 1/2 hours at a minimum, but up to a 3-hour break in my day. Lately, he's been pretty consistently only napping for his former minimum, 1 1/2 hours. Just so long as he doesn't start going even less than this (or dropping naps entirely...gasp!), I can deal. And he's still in his crib (we don't even own a toddler bed yet) because he has yet to make any legitimate attempts at climbing out and he actually seems to really enjoy the confines of his cozy little space. So who are we to fight that? I'll let him stay in the crib as long as he wants I think, though I'd like to have a bed picked out (if not purchased) soon so that in the event that we need to make the switch quickly (i.e., he channels his inner monkey and figures out some way to climb out), we will be prepared.
And finally, the most exciting thing in my life right now (yes, I'm that lame) is the fact that O is starting to show more and more signs of focused play. By that, I mean that he will actually focus on and play with certain things for a much longer duration than he ever has in the past. Up until now, he's been like a crazy pinball, ping-ponging from one toy/book/drawer/electric device/sharp object to another. (Side note: I recently heard about a comedian that made the claim that toddlers spend their days looking for death and I'm here to tell you, that is the sad truth!) Of course, he still does this — his attention span is that of a 2-year-old, after all. But more and more, he is beginning to get interested in actually playing with toys as they are intended to be played with. Here's a couple of videos to show you what I mean.
Ok, so he's using his sippy cup instead of cars, but the fact that he's sitting here intently playing with this thing is actually pretty huge. (And he does use cars, too, on occasion.)
I don't know why my voice sounds so obnoxious in this video (I guess because it was taken on my crummy cell phone?), but it was SO fun seeing him scoot his trucks around after I showed him how to do it. We called the bar stools "bridges" that the trucks had to drive under, which he thought was pretty clever.
Ok, so these videos are not all that exciting, but if you only knew how I've longed for the days when I could have two (TWO!) moments to myself where I don't have to worry about him hurting himself, you would understand and appreciate how momentous this is!
Someone told me once that the half-years (i.e., age 1 1/2, age 2 1/2, etc.) are actually harder than the beginning and end of the years (i.e., age 2, age 3, etc.) So far, that seems to be pretty accurate. 18-months was tough. So far, 2-years-old is shaping up to be SUPER fun!