Thursday, January 28, 2010

15-Month Checkup

Sunday Topher turned 15 months old, and on Tuesday he went in for his 15-month checkup. He weighed in at over 27 lbs and he measured 32" tall. That put him in the 80th percentile for both categories--such a proportionate little guy! The doctor said he looked great, and we felt a swell of pride as the nurses said they loved his chubby legs. Unfortunately, the appointment came with a mean round of vaccines. He got 4 pokes, more than he ever has before, and the nurses gave one shot in each thigh at the same time, then had to repeat. Topher turned very red as he held his breath waiting to scream and it was awful to watch, but he settled down very quickly once they were done. I'm SO glad that appointment is over because he will not need another shot until he gets his kindergarten vaccines. Also, he received his chicken pox vaccine so hopefully it will drastically minimize the effects of chicken pox when he catches it someday. I'm so thankful for modern medicine.
On the way home, we were talking about how Topher has only had ONE unscheduled doctor's visit in his life (for these weird bumps on his hands that the doctor was unconcerned about and we later decided were ant bites or something equally as strange.) Other than that, he has had a couple colds, but he has never needed a prescription and has never had an ear infection. We are sure it has a lot to do with him staying home with me rather than being in daycare. We count his health as our greatest blessing, we really do, one we NEVER take for granted. We realize someday he will be exposed to more kids and he will start catching all the germs out there, but our hope is that by that time, he will be old enough for "real" medicine (babies are basically limited to Tylenol) and that he can tell us when something is hurting. I thank my Heavenly Father every single night for his good health. It's a miracle, especially considering his early arrival into the world.
At 15 months, he can do so many things! Topher is walking about 50% of the time, and a little more every day. He holds his arms straight out when he walks in a sort of zombie-walk, and he is far from steady, but he's doing great. He is also showing that he understands a lot more than he can communicate. He'll listen when you give him directions and he will respond appropriately (most of the time.) He's learning new words. Yesterday he very clearly copied me when I pointed out a duck.
He is a rocket going up the stairs...yesterday I thought the baby gate was up but it wasn't and I turned my back for maybe 20 seconds. I heard him squawking and found him all the way at the top of the entire staircase (15 steps), just smiling and talking to himself. He is starting to shows signs of being very attached to mommy which he has never really done before. Needless to say, my arms get tired a lot (he's heavy!) Whenever he hears the sound of the garage door opening, he immediately starts saying, "Dad, dad." He LOVES to look at pictures of animals and he loves it when we ask him to point out different ones.
All in all, he's just becoming who he is and he's just extremely easy to love. If he had a weak point, it would be sleeping through the night, but we've all settled into a routine that seems to work alright (although it can get frustrating when we're ready for bed and he very clearly is not). His very, very favorite thing in the world is dancing with me. Our keyboard plays a couple demo songs and he'll point to the keyboard until I turn on "our" song and then he'll tuck his arms in and snuggle down into me with his head on my shoulder while I spin and sway around the room. It's totally exhausting but it makes him SO happy. The only problem is he cries whenever I stop (which I only ever do because my arms are going numb!) He can find his belly button, even though I'm convinced he still can't actually see it over the mound of his tummy, and he knows exactly what to do with a phone (this video was taken last night).
Topher, as always we're so proud of you for growing into such a big boy. We love you VERY much and we don't know what we'd do without you. We're sorry you had to get those shots but you were so brave about it! We can't wait to see what new things you're going to learn today, and tomorrow, and the day after that. Thank you for all the smiles--they make everything worth it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Climbing, Climbing Everywhere

TJ's parents have graciously lent us one of their patio chairs for the winter to use as a rocking chair for Topher. The thing is, he does less rocking and more just climbing in and out of it. He likes to heave himself up and then clap for himself for being such a big boy.

Climbing seems to be the theme in our house right now. Yesterday, Topher went under his crib, pulled out a little step stool I keep hidden under there, dragged it over to the other side of his room, and used it to climb up on the twin-sized bed. I also watched as he came into our room and used our box spring as a step to heave himself up onto our bed. Then this morning while I was drying my hair, I heard him laughing and went into our closet to find him sitting in a drawer of the dresser. He seems to be everywhere at once, and he only needs about 5 seconds to get himself into trouble.

Some people have asked me if I miss him being a tiny baby, if I miss being able to set him down knowing that he would stay there until I came and put him somewhere else. The answer to that is a resounding no. This age is so much more interesting, and so much more fulfilling for me. I can ask him for a kiss and he'll lean in and slobber me. We can play chase and peek-a-boo. He throws a lot of fits, but I know now what causes them (me taking an object away from him that is dangerous, mostly). When he was tiny, he'd cry and cry and we wouldn't have the slightest idea what was wrong. Yes, he can make more messes now--it seems to be his reason for being, in fact--but to see him stand up on his own and walk across the room is just amazing. Or to hear him say, "Up, up!" when he wants to go upstairs or wants to be picked up.

I still get overwhelmed a lot. I probably say, "I can't do this anymore!" at least a few times a week (ask TJ, I really do). But something good is happening here. Something that makes this little boy reach out to me and hold on like a koala bear, and something that makes me shrug at my destroyed house. Something that tells me that we're raising someone extraordinary, someone who maybe isn't clapping for himself so much as he is for his stumbling parents who have at least made it this far.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Week In Review

My mom had to call me asking for another post, so I know it's been too long. My moments of true rest are few and far between, and I usually choose to spend them curled up with a tub of Breyer's rather than thinking up new posts. However, Topher has been especially busy and adorable this week, and there are a few things I need to share with the world. Topher still says very few actual words, but as a precursor to talking, he has entered that sweet little phase of babbling all sorts of sounds. He obviously knows what he is talking about, but I'm at a loss. Almost every day (okay, several times a day) he likes to climb up the back of the couch, lean against the window, and talk to the world.

I also found it quite amusing this week when Topher tried to sweep the kitchen floor. It tells me that a) he really does copy what we do, b) he's getting so big and learning more complex things, and c) I clean too much. Oh well, it was more rewarding than the time he picked up the remote and pointed it at the TV (oops).

Another first this week--taking an interest in the snake, even though he insists it is a "bup." We just love that he's showing the same enthusiasm towards animals as we both feel, and we hope that we foster an environment for him to learn to be comfortable around all kinds of creatures.

TJ even let Topher nicely ("Gentle, Topher, gentle!") pet Shiela, and it was hilarious to watch him looking all over to find her head and face.

The last highlight of our week was the evening Topher woke up as TJ was still playing his video game. He climbed right up beside Daddy, cheering him on, and it was just adorable.

What a crazy week with the busiest little boy I've ever met. The weather is still awful (ice storm this week) and it's terrible being stuck indoors all day, every day, but at least I can never say that my days are dull. We anxiously await warmer weather so we can break out of our severe cabin fever and maybe never come back indoors again.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Topher's Cold-Weather Tips

Iowa winters are harsh. This one is especially so, one of the worst in however-many-years. (I try to divert my ears whenever someone is talking about how awful it is outside.) Anyway, Topher has some helpful hints for anyone wanting to warm up: 1) Invest in a poofy coat. This one came from Grandma and Grandpa and we got to test it when the temperature (not the wind chill, mind you) was negative 13 degrees. 2) Stay active. Do some lunges (use nearby furniture for balance if necessary.) Then practice walking. 3) Always keep a blanket on hand. Even if it's lunch time. Sometimes you just don't want to let go of something so soft and warm. 4) Finally, if all else fails, find someone you really love and snuggle up close. Actually, this one might be better as a first resort rather than a last. --KC

Monday, January 4, 2010

How all our things end up on the stairs...

It's just a game. A game of throwing things under the baby gate and down the stairs to see if the kitty will chase them. Every day we comb the stairs retrieving any and all objects Topher was able to fit under that gate. Toy cars, bouncy balls, stuffed animals, spoons...there's no telling what we might find pushed through that 4" gap.

I love all the little eccentricities that make Topher who he is. It's funny how some people are immediately bonded to their babies. I loved Topher right away, of course I did. But not the way I love him now. This morning he reached for the Triscuit box, unhooked the little cardboard tab, jammed his arm in up to his elbow, and produced a cracker for himself. I just stared at him, at this little baby morphing into someone more independent, and I was just amazed. He's amazing. From his tuft of curls on the back of his head to his sea-blue eyes to his dimpled knuckles...I still can't believe that he's the same little person that used to roll around in my belly. How did we ever create something so perfect? How did we possibly do that? I don't say it enough, even if it is my one central thought...he's the best thing we have ever done, will ever do. We're so lucky to have him.

Even if it means my chapstick, keys, wallet, and library book are scattered down the stairs.