Updated with a couple pictures...
This is what happens when you turn your back on this boy. He stacks his toys on the couch and then climbs on them. Climbing on the couch just isn't exciting anymore but now this added a whole new element of exciting for all of us!
Charlie is so inquisitive and happy these days. He's learning at a quick rate and while I'm biased, I think he's just so smart and loving. He's quite a charmer too. He gives the best hugs and loves to give them after he has warmed up to you. His favorite game is to go back and forth between Mommy and Daddy to give hugs. Of course, I think he loves his Mommy's reaction who's heart melts and may or may not make over him. He gets our full attention these days and would have it no other way. :-) Speaking of which, back in Thanksgiving, I held a friend's baby and Charlie started full out crying. It was so funny and odd that he had such an opinion. Can you say spoiled? Maybe so but that's ok. Daddy and Mommy are loving giving him our full attention.
He has a little bit of stranger anxiety or a lot of it. He is very reserved and likes to observe most situations before jumping right in. He's the quickest to make friends with children and he tends to need a longer period of time to warm up around adults. He tends to be a little shy and doesn't really talk too much around strangers. He's started opening up a little more and I can typically at least get him to say "bye" to the nice grocery bagger who gives him a balloon or whatever else nice strangers do for him.
Back in November, I estimated that he could say about 20 words and he's well beyond 50 I think. He's loving daycare and his teachers. His teachers tell me that they used to try to get him to talk but now they have to try to get him to be quiet because he tends to like to talk at nap time. He says the cutest things and has even starting putting two words together. Some favorites are "It's a ball" or "It's a .... (fill in the blank) or "Taking a bath". He will repeat just about anything we say and it's amazing how fast he gets it. He knows about every animal sound there is (duck, dog, cat, sheep, horse, pig, snake, frog, monkey, lion, bear, etc.) and loves it when I go through all of them so he can make the sounds. (It's a great game for the car when he's getting bored.) He says Dadda, Momma, Grandpa, not yet saying Grammie but he does try, Kneeknee, Pops, Mim, and I think he said Mer for Meredith but only once. Meredith is a little disappointed but he absolutely loves her being around so it won't be long. She just has a hard name for little mouths to say. He has loved to talk about all the things related to Christmas and has really increased his vocabulary to say most of the words that go along with the season. Our two least favorite words are "No" and "Me" which can be said defiantly and with the best whine I've ever heard at times. "Me" is normally only negative these days and while "No" can be helpful, most of the time it's not.
I have some cute stories I feel are worth documenting below for my own memory sake:
Charlie is loving his friends and his daycare. Mommy and Daddy also like it. There are some excellent staff there that take great care of him. Charlie proudly walks in instead of me carrying him in the mornings. He says several of his friends names and his teacher's name. He particularly loves the director of the daycare, Ms. Jenn and he says often "Jenn Bye-Bye" at home so I think he even misses her when he's not around her. Most mornings, she greets him and requests a hug. One morning, she was talking and Charlie didn't want to go to his room without giving a hug so he patiently waited until she was done. It was so cute! He love the fish at daycare and is pretty much deemed the feeder in the morning. He's been bitten a few times at daycare and while it's not fun to experience even as a parent, I'm glad he's not the biter. I recently learned that he told the kid who bit him "NoNo" for the rest of the day. He's a jokster at daycare and recently played a good trick on his teacher. He was bent over in a bucket and not moving. She happened to notice this while changing a diaper and was very concerned that he has passed out or something. She kept, saying his name and trying to get him to stand up or move and he wasn't. She told me that she hurried and grabbed the other child to run over to Charlie who proudly stood up and smiled at her. :-) He still loves his teacher from the infant room and I think he goes and visits her for a few minutes every day. I recently saw the hugs that he gave her and I told her that I was officially jealous and it was an all around bear hug like he hadn't seen her in weeks. Ms. Belinda loves him just as much though, and I will always hold a special place for her in my heart.
Charlie loves Wally or as he says "Wall". He says "Bye Wall" pretty often on our way out the door. He's in charge of feeding Wally these days. I used to have to help him but he can do it all on his own without any help these days.
He's always been obsessed with kitty cats and loves to see them and talk about them. We don't have a cat and will not have one due to Wally, who is not good at all around cats. Anyways, the cat that he is around the most is his Aunt Kneeknee's cat, Coco. She has another cat, Boo, who won't come out so Charlie only knows about Coco. Anyways, every cat is Coco so any picture or other cat he sees, regardless of their resemblance, he will immediately exclaim "Coco". My reaction remains the same. I will say "No, this cat's name is ... (fill in the blank). Coco lives at Aunt Kneeknee's house." Now, he will say, "Coco at Kneeknees". I will think he gets it and 2 seconds later the conversation repeats and we go through this over and over and over.
Charlie loves to point to the Christmas tree and talk about the ornaments. One day, he was pointing to the sporting ornaments. So, I asked him what the different balls were. He said "basketball" and then "football" and then when we got to the baseball, he said "Daddy's ball". I'm not sure where he came up with that one and now he says "baseball" but it was pretty cute even if this year baseball wasn't always Daddy's favorite sport to watch on tv.
I think that at daycare, Charlie must have been taught to cheer after they sing or maybe he came up with it on his own. Anyhow, in early December, one Sunday morning we were at church. I normally go pick Charlie up from the nursery after offering has been taken up so he can come back and enjoy the last couple of songs in church. Well, this particular morning, immediately after the song, it was quiet and the preacher was ready to start the benediction and Charlie exclaimed "Yay" and clapped. Everyone in the church laughed.
Every day, when Matt picks him up from daycare, and puts him in his car seat, the first things he says is "nack" which is snack and let me tell you, we do not forget the snack. It can turn a good night to a bad one quickly. That boy is hungry in the evenings. If daycare didn't tell me any differently, I would think they didn't feed him but they say he's a pretty good eater for them.
Charlie eats well most of the time these days. It's not always so true and he actually had a pretty rough month in November which I was almost worried that he was going through a difficult phase of being picky. Luckily, as his sickness went away, his appetite came back. He's hit or miss sometimes and pretty horrible in restaurants most of the time these days. It's hard to sit still and be so busy. I don't think others around us mind him as much as I am worry about it. His favorite foods are meatloaf, meat balls, peas and carrots (canned preferably), and just about anything sweet! He has no issues with the reflux, thankfully. Although he does tend to easily throw up, but at least it's centered only around being sick which I have decided it one of the things I passed on to my child and is just payback for all those nights when my stomach was upset or all those times that I got car sick and did the same to my parents.
As for sleep, I'm very proud of my good sleeper. He was so bad for the first year and I still haven't forgotten how crazy sleep deprived I felt. I have often said over the last few months that I can look back and remember how tired I was last year and how hard working and taking care of him was. However, that's not the case these days. He sleeps about 12 hours every night. He is ready to go to bed about 7:30 but will push it back to about 8-8:30 if allowed and will sleep until 7:30 or 8 in the morning. During the work week, he has to be up no later than 7:15 for us to get to work on time. While he's been up at 6:30, most mornings, he waits until 7ish or later. He's fallen into a little better routine for nap time at daycare and consistently takes about an hour and a half nap. Unfortunately, he still fights them at home. Sometimes, he will go down for about 2 hours and anything beyond that is rare. However, there are times when the best we get is 45 minutes. He always goes down for a period of time though right after lunch.
Well, I don't know that I'm much for giving advice to others on parenting as it all just seems to work out and you figure out what works for you which may not be the same for the next. I will say that what I've learned is surround yourselves with good friends and good family. Also, I'm lucky enough to have a very loving and involved husband who adores my boy as much as I do. I certainly have a new found respect for single parents. I recently was discussing this age with a friend of mine who said she found this to be the most difficult. I don't know if it was the reflux or lack of sleep or if it's just this boy, but I'm absolutely loving this age and sometimes wish I could freeze time so I could enjoy it just a little longer.
Pictures from family Christmas coming soon but we are still busy celebrating right now! Happy New Year's. I'm so thankful for everything that 2012 brought and look forward to 2013. My thoughts and prayers continue to be focused on all of those who suffered loss this year and especially those whose children were taken away from them in early December in Newtown, CT.