I think that part of my lack of blogging lately is a lack of light bulbs going off in my head with big ideas of what to write about. Monkey is making lots of strides in his development, but we're kind of past the "big" milestones for now, and some of the smaller stuff doesn't seem to generate the same level of excitement to justify posting. But, since I hope to have Monkey someday look back on this blog to read about his early years, I think I'll attempt to play catch-up a bit and just share some random thoughts. Here's what's been going on at the Monkey House:
1. Food, Glorious Food -- The good news is that Monkey's menu of acceptable foods seems to be expanding ever so slightly! Vegetables are STILL, and I suspect will always be, a challenge, but Monkey has discovered corn on the cob, and he eats it with gusto! So much fun to watch! And, with the arrival of spring/summer, Monkey has become a bigger fruit fan, so instead of applesauce day in and day out, he has been feasting on yummy blueberries and strawberries. I thought I had him on pineapple as well, but that lasted all of about a day. Oh, and grapes, which already has me looking forward to the day when I don't have to cut them up for him to avoid a possible choking hazard...
2. All Choked Up -- Speaking of choking, please tell me I don't have the only toddler who insists on shoveling multiple fistfuls of whatever he's eating into his mouth?? It's not so much a manners thing, although, geez, slowing down a tad would sure be nice, but I swear he swallows half of his food whole, despite a mouthful of teeth. He's gagged more than once, giving my husband and I quite a scare, but I actually think he may just be one of those kids with a relatively sensitive gag reflex, as it's been triggered by things as little as a small, possibly sharp piece of potato chip. I struggle with being the mom who cuts and breaks up her kid's food until he's ten, and trying to teach him to take bites, at the risk that he just won't do it, or will take twenty small "bites" in rapid succession, defeating the purpose. :-(
3. Chug, Chug -- And also on the subject of food, I was told by Monkey's day care teacher a couple of weeks ago that one of the changes that will take place when he moves to the two-year-old's room (in less than two months - gasp!) is that they will start drinking from open cups instead of sippies. Am I the only one that thinks this sounds a bit soon, and, um, messy? Again, I don't want Monkey to be drinking from a sippy when he goes to the prom, but man am I not looking forward to the idea of him drinking from an open cup on a regular basis yet either! I've let him sip from my cup from time to time, and although he gets the basic idea, he's a bit too eager, and inevitably ends up with water down the front of his shirt. I know that it takes practice, and toddler-hood isn't always neat, but I'm just not sure I'm ready for this one. Maybe I'll let day care take the lead on this one, and I can just benefit from their tried-and-true teaching methods?
4. Potty Time -- Speaking of new challenges, I feel like full-on potty training will be upon us soon, and I am approaching it somewhat tentatively. Don't get me wrong - I can not WAIT to be done with smelly diapers. But something about them IS awfully convenient, you know?? It's not the idea of Monkey being potty trained that I dread (although it will sort of mean he's officially a big boy - sniff!), it's the process... Having to be constantly attuned to his signals, racing to the potty for numerous false alarms, devising and consistently following some kind of reward program, etc. Monkey has handled so many of his other transitions (sleeping through the night, dropping bottles, limiting paci use, etc) so well - I hope this isn't the one that we struggle with!
5. Story Time -- I LOVE that Monkey is finally showing more interest in books. He's still hard pressed to sit still for a story, and I'm sorry to say that we still haven't been able to incorporate a "traditional" bedtime story into our nightly routine, but he seems to be going for books as often as toys these days, and not always the same three or four books, either. Character books are still one of the biggest hits (Wiggles and Elmo, specifically), but he's starting to pay more attention to some of the Dr. Suess books, and I've once again renewed my hopes that someday he will enjoy reading as much as I do, for content rather than pictures! And yes, he actually says "read a book?" now, which I love. :-)
6. Outdoor Adventures -- I can't remember if I posted earlier about our severe cabin fever over the winter months, but needless to say, the arrival of Spring (FINALLY!) has opened new doors to things to do with Monkey. Unfortunately, it has also opened the door to new battles with Monkey's independent streak, and his desire to walk freely without holding hands. As you can imagine, this presents a problem pretty much anywhere other than in our fenced-in backyard. It's been a little hit or miss -- sometimes Monkey not only willingly holds MY hand, but wants to hold Daddy's hand as well, making it difficult for us to walk in and out of stores, etc. I think Monkey secretly hopes when we do this that we'll start randomly swinging him, a trick taught to him by my mother and aunt (thanks, guys!), but I think my husband is afraid of dislocating his shoulder, so we don't often play along. Plus, let's face it, it kind of slow things down a bit when ever five seconds you have to stop and go "one, two, three -- whee!" :-) But other times, Monkey does NOT want to hold hands, and left to his own devices, would appear to be on the verge of running off into a parking lot. Clearly this is non-negotiable, so Monkey has been getting a choice - hold Mommy's hand, or let Mommy carry you. You may not like either choice, but you've gotta pick one. I yearn for the day when he will walk calmly by my side - will it ever happen? I keep contemplating the monkey backpack with the leash, but it seems like more trouble than it's worth, especially when we're just making a quick trip from car to store. But lately, the desire to be "down" doesn't end at the store door, as riding in a shopping cart is apparently no longer the thrill it once used to be (unless said cart is shaped like a car, in which case the difficulty is getting Monkey OUT of it!). Monkey threw a royal fit in Gymboree a few weeks ago when, in a moment of kindness, I let him out of his stroller to sit in the little chairs and watch cartoons at the back of the store. All was well until it was time to leave, and I think I earned a few new bruises, as well as several sympathetic and/or questioning looks, as I struggled to get Monkey back in his stroller. Our evening walks around the neighborhood are also beginning to change, as Monkey is no longer content for up to an hour in his stroller as we walk around, visiting with neighbors, getting some exercise. Monkey wants to be "out" or "down" before long, adding a new level of parental anxiety to the whole process. And don't get me started on his "car rides" - Monkey has a cool radio flyer car that he used to love being pushed around the neighborhood in. These days, however, it's about two minutes before he wants to get out, walk, push the car himself. Nothing like pushing an empty car back to your house while carrying a struggling toddler, let me tell you...
Well, I think that's the end of my train of thought for now. Hopefully I'll be able to return to more regular, less rambling posting soon!