Sunday, November 19, 2017

Asher: eighteen months

[This was written last spring, when Asher was 18 months old. It's being published an entire month after his second birthday. Poor, neglected little guy!!! :(  ]

In classic reality for the second child, I've gone almost two full months without posting an update on Asher's growth and life. The 17 month post will never be, so I'm jumping into the 18 month post, just a couple of weeks late. Ha!

Growth/ development: Asher's a walking, running, talking machine! It took him so long to learn to walk, but he picked up running in about ten minutes. It's hard to keep up with him as he wanders all over the house, and in the yard, and down the road to splash through puddles and peek at the pig in our neighbors' backyard.

At his checkup last week, Asher weighed 27 pounds and was 33 3/4 inches tall. He didn't gain much weight since his last checkup, but he grew a lot taller! Since birth, Asher's been seeing one of the doctors at our local family practice. Sadly, that doctor left the practice and this month Asher saw someone different for the first time. He didn't seem to notice (or mind) a single bit, but I feel really sad about the loss of this relationship and am not as satisfied with the new doctor. Bummer.

Sleep/ schedule: Asher switched to one nap just in time, because at the end of February our family rhythms changed with the addition of an afternoon babysitting job. I leave the house at 2pm with both kids, so Asher's nap needs to happen before that. He usually wakes up for the day between 6 and 7, then goes down for his nap between 11:30 and 12. If not woken up, Asher will often nap for 2.5 hours, but on school days I always have to wake him up to get out the door for baby-sitting.

He goes to bed around 7pm, sometimes closer to 7:30 if he's taken a solid nap and doesn't seem fussy. Other than sleep times, Asher doesn't have any specific schedule. He mostly spends time playing independently, exploring, and wandering around making messes. His bedtime routine is very simple and he almost always goes to sleep quickly and easily.

Communication: We can't believe how much Asher talks! It would be impossible for me to list how many words he uses-- far more than Charlotte did at this age. Both Joel and I are surprised by how much he can say, maybe because we expected him to develop his vocabulary slowly since he is a boy. But we were wrong! Some of his favorite (or most used!) words include: Char-Char, Daddy, Momma, ba-ba (bottle!! still!! haha!), ME!, MINE!, NO!, yes, please, see, ball, keys, car, Bible, book, dog, cheese, and drive. He knows many animal names and can make a lot of their sounds. My personal favorite is his imitation of an elephant, which includes waving his hand up into the air like an elephant's trunk while snorting out a gust of air!

Likes: Being outside, holding keys, pretending to drive cars and open doors with keys, picking up rocks, pushing toys (such as the baby stroller or shopping cart), opening and closing doors, sitting in our laps to read books, being near Charlotte, wandering down the street to check out the pig, splashing through puddles, water of any kind, using the pretend faucet in our play kitchen, stacking/ knocking over towers, hugging stuffed animals, listening to songs on YouTube, dancing, looking at picture books, hugging, kissing, snuggling, and identifying objects and animals. He is THE MOST FUN little boy on the planet. 18 months is such an awesome  age!!!

Dislikes: Being told NO, being made to sit down or be strapped into the car seat, food that doesn't interest him at that exact second, not drinking from a bottle all day every day (HA!), having toys taken by his sister, and not being allowed to watch his favorite music videos over and over and over again. He also doesn't like having to come inside before he's ready! This has proven to be a real challenge, as the weather for the last four months has been unbearably rainy. Charlotte loves to play inside and can keep herself pretty well occupied inside for most of the day, while Asher gets antsy and frustrated if he can't go out. I have a hard time balancing their needs and their varying interests in these current stages of development. 

It blows my mind how much joy one little guy can bring to our world. We love you, Asher Bash. Sooo many hugs and kisses!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

gifts for a two year old

In typical second child fashion, Asher turned two last month and I'm just now getting around to writing anything about it! We had a really special day celebrating the best little boy on the planet. I'll post an update soon, because he's learning and growing a mile a minute and I don't want to forget a single detail about him at this age.

Today, though, I'm going to share some of the awesome gifts Asher got for his birthday. Some were from us, some were from other family and friends. (Amazon affiliate links included; if you click the link and purchase, I get a teeny tiny percentage.)

1. Big Red Barn board book. We read this book about 5 times a day for about three weeks. It fits right in with Asher's current obsession with all things farm, farmer, tractor, and animals. Adorable book! We all love it, though it was Asher's gift ;)

2. Schleich baby farm animal set. Asher got some Schleich farm animals last year and they are played with a TON by both kids. I was guessing this set would be a good addition, and I was right. He LOVES playing with "baby cow, daddy cow," and does all sorts of imaginative activities with his wooden barn, his tractors, and these sweet little animals.

3. Kid-sized folding table. I wasn't sure about a kids' table for a long time, mostly because I feel my kids get so chaotic at dinner time, and having them all bunched together at a separate table just seemed to invite craziness. BUT we have used this table soooooo many times since receiving it for Asher's birthday. The kids paint and draw there. They set up tea parties there. They eat evening snacks and morning smoothies there. Sometimes we have an early morning family "breakfast picnic" there. Though we've been using it constantly, and haven't put it away in storage at all, I LOVE that this table can fold up to be stored in a small space. (Note- it doesn't come with chairs, which is fine because we had already been given four small chairs that work perfectly with this size. There are some other sets on Amazon that come with chairs, but we didn't need those.)

4. Plan Toy tea set. I LOVE the Plan Toys brand. This wooden tea set is beautiful, sturdy, and just all around great. Both my kids love it, though Asher doesn't get to use it by himself very much unless Charlotte is already in bed ;) because she always has some specific plan for it.

5. The Biggest Story ABC board book. This is a really fun, little-kid version of the book The Greatest Story (which we LOVE but don't own!). A little bit heavy on the plagues in Egpyt for our tastes, ha, but overall a great summary of the Gospel story, with bright, beautiful illustrations.

6. Play Silks. We didn't get this exact set, but I think it's fun to have the option of so many colors. My kids have used them for all sorts of things-- table cloths, head scarves, baby blankets, hide-and-seek covers, etc. etc. etc. Highly recommend this kid of toy, as the options for imaginative play are basically endless.

7. Zig Zag car racing track. Again, this isn't the exact set we have, but it's very similar. The little cars in this set are super fun, and very easy for two year old hands to navigate. Such a cool toy!

8. DUPLO construction set. I'd forgotten all about DUPLOS, so this was a really fun surprise that Asher got from his aunt and uncle. He plays with it A LOT, and since there are two vehicles in the set, the kids often use them together. Asher especially loves to make rough and tough construction noises, and he does make believe play with the trucks while he babbles aloud to them. So stinking cute :)

And.... a few things we're considering for our two-year old's Christmas gifts:

9. Are You Ready to Play Outside? We have many books by author Mo Willems in this house. He's a great storyteller, and his illustrations are awesome. This book is one in the Gerald and Piggy series. I'd never heard of it before, but I find it especially perfect for my Pacific Northwest children, who play outside in the rain for half of the year. :)

10. Toddler- approved headphones. Charlotte got this kind for Christmas two years ago and they are AWESOME. Sadly, hers have been squished in carry-ons too often and are now cracked, so we need a replacement for any future plane travel. These come with a splitter, so we can plug a second pair in and two people (or two small children) can watch/listen together. Total win!

What about you? Any awesome gift ideas for the toddlers in your life? Please share!