Verbally Speaking

Not too long ago, I was feeling a bit worried about Alex’s development. My concern was that he wasn’t developing, verbally, as fast as I thought he should be. Shouldn’t all babies at 17 months of age be able to say cup, doggie, cat? He lacks the ability to make the “c” sound, and I really just want him to have more words and less sounds that represent words.

He calls dogs “woof” and grapes “meep” and elephants are the sound that your lips make when air blows through them. Monkeys are “ah ah ooh ooh” and swimming is the same as water: “wa wa”. A penguin waddles, so clearly a penguin is “wada wada wada.”

When I casually brought up my concern to Zach, and he in turn mentioned it to my Mom, they both told me that I was, well, crazy. And just plain wrong. The number of words, or word approximations, that Alex makes is quite substantial.

The surely incomplete list of the words he either says or has his own “word” for: Mama, Dada, Daddy, Gramma, Nana, Big D, Kathy, Jackson the dog, Dog, Elephant, Mine, Monkey, Water, Up, Help, Cheese, Eye, Nose, No, Fish, Grapes, Wind/Air, Car, Truck, Bus, People, Baby, Belly Button, Bowl, Banana, Apple, Cow, Bunny, Ow, Heat, Book, Wolf, Dirty, Cheese, More, Yummy/NomNom, Cold, Shoes, Knee, Tickle, Bye Bye, Hi, Uh-Oh, Swimming, Sun, Moon, Penguin, Toes…

He even uses the occasional two word sentence. “More ___” is the most common.

It’s amazing the difference between what he can say and what he understands. His comprehension is easily hundreds of words, while he can probably only say around fifty. He can point to his head, eyes, ears, hair, nose, mouth, teeth, cheeks, belly, knees, feet and hands. Pointing to his nose is my favorite, though. When I tell him to “go tickle Daddy” he runs over and tickles Zach. When I ask him to give someone a specific toy, he finds the toy and brings it to that person. If he’s in the mood, of course.

So, my concern was unnecessary. I think I suffer from the paranoid-that-something-is-wrong syndrome of a first time Mama. He is fine. Maybe even better than fine.

The Adventures Begin

I have been a stay at home mom since Alex was born. From September through December after his birth, I was with him almost nonstop. I would get a break here and there from Zach, who was still a student at the time, and my mom would come over to let me nap or shower during the day.

For many months, he pretty much just slept. He slept most of the day, and when he wasn’t sleeping I was either busy nursing him or trying to get him to go to sleep. There were small periods of time where I would “play” with him: shake rattles, show him books, take him on walks, etc. Then he got older.

He’s much more demanding in some ways now that he is quickly becoming a toddler. Looking back on the baby days, I almost miss them. He would lay on the ground, batting at toys, or sit in his chair looking around. He was fascinated by everything and anything would entertain him.

These days? We are beginning to bore each other. We play the same games every day: chase, tackle, roll balls, stack things, put things in and out of other things, point to body parts… mostly, he just wants me to watch him play. He doesn’t really want to interact with me so much. He knows what I can do, how I can entertain him, but most of the time that is not enough for him. He wants new.

So, instead of him making a mess because he’s bored at home, and me being bored because he won’t really play with me, I’ve decided that we are going to find more things to do.

There are so many opportunities for kids and their parents, but unfortunately most of them cost money. So my choices are limited, but I’m finding that they are not nonexistent. And once the weather is better our options will expand drastically by the simple fact that he can run around a playground.

Yesterday, Alex and I went to the Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library. That place is absolutely wonderful! There is every toy you can imagine: slides, things to climb on, blocks upon blocks, balls and more balls, doll houses, large train sets, mini kitchens, and more. He loved it. He ran around playing with everything he could get his hands on. He even, dare I say it, interacted with me. And other kids! (If you asked Alex, every kid he was playing with was a “baby!”)

There are other activities that I have been meaning to try with Alex for a long time. Our local libraries offer story times for babies and toddlers, and as I recently learned on plurk our Children’s Museum has a lot to offer toddlers.

So, Alex and I are going to enjoy this time we have together before he eventually has to start daycare in six or seven months. We won’t be bored any longer. We will go on adventures.

Alex staring into space

Favorite New Toy

When Zach and I first bought our CamelBaks, Alex fell in love. He has remained ever so passionately in love with these water bottles. In fact, I think it was these water bottles that made Alex fall in love with all water. “Wa Wa! Wa WA! WA WA!”

It wasn’t until pretty recently that Alex finally figured out that he needs to tilt his sippy cup in order for any liquid to come out. Before he had that realization, he would just suck away on the mouth, eventually throwing the sippy cup across the room in frustration. The CamelBak? All he had to do was bite and suck. No tilting necessary.

It was a match made in heaven. And, honestly, it still is. The first thing he says when he comes into our bedroom is “wa wa!” He points and repeats “wa wa!” over and over again until he is given full access to his CamelBak. The giggling and smiling, bouncing and pointing, and then pure joy that comes across his face as he is able to drink water is absolutely marvelous.

CamelBak Love

Now if I could just get him to drink milk as excitedly as he drinks water…

Boobies Boobies Boobies

I put off posting about this, thinking that maybe one day it would be too much information about Alex’s funny little baby things. Or maybe it was inappropriate. Or maybe it just isn’t as funny as I think it is.

One of Alex’s first words was “Boobies.” It sounds more like “booboob,” but it definitely means Boobies.

If I happen to be wearing a low-cut shirt, or, honestly, anything that is not hugely baggy, he will pat my chest and say “booboob.” The patting only adds to the hilarity, because one of his few gestures of love and appreciation is a nice pat. The pats typically occur on the back of the person who is holding him. I guess I’m special.

He will point, pat, snuggle, attempt to bite, and push with all of his might onto my chest. I don’t know what he thinks he is doing with the pushing, but it doesn’t feel good. And the biting? Definitely one of the reasons I stopped nursing him earlier than I had planned.

As per usual, it’s fortunate for him that he has such a sweet face, puppy dog eyes, and a big beautiful smile.

Daddy Tickles

It Was Not The Worst Day Of My Life

The night before Alex’s surgery I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned, my mind unable to calm down. Even though I knew it would be okay, I was worried. I was worried that something would go wrong. I was worried that he would be a terror for days on end following the surgery.

The surgery center we went to was modern, clean, and the nursing staff that took care of him before he went into surgery was wonderful. There were some toys to play with, but most of all Alex wanted to play with the teeny tiny blood pressure cuff and push around the little cart that carried it.

He wore the cutest little hospital gown, covered in puppies holding balloons. He ran around, a bit out of control due to his hunger and thirst, and was generally very charming to everyone. He even made a 17-month old friend.

When the Doctor came to take him away, he didn’t cry. He waved and said “Bye Bye” to us as she carried him through the door to the back where he would have his surgery.

The second the door shut, I started crying. No matter how hard I tried to compose myself, I couldn’t hold it back. Once we were in the waiting room, I immediately took out my iPhone in attempts to distract myself. Fortunately, it worked. And before I knew it the Doctor came out and told us that Alex was sleeping, everything went well, and we could see him when he woke up.

He was crying when we were allowed into the recovery room, and the nurse holding him said that he was fine until he realized that she wasn’t anyone he knew. I held him while he slept for a long time. His little hand had an IV in it and his thumb had a blinking red pulse oximeter attached to it.

Most of the day following the surgery he spent sleeping. By the next day, he was basically back to normal. He ate a big dinner, ran around, played with his toys and made a mess. With the exception of his poor sleeping, he was typical Alex.

Alex eating after surgery

Kids really do recover fast.

You Want To Do WHAT To My Baby?

Alex is having surgery.

At his fifteen month check-up, the Doctor asked us if we had noticed this.

He has a hernia. It’s an inguinal hernia and will be fixed on Tuesday. The surgery is a very routine procedure, and really is not a big deal. But my heart still skips a beat whenever I think about my little Alex being knocked out and cut open.

It’s just horrifying and sad. How do you explain to a 16 month old that they are going to be in pain for a few days because of an incision that is necessary to make them healthy from something that never bothered them in the first place?

Ugh. Just. Ugh.

Alex in Florida


I’ve only ever managed to keep one resolution. In ninth grade I decided I would no longer drink soda. I didn’t touch a drop of soda throughout the rest of high school, and to this day I will only drink one soda (diet) when it is mixed with vodka. Even that is a rarity.

This year I will keep my resolution. I have a plan. I have a goal. I will make it work.

This year I will get back to my pre-pregnancy weight.

For Christmas, I asked for a Weight Watchers membership. I also received a Wii Fit from Zach, so between Weight Watchers and Wii Fit, I will keep my resolution.

Today, my calves are sore from Wii Jane (my “fitness instructor” on the Wii Fit) and, while I am not starting Weight Watchers until Saturday when family leaves, I can see the change coming.