Eighteen Months Old
Arlo is 18 months old--what a big kid!
He continues to comprehend more and more about the world around him. When he's about to do something he knows he's not supposed to do, he'll stop, look at us, and say "uh uh." It's nice to know that he knows the rules, even if he doesn't always follow them.
As I posted earlier, he started walking a few weeks after his 17-month birthday, much to our excitement. He still prefers crawling or cruising when he wants to get somewhere, but he'll walk if we ask him to or if he wants to get a reaction out of us. I kind of figured that once he started walking, he'd be walking and running all over the place, but that hasn't happened yet. He's developing at his own pace, which is fine.
The same week that he started walking, Arlo started saying "mama," and now he says it all the time. Yay! It makes me happy :)
He has a shape sorter and has gotten really good at sorting shapes and can identify the oval shape by name (he likes words that contain the "o" sound). He can also identify the letter "O" and will point to it excitedly and say its name when we're looking at a book or a cereal box or junk mail. He also thinks that "D" and "Q" are the same as "O," but that's understandable. It's so cool seeing him learn new things!
On Thanksgiving night, Arlo came down with his first big fever (102.6F) and had trouble sleeping. We ended up taking him to urgent care the next day, feeling pretty confident that it was an ear infection, but the doctor said his ears looked fine, and by then the fever was gone, and he was just fine the next day. It's a mystery!
Shortly after he recovered from his Thanksgiving illness, we decided to cut out Arlo's morning nap for good, since it was starting to affect his afternoon nap and nighttime sleeping. He has handled the transition just fine and now happily takes a single 2-hour-long nap in the afternoon. I think I miss the morning nap more than he does. On the plus side, he now has more time to do fun activities with Patrick on weekend mornings while I'm at my prenatal yoga class.
Arlo's cup drinking skills have improved a lot in the past month, though he still gets absentminded at times and spills his drinks (and then says "uh oh" and asks for a towel to mop up the spill--what a kid!). We ended up skipping sippy cups all together, so Arlo drinks from little plastic IKEA tumblers at mealtimes. It's working out pretty well.
He's still trying to figure out how to use utensils. He can usually get food onto a fork or spoon, but it tends to fall into his lap when he's trying to maneuver it into his mouth. At this point, he usually gives up on his utensils pretty quickly and relies on his hands instead.
He has recently discovered pomegranate seeds, and is super into them right now (I wish I could eat them too, but there's mixed research about whether pomegranates are safe during pregnancy, so I'm choosing to avoid them for now). Not surprisingly, he's pretty picky about new foods (and he nervously waves away any liquids offered to him on a spoon or in a bowl, which is a little frustrating when we're having soup for dinner). Based on the advice in Ellyn Satter's Child of Mine, our approach has been to offer him whatever we're eating, and he can eat or not eat it as he desires. We have snacks in the morning and afternoon, and I try to make these more appealing to him (cheese, dried fruit, toast!, and crackers), and then meals are more adventurous. He'll usually find at least one part of the meal that he's willing to eat, and he drinks a lot of milk to make up the difference. It seems to be working fine--he's still growing.
A little over a week ago, I decided Arlo might be interested in trying out the big potty instead of his little free-standing potty, so I bought two BabyBjorn toilet trainers from Milagros. They work great, and Arlo took to them immediately. Most of the time, he now insists on using the big potty instead of his little potty. Works for me--less cleanup!
He has recently become more communicative about when he needs to use the potty (with lots of false alarms and misses, but some successes too), and I've been thinking it might be time to try switching to training pants during awake times. But I'm not sure I have the energy to deal with the extra cleanup that would entail. He's pretty good about pooping in the potty (yay!), but he still pees in his diaper most of the time, so we'll definitely have some messes to clean up when we switch. It would help if he could walk to the potty and pull down his pants himself, but he's not quite to that point yet. Hmm, I don't know.
In baby #2 news, the past week was kind of rough for us but had a happy ending. We got some worrisome genetic screening results last Friday and ended up doing an amnio on Tuesday. The good news is that the preliminary amnio results are normal (with 98-99% certainty; we'll get the 99.999% certain results in a few weeks). I wrote a couple private entries at the time that are now public, in case you want to read all about it: screening results, amniocentesis, and preliminary amnio results. In case you don't want to read all about my amnio, the short version is that I have low PAPP-A levels (which led to an elevated trisomy 18 risk in the screening), we're having another boy (!), he has a single umbilical artery, and he probably has normal chromosomes (phew!).
There are risks associated with my low PAPP-A levels and the baby's single umbilical artery (most notably low birth weight and miscarriage, ugh), but I'm trying not to worry about that right now. The doctor I talked to during the amnio didn't seem too worried about either of those things, and this pregnancy will proceed however it wants to whether I spend my time worrying or being excited, so I might as well enjoy myself (this attitude was inspired by an email from my mom, and I'm trying very hard to keep it in mind when I start thinking about things that could go wrong).
Before we took our little genetic screening detour, I had been spending some time reading about different birth preparation methods. I still don't know which (if any) I should pursue. Hypnobabies is billed as a more comprehensive program than hypnobirthing, but I would feel like a chump if I invested my time and money in another hypnosis program only to have it not work again. There's also the Bradley method, but that becomes a pretty expensive proposition when you factor in 12 evenings of babysitting. For now, I've requested a Bradley method book from the library to see if I can glean some useful information from it.
I also found a free online e-book of Ina May's Guide to Childbirth through my library system (thanks, Multnomah County Library!). I enjoyed reading it, and I'd like to revisit the second half of the book as we get closer to the baby's due date, to remind myself of Ina's pain relief and birthing tips. The birth stories in the first half of the book were a fun read too, though some of them were easier for me to relate to than others. This book made me think that maybe I don't need a birth preparation class this time around, as long as we have a doula and supportive midwives. Hmm.