Sixteen Months Old + Home Improvements
Arlo turned 16 months old a little over a week ago. He's getting so big!
In the past month, he's gotten really good at climbing down from things on his tummy, feet first. He can climb down from chairs, the couch, and even our bed. He tried to climb down from his changing table, but luckily I stopped him before he let go. He has also mastered going up and down the stairs. When it's time for a nap or bedtime, he'll happily crawl up the stairs to his bedroom (with a few detours into the guest room and bathroom). It's so nice!
He's figured out how to give close-mouthed kisses, and he'll give me a kiss every night before bed, upon request. He also knows how to hug, but he usually reserves those for his stuffed animals.
He has been picking up all sorts of words. He can say "koala," "kangaroo," and "carrier," but he still doesn't say "mama." What's up with that? Most of the time he uses "dada" to refer to both me and Patrick (though he definitely thinks of Patrick as the primary "dada." I just get called "dada" because he doesn't have another name to call me). With some prompting from Patrick, Arlo will sometimes call me "ba" or "baba," and when asked where mama is, he'll point to me. He's capable of making the "m" sound, so I'm not sure what the holdup is. He'll figure it out eventually.
He's getting good at animal sounds, especially his dog and monkey impressions. Sometimes when he wakes up in the morning, he'll lay in his crib making monkey sounds until we come get him. It's pretty awesome :)
Arlo also loves listening to music on the record player, especially the Go-Go's Beauty and the Beat. He'll say "gogo" repeatedly until I cave in and put on a record. He'll usually settle for other music (thank goodness!), but the Go-Go's are definitely his favorite.
Without any intentional encouragement from us, Arlo has developed a strong interest in things with wheels--trucks, cars, bikes. We have a couple Richard Scarry books, and he'll always turn to the pages with cars, construction equipment, and fire trucks. The highlight of his week is garbage day. Every time he hears a garbage truck outside, he'll perk up and rush to the window or crawl over to me and beg to be picked up so he can watch the trucks go by.
He's still not walking, but crawling serves him just fine. He used to sit on my lap during his entire nap routine, but now he'll climb down from my lap almost immediately and crawl around his room while I read him a book and sing him a song. He loves to explore--opening cupboards, wiggling doorknobs (can't quite open them yet, phew!). But he'll still happily go in his crib when it's time, grabbing for his blankie and sticking his thumb in his mouth.
His first molar came in a few weeks ago--on the lower right. I assume the others are on their way. He handled it without too much fuss, thankfully.
He continues to be a pretty picky eater. Anything mushy gets flung on the floor, including his once-beloved sweet potatoes. I'm sure he'll change his tune eventually. We had our first grape harvest this year, and Arlo quickly mastered the art of eating grapes off the stem. Our homegrown grapes were small, so I didn't have to cut them in half, which was nice. We could just hand him a bunch of grapes and let him entertain himself.
Arlo loves reading books with us. He especially enjoys poring over our Richard Scarry books, pointing at everything. Patrick has taken him to the library a couple times, and they've come home with a stack of library books, which has added some nice variety to reading time.
Arlo loves going down the slide at the park, and once he's at the bottom, he'll turn around and try to clamber back up (somewhat successfully) so he can slide down again. Patrick took him to the swimming pool for the first time this weekend, and it sounds like Arlo enjoyed it, though he clung to Patrick like a monkey the whole time.
In non-Arlo news, we've enjoyed some home improvements lately. Patrick hired Carl of Vintage Wood Works to fix a few things before winter descended. He de-squeakified our main stairs, rebuilt our basement stairs, installed a new basement window and door, and replaced our front porch railing. It's so nice having the house spruced up. If you're looking for a contractor in Portland, Carl is a good choice. He worked quickly and thoroughly, and he always had a smile for Arlo. Here is our basement with no stairs (luckily, it has a side door, so we were still able to get down there to do laundry).
We also finally bought a new oven and fridge, after living with the old, duct-taped models that came with the house for three years. Our old appliances weren't so bad once we got used to them, but it sure is nice to have a range with a working broiler (and an induction cooktop and convection oven--ooh la la!).
As an inaugural meal for our new range, I made steak au poivre, roasted potatoes, and buttered peas. It was very good, though next time I'd do the potatoes at 450F, since they didn't get quite as browned as I would have liked.
Other recent dinners haven't been as remarkable, but we have had two good snacky cakes recently. The first was an Italian almond cake, which wasn't too sweet and was nice for afternoon snacks. Second, I made a plum torte, which was yummy and a good use for the pretty Italian plums at the farmers' market.