Today our sweet Brandon is officially 18 months old... one and a half... very close to TWO. I feel like every time he ages another month I say the same thing - "I want to bottle him up just as he is now and keep him like this forever." I so much do not want my youngest - my baby - to grow up on me. I threw away our last bottle in July. I cried. (Throwing away our last bottle combined with Cody being in the hospital was a little too much for me to handle all at one time!) My dad asked me the other day, "What are you going to do with the crib here in a few months?" ...I'm not ready to not have a crib set up in our house. That crib has been a huge symbol in our lives for the last 3 1/2 years. I remember when I was pregnant with Jaden and my parents called us to the Simpson's Factory Outlet on Main St., telling us that they found the exact kind of crib they thought I wanted -- and it was on sale. I was so excited to take that crib home with us. That seems like it was just yesterday. Cute baby bedding and mobiles and crib bumpers have brought joy that I'm not ready to pack away yet.
But... all of that being said... it has been so much fun watching this little boy grow up a little more every day. His little personality possesses the best of both worlds - independence mixed in with being a mommy's boy - feisty mixed in with sweet - wild mixed in with cuddly - stubborn mixed in with helpful. He's our squishy little piece of baby heaven.
A couple of nights ago we were out on a walk as a family. Cody was pushing the stroller, and I was walking beside it. Every once in a while, Brandon would reach his hand out to me... he would hold my hand while I walked beside the stroller for a few minutes and then let go. A few minutes would pass... and he would reach his hand out for me again. Sweet. The other evening, each of the two boys had their own snack cup filled with goldfish crackers. Jaden's was almost gone, so he kept leaning over to peek in Brandon's cup. Brandon immediately pushed Jaden away every time as if to say, "Oh no you don't." He didn't do it in a mean way - but was aggressive enough just to show Jaden he wouldn't be messed with.
*He goes to bed around 8:30 every night and usually wakes up between 6:30/7:00 every morning. He sleeps through the night but averages one night a week where a dream or something wakes him up. Most of the time he can put himself back to sleep after just a minute or so of whimpering, but in the last few weeks there have been two nights where he has had to lay in bed next to me for a while before feeling comforted enough to go back to his own bed.
*He naps better now than he used to. We used to be happy if we could get him to sleep an hour to an hour and a half. Now he averages two hours... sometimes more. I credit the tubes in his ears for this. Putting the tubes in his ears made everything better and easier.
*He's been using spoons and forks on his own for months now. Every once in a while he needs some help with some of the trickier foods... but most of the time he refuses help. He also has recently learned how to drink out of a straw.
* He does not say many words very clearly, but he communicates very well and is always "talking." Words he has said at least once or regularly include: Mama, Dadda, Nana, Papa, Ella (his cousin), uh-oh, cracker, thank you (although it sounds nothing like thank you), and qack-qack (for duck). I'm sure there's more that I can't think of at the moment. He doesn't say no or yes but shakes his head for no and nods his head for yes. In fact... shaking and nodding his head are communication tools he uses very effectively.
*Though he isn't really speaking yet, there's no question that he's completely comprehending what we're saying. He follows instructions and answers questions with a shake or a nod of his head all day long.
*He loves to clap his hands for himself when he knows he's done something well.
*Has recently discovered the talent of "winking." His winking involves squeezing both of his eyes shut tight for long periods of time. It's hysterical... and he knows it.
*Is a monkey. That kid LOVES to climb anything and everything. And he's getting better and better at it. He has struggled for months climbing onto Jaden's bed but just discovered how to do that this week. The other morning I came out of the bathroom and he was JUMPING on the couch and laughing at himself. I told him to sit down, but before I reached him he managed to propel himself through the air off the couch in a perfect front flip landing on the floor on his back. He didn't cry, but stayed on his back for a minute and kind of scowled at me. I simply said, "That's what happens." He got up and hasn't repeated that since... but I'm sure he will.
*Because he's a monkey and a wild child, he is very difficult to take out to eat. He does not like to sit still for long periods of time. He doesn't have the appetite that Jaden had at his age so he's not entertained by food in the same way Jaden was.
*Whenever I sing "macho man" he walks around the house like a Sumo wrestler.
*Loves his big brother. A couple of mornings ago, Jaden was sitting in the recliner eating his yogurt, and Brandon climbed into the recliner and positioned himself right on Jaden's lap. Jaden didn't really like this because he couldn't reach his yogurt anymore... but Brandon was just trying to cuddle with him.
*Waves hi and bye to everybody and also blows kisses to the people he knows.
*Right now... he's a mommy's boy. When he was younger, he favored Cody. Mommy was good for some things, but you could tell that Cody was his first choice. Now the tables have turned. And I'm completely okay with that. :) Although I do feel a little bad about it... I think part of the reason for the change was Cody being gone in the hospital and then home and sick for so long. Brandon relied on just me for a very long time.
*Has recently started coming up and giving hugs for no reason at all. I'll be standing somewhere, and all of the sudden he comes over and wraps his arms around my legs for a few moments before running off again. I love it.
*Doesn't like when I sing along to songs on his movies or shows. He holds his hand up and screams at me as if to say, "Stop Mommy!"
*Is extremely ticklish along his diaper line on his thighs. This brings out the BEST giggles.
*Loves fruit, hates vegetables and eats his best dinner when it's goulash. He has to have a yogurt every morning as soon as he wakes up, and he's also discovered the art of dipping things into ketchup.
*Is doing great with giving up the pacifier or "binky" as we call it. I thought we were going to have a LOT of trouble forcing him to give this up, but he's done great. A couple of weeks ago I decided it was time to start restricting the binky to only bedtime and nap time. He caught on right away. Most of the time he throws it in his crib first thing in the morning before we even get him out of bed. Sometimes he forgets, but if I ask him to put his binky in his bed he does so without giving us any grief.
*He's been sticking his fingers far back into the corners of his mouth for a couple of weeks now. I haven't been able to see any signs of molars coming, but he acts like it every once in a while. He's had all of the rest of his 16 teeth since he turned one. That made for a rough first year as he was often getting three - sometimes four teeth at a time. (Not to mention the several ear infections he endured). We've had a nice long break from teething, but those molars are going to be showing up anytime I believe.
*Has already had two or three skinned knees caused by cement, but hardly makes a sound when it happens. He just gets up and continues running.
*Loves to be chased around the house.
*Wears an assortment of sizes. His shirts are getting bigger - most of the time he fits in 18-24 month shirts, but could wear 2T if needed - though that would be a little big for him. His pants need to be smaller. One pair of shorts he wears right now are sized 6-12 month. His one piece outfits vary as well... one little romper outfit is 12-18 months... a couple of others are sized 18-24 month. He doesn't need ANY clothes for this fall/winter because Jaden has so many hand-me-downs. Some of the pants that Jaden wore his first fall/winter were way too long on Brandon this past winter... but will probably fit him perfectly this winter. He's just so much shorter than Jaden was so he's able to wear clothes longer. He's got a cute little tummy though -- so shirts get tight and don't last quite as long. :)
*Has yet to have a haircut. It took a long time for his hair to come in, and it's very fine. His hair is the opposite of Jaden's. I'm just now starting to consider taking him to get a little trim... just for the hair on top of his head, as it's starting to hang down substantially on his forehead and gets pretty greasy from us constantly brushing it to the side. The back of his head, however... is completely CURLY. Four times in the last month, strangers have referred him as a "she". I blame it on the curls. My SON does NOT look anything like a girl... nor is he EVER dressed like anything other than a boy. :)
*Gives the best scowl of anyone I know. And it makes us laugh. Even Jaden says from time to time, "I want Brandon to scowl at me!"
Brandon... you complete our family perfectly. We are so lucky to have your funny, sweet, ADORABLE little self in our home and in our hearts. I love you, Baby --- to the moon and back and more.
(Click on the links below for some recent short videos).
August 17, 2011