17 Months!!

February 19, 2014

I took zero notes this month, but I feel like I have so much new stuff to share. However now that I am sitting down to write, nothing new is coming to mind! Let me see…

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Words have started bubbling out of Mazen this month, and he’s started to copy us a little bit. If we say “Mazen, say ball” he will sometimes say ball. This is the first step to teaching all kinds of new words! I feel like we are on the brink of words surpassing signs.

New words: app sauce, orange (o-ge), gorilla, moon (oon), sssss for snake, ball, meow, baby, Sylvia (“Saya”)

New signs: raisins, hurt

We just taught him  hurt because we thought it would be a useful one.  (We also taught him “help” but he hasn’t done that one yet.) He actually has signed hurt before – and one time when Matt dropped something and yelped in the basement Mazen looked at him and signed hurt! Cuteness.

One of his most hilarious phrases comes when he’s about to jump off of something. When you might say “oneee….twooo….THREE!” he says “Ehhhhhhhhhhh……PA!” He sounds like he’s shouting a Greek cheer!

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We’ve had a lot of cabin fever lately due to lots of rain and cold weather. Playing inside at the mall or museum is just not the same as playing outside, and when we have been outside to walk from a building to our car, M has thrown major tantrums getting into the car seat. He just wants to play outside and I can understand that. I have no idea how you guys up north do it. Maybe there are better indoor play areas? I’m going crazy for the 2 months or so of cold here! Thank goodness we have had a few warm days sprinkled into the cold ones.

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M is really into dinosaurs. My mom got him these two books and he loves them. He also loves this one with some really scary pictures! He’s also really into Red Truck and all kinds of trucks and trains in books. But his all time favorite book is still Little Gorilla. He hilariously pointed at Little Gorilla recently and said “Dada!”

I’m realizing why reading is so important for language development. I always thought it was about hearing the parent talk, but what seems to be most important for Mazen’s learning is the visual symbols of language. (I’m sure some of you early childhood peeps could explain this much better than I can!) He really seems to catch on fast when he sees something and hears the word. We spend a lot of time pointing at things in books when we’re reading and I feel like almost all of his words have come from pages of books. Reading is one of our favorite things to do these days. He really enjoys all of his books (and we have a ton!) and I love snuggling close.

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M has started to get a little more aggressive. While he doesn’t hit hard, he will wave his little hand in someone’s face if he wants a toy or is being territorial. I’m sure this is normal, but it hasn’t made some of his friends very happy. Other than loving correction and time out for more serious aggression, what would you guys recommend as the best way to handle this? I’m curious to know.

He’s also got a little temper if he doesn’t get his way. At tumbling class if he wants to play on the balance beam there is no talking him into trying a log roll. (He otherwise loves the class!)

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He is still working on his molars and a few of his front teeth as well. His incisors are breaking gums! It’s been about a month since that cheek flared up and the finger started to go in the mouth. His two upper molars are mostly poked through, but there aren’t any signs of the lower molars yet. For the most part it’s been a gradual, dull process with just a few days where they really seemed to be bothering him. I’m thankful for that.

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Mazen’s favorite time of day: racing around the dining room table before bath time. We call this game “hide” and he squeals with delight when we chase him.

He also loves what I call “cocktail hour” – when he gets to sip water in little cups from the bath tub faucet during bath time. He’s like an old man sipping a Manhattan! He gets furious every time we turn the water off.

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My favorite time of the day: the last moments of bedtime. When we’ve read our last book and turned the lights off, he puts his head on my left shoulder and I hum a song while swaying back and forth in front of the crib. It’s so sweet to hold him close and hear him whisper “ni-night” under his breath. Eventually he arches back and dives into the crib. Just last week he said “Ni-night at” (cat) for the first time <3

M is obsessed with other people going ni-night and if you close your eyes and pretend he will point it out with enthusiasm: “Mama ni-night!!” My dad fell asleep on the couch when he visited and Mazen made sure everyone knew : )

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My least favorite time of day: trying to change his morning diaper.

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Mazen is so sweet. He’s great at giving hugs and kisses and really seems to need some time in my arms each day. I have booked my first night trip away from him (an overnight blog visit to New Orleans!) and I’m already sad. I’ll only be gone for 48 hours, but I fear he will miss me so much! I know I will think about him constantly. He probably will be just fine, but there is still something electric connecting us that I know will be hard to cut.

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ali February 19, 2014 at 11:14 am

Check out love and logic parenting. We took the class to learn parenting techniques and discipline techniques and we really like the theory of them. We have started using a few of them at 11 months, but we haven’t had the opportunity for many more. They have a book about it or actual classes. Here is the amazon link (not affiliate): http://www.amazon.com/Love-Logic-Magic-Early-Childhood/dp/1930429002/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392826451&sr=1-1&keywords=love+and+logic

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2 KERF February 19, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Thanks I will

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3 Angi February 20, 2014 at 8:27 pm

I second the Love and Logic program! I used to work for a mental health agency in their program for behaviorally challenged kids (NOT that Mazen fits in that category, haha!) and we watched the videos as part of our training and it really is like magic once you get in the habit of using the methods! They have videos for young kids as well as older kids and teens, and my husband and I definitely plan on re-watching when we have kids of our own soon.

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4 sarah (the SHU box) February 19, 2014 at 11:36 am

interestingly, this post actually made me realize that things can change so quickly. just a few months ago we had some of the same struggles (i.e., diaper changes, etc). now annabel is 22 months and actually LISTENS (well, sometimes) and is more easily cooperative when given choices. “i know you don’t want a diaper change, but you need one. do you want to hold your book or your doll?”. i think the ‘verbal explosion’ helps with this a great deal, as some of the frustration is inability to communicate.

re: things like trying to get m. off of the balance beam – i think i’ve relaxed with respect to this kind of thing. if a wants to do x, y, or z and it’s not harmful to herself or others then fine :) — i’m less attached to getting her to play in any specific way or with specific things.

finally YAY for m loving books!! a does too and reading to her remains my favorite thing ever. have you read mazen little blue truck? i think that was a fave of hers at that age.

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5 sarah (the SHU box) February 19, 2014 at 11:38 am

oh, and re: discipline — i would say ‘no’ fairly firmly and then “we do not hit” (or whatever) and then just move him to a new situation. you want to be fairly ‘boring’ and bland in those situations so he doesn’t get reinforcement (i.e., getting your attention) but he is old enough to get the idea of ‘no’ and that certain actions have consequences, like if he’s trying to push another child on the slide, he has to get off of the slide.

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6 Molly February 19, 2014 at 5:45 pm

I attended a positive discipline workshop, and they advocated against using ‘no’, except in dire circumstances. If you tell your child ‘no’ all the time, they start to disregard the word and you. The experts stated that it was a good idea to focus on the positive behaviors you want to see when you are disciplining your child…chairs are for sitting, food goes on the tray, as a way to let them know what is expected of them. Of course, we are all human and it is SO difficult to remember this in stressful times, but it seems like a useful approach. I am not doing the method justice. I know there is much more in-depth info out there.

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7 Rebecca February 19, 2014 at 12:01 pm

My older child was 17 months when I got pregnant with my second child. Just throwing that out there! ;)

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8 KERF February 19, 2014 at 12:25 pm

: ) I have several friends with 2 under 2 and they are making me want to wait : )

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9 Rachelle February 19, 2014 at 10:58 pm

Lol Kath!

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10 Heather February 19, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Aw he is so cute and getting so big! I’ve said this before, but I love reading the updates. They are such a good indicator of what I have to look forward to.

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11 Emily February 19, 2014 at 3:44 pm

I would love to know when you’re going to be in New Orleans! Let me know if you need any recommendations- we have so many good restaurants to choose from! I found out that I work with a good friend of Matt’s brother. Small world!

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12 KERF February 19, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Small world indeed! Cant wait to come. Would love to hear your fav places to pass on to Andrew

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13 Shephalli Jain February 19, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Super cute. I love Mazen updates :) What is it with boys (or maybe all babies) and the morning diaper change! We have a 15.5 month old and that is his least favorite thing as well!

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14 Jeanie February 19, 2014 at 6:44 pm

Getting big!

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15 Sarah February 19, 2014 at 9:45 pm

He’s a cutie. :)

Re: winter in colder places, in some places there are better indoor play areas (though they are not free, so not good for everyday for most people), but also, we just bundle up and go out anyway. It’s probably easier if that’s the norm and everyone else does it. I’m outside Toronto, Canada, and here, snow pants are everyday outdoor gear for little kids, not just for skiing or playing in the snow. So my daughter’s daycare bundles everyone up and takes all the kids (babies in strollers/wagons, toddlers and preschoolers walking) out for a walk every day unless it’s raining, snowing heavily, or dangerously cold (i.e. far below freezing and/or dangerous wind chill). I grew up in Virginia and was surprised by some of this (all the kids waiting for the school bus in snow pants and boots, for one thing) but it makes a lot of sense – much better than staying inside for months on end!

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16 Mandie February 19, 2014 at 10:54 pm

new orleans!!! horrayy! Too bad you won’t be here soon its Mardi Gras season! Woot woot!

When you are here there are sooo many good places to eat! Magazine street is awesome for shopping and food.

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17 Rachelle February 19, 2014 at 10:55 pm

My daughter is 3 months junior to your son.
1) In the north…. sigh… we just GET REALLY FRUSTRATED with all the cold. Cabin FEVER over here. Can’t wait for it to be spring!!! It got to 40 degrees the past two days = HEAT WAVE & I can feel spring around the corner. We have a good indoor play place w/ the most random assortment of play equipment and games. A good time (if we can actually drive there in this ridiculous weather).
2) Books. Seriously, I can never have enough (it is a rather expensive habit— garage sales are the best for books!).
3) my daughter is a “swatter”, especially with her older brother. Set the boundary (no hit!), show them how to “do it gently” and then redirect to other activities (b/c if he is like my daughter, she is thrashing on the ground at this point).
4) the words are going to EXPLODE in the next month. It is so fun to see what they say/ understand next!
5) I love how they copy the rhythm & intonation of how we say things (like counting) before the real pronunciation comes.
6) It is a particularly cuddly time (enjoy them! when he is 5 you will want those cuddles back)… they seem to be VERY into mama right now. My daughter is very attached & I find if I just spend time (a good 30min or so) reading & hugging her (after a bit of time away from her) — well, it seems to be very restorative to her.
7) Remember, he is growing…. it is good for him to spend time away from you & learn to depend on others (including himself). I know… it is hard for US ;-)

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18 Kiersten February 19, 2014 at 11:02 pm

Great job with all the book reading! I am a teacher and cannot stress enough the importance of reading with your child. It will help so much with language development and his ability to learn to read when he gets older. My son is Mazens age and is really loving real life picture books and touch and feel books right now. Keep up the good work, mama!

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19 Sara February 25, 2014 at 5:45 pm

And I want to make a plug for continued reading when he gets older. We take lots of long car trips as a family and have discovered the joys of listening to an audio book together or just having me read a book out loud. I read aloud the whole Laura Ingalls Wilder series during our car trips over the last year. I love that we can all still share a book together. (my kids are 10.5- and 9-years-old)

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20 K February 20, 2014 at 2:11 am

You should check out http://www.nurshable.com – lots of great blog posts and info about parenting!

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21 seana February 20, 2014 at 9:00 am

It’s so hard to discipline at this age as you don’t know what they understand/comprehend. I agree with just being firm and holding your ground. I remember the tantrum days oh so well. However, they come with the territory. My kids are 3/12 years apart. I didn’t want 2 in diapers at the same time. I don’t think there is any right spacing. Whatever works for you It looks like you and Matt are doing a great job raising an amazing little boy :)

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22 Alexa February 20, 2014 at 11:04 am

Little Gorilla is on repeat at our house right now too, good thing I like it. =) The line, “Lion roared his loudest roar for him!” always leads to a giggle attack.

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23 Terita @ Kid Can Eat February 20, 2014 at 4:36 pm

He’s so cute! We’re iving in NY after being in Florida for my son’s first two years, and the cold weather here is ROUGH! I just want to go back to the parks and trails!!

With regards to discipline, we find success focusing on positive redirection whenever possible. Instead of “no hitting” we say “we only use gentle hands.” Also giving voice to him when he doesn’t yet have the words to communicate his frustrations helps, i.e. “I know you want to play with that toy right now. It’s hard to wait! But when Owen’s finished, you can have a turn.”

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24 Lisa @bitesforbabies February 21, 2014 at 7:23 am

I’m still laughing at the “Greek” cheer comment!! It’s funny how the littlest, simplest things they do or say can be so funny! My 15 month old daughter has just started “saying” “Uh-oooh!” when drops something! It’s so adorable! While reading this post I was reminiscing about my son’s likes/dislikes over the past 3 years…first he loved Elmo, then Bubbles Guppies, and now (at 3 yrs old) superheros and dinosaurs! Actually, he’s obsessed with dinosaurs! lol!

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25 Carrie February 22, 2014 at 10:03 pm

My son is a month younger than Mazen and on our recent library trip we checked out “T is for Terrible”. It is the sweetest dinosaur book; please check it out if you have a chance : ) http://www.amazon.com/T-Terrible-Peter-McCarty/dp/0312384238/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393124401&sr=1-1&keywords=t+is+for+terrible

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26 Lynn February 25, 2014 at 1:21 pm

My son was born around the same time as Mazen and I just did my first overnight trip last month, 3 nights away for work. I do not recommend FaceTime, it was hard on him seeing me but not having me there. Otherwise he did great – I was a wreck for three days but he did fine.

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27 Laura February 27, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Love these posts! The cool thing about showing him the picture and saying the word is that he gets a visual symbol and an auditory message- multi-modal learning at it’s best! Here is a fun tip for language development- when he says “cat” and is referring to say his stuffed cat, then you say “orange cat” so you are adding one or two words onto his words to expand his phrases at his level. Can you tell I am a speech-language pathologist :) I have a 10 month old and I love watching his development- so cool!!!

ps- where is your green shirt from, it is so cute!

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28 KERF February 27, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Thanks it’s GAP!

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29 AshinMT March 5, 2014 at 11:25 am

I am probably really late here but I just taught a training called “From Lullabies to Literacy” (and I am an EC student) but just thought I would comment on the reading thing. And now as I type this I see Laura gave you a really interesting comment about the subject… anyhoo- spoken word, exposure to print, word games (this little piggy) coloring/writing- it all has huge impact on early literacy and then further down the road..reading writing etc. The above mentioned class was focused on this and coupled with a lot of stuff from Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers :)- who apparently did his thesis (i think) or if not just lots of work on early literacy for children… its really cool to watch them develop with this stuff!

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