So, actually Caden and Brooklyn turned 19 months today. While I wrote this post a month ago, I really wanted to wait to post it up until I got our 18-month photos back. So here's a "month" post that's even HEAVIER on the photos than usual. Enjoy!
Photo credit to our wonderful photographer, for one last session before we leave Madison.
Eat. Three meals a day (7:30 am, 1:00ish pm, 5 pm) and 2 snacks (9:30/10 am and 3 pm). I think Caden surpassed Brooklyn in the picky department this month! Really, though, they are both good eaters, and most food most days gets devoured. Like many toddlers, they are both suspicious of new foods, unless of course it's on mommy and daddy's plate, and then they want to eat ALL of it (with a "grown up" fork). Also like many toddlers, they'll go through phases, or days where it seems they don't eat anything, and then turn around the next day and eat everything I have in the house, and then some.
Sleep. Bedtime at 7 pm, sleep for 11-12 hours. Nap at 11 am for 1 1/2-2 1/2 hours. Caden still wakes up a bit in the middle of the night, but we've found that the key is ignoring him, and he puts himself back to sleep pretty quickly. He absolutely wails his little heart out for a few minutes, and then (usually) settles back down. (Typically, Brooklyn sleeps right through this.) I hate hearing him cry, but it sure beats having him in our bed for at least the next couple of hours. A co-sleeper I am not, at least with a squirmy, wriggly, mouth-breather like Caden. They are much more awake during the day, like their sleep has truly refreshed them. I especially notice this in the car, where they are much less likely to fall asleep even if it's close to nap or bedtime.
Play. More words! Just a couple of weeks ago, we received an evaluation in the mail for their 18-month doctor appointment, and one of the questions was if they had eight or more words besides "mama" and "dada". At the time we got the evaluation, it was questionable...maybe more like 5-7 words each? But in the two weeks before their appointment, they blew right past the 8 word threshold! They must each have at least 10-12 words now, plus some random signs, sounds, and animal noises.
Caden got sick this month, throwing up and then having some particularly nasty diapers every day for a week (like...10-12 times a day. Gross.). I felt so bad because he was absolutely NOT himself, but it stretched out for so many days that I couldn't even remember what his normal self WAS anymore. He was whiney, clingy, wanting something different every 3.9 seconds, and generally, just a pain to take care of. Luckily he is better now, and is in the BEST of Caden moods every day. Smiling, laughing, running around, and testing limits (though it's hard to get too mad at him for throwing things when he thinks it's so dang funny).
Brooklyn was also sick, though it affected her mood a lot less. I think she kind of got ignored in taking care of Caden...no wonder she's better at playing by herself! She mimics words and everyday actions constantly. If she finds a stray (clean) diaper, she'll lay on her back, legs in the air, waving the diaper around like she's saying, "change me!". She copies me cleaning with towels or paper towels, and has really started with "pretend" play: washing her hands or cooking in her toy kitchen and hugging/rocking her baby dolls.
Their independence is exploding, and it's a relief to take them to the park now and not have to be by their side every single second. They are often content to play in the sand by themselves, and so confident with going up and down the stairs that I can watch them from afar. They are generally bigger and stronger now, and can crawl up and down from things with such ease that even a month ago were a challenge. Tyson and I agree that 12-17 months or so were rough months in terms of the constant care it seemed they needed, but 18 months is now our favorite age! They are fun, interactive, good-natured, and naturally curious about everything.