Okay, so, I was in no way intending to continue Elliott’s monthly blog posts past a year, but I just can’t help myself tonight. He’ll officially be 13 months tomorrow, and I am bursting at the seams to write about him. Maybe because SO MUCH has happened in the last month and I don’t have a little calendar to record everything in because it was only a year long baby calendar :(. Or maybe just because I am totally, completely, overwhelmingly in love with my little boy.
He is a true BOY. Elliott has exploded into EVERYTHING BOY in this last month, and I couldn’t love it more. He’s always been a climber and a fast mover, but in the last few weeks he’s started climbing up on much higher things, like couches and ottomans. He even climbed up onto a chair and then onto the table! (Eek!)
Today he learned a hard lesson about why we tell him “no” when he wants to climb over the back of the couch…yep, first big fall over the back of the couch onto the nice, hard marble floor. He must’ve caught himself fairly well because there wasn’t even one tear or yelp from him. But there’s nothing like hearing a big “thud,” looking over where Elliott was playing and seeing no Elliott there…
He is walking. Because he loves balls. I don’t know when you officially count walking as “walking” but tonight Elliott took like 13 steps in a row. Is that walking?? His Uncle Kevin and Aunt Tabitha got him his very first soccer ball for his birthday which was the first thing in weeks that motivated him to start taking steps again–he wanted to kick the soccer ball, of course! So he’s been taking 2 or 3 steps for weeks and weeks, but then he just drops to his knees so he can get to wherever he’s going FASTER by crawling there! But his Uncle Doug and Aunt Melanie just sent him a package of various types of balls, one of which was a bouncy ball, which was exciting enough for him to take like 13 steps in a row!! So does this mean we officially have a walker on our hands?!?!
He has so much hair! I’ve actually needed to comb it a couple of times!! HAIR!! Like, REAL HAIR!! The other day when I got him up from his nap he had sweat a little bit and so his hair was all curly and ruffled and matted in the back and the cuteness of it all hit me square between the eyes. My baby boy has hair!!
He communicates to us with words. Ahhh, I just love it. He consistently uses words in the midst of his constant stream of babbles, and I can’t get enough of it. “Mo’!” (More) is still his FAVORITE word, but he’s been saying “yeesh” (yes) the last few days. He very clearly tells us when he’s all done eating, too! He says, “go” every time he wants to play with a ball and he still uses “Dada” and “Mama” for a lot of things, including his parents :).
He is eating. I mean, like a real human being. It’s been so hard for Elliott to learn how to eat “real food.” And I know it’s probably 99% our fault. But, it was the season we were in and he’s not going to be scarred for life or anything :). But we wanted to have a fair amount of control over what was put into Elliott’s body the first crucial year of his life. We both agreed early on: only breastmilk and only organic fruits, meats, and vegetables. (With a few puffs here and there, ha!) So, seeing as that we were living in a third world country for 6 weeks of his “solids” life, traveling for the next 4, and then eating on a YWAM campus for the next 3 months, we only fed him organic jars of baby food. So, as we are finally eating the majority of our meals at home now, we really only seriously started training him to eat “real food” a few weeks ago.
And, last night he ate his very first dinner completely with us!! As in, he ate ALL of the meal I prepared for us! VICTORY!!! It was a chicken, carrot, broccoli, raisin medley with asparagus on the side, and he ate EVERYTHING!! I think he even ate more chicken than I did! Seriously!! And tonight…he almost at everything again! I prepared chicken sausage with bell peppers in a marinara sauce. He L-O-V-E-D the sausage (ate an entire link!) but wouldn’t try the bell peppers. But he ate tons of steamed carrots and asparagus! VICTORY!!! We are so proud of our good little eater :).
He is learning. It’s no secret that teaching in every manner is simply my passion. I love to teach and train. And I’ve always dreamed of the day that I got to train my very own kid. There’s no blaming anyone else for his behavior at this point :). Elliott has just started to learn that sometimes he really, really wants things that he can’t have, and thus he has learned how to scream and yell to make sure we know he’s not happy.
And as much as I hate it, I love it. Because it’s an opportunity for me to train. It may have taken him 3 months of us saying, “No,” but he now stays far away from the fireplace, the glass vase, and electrical outlets 98% of the time. Still working on not eating foam balls, not touching the wall map and, as of recently, not climbing onto tables :). Within the last week we’ve had breakthrough in so many areas…like he knows I will not pick him up or give him food if he’s wining or yelling. And every moment of training is just so glorious…because I get that it’s for a lifetime…he’s learning self-control and healthy communication, even at the age of 13 months.
I love the accountability that having a child brings to my life. Because it’s like I’m watching myself through the eyes of Elliott every day. I was so aware of myself especially during my first trimester, when I would often loaf around like a zombie because I was so sick. But that’s not how I want Elliott to be, and that’s not who I want his mom to be. So, I would sing. I would force myself to sing. And if I didn’t have the strength to sing, I would pray out loud, thanking God for everything I could think of, bringing a spirit of praise into our house to drive out the weariness. Because that’s who I am, and that’s who I want Elliott’s mom to be… So all that to say, I watch what I do now in a whole new way. The other day I realized that every time Elliott took something that he shouldn’t have, I would frantically snatch it out of his hand. Which of course, resulted in him screaming and throwing a little tantrum. Well it suddenly occurred to me that that is not how I want to model taking things to Elliott. So, the next time it happened, I said, “Oh, Elliott, that’s not yours. May I please have it back?” And guess what he did? He handed it back to me, folks. No screaming, no tantrum… And a “Thank you so much, my love!” from his delighted Mommy who was beaming with pride. Suddenly, he’s part of the solution and not “a troublemaker.” This is how I want to respect my child. This is how I want to train him.
He is learning to be “clever.” At some point in time when I was feeding him baby food weeks ago, he decided to bite down on his spoon. And for whatever reason (I guess I was in a playful mood) I decided to turn into a game instead of into a “no.” So I just smiled and said, “Ohhh…you are just so clever, aren’t you?!” And he got the CUH-UTEST little smirk on his face as he gripped down on the spoon, and then for the following weeks, at least once every meal we would play this little game.
When it got to the point where he wouldn’t ever release it and give it back, I got the brilliant idea to ask him for it back instead of demand it back. And, again, then he got to be a helper rather than a problem child. I still love the little game (although we are feeding him with a spoon less and less) and it often reminds me to be patient and playful when sometimes I can get into task mode when I want to rush us through lunch so we can move on. Thankful for my clever little boy who makes me laugh so often.
Well, this blog post has certainly wandered off the course that I thought it would when I started! I am just simply enamored with my Elliott, and there don’t seem to be enough words in my small vocabulary to articulate the fact that I just think the world of him. As I’m feeling more and more like a human every day that this pregnancy progresses, I find myself more and more thankful for the gift of health, so that I can take care of my son. I remember Kari telling me how heartbreaking it is to not be able to take care of your own children when you’re so sick that you can’t even look at a person, let alone sit up, without vomiting, and there really is nothing more difficult. I’m pretty much able to take care of Elliott on my own from about 8 am on now (usually) without vomiting, but even just missing his morning wake up and the joy of worshiping with him while eating breakfast is heartbreaking… I just love being his mom, and I hate missing those little moments. I love everything about it…I love making him laugh so hard he has to catch his breath and I love chasing him around the room because he gets the biggest kick out of it and I love making up silly games that are so predictable and ridiculous but he just thinks they are hilarious, every time. I love watching every milestone in his life. I love watching “the light bulb” go on. I love watching him love people. I love watching him love us. I love changing his diapers when they’re poopy so his bottom doesn’t get red and I love smearing cream on his little cheeks when they do so they can heal and I love wiping the snot from his two perfect nostrils when he’s sick so he doesn’t have to eat his own mucus…because he’s Elliott, and he’s my son, and he makes everything a joy.
Do you know what my absolute FAVORITE baby thing that we own is? It’s our video monitor. I l-o-v-e watching Elliott sleep. You’d think it would have gotten old by now, 13 months later, but it has only become sweeter. I can’t get enough of it. He’s such an amazing sleeper and honestly, I know that’s a huge part of why mommy-hood is such a joy for me…because he sleeps for 12 hours at night and naps for several hours during the day! Yet even though I get some “me” time while he’s resting, he’s never far from my sight…because I love staring at him so much…and I just don’t want to miss a thing!!
And I’m so glad I didn’t miss it…