Books, books, books, and more books! I must read to him at least 20-30 times a day and that would be low balling. I'm excited for him to get home and be welcomed by the
Books are filled with letters so it only makes sense that he also enjoys the alphabet. We go though it a lot- while taking walks, playing with his alphabet puzzle, pointing out letters in books, while he is using the toilet and playing on his V-Tech alphabet "computer," there are already a few that he proudly identifies by himself by name or by sound. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would my something he'd be doing at a year and a half, a toddler brain's ability to soak in knowledge is absolutely incredible.
Walking hand and hand with his devouring of books and letters is his craving to know new words, all words. He wants to know the word for everything and when given to him he quickly files it away and pulls it out every chance he gets. Our walks consist of him pointing out every bike, moped ('pon-mo'), car, truck, van, helmet, hat, dog, bird, hawk, crow, tree, flower, stroller, baby, feet, orange item, green item, the list goes on and on! And if you don't affirm that he labeled correctly be warned that he'll keep pointing and repetitively saying the word until an affirmation is given.
Though still not completely potty trained as we hoped to be by now, he has taken a bigger step towards being potty trained! The last couple of weeks have resulted in just 1-2 accidents while at home in underwear!!! We've tried taking him out and about in underwear but this seems to not be as successful. We realize that it's probably confusing to him wearing underwear part of the day and diapers the other but we have decided that until we get home and can stay put at our house for a couple days and really hone in on it we're going to continue with it this way. We do let him choose what he wants to wear outside (always picks diaper) and do ask him if he needs to go when we are out even if he is in a diaper and sometimes he tells us he does. Here's hoping we've reached the finish line within 3 months!
The nighttime/morning time nightlight has been working great! He's always been good about going to bed at bedtime (well since 10 months) but the whole waking thing was an issue up until getting the clock a couple months ago. He'll still try to wake up but quickly puts himself back down if his nightlight isn't lit up green or will just sit and read books for up to half an hour sometimes. When he does wake when the clock is green I'll hear a, 'its green!' over the baby monitor or some happy sounds. When it comes time for bed don't you dare try picking him up to say a prayer before he crawls over and touches it, announcing it's 'ye-yo' (yellow) and that it's 'niiiiight.'
What we are currently working on with him is obey on first command. After a lot of reading and discussing and getting to know Gabriel we decided that we do not wish to use warnings or counting with him- from my teaching experience I've seen that kids far too often abuse this knowing that they will need to eventually do the right thing, just not quite yet. Our expectation for him is to obey without the delay. Rather than the warnings we're working on Gabriel saying, "yes mommy" or "yes daddy" after being asked to do something (seen this with other friends and love it). Now it's not that he's all out defiant but sometimes when we ask him to do something he'll kind of mosey as if debating whether or not he should, when we tell him to say either "yes mommy" or "yes daddy" he follows through. Right now we're aware that by us doing that it almost acts like a warning (Gabriel thinking, "I don't have to follow along until they say...") but as his language progresses, as well as cognitive ability, we're hoping for a smoother transition to the desired result.
Speaking of defiant, he just started saying the word 'no'! We are actually amazed it took this long. Chris thinks that it's because we don't use the word by itself with him a lot, for example when he's doing something he shouldn't be doing we say, "oh buddy!" It's or Love and Logic empathetic phrase. Of course sometimes we say 'no' but most often it's either the 'oh buddy' or 'no thank you.' So far he hasn't used it to be defiant though, his use of it is actually pretty cute and sounds so sweet and respectful. The first time we heard him say it was when we asked him if he needed to use the bathroom. For now he only uses it when asked questions about bathroom, hunger, or activities.
I started reading Dave Ramsey's new book (see previous post about how Dave Ramsey helped us attack and kill our debt) about how to instill good money sense into your children. The book so far focuses on kids working in the home at all ages (as part of the duty of being part of the family and to earn commission, NOT allowance) and suggest starting at the age of three. There are suggested jobs for three year olds provided and it made me smile when I saw that at least half of them Gabriel already does- he finds so much joy in helping out around the house and so far more than welcomes little jobs/tasks I give him. More often than not he'll see something that needs to be done and take it upon himself to do it without being told.
Oh my word what a hugger he has turned into! Seriously, the boy gives the BEST arms-wrapped-around-the-neck-squeeze-tight kind of hugs! He love sharing kisses with us too and doesn't usually turn down the opportunity. I just taught him how to blow kisses when we're saying goodnight. Gabriel and I have a routine where after Chris lays him down to bed he then stands up and leans over the top of the crib to give me a kiss, we then wave at each other saying 'bye' and then blow kisses until the door is closed.
It's absolutely amazing spending ever waking second of his day with him. Being a stay at home mom was not and continues at times to not be an easy choice but at the end of the day I know that I'll look back on this time and be so thankful that I had the option and choose the option to be present for each and every one of these moments. I know that both his life and mine will be fuller for it.