18 months, otherwise known as when life begins to return to normal, or so I was told by one of my most encouraging mom friends. And, with 5 kids under age 8, she knows what she's talking about. Both she and her husband affirmed to David and I that life would seem a lot more similar to life "before baby" around 18 months. They were so right!
I think, at some point, every mom probably feels like their pre-baby self is gone forever. No matter how hard I worked to make David and I's marriage a high priority...mostly, I just wanted some extra sleep and to feel less overwhelmed. Over the past year-and-a-half, I've often wondered...will life ever go back to "normal" again? The answer, finally, is "Yes!" This past month has brought many new joys with Caleb and the return of more time for David and I to spend together.
Caleb is getting easier and easier to leave with a sitter, especially if they have kids of their own for him to play with. Caleb is able to understand most of what we tell him now, which means we can work on tasks as a family or even *gasp* sit next to one another on the couch as long as we can see Caleb : )He still loves to climb, put things in his mouth and do all the other toddler things that required us to be within 6 inches of him at all times, but now, he knows and (mostly) listens when we say things like "gentle", "sit", "put that down" or "no eat!".
Clearly, we're still working on "no climb"
As Caleb's understanding of the world grows, so does his self control. One of Caleb's favorite games is to shut David or I in his nursery and run into the living room to jump out and surprise us. He will wait almost indefinitely. In fact, thus far, we always break first! It's amazing to me that our 18 month old can be so still and silent while waiting to pounce.
Along the same lines, a source of pride for me this season has been Caleb's great Christmas tree etiquette. After a few days of reminding him not to yank the ornaments and praising him for pointing at them instead, Caleb is safe to be around any Christmas tree, which has been a huge blessing as we have traveled to hotels, homes without toddlers and other public places with Christmas trees laden with breakable ornaments. He is so quick to learn and eager to please!
Caleb brought more even more joy to the Christmas season than I could have imagined. Seeing him begin to understand that "the star" and "the angels" on the tree all have something to do with the tiny baby in the nativity has been so powerful.
There have been so many moments to treasure. The way he asked for Christmas carols to be turned on every morning and reminded me to put a new CD in whenever the music stopped. The look on his face as he ate his first Christmas cookie, and second, and third...
This month we also had the pleasure of spending a week in DC while David took a reverse engineering class nearby. Our hotel was 2 metro stops from both the National Zoo and the National Mall. Caleb and I had a blast strollering all around DC and I felt super-buff when a scale at the zoo informed me that stroller, baby and diaper bag combined added up to a whopping 50lbs.
Caleb at the national mall. Did I mention the highs were in the 40's during our stay?
Caleb and I in front of the Christmas tree at the Smithsonian
Invesitgating rocks at the Smithsonian with his buddy Christopher
Completely conked out at the Metro station
Caleb has also discovered the joy of hugging his friends this month. Unfortunately, not all of his friends appreciate his affection : )
Giving his DC travel buddy Christopher some love
Caleb added a new word to his vocabulary this month, for his very favorite food, "Broc!" (broccoli). For reasons beyond our comprehension, the green leafy veggie is the one thing I can always count on him to slurp down like it's chocolate. Well, besides Christmas cookies, of course.
Caleb is such a joy to us and we feel so blessed to be his parents. David is especially enjoying being the "favorite" parent at the moment. Caleb loooves his daddy and stays firmly attached to David's hip when he's at home. I love watching their relationship grow each day and seeing Caleb's face light up whenever he can do something "just like daddy".