27 March 2008

Movin' and Groovin'

Gabriel had a big moment today: he can now stand up by himself! He usually crawls to a ledge, wall, or piece of furniture to stand up, but today he decided that he could do it without assistance. He is now officially an independent mover and shaker!!! Jake saw it the first time while I was making dinner, but I got to see it soon thereafter. I got super excited, so Gabriel did, too. We ran around the living room yelling "yea!!!" with our arms over our heads and pausing only for kisses. It was way fun!

Speaking of kisses, G is a great kisser. Especially since he gives big, slobbery ones occasionally laced with his last meal and often ended in a giggle. His hugs are really wonderful. He is very loving and really enjoys showing his affection. He made a friend at the park yesterday who was about a year older, and Gabriel gave him some of the sweetest hugs ever! Takeshi didn't seem to mind, as long as Gabriel continued to share the cars and trucks they were playing with. Gabriel is fascinated with other kiddoes, and he followed Takeshi all over the playground!

We are liking Frederick more the longer we live here. It seems to be family friendly, but a bit more hip than we first imagined. Here is a picture of our townhouse... second from the end, with the red door. We have great neighbors and live next to two small playgrounds, so that makes us feel more at home. There is an awesome park in the middle of old town called Baker Park, and we love to play on the playground or walk along the sidewalk and look at the ducks/geese. There are tons of Canadian Geese around here, and Gabriel loooooves them! Plus, there are lots of kids at the park on pretty days, and Gabriel almost always makes a friend or two. He is usually one of the youngest playing on the equipment, but he doesn't seem to realize it! On cold or rainy days, we try to do different projects around the house. One of Gabriel's favorites was an idea from Anitra Edney: I made colored ice cubes and we melted them in warm water. The water ended up funky colors, and G was really impressed that they disappeared! Actually, I think Gabriel enjoys anything that involves water!!!

We like to go to the YMCA here in town for our swimming sessions, and I get a workout a couple times a week. Gabriel isn't great at staying with strangers unless there are other kids to play with, so he's usually okay. The ladies there are very nice, and it's nice that they always remember his name and understand that he's not away from Mama much. As for swimming, he looooves it! He can now blow bubbles (occasionally), doggie paddle (with support), float on his back, climb out at the ladder all by himself, and go under water for a few seconds without support. We play and giggle the whole time -- except for when he is flirting with the lifeguards! He especially loves the locker room; he could spend all day in there running around and greeting all the people coming through.

He still loves to help me cook. If I am stirring something in a pot or bowl and I don't let him help, he cries as if I had totally rejected him! He is very patient and helpful, and is so proud of himself when he helps me stir or measure something. Once he's helped, he is content and will run off and play.

Unfortunately I am very mean to him: I often close the refrigerator door. Suddenly, that has become an awful thing. He loves to play in the fridge, and he especially enjoys taking the yogurts out one by one and placing them on the kitchen table. And we have a lot of yogurt! He loooooves yogurt, and he looooooves the fridge, so there you go. I've even gotten to the point of waiting until he is in the living room to hurridly open the fridge and get out everything I need before he comes back into the kitchen! Otherwise it's meltdown time if I need to close the door again. Worst of all, he's started banging his head when he gets mad, and I'm always worried he'll bump too hard. Fortunately, he's very careful not to hurt himself, and we try not to make a big deal of it. I'm concerned that it's a way to get our attention, and I'd rather not give him negative attention. If he's doing it out of frustration, he needs to get those emotions out (I just wish he'd do it another way). I focus more on distracting him or trying to prevent the meltdown than on the actual head-banging. Let me know if anyone has any better ideas!

Here is a picture of Gabriel's first experience with a rolly-polly. He was quite fascinated with that little bug, although he nearly squashed him most of the time. I think he and Daddy finally set him free outside, although I'm not sure what kind of shape the pill-bug was in. Good luck little pill-bug!

Well, it's late. Our cheeky little monkey is sound asleep, so I'd better follow his example. He slept 10 1/2 hours last night (a new record), although he averages around 9. I hope this is a new trend... :) I'll close with a picture of Gabriel "monkeying around" in his new monkey pajamas. Have a great weekend!!!

18 March 2008

Gabriel is 13 Months!

So much to tell! First of all, we finally have internet access at the house, so no more trips to Starbucks just to try and check my email while a one year old runs around like a crazy person! From now on, we'll try to post something at least once a week, usually with pictures or little videos.

One of the most obvious changes is that we now officially have a toddler in the house! He turned one on the 18th of February, and it seems like he suddenly turned into a little boy instead of being our little baby. He is such a wonderful blessing to us each day! It's amazing how much he has changed since we first met him a year ago, but it's even more amazing to see what parts of his personality have been consistent. He is still very happy, calm and mellow, but he's constantly moving and he's very deliberate. He was even like that in the womb! He is tough and doesn't do much crying, but he makes sure to let us know what he's thinking, wanting, or needing. He still doesn't require much sleep, but I guess that's my fault as I didn't sleep much as a baby either.

He is just learning so much every day these days! Yesterday he learned how to stack blocks up all by himself, and a couple days ago he learned how to carry two things in one hand. He can say "dog," "cat," "duck," "mama," "dada," "eye," "light," and "aiden," although we don't know what the last one means. He always says it when he's happy, and I think he sounds like a little Swedish baby. He was born abroad, after all!

Since the last post, Gabriel has become more independent and opinionated, but also a lot funnier and sillier. He knows that he can be silly, and he knows when Mama and Daddy are being silly. My favorite times are when we all three get tickled and we just fall on the floor and crack up! We also love to play chase/hide-and-seek, and G loves to be a little scared. We'll growl or snort at him and he'll squeal and run for the other parent! He's also copying everything we do, and he tries to mimic our conversation and movements. I must talk on the phone too much, as he's started putting a block to his ear and saying "yayayayayaya," then he'll put the block to my ear and I have to say "yayayayayaya."

As for developmental achievements, I don't even know where to begin. He learned how to stack up blocks (he can do as many as five without knocking the pile over), throw a ball and make it go where he wants it to, slide down a little slide alone, he's trying to run, he can blow bubbles and has learned to climb out the ladder by himself at the pool, he eats just about everything, he is climbing on everything, put things in other things (even if it has to be a certain shape), he dances anytime music is on or we are singing, and he has figured out how to work the DVD player and cable box (whereas Jake and I are still confused).

Gabriel is ready for me to read with him, so I'll have to continue and post the pictures later. Everybody is invited to come visit (just not at the same time), so I hope to see some of you up here in MD soon! Frederick is a neat little historic town, with tons of little places to visit. We are close to the coast, mountains, the Capitol, and NY! Hope to see you soon!