Friday, April 27, 2012

18 months

Here is what is going on with Noah this month according to;

Many experts say that 18 months is too young to start toilet training; many grandparents say, "We potty trained you at 1!" Who's right? Of course it depends on the child, and some are in fact ready to begin the process now. But before you start trying to make this enormous transition, look for some signs of readiness. The sensory awareness that allows a toddler to recognize the need to empty his bladder and bowels and then "hold it" until he gets to the bathroom is sophisticated. And the concept that everything has its place — including pee and poop — and the desire for orderliness usually begins around age 2 (though some children don't potty train until much later).  At this age, a low-key approach is best. Toddlers learn by imitation, so start by letting your child copy what you do in the bathroom. Let him sit fully clothed on an adult or toddler toilet seat so he can get used to the idea of sitting on the potty. If your toddler has a favorite doll or stuffed animal, you can pretend that it's going the bathroom, too, a tactic that may entice your child to try it out for himself. Keep your expectations in check, however. It may be another year before he's ready to get down to business.

Your toddler wants to know what is behind, under, and inside of everything. But unlike a few months ago, he doesn't want to just empty closets and cupboards of their contents. Now after he clears out your kitchen cabinets, your toddler will probably try to put everything back to see how it fits (though it won't look like it did before).

For now, gross motor development outpaces fine-motor development, but that's only because a typical 18-month-old doesn't want to sit still long enough to do many activities that require significant dexterity. There are, however, a few that will hold his interest: scribbling with crayons or finger painting, stacking blocks, turning knobs on doors and cupboards, and pushing buttons on telephones, televisions, and stereo equipment.  A toy telephone, or a real one with cords removed, will keep his fingers engaged (but you'll probably want to keep him away from your pricey audio-video gear!). He may also enjoy trying to slide large wooden beads onto a length of string. An 18-month-old is very interested in fitting things inside of other things. Shape sorters, nesting boxes, and even some simple wooden puzzles (puzzles where a whole object fits inside a matching slot, not jigsaw puzzles) will absorb him. One sign of his increasing dexterity is the ability to hold a cup and drink from it without spilling.

Keep a few toys handy in the back of your car to make trips to the park even more fun. An extra-large beach ball (or an ever bigger ball, like those used in exercise classes) is fun to roll across grass, and roll on. (At this stage, toddlers can't quite kick balls. They attempt to, but they don't have the coordination to do it and end up sort of walking into the ball.) He may also have the skills to push or pull a small wagon or similar toy, and to pedal a tricycle or "big wheel." If it's winter, channel some energy by stomping in puddles, or have a snowball fight, throwing the snowballs at trees or telephones poles instead of each other.

Now that your child is walking and talking, you can also expect him to be more interested in establishing relationships with other people, especially children his age. But though he wants to interact with peers, he still regards them more as curiosities than as playmates. If your child pushes, pokes, or hits his playmates, don't worry that he's anti-social, just be patient and willing to expose him to a variety of situations — the more chances your toddler has to interact in group settings, the sooner he'll develop social skills.

Try to connect with parents of two or three other children who are about the same age as yours and make plans to meet on a regular basis. Fun outings at this age include trips to "hands-on" children's museums, playgrounds, petting zoos, or anywhere your toddlers can run around freely. Just remember that for at least the next few months, even when your 18-month-old does have playdates, he's more likely to engage in "parallel" play than to play cooperatively with his friends.

An 18-month-old's top priority is to succeed at various tasks. So he constantly tests himself — and you. His failure to succeed, either because he's incapable of, say, putting on his own shoes, or because you stop him — as when you forbid him from climbing onto a chair near the stove so he can help you — is frustrating for him. This is a phase when "no" seems to be the word that you both use more than any other.

As his confidence in his own abilities increases, so does his willfulness. Your job is to gauge when you must prevent him from trying to reach a goal — for instance, because it's not safe for him to be near a hot stove — and when you should let him go ahead and try. So what if it takes you a few extra minutes in the morning while he tries to put on his sneakers? Discouraging him from trying many of the things he attempts will only make him unwilling to try new things in the future.

New words this month are pickle, pasta, pizza, dinner, muffin, squash, tractor, elephant, globe, camel, bayou and more.  He has said a few full sentences this month, including "I dropped the knife".

We keep going back and forth between taking 1 and 2 naps a day.  It doesn't seem that he has quite made up his mind which is best yet, but he's very flexible and adaptable and will go with whatever we schedule for him as long as we do fun things around his naps.

He loves to give hugs, kisses, and high fives, and often upon giving one person in a room one he'll want to go around and give the same to everyone.

He loves walking 2 blocks to the bayou and tossing rocks in it and asks to do so several times a day.

He's still being a fairly picky eater but will eat most carbs, fruits, and  cheese, and some meat and veggies.  He won't let me feed him with a spoon anymore, but when he uses a spoon to eat yogurt (or something like that) it makes a huge mess.  So for the most part I give him finger foods and let him practice with a spoon when we are going to be taking a bath after dinner.

Noah has been testing his boundaries a lot this month by biting and hitting me.  He never bites me in anger, but in so much excitement that he doesn't seem to know what to do with it all.  We are in behavioral boot camp right now trying to discipline these behaviors out of him. 

It blows me away how smart this little boy is, and how much he can understand.  We can ask him sentences about his day and what he would like to do and he will tell us appropriately "no" or "yes" or give simple answers, like the names of who came over that day, or what animals we saw at the zoo.

He is such a fun, sweet boy.  He is sensitive to when other people are sad, hurt, or upset.  He is goofy and silly.  He loves people and animals and loves (ok, demands) to be the center of attention.  He is very easy going and quick to share with others.

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