Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Joshua update

Clearly, I've given up on regularly tracking Joshua's daily, or even monthly, milestones... But here's an attempt at preserving some of the memories and developmental milestones from the last few months!

  • One of his favorite games this fall has been finding the smallest possible nook or cranny into which he can fit himself, and then cramming himself into it, waiting with gleeful anticipation for us to find him and yell "boo!"  At our apartment, that's the eight or so inches between a buffet and the wall.  But over at his buddy Phil's house, he's managed to squeeze himself into spaces that can't be more than five or six inches wide, much to our amazement and laughter.  He just looks so darn cute as he squishes himself into the space and grins out at us...

  • In the last two months or so, Joshua's vocabulary has exploded.  Back in August, he had a few command words, and would dutifully repeat some words after us, if we caught him in just the right mood.  But since about 20 months, he's become a regular chatterbox!  He'll gleefully repeat pretty much anything you ask him to say, but he also has dozens and dozens of words that he'll say of his own volition.  It's so exciting watching him make connections and figure out how to express what he wants.  And it's remarkable how quickly he picks things up!  Case in point: his own name.  He started responding to us asking "what's your name?" with bemused giggles and the occasional "mama?"  Within a day, after just a little coaching, he learned to respond with "Dosh-oo!"  The next day, it was "Dwosh-oo," then "Josh-oo!"  Just a few days later, it was a full-fledged (and extremely adorable) "Josh-oo-a!"  His name is, I think, the only 3-syllable word he's managed so far, but I tell ya, more will be coming soon, at this rate. 

  • Speaking of new words, one of the best new acquisitions to date is "please."  :)  He went through a phase where he would point at what he wanted and then grunt at you insistently.  Our wonderful nanny, Hana, was the first to have success in breaking that particular habit -- she taught him to grunt and then say "please" (or, in Joshua vernacular, "pease! pease!").  It was actually really cute, what with the deep guttural grunt immediately followed with this tiny chirping "pease!"  More recently, he's begun to drop the grunt entirely, usually pointing insistently and then saying "pease," sometimes without our prompting.  So heartmeltingly sweet!

  • Joshua has also clearly inherited our organizational tendencies.  Though he's very much a toddler, prone to tossing his toys around and delighting in making messes, he also has a strong natural bent towards straight lines and meticulous organization.  He's taken to putting all of his cars neatly in a row on the table as part of his game play -- either lined up next to each other all facing the same direction, or lined up end to end.  He also knows how to put his books away after dumping them all out on the floor.  And perhaps his most useful new trick is throwing away trash -- he'll pick up bits of paper or tissue and march them over to the trashcan and dutifully throw them out.  He'll also take our trash (packaging from online purchases, napkins from dinner, etc.) and throw it away for us -- he's already becoming useful around here!

  • He still likes carrying around identical or similar objects, but these days, it's usually particular pairings of his toy cars.  His current favorites are his red fire truck and yellow SUV, but in a pinch (i.e., if one or the other is lost under a couch), he'll run around with his taxi and police car.  But it's always these pairings -- lose both the fire truck and the taxi, and you'll be faced with toddler confusion and meltdown.

  • If I'm ever in danger of forgetting that our son is pure boy, I'll be forcibly reminded with his multiple requests for "airplane" and "fly" and other physical games.  Joshua loooooves roughhousing, and never laughs harder than when he's being flung up in the air.  He'll come up to you, give you his most entreating look, and ask "Flyyyyy?  Pease!  Pease!"  It's quite the upper body workout, but so worth it for the glee on his face!

  • This fall, he's also learned to love going on walks with us.  During the day, while I was at the office, David would take him for long rambles around the neighborhood, over to the nearby shopping complex, or down the canal and up as far as campus.  For the longer stretches, Joshua would ride the stroller for most of it, but his little legs can go as much as a mile before he'll start asking to be picked up.  He's also learned to hold our hands when walking outside -- more often than not, he'll reach up imperiously and demand that we both hold his hands.  As that's a habit we want to encourage, we always give in to those demands.  :)

  • Though Joshua's vocabulary really has been growing in leaps and bounds, he's also reaching the stage where he has desires that he can't express clearly -- or worse, where he's learned how to express a desire, and knows that we understand him, but for some terrible, unknown reason, we're maliciously denying him his request.  Or at least, that must be how he feels, given the extent of his meltdowns... Most recently, he's started getting frustrated when David sits in a particular spot on the couch -- the spot where he wants to bounce up and down.  He'll come up to David, and say things like "moooove" or "pease!"  If that doesn't work, he'll dig his arms underneath David and attempt to physically move him.  And when that doesn't work, he'll go into full out meltdown mode.  His tantrums don't really last that long, and he generally knows that he's not going to get anywhere with us with the meltdowns, but it still makes this softie of a mama feel bad.

  • The worst tantrums Joshua throws directly at me are centered on my iPhone.  I've loaded a few toddler game apps onto it, and he loves sitting in my lap and tapping on the screen to make different things happen.  But when I move to take it away from him, he'll start pleading with me -- "Phone, mama, phonnnnnnne!  Pease!  Pease!"  His addiction to my phone is such that when he catches a glimpse of it, he'll start demanding to play with it.  So we've decided to cut him off cold turkey.  Which makes it difficult for me to take iPhone photos or videos of him... I've realized, though, that if I take my phone out of its case (which has a lovely family photo printed on it), he won't want it immediately.  I think he assumes that the black iPhone is his daddy's boring old phone?  So while we work him through a toddler 12-step program to wean him from his phone addiction, I can at least buy myself enough time to take quick snapshots of him now and again.  ;)

  • And to show that our son isn't just a screen junkie -- he absolutely loves his books.  Every single one of them.  As of a couple weeks ago, he was in a phase where he would bring you a book, plop himself down in your lap or next to you, and point at your mouth saying "pease" until you started reading to him.  And then he would repeat over and over and over again, sometimes with different books, sometimes with the same book from the very beginning.  He has a few particular favorites -- he loves pointing out the chipmunk on each page of the beautifully illustrated Charlie the Ranch Dog, and naming each animal throughout The Mitten, and I think he really likes my rendition of Chugga Chugga Choo Choo.  These days, though, he seems to prefer "speed reading" through the books himself, flipping through the pages with just barely enough time to look at the pictures.  But when he's tired, or in a patient mood, he'll still let us read to him.  It does our book-loving hearts proud!
I wish I had time to blog more regularly, if just to capture each of these little memories more completely...  He's growing up so fast!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Faster than a speeding bullet!

OK, so I have to confess -- I found my idea for Joshua's Halloween costume this year on Pinterest, so I can't exactly claim creativity points on this one.  But I still think our wee Clark Kent is the cutest Clark Kent ever!

We already had most of the pieces of this costume -- a cute little navy blazer for him to wear to weddings and for Christmas, plus Superman PJs (because every toddler boy looks ridiculously adorable in Superman PJs!).  The only thing missing was horn-rimmed glasses.  I found a $3 pair on Amazon -- and it's a good thing I didn't spend any more on them, because the first time I let him play with them, in hopes of getting him acclimated to actually putting them on his face, he gleefully snapped off one of the stems within seconds.  Oops.  But I taped it back on, and let him just hold them during our little Halloween "photo session," and I think it still works!

So without further ado -- the cutest Clark Kent / Superman ever!

And my very, very favorite:

[Just as a comparison: I can't believe how much he's grown up since last Halloween!]

Interfellowship Friday, fall 2011

At the end of October, we had an Interfellowship Friday large group meeting -- it's fast becoming an every-semester tradition, which is awesome to see!  The speaker this fall was R. York Moore, a National Evangelist for Intervarsity, and someone deeply involved in the work of the International Justice Mission, an organization dedicated to freeing modern-day slaves and using the rule of law to end human trafficking.  York gave an inspiring message on justice and the role that we as Christians are all called to play in doing God's work.  It was a message that I particularly needed to hear, and one that I'm still working through, so I was very thankful that I got to attend this session.

It's also always encouraging to see the different Christian groups gather together to worship.  "Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!"

A fall day full of photography

One beautiful Saturday in October, I had not one, but TWO awesome get-togethers with friends who have been bitten by the photography bug. It was so good to reconnect with my old friend, the camera...  :)

The first get-together was with a group of amazing women I initially met through an online photography forum, but have since gotten to know in real life and now consider dear friends.  I brought Joshua along and took some photos of him for the first time in weeks -- and took advantage of having other photographers there to get some really cute shots of the two of us together!  (The two below of the two of us were taken on my camera, so I'm not 100% sure who they were taken by, but I think both were shot by Kim Schmidt, local photographer extraordinaire and amazing kid-whisperer!)

Then later that day, I got together with a bunch of PEF girls who were itching to go off-campus on a photography ramble.  We first went out to the hiking trails in the Mountain Lakes Preserves, and then to an overgrown 17th-century cemetery in the middle of West Windsor fields.  As I didn't have a (delightful but in need of much supervision) toddler along with me this time, I had more of a chance to actually take photos on this excursion!

I'm thankful for every opportunity I have in our crazy busy lives just to enjoy sharing a hobby with friends.  And I'm so thankful for the wonderful friends with whom I made these memories!

Greg's 40th birthday party!

The next major "event" from this fall was our dear friend Greg's surprise birthday party.  Earlier this year, Greg helped plan a surprise baby shower for his lovely wife, Aime, so she decided to return the favor with a surprise birthday party for him.  Surprisingly (hehe), both parties were actually surprises to the guests of honor -- they're both either really sneaky party planners, or really gullible guests.  ;)

Joshua was unfortunately under the weather that weekend, so he and David had to stay home.  But there were tons of other little kiddos to play with at the party -- as well as good food, good friends, and great conversation!

And one shot of Greg's family members who came into town to celebrate his birthday with him:

Happy birthday again, Greg!  Wishing you a richly blessed and joy-filled next forty years!