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Ritter actually turns 22 months in 3 days…I can’t believe it’s only been 2 months since my last post.  He is so different every day…this age is the MOST fun!  He’s a little kid. No longer a baby and barely seems like a toddler even – just a little giggly, funny little kid.  Amazes me!

New Stuff / Language… 
It’s amazing to me how much his kid changes daily. I was just reading back over my last post and it’s amazing how his language has developed even more in just 2 months. I swear I’m not trying to brag… I just feel a need to document all these little changes so I’ll be able to remember one day. I’ll be honest…. I didn’t realize how advanced Ritter was in this department until his teachers started commenting, almost daily, about how fast he was picking up on words and sentences. Then our speech therapist at work told me he was really ahead. But it wasn’t until I started seeing him interact with kids a year or more older than him that I really realized what a big deal it was. He is talking better than most 3 year olds and that just blows me away. When we are out in public other moms comment on how well he’s talking and just can’t believe that he’s not even 2.

I guess the biggest thing is just how AWARE he is of everything around him and how he picks up on everything. Like he’s a little narrator of what’s going on around him.  When he was little I always tried to narrate what was going on for him.  I read that helps with language.  Maybe that’s where he gets it.  And we’ve gone from 2 or 3 word sentences to very complex sentences with personal pronouns and possession and all that neato grammar stuff.  Some of the stuff that he says is so funny or so surprising that I’ve started a little list in my phone of all of the little Ritter-isms.  In the mornings he’s a little chatter box… “I eat my breakfast,” “Mama pack a lunch,” “Jackson go outside,” I eat a big bite,” “Mama cool it off,”  “I want more apples.”  OH and he’s obsessed with Eric’s breakfast and always requests a bite – “I wanna bite of daddy’s cereal.”  Oh and he seems to now understand the what hot and cold mean – and hard and soft.  If something is too hot to eat he will say “too hot, mama cool it off.”  And the other day I gave him a cashew to try and he said “too hard mama.”  I mean, how does he know this stuff?  I don’t ever remember teaching him that word.  I think that’s the biggest surprise about his language is just the sheer amount of stuff he knows that I don’t think he was ever specifically taught – he just picks up on SO much.

We went to the beach for a few days. We rented a golf cart to use while there. He wanted to know what it was called immediately and then proceeded to talk about it the entire trip. He was obsessed.. “I wanna go ride in the golf cart.”  He also watched me clean my sunglasses over and over so now he gets his little sunglasses and rubs them on the bottom of his shirt – trying to mimic me.  And he goes “I clean my sunglasses.” Hehe.  So cute.

He also seems to be talking more about things he anticipates…or wants to do…and makes requests for certain things.  Like if we are out somewhere he will say “I wanna go home and see Jackson” (plain as day, just like that – isn’t that amazing!?).  Or he’ll request certain activities:  “I wanna go play outside,”  “I wanna play car” (which means sit in my car in the driveway and pretend to drive and hit all the buttons on the radio), “I wanna go to Ci Ci’s house,” etc.

Counting –
So he can count to 15.  He does so in little spurts… like he’ll do 1-5 and then you say “6” and he’ll go to 10 and then you say “11” and he’ll go to 15.  It’s crazy!  I took a video when he first started doing it but he wasn’t very cooperative.  I need to take another.  When he has 2 of something he’ll say “2 phones mommy”  or “I have 2 pair of sunglasses” (yes he says “pair” – CRAZY!).  So he’s understanding plurals of things and what TWO means.  When we go to the park he’ll see two of something and say so “two dogs mommy” or “two babies mommy.”

Affectionate –
He’s gotten so affectionate and loving lately.  I guess he’s always been this way – loves to give hugs and kisses – but recently it just seems like more.  And he asks to be held alot which is just precious.  He still isn’t one for sitting still very long.  He will sit on the sofa with you for about 2.5 seconds and then it’s “I wanna get down and play.”

Play –
Play for Ritter doesn’t really involve many toys.  He’s still pretty obsessed with hats, sunglasses, and keys.  He collects all that he can find and tries to carry them around the house.  His latest thing is carrying everything around in one of my old purses.. “my bag mommy!”  He still loves books and requests them by name.  At night when we read we walk over to the book shelf and he tells us what he wants to read “hippo book,” “goodnight moon,”  “tooth book,” etc.  He’s also SO independent. He doesn’t want to be held much.  He wants to be free to walk around and explore.  He’s not destructive at all…he just likes to be able to inspect things and figure out how they work.  He recently requested that I take the back off of the portable phone and take out the batteries so he could try to put them back in and close it himself.  When we were at the beach he didn’t want to be in the float or held in the pool.  He wanted to walk around the pool deck or play on the stairs.  He’s big into stairs these days.  Whenever we are out in public he always wants to go up and down.  He’s good about holding my hand and holding onto the railing.  Sometimes it’s kinda weird…like yesterday we were at the park.  There are all these kids and swings and slides and see-saws, etc and all my kid wanted to do was open and close the gate to the play area.  Over and over.  He wanted to close it and “hide” behind it and make me come get him.  I convinced him to slide 2 or 3 times but then he made a beeline right back for that gate.  So weird.

He’s really into mimicking and imaginative play these days and I LOVE it.  Every morning he sees me make coffee and he points to my coffee cup and says “mama’s coffee.”  Recently he started requesting his own coffee cup so I gave him a Starbucks travel mug and he carries it around saying “my coffee” and he will go and hold it up like he needs a refill from the coffee pot and says “more coffee please!”  Then he’ll walk around and say things like “where’s my coffee?” and “I get more coffee.”  Wonder where he hears that?!  He also play cooks and pretends to feed Jackson various things.

Behaviors / Parenting stuff –
Tantrums seem to be decreasing, at least right now, and I think a huge part of that is the fact that he’s able to communicate so effectively with us.  He got sick when we were at the beach and he was pretty fussy while we were there – but since we’ve been back and he’s gotten over this latest crud, he seems SO much better.  We have found that simply talking to him and explaining the “why” behind something helps so much.  Also giving him an idea of what to expect.  If he grabs something he’s not supposed to have, most parents just grab it and take it back and say “no no”.  Sometimes I have to do that…but if I simply ASK for it back and explain why, he almost always gives it to me.  He just wants the respect of being talked to and having things explained – already, at the age of 2.  And I can deal with that because I’m real big on communication.  And I think we all, regardless of our age, just want to understand what is going on, and why.  I’ve never been one who is real big on the whole “child’s place” thing.  I think children can understand more mature concepts if you simply take the time to explain things to them.

We are also seeing a bit of boundary pushing which is totally normal and expected – but no less annoying.  For instance, Eric and I tend to be very consistent on what we do and do not allow him to do.  My mom, on the other hand, is a different story. When she’s around I tend to see more whining and more trying things that he NEVER tries with us.  It drives me INSANE and I feel like I’m constantly having to get onto her… “we don’t do that,” or “we don’t allow that”…but I understand that she’s a grandmother and some of that is just what grandmothers do.  It just makes things harder for us in the long run.  He pushes boundaries with us from time to time but we can usually always redirect him or explain things to him and he lets it go.

As has been the case from day one with Ritter, consistency is key.  This kid will adjust to ANY change as long as you are consistent.  And it makes me so proud.  When we have a change in our routine or change in expectations for him we just make a decision that we are going to be consistent and stick to it and he always ends up going with the flow.  He might fuss or fight us in the beginning but we stick to our guns and don’t let him get out of it with whining – and eventually he chills out and goes with it.  Hand washing before meals is a great example of this.  The first few days we started this he fought us but now he just knows we wash our hands before we eat, every single time!  He even goes and gets his little stool and carries it to the bathroom.  Then when we are done he takes the stool back to his room.  He LOVES to help out and I usually find a way to turn every chore into something he can help me with.  I just say “you want to help mommy?”  and he lights up!

This ability to communicate so well has also made it easier to go and do more with him.  We are eating out more, going to the zoo and the park, etc.  He won’t sit in a high chair to save his life but loves a booster seat or just sitting in the big person’s chair!  I love throwing a diaper and a snack in my purse and heading out the door.  Things are just so easy with him these days.  I’m loving it and I’m not seeing another baby on the horizon any time soon. I still go back and forth daily with whether or not we need to have another.  The jury is still out.  As long as my sister and friends keep having babies for him to play with, I guess I’m not feeling the pressure 🙂

Stats –
Stats haven’t changed much…
– He still has all of his teeth except his 2 year molars.
– He’s still in size 5 diapers but I think we are ready to go up to size 6.  I think he hit a growth spurt recently because he’s finally outgrowing most of his 12-18 month clothes and mostly wearing 18-24 month stuff.  I think he’s also grown slightly taller and gained some weight – I think he’s around 27 or 28 pounds now.  We will find out for sure at his 2 year checkup.
– He’s not AS into his choo choo’s or Chuggington as he was.  Eric has him watching sports and he actually points to the TV and says “basketball” when it comes on.
– LOVES to play in the car
– Loves to help mommy “cook”
– Still loves to organize things and carry them around in some sort of container.
– Increasing imaginative play.
– Still not so interested in coloring or drawing. I even bought him a little art desk and he sits at it for like 2 seconds and then he’s off again. He’s constantly in motion.  On a side note- I think this is a boy thing.  All of my friends who have girls say they will sit and color or sit and play with one thing for a period of time.  That has NEVER been the case with Ritter.
– Wants to play outside more.

Sickness –
He’s still pretty much been sick every 2-3 weeks with one thing or another but we just keep on keeping on.  This last one hit me pretty hard.  I always seem to get every little thing he gets and I get it worse than he does.  It’s getting OLD.  I’ll be so glad when our immune systems have a chance to catch up and we stop being so susceptible to all this crud.

Recent Pics and Videos – 

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I stole this off of the school’s FB page. Sweet boy sitting with his class and listening attentively during music!

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Playdate with OJP at the Museum of Art!

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They are still pretty much into independent play at this age and they didn’t interact a ton, but it was fun to see Julie and Olivia.

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He pulled out a bag of quinoa and said “I cook it!” So we did!

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Another pic his teacher put up…playing on the playground at school in his “choo choo shirt!”

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Park fun with mommy!

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Still loves to rock that hoodie. And unfortunately he’s saying “hoodie” now and not “hoo-hee” – oh well, it was cute while it lasted.

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Playing in the rain!

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We stopped by Seasick Records on Record Store Day!

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Another day, another breathing treatment. Sigh.

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Loving the warmer weather and thoroughly enjoying being pushed around the neighborhood. By the way, that shirt was Eric’s and says “Birmingham, AL – Smurf Country!” HA!

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“Two ducks mommy!”

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Strolling around mountain brook with Cin Cin!

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First bag of popcorn at the Barons game!

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Mommy practices BodyStep alot – can’t wait for him to learn his way around this thing!!!

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Mother’s Day zoo trip!

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LOVING the splash pad!

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He held onto that cup the entire time. So funny!

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And because I wasn’t prepared with a bathing suit or towel we had to walk to the car like this. Ha!

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Train ride with Meme and DD.

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“Playing car” is our new favorite activity. So much so that we recently ran the battery down on mine and Eric had to jump me off. He doesn’t care if the car is on – he just likes to hit the buttons, go through the glove compartment, and turn the steering wheel. However, I get bored and want to play the radio. :/

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Another one I stole from the school – this was during a presentation about dinosaurs from the McWane folks. Check out Cheeks in the middle – being so good and listening like a big boy!

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We finally went and visited McWane ourselves and this kid had a BALL!

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All the Mr. Potato Head glasses!!!

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Still loves Publix trips with mommy!

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Fun at triangle park!

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Flirting with the produce ladies.

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It’s so hard to capture a smile these days – proud of this one!

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Memorial day BBQ at Moe’s!

 Here’s the link to the full album of pics from the beach.  It was such a fun trip!
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.933236125750.1073741855.58901151&type=1&l=5e084a8727

Here are some videos over the last couple of months…

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