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I don’t even know where to start with this post.  This brilliant, loving, gentle, sweet, playful, giggly little person has been on this earth for TWO WHOLE YEARS.  How is that possible?!? It seems like we’ve lived a lifetime since I last posted his 22 month update.  This is probably going to be long and super detailed but I just don’t want to forget a thing….

Behavior Stuff / Changes:
I think the biggest change we’ve seen in the last couple of months has been much less boundary pushing and fewer tantrums. When Ritter first started pushing limits and having melt downs it was such a shock because he’s always been so happy and chill.  I think like alot of moms, I was trying so hard to figure out how to calm him down.  But I finally just told myself that it was completely normal and developmentally appropriate and I decided how I was going to handle them.  I decided that when he was melting down the fastest way to get him “over” it was to walk away.  I say “mommy is going to go in here and when you feel better come get me.”  Once I walk out of the room he snaps out of it and comes to me.  Also, I decided we were going to stick with our first answer 100% of the time – no changing from a “no” to a “yes” just because he was whining or fussing.  Once Eric and I got real consistent about how we responded to him, the tantrums faded away.  He still gets mad when he has to stop playing to go get his diaper changed or take a bath but he knows that he can’t get out of it by fussing….so he might whine for about 30 seconds but we just go right ahead with what we have to do and he recovers and is happy within a minute or two.  He rarely ever has a tantrum that lasts more than a minute.  He is so easy to distract and we can almost always communicate our reasoning with him and he understands.  For that I am so so grateful.  One of the biggest things is him wanting things that are ours.  …our keys, phones, sunglasses, etc.  We used to let him play with them at times and then not at others when we needed them ourselves.  I realized that allowing him sometimes and saying “no” at other times was confusing and caused him to only whine more when we said no because he believed he would eventually get it.  So I implemented a new rule….our phones, sunglasses, etc aren’t for play.  When he asks for them I say “that’s mommy’s” and he lets it go.  He got upset at first but since I’ve been consistent with it 100% of the time, he has no problem with it.  One of the coolest things now is if he sees my phone laying around he will bring it to me and say “this is yours mommy!”  That sweet sweet boy!!!

The biggest obstacle to this change was getting my mom on board.  We would tell him no about things and she would give in.  When you’re inconstant your child doesn’t know what to expect…this causes fussiness… now that everyone is mostly on the same page and responds in the same way, Ritter knows what the answer is going to be.  And he knows that “no” means “no”…so he doesn’t push.

Another thing I’ve noticed lately is that he continues to be more and more loving and kind.  His teacher sent home a note the other day telling me that one of Ritter’s friends fell down on the play ground and he rushed over to help her up.  They tell me that he’s the first to clean up when the teacher asks and that he listens very intently to instructions.  They say he is the most well behaved child in his class.  I attribute this to my awesome parenting but I think it’s just that he is naturally a sweet soul.  I also think the fact that Eric and I have such a loving and calm relationship makes a difference.  He rarely sees anger or hears raised voices… his environment is calm and stable.  I wish more people understood how important this is for children.  But that’s a soapbox issue and I won’t go off on that tangent here.

Paci…
We dropped the paci cold turkey on May 29th.  Ritter just continued to be sick over and over and I theorized that the paci was holding onto bacteria and contributing. He did so good with it.  The first nap without it was a little difficult.  He cried for it and had trouble going to sleep but after that he did great!  He never looked back. He’s continued to be sick…but not as bad…and it’s nice that we don’t have to worry about the paci anymore.  The cutest thing that has happened as a result of this is that now he talks to himself or sings to himself as he falls asleep.  I have the cutest videos of him singing Twinkle Twinkle as he falls asleep.  He also sings Frosty The Snowman which he knows every single word to.  It’s funny hearing Frosty in the middle of summer!

On that note I should mention that he has gotten really into singing these days in general.  He sings Wheels on the Bus, Old McDonald, and a host of little songs he learns through his music class at school.  I was so confused about what he was signing that I emailed the school to get the words to them so that I could sing along at home 🙂

Helping…
He loves to help us do things.  Instead of saying “we gotta go change your diaper,” I now say “you wanna help mama change your diaper?”  And he’s much happier about stopping his play to go change.  He also LOVES to help us empty the dishwasher.  He takes out each dish, one by one, and hands them to us to put away.  Nothing has been broken so far.  Fingers crossed!

Potty…
He still requests to sit on the potty from time to time but won’t really do anything.  He just smiles really big that he’s sitting up there like we do.  I’m not going to push potty training for another 6 months or so.  But he is telling us when he’s going now.  He’ll say “I’m poopin’ mama.” and “I’m done poopin'” when he’s finished.  ha.

Language / Memory Stuff:
Oh this child and his words.  We continue to get astonished looks and lots of questions when people hear him talking in public.  Even his pediatrician was floored at a recent visit to her office.  Her eyes got real big and she said “oh you’re in trouble in a few years…he’s going to be so bored in school!”  I was like “thanks lady!”  He might be smart but he’s also very disciplined…I would appreciate it if we DIDN’T assume he’s going to be a holy terror just because he’s smart.  ha.

Ritter is now using words like “you” “me” “mine” yours” “hers” “his” etc. correctly 100% of the time… which he wasn’t doing just a few weeks ago.  He’s also using the correct names for people and things.  Instead of “key” or “mickey” he’s now saying “mickey mouse!”  Instead of saying C.C. when he refers to my mom he says Cin Cin.  He says “hoodie” now instead of “hoo-hee.”  No more baby talk or incorrect words.  He’s pretty much pronouncing everything correctly.

He is repeating everything and NEVER forgets a word – even if he’s heard it just once. The other day I told Eric..”put some almond butter in his applesauce.”  Several days later I gave him applesauce and he said “I want almond butter in there mama.”  He doesn’t miss a THING.  He’s now asking for almond butter on crackers, in his oatmeal, etc.  He loves it.  He also recently had a taste of a protein shake I made after the gym…now when I come in from the gym on the weekends and he sees me getting out the stuff to make my shakes he goes “I want a sip of mama’s protein!”  He’s not just repeating things..he KNOWS what he saying and what things mean.  It’s truly astonishing even to me…and I am with him every day.

I’ve been making notes of funny little “Ritter’-isms” and cute things he does in my phone.  Here are a few of my recent favorites…

*  When reading books at night he’s much more talkative than he used to be because he’s not sucking on the paci.  So when we are reading he verbalizes alot of things he notices in the books such as… “he’s not wearing shoes mama,” “he’s wearing glasses mama,” “he’s in the bed mama,” “that’s his blanket mama,” …and he also likes to tell you who else loves that book.  If it’s one my mom reads to him alot he says “Cin Cin likes this book mama!”

*  I’ve mentioned this before but Ritter is a little narrator of EVERYTHING that goes on around him.  So we get alot of things like “daddy’s phone is ringing,” “mama’s packing my lunch,” “it rained mama,” “daddy’s gotta go to work” (when eric is packing up in the morning), and a personal favorite that he’s started ..saying “you’re tired mama” when I yawn!!!  So funny!

*  One of the things I did to encourage his language was to constantly ask him what people were doing.  When Eric would wash dishes I would say “what’s daddy doing?  Daddy is washing the dishes.  Daddy is using soap and water.”  Things like that.  Well nowadays Ritter’s most commonly uttered phrase is “what’s Daddy doin’?” or “what’s mama doin’?”  And we’ll answer.  For example, I’ll say: “mama is putting on makeup.” And then every time after that that he sees me doing whatever it is, he will tell me what I’m doing.  He never forgets even if you’ve only told him one time.  Every time he sees me get out my makeup bag he goes “mama putting on her makeup!”  The other day he asked Eric where he was going when he was going to work.  Eric said “the office” …now he goes around saying “Daddy go to work at the office.”  And the other night he said “I draw a picture for the office” after he heard Eric tell me he was taking some of Ritter’s artwork to his office.

*  He elaborates and uses so much detail these days.  This seemed to happen overnight.  Instead of “I put back,” it’s now “I put this book back on the shelf mama.”

*  He loves our neighbor Donna.  He knows her house and her car.  EVERY SINGLE MORNING when we open the back door to walk down the stairs to get in the car he points and says “there’s Mrs. Donna’s car over there!”  If it’s not there he says “Mrs. Donna’s car is gone!”

*  Ritter really hates messes and being dirty.  If food gets on his clothes or his hands he will say “Uh oh! Ketchup on my fingers mommy…I need a wipe!”  HA!  Just like that.  All of those words.  Isn’t it crazy!?  He also hates when Jackson licks him… “Jackson licked me…wipe of da slobber mama!”

*  He’s very cognizant of other kids now also.  When we are out in public and he sees other kids he says “I see big kids mama!”

*  If he falls down he now tells us that he “got a boo boo” and that we need to kiss it.  “mama kiss dis boo boo right here?”

*  Ritter has been obsessed with trains for a while and he could tell you that a train goes “choo choo” but I didn’t realize he could recognize the sound of a real train.  We live relatively close to several train tracks and now when he hears one he will stop playing and say “I hear a train mama!”  No idea how he knows that’s what he is hearing but he now does it several times a day when trains come through!

Memory Stuff…
This kid has most of his books memorized.  A LONG time ago..like before he even started school…I told Eric that I thought he was mumbling the sound of the next word in the book when I was turning the page.  Like he was telling me he knew what was coming.  I thought I was crazy.  But as he’s gotten older he has started doing it all the time and now I will say the first line on a page and he will finish the page or passage that’s next.  Literally.  And sometimes I’ll ask him what’s next before I even turn the page and he will tell me the first line on the next page.  When we are getting ready to read Goodnight Moon and we are getting settled into our chair and getting the blanket he will start reciting it “..in the great green room, there’s a telephone, and a red balloon…and a picture of the a cow jumping over the moon…”  He says that WHOLE part really fast…and he’s SO proud that he knows it all!

Then the other day he pointed to his framed 4D Ultrasound pic on the wall and said “that’s me!”  I said “it sure is!  It was when you were in mommy’s tummy!”  A whole week later he pointed to that picture and said “that’s me in mommy’s tummy!”  He never forgets a thing!  Also, during the 4th of July his class made American Flags and learned all about them.  Now EVERY SINGLE TIME we drive past a fire station or anywhere that has an american flag, Ritter goes “there’s an American Flag mommy!”  Clear as day!  Today we were eating breakfast at Over Easy and the news was on.  There was a clip of Hillary Clinton speaking somewhere in front of an American Flag and Ritter pointed at the TV and said “there’s an American Flag!”  You tell him something ONCE and he never forgets it.

Play: 
Ritter’s play has become increasingly more imaginative.  He play cooks all the time.  I have this little veggie steamer that’s in one of the lower cabinets and he pulls it out and pretends it’s a stove.  He puts dishes on top and goes “I’m cooking eggs mama!”  Or “I gotta stir my lima beans mama!”  So creative!  For his birthday he got a pizza making set and a little mini coffee pot and mini play toaster.  He loves it and he cooks us breakfast and makes us coffee daily.

So..do y’all remember that baby doll we got when I was pregnant to use to get Jackson familiar with the concept of having a baby in the house?  If you don’t, here’s the story… Eric got a cheap baby doll at Walmart and for weeks leading up to Ritter’s arrival we carried it around, wrapped it in a blanket, put it in the bouncy seat, etc.  Jackson was so freaked out.  He didn’t know what this little thing was that we were suddenly so concerned about.  He stared at that damn doll for hours….

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But it worked.  When Ritter arrived Jackson was calm and wasn’t at all freaked out by the presence of this new little thing.  So anyway, that doll has been in the bottom of Ritter’s toy bin for 2 years.  He’s all of a sudden very interested in it.  He carries it around and wants to put a diaper on it, dress it, etc.  He’ll say “baby needs a blanket mama!” or “baby needs a nap mama!”  It’s so sweet.   I think he sees the girls at school playing with dolls and since he’s very nurturing naturally he’s taken to the concept of caring for one himself.  He asks for the baby to sleep with him.  It’s so sweet.

Sick Stuff:
After being sick every 2-3 weeks from November to June we decided to go see an Immunologist.  He insisted on doing allergy testing although I knew it wasn’t allergies.  He was, of course, negative for everything.  So they drew 8 tubes of blood from my sweet baby’s arm and sent it off to test his immunity.  We still don’t have the results of that blood testing although we were supposed to have it back by now.  Since the immunology appointment he came down with a nasty Strep infection but we are almost 3 weeks out from that so fingers are crossed that he stays well for a while.  My son is so so so brave.  He has been poked and prodded and stuck and held down and tortured over and over for months.  He cries and he gets scared but he never flinches when we ask him to stay still.  He was so brave while getting his blood drawn.  I held his hand and told him we get a cool bandaid afterwards.  We got the lab tech’s name, Mrs. Keesha, and she comforted him and kept telling him he was almost done.  We counted the vials until the end.  I kept telling him..”only 3 more, only 2 more…” and he kept repeating it til the end.  If you didn’t see this video, watch my sweet boy.  This was right after the allergy testing…just breaks my heart but makes me so proud at the same time.  He calms down so fast and at the end of the appointment he was waving bye and blowing kisses to the nurses and entertaining everyone.  So resilient!

Stats:
– Still waiting on those two year molars.
– Size 6 diapers.
– Big growth spurt over the last couple of months…went straight from 12-18 months to 18-24 months and now solidly in mostly 2T clothes…all in just 2 months.  We go for his 2 year check up this friday but as of our last sick visit he was 33.5 inches tall and 29 pounds.
–  Hair still won’t grow.  It just sticks out from the sides.  I’ve wanted to let it grow long but it won’t grow down it just grows out!  ha.
–  Counting to 15
–  Sings his ABC’s
–  Names most all animals and can make all their sounds.
–  Favorite color is green
–  Going up and down stairs by himself – he says “I hold the railing mama!”
– Running FAST!
– Favorite foods remain broccoli, cauliflower, gluten free chicken nuggets, sweet potatoes, baked apples, and recently the paleo muffins I make him!  OH and newest obsession is pizza.  We get him gluten free/dairy free pizza from Slice and he thinks it’s the greatest thing on earth!
–  Moving to the 2 year class at school on September 1st.
–  Still sleeps 12 hours a night and takes a 2.5 hour nap each day from 1-3:30.

Recent Photos and Videos

Singing his ABC’s….

Being cute at bath time…

Singing the bath song…

I make a pizza…

Photos:

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Just enjoying some pizza at Slice!

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Showing off his new baby Jordans like Daddy’s!

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Cutie pie!

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He loves when Papa and Kaffie visit! 🙂

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Cooling off with a drink from the water fountain at the park! Loved it!

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This boy loves to slide!

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Ha!!!

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Just another snack at the doctor’s office…

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Trying to keep him happy at the doctor in between the poking and prodding.

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Mean ole allergy testing 😦

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Loving the bear Joey brought him from NYC!

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First time riding on Daddy’s shoulders…he loved it for about 2 secs then said “I get down now!”

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Just like daddy!

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“This my daddy’s shirt!”

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More pizza smiles!

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Entertaining strangers at the Barons game!

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The coolest!

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He finally met the girl who helped bring him safely into this world. Really special moment for me!

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Learning all about the guitar!

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Ritter and his baby!

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Love these pictures from his teacher. Just chilling in his car watching the girls in the pool!

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Playing dress up!

Birthday Party:
A quick note about his birthday party…

I went overboard.  Like way overboard for a 2 year old’s birthday party.  But it was easy to do.  He loves trains and talks about them all the time so I got to looking at train themed party ideas on pinterest and I just got lost in it all.  The party was held at Cahaba Brewing Company.  We know several of the folks that work there and they all have their kids’ parties there because it’s a great big open space with room to run and it’s AIR CONDITIONED!!!  After last year I will never have R’s party outdoors again…it was just brutally hot.  We had a blow up train/bouncy house with slides and obstacles. We had corn hole, skeeball, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, balls, pin ball machines, and darts.  The adults, big kids, and little kids all had something to do!  We had food from Cantina and tons of yummy sweets.  I even set up a photo booth! Here is a link to the photo album on Facebook all of the photos from the party!  I was really proud of how it turned out!

This past year has flown by.  I said that during Ritter’s first year but it truly went faster this time around.  Probably because life is just easier now and we have so much fun with him….not that his first year wasn’t fun but now that we are done with bottles and multiple naps and needing high chairs and strollers everywhere we go, life is just easier.  It seems like we are always on the go and never slow down but that’s life I guess.  We still go back and forth about having another some day.  I think we really do want one but we are in no shape financially to make that happen right now…plus we HAVE to get moved to a bigger house.  Ritter might have his own ideas about that though…Eric sent me this video while I was out of town …said this just came out of nowhere.  No idea where he got those words.  We’ve never talked about this with him. Crazy!

 

 

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