Garden · Routines · Sleep · Toddlerhood

Ari at 23 Months Old (and A Little Beyond) and the Garden in May

Time for a big retrospective of the past month, and a description of Ari as he approaches his second birthday!

In early May, we went to the Children’s Museum, just the two of us. He pushed a cart around the grocery store and tried to make off with all the corn and plums:

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But he kept returning to the vet’s office for their book selection:

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A few days later, we went to Powell’s and he never wanted to leave (just like his mommy). He walked in saying, “Books! Books! Books!”

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On Mother’s day, he went out to pick up breakfast ingredients with his daddy and then got home and greeted me (still in bed) with, “Happy Mommy Day!” and a big grin. He and his daddy also got me this beautiful flower arrangement and some fancy chocolates:

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Also on Mother’s Day (May 11th), I took these photos in our yard. The first one is the sandbox with the mesh cover that A. made. The cover keeps out animal droppings but lets the rain in so the sand can get wet and dry out like it would at the beach.

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Potatoes (probably way too close together, we had no idea how to plant them) and swiss chard:

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Lettuce and celery:

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My precious raspberries:

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Strawberries (and weeds):

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Blueberries:

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Apples:

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Irises alongside our new window well:

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I love these purple flowers:

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On May 17th, the day Ari turned 23 months old, he was finally brave enough to “brush the alligator’s teeth” at the Children’s Museum! I was at work that day. When I had taken him earlier in the month, the reason we went was that he had been saying, “brush alligator’s teeeth!!” over and over for days and especially all that morning, and he’d been practicing with his tiny stuffed alligator doll (with no teeth) at home. But every time we go there, he shrieks and clings to us when we so much as enter the room with this alligator dentist office set-up. When I took him, I grabbed a tooth brush and took it in another room and he still wouldn’t touch it. This has been going on for months! But while I was at work, A. took him and after multiple aborted attempts, was finally able to sit and hold Ari next to the alligator, and Ari actually held the toothbrush out while still clinging to A. I was so excited when I got the photo at work. 🙂

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The next day, I took Ari’s monthly photo:

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Another day, we went out for crepes on Hawthorne with our good friend and neighbor and her baby girl, who Ari now says “hi” to by name (and she smiles at him when she sees him). It’s so cute to see them getting to know each other and become friends, even this young! Ari plays peek-a-boo with her, too. And now he says hi to other babies we see!

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Ari’s grandpa – A’s dad – visited and he and A. constructed this darling little table from a Home Depot kit. I’m hoping to use it for Ari’s birthday party.

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They also put up more secure fencing around the window well:

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Some more yard and garden photos from May 19th:

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Over Memorial Day weekend, we had a good friend visiting and did lots of sightseeing. One day, we biked downtown and went to the Saturday Market and the Chinese Gardens. Ari had just received this Elmer doll and book in the mail from his great aunt and uncle in Virginia (who we visited at the end of April), and he was so excited he wouldn’t let go of them all day, even during the whole bike ride.

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The next day, we went to Portland’s Rhododendron Garden. I can’t believe we had never gone before! It’s beautiful! We were a little late for most of the rhodies, so next year we’ll have to go earlier. But it’s a wonderful place to walk around even without the rhodies blooming.

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We saw some goslings and their protective parents:

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Also some ducklings and their mother:

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Andrew hunted a goose who was rapidly padding to the end of the bridge:

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Later that day, we drove to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood and saw snow!

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On the way back, we did part of an easy but gorgeous, lush, and peaceful hike along the Old Salmon River trail. I’m hoping Ari will be a hiker one day!

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A nice moment blowing bubbles with Daddy:

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Some “ink” from the Children’s Museum:

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Trying on my shoes one day:

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I’m proud of this cheap Montessori-style “hack” we’ve got in the bathroom now. (Similar to our plastic stuck-on coat hook at his height by our front door – I love the Montessori ideas and furniture designed to promote toddler independence! They also emphasize using natural materials, usually wood, but that can get expensive and time consuming.) I bought this stool some time ago at a thrift store, cleaned it, and stored it in the shed until I thought Ari was big enough to use it. I pulled it out recently and he loves it! It makes washing his hands so much easier. He climbs up by himself and can just barely reach the faucet and the soap. He holds on to the edge of the sink while he climbs up, and I stand right behind him.

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It folds up easily and can be stored in our tiny bathroom with no trouble. Ari even directs me, gesturing to this wall and saying, “Put it here!”

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Here are some more things I want to remember about Ari at 23 months old:

At the beginning of May, he started saying, “Where’s aaaaare you?” when he was looking for something or someone, as in, “(Name), where’s aaaaare you?” or “elephant book, where’s aaaare you?” Within a couple of weeks, he had dropped the “s” and would more correctly say, “Where aaaaare you?” One day, I told him his babysitter was coming over and he walked right to the front door, pushed it open (it was just the screen door), stuck his head out, and said, “(Name), where aaaaare you?” It was so cute! One day in the first half of the month, I was right next to him but had been busy and distracted, so he looked at me and said, “Mommy, where’s are youuuu?”

Also in the first half of May, he was sorting out “this” and “that” and counting up to five objects. He’s not always accurate counting things, but he recites the numbers through ten and also recognizes the numerals up through ten. At the grocery store, he looks at the numbers above the aisles and reads them, and he surprised me the other day by reading, “Ten. One, zero, ten.”

He also recognizes the letters of the alphabet and can say, “A for alligator,” etc. He recognized right away when “X” was missing from his alphabet puzzle (“X, where are you?”).

He distinguishes “big” versions of things from “little” versions, which is apparently a developmental step.

One day, he cried about something and then was happier (after nursing), and I said, “Are you happier now?” and he said, “No. Sad!” with a grin like he knew he was being funny.

People describe him as very happy and also very focused, and a teacher at school called him a “ham.”

He enjoys pouring things, like pouring his milk or water into his food. Sometimes I give him a pitcher of water to pour into the dog’s bowl, and he helps me feed him, too. He’s now very careful and is able to pour a cup of kibble into his bowl without spilling it on the floor.

He does a lot of singing and chatting and can recite a lot of his books. He likes to do the “Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?” book, and a similar one with endangered species, and he can get through those on his own pretty well, with the pictures. He’ll also recite them and throw in the names of whatever he’s looking at. I’ll hear him in the backseat of the car: “Yellow bus, yellow bus, what do you see? I see a…..blue car! looking at me… Blue car, blue car, what do you see?….” He also does pretty well with Hop on Pop, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, and Sandra Boynton’s Moo, Baa, La, La, La (but he’s been doing that one for about 6 months now).

He often indicates what he wants by offering it to himself: “Do you want…crackers, Ari?” (Or, he just screams, “crackers!!”)

The other day, he wanted to play with his train set, so he said something like, “Do you want…trains, Ari?” and went to pull out the box, but it was too heavy, so he said, “Do you want help, Ari?” and looked at me, so I got it out for him. Then I started pulling the track pieces out and putting them together (he doesn’t do that himself yet), and he watched me, saying, “Make a circle!” (in a happy, narrating voice, not a demanding one). I set it up and he played by himself for a while, and I heard him reciting from his Chugga Chugga Choo Choo book: “chugga chugga, choo choo…whistle blowing!…whoo whoooo…” Then at one point, he was crying, so I sat down and asked him what was wrong and he said, “choo choo train fell down!” (off the little hill). So I told him that was okay, he could put it back on the tracks, and he did. It was pretty cool to be able to ask him what was wrong and get an answer – that doesn’t usually happen!

He sings several songs pretty well, including: ABCs, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Three Blind Mice (“cut off their tails…knife!” …ugh), Old MacDonald Had A Farm, B-I-N-G-O, The Wheels on the Bus (with hand gestures…and he makes up his own verses with animals and the sounds they make!). He will ask to hear, “happy music!” (he used to say “may-mays” for music but I think now he’s saying, “moo-sic”). Yesterday he wanted “Baby Buh-goo-uh!” (Baby Beluga) all day, and “Down By…Bay!”, which he can also sing pretty well.

During our trip at the end of April, I was putting him to bed in the hotel and singing, “What a Wonderful World,” which I chose when he was a newborn as the song I wanted to learn and sing to him as a lullaby when he was going to sleep, so I’ve been singing it to him nearly every day since he was a baby. All of a sudden, he chimed in! And now sometimes he sings it with me, with the two of us lying face-to-face in his bed. It’s soooo sweet! “I see…skies…boo!…’Kouds…white…bight bessed day…dark…night…”

He will say if something is “too hot” or “too ‘picy”. He’s a pickier eater than he used to be, although it seems like he eats all kinds of healthy vegetarian foods at school. His favorite things that we feed him and that he will ask for by name are burritos, Whole Bowl (bean and rice bowls from a local mini chain), “pasta” (usually tuna noodle casserole), salmon, sometimes broccoli, bananas, cheese, crackers, toast with peanut butter, green kale-banana-cashew smoothies (“soo-mee!”), oatmeal, and, especially, cereal, with coconut milk or cow’s milk. He will specify whether he wants coconut milk or cow’s milk but he likes both.

He’s becoming more independent. One day, I asked him, “Do you want to walk to the sink to wash your hands, or should I carry you?” as a good modern parent is supposed to do. Apparently he didn’t want to accept either option, and he said “no” to both – then, after a moment, he dropped to his hands and knees and said, “ah-nuh (?) crawl!” and crawled there!

He also likes to do what I’m doing. He helps me put laundry in the machines and will stand by the door to the basement, where the laundry machines are, saying, “do won-dree!” When I vacuum, he’ll watch me for a minute and try to grab my vacuum, then he’ll run off to his room and come back with his little push toy with things that pop when you push it and he’ll push it around next to me with a look of total, triumphant, joy and pride, and I’ll say, “Yay, Ari! You’re vacuuming! Thank you for helping!”

Lately, when we pick things up off the floor, he’s been singing, “Cleeeean up! Everybody, cleeean up!”, which I’m guessing is a song they sing at school.

He’s learning and teaching himself things constantly. In the mornings, he usually tells me, “Mommy, wake up!” or “Mommy, get up!” Just the other day, he woke up and sat up in bed (our bed…), watched A. walking around in the room, and said, “Daddy, wake… Daddy, get.. Daddy woke up!”

We’re working on getting him to sleep in his own room. He’ll go to sleep in his room, on his floor bed, and we’ve just started sitting next to him and leaving the room for brief periods instead of lying down and cuddling while he goes to sleep. I started out by telling him he needed to start falling asleep by himself, and he started wailing before I was even finished talking, so I was pretty sure he understood. The second time I walked out of the room that night, he went to the door and started screaming for “Daddy” instead of me, which was a first! Kind of sad for me, but then A. went in and he walked right back to bed, lay down, and went to sleep on his own while A. sat there, rather than wriggling around in his arms screaming for “Mommy,” and that was really nice for A. He usually wakes up once before we go to bed, and we get him back down in his bed, then he wakes up again around midnight or 1 and comes to our bed, although lately sometimes he’s in his own bed until 3 or 4 am, and one night he was there until 6am! Of course, I still woke up around 3 and had to go check on him.

Sometimes he’ll wake up and fuss a little and then fall back asleep on his own. We certainly don’t rush in there at the first peep, but it usually escalates into screaming pretty quickly, so once we can tell he’s not going to fall back asleep on his own, we try to get in there fast (one of us) because the sooner we get in there, the easier it is to get him back down.

One night, before we went to bed, we heard a spontaneous hearty giggle from his room, then silence again! We figured he was having a happy dream. 🙂

We’re also working on weaning. I had imagined he would wean himself before this point, but that hasn’t happened, but we’re down to just nursing once a day, usually before bed – sometimes when he wakes up at night if I was at work when he went to bed, or sometimes we just skip it if I was working. I try not to do it too close to bedtime because I don’t want him to rely on that for going to sleep (he can’t really, anyway, because of my work hours). Sometimes he’ll ask for it but then get distracted with something else, so I think we’re nearing the time when he just won’t be that interested. I’m ready!

He naps once a day, usually 1-3 pm or 2-4 pm, and sometimes 1-4 pm. He’s been staying up later with these long summer days, so an 8pm bedtime has turned into 9 or even 10 some nights when it’s just really hard to get him to go to sleep. He wakes up around 7 or 8 in the morning.

Finally, he’s a little guy, in the 25th-50th percentile for height and weight and about the 95th for head circumference. He weighs 26 pounds or slightly less, is about 33 1/2 inches tall, and his head circumference is about 19.5 or 20 inches (they measured 19.7 inches at his 18-month check up).

I know that two is supposed to be a difficult age (actually people have been telling me recently that they found three to be even harder!), but right now he is SO CUTE. We’re really enjoying him. I almost don’t want to send him to daycare on those days when I happen to be off work and he’s scheduled to go, but then I wouldn’t get any blogging or housework done! The other day we were driving and he was in the backseat, babbling and singing to himself, and A. said something along the lines of, “This is SO GREAT! I had no idea I could love someone like this!” I love when he says things like that and I know we’re on the same page with this parenting thing, because those are exactly my feelings!

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4 thoughts on “Ari at 23 Months Old (and A Little Beyond) and the Garden in May

  1. thanks, Jessica. I love your updates! My eyes are wet from this:
    I see…skies…boo!…’Kouds…white…bight bessed day…dark…night…”

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