Monday, March 23, 2009

17 months and King of the World

It's hard to believe Ford has only been around for 17 months. It seems like he's been here in our family forever. I know I keep saying that but it is true! I'm blown away by how fast he's grown from a little baby to a little boy. Was I warned that the second child grows up so much faster? If that is the case Little Baby number #3 will seem like a blur.

I wanted to write a little bit about Ford just so you can get to know him a little bit better and I can remember some of the details of this precious age. So at 17 months he is a "man of few words" very much like his Daddy (which I assume will mean he will be a man of many words when it comes to discussing theology and politics . . . time will tell). He knows the essential words for a toddler boy like "more" and "ball" and although not words he does a mean elephant noise and a fish impersonation. He gets crazy excited when he sees birds and dogs and gives them both a kind of barking elephant greeting. He calls Rhett "Da" which Rhett really likes because it is a special name just between them. Maybe one day Claire will stop talking and give him a chance to chime in but I doubt it. She is constantly teaching him - poor thing he's going to have two Mommies - "Ford, can you say 'May can I have some more, please?'" (which is how she politely asks for things).

He is very bright and has a lot of common sense which will take him far in life. I can send him on little errands all around the house and he knows exactly where things are to get them for me or where to take things I ask - quite helpful actually. He likes to help with laundry and unload the dishwasher (well he did when we had a dishwasher I'm assuming he will pick back up where we left off). He is always right behind me helping me clean or fold laundry or any other little chore I'm involved in. He also gives the best open mouth kisses ever and is very affectionate. He will just come up and give you a big ole hug and kiss then take off again.
Ford loves to read books with us and by himself. His favorite is "A Dog Needs a Bone". It was the ONLY book I could read to him for quite sometime. He has now branched out a little bit and enjoys old favorites and new stories alike. He is quite coordinated and can put on his shoes (crocs) by himself. He loves to wear shoes - any one's shoes. It is a common sight to see him in Claire's pink crocs or my flip flops. He has been eating with utensils for several months now and insists on having a fork at all times. He is the only child his age I have ever seen who asks for a napkin and wipes his mouth, hands and table during meals. He can also throw a ball like no body's business. At first we thought it was just us thinking it but in every nursery we have ever left him someone comments "He can really throw, can't he?". He's been throwing -hard, fast, with perfect form and pretty darn accurately - since he could sit up. We let him throw anything he wants except food :) We figure it is an investment in his college education and I would be worried about him getting in trouble in preschool but his preschool is going to be in our backyard in Africa so we are OK there. HA!

He is a great eater. Favorites are strawberries, steak, french fries (sad but true - oh well), scrambled eggs, yogurt, he LOVES bananas, ice cream and any other "special treat". He drinks a cup or two of milk a day - not a big deal to him which I'm glad. He happily tries most things even if it is just a touch to his tongue before saying no. He likes to dip just about anything in ketchup - if I can keep him from eating the ketchup with a spoon first. He is a typical toddler who meets his requirements over several days or a week so some meals he's not very interested and others he eats more than me - which is, ahem, a lot.

In other news he has recently started poo pooing on the potty! Yes you read that right - feel free to roll your eyes :) He is very interested in all things potty and is pretty much a personal potty assistant knowing each step of the process and is right there to hand you paper, try to wipe your rear and flush for you. So a few weeks ago we started going to the potty when he showed "signs" that he needed to go and what do you know . . . success! I just say "Ford lets go poo poo on the potty!" and he takes off running towards the bathroom trying to pull his pants down! Boys going on the potty is a little more complicated than girls - if you don't know I'm not telling you. But once I figured out what I need to do to prevent a mess we were in business. He has gone probably about 75% of the time since we started. All my new European doctor friends are so proud and supportive. It seems as though potty training at this age is quite normal to most people in the world and I even found out that 50 years ago in America about 95% of kids were potty trained before age 2. I'm not saying we are there yet, obviously, but I'm just trying to make my case that it's not that strange. So time will tell . . . it sure would be nice to get another one out of diapers!
It is so interesting to see Ford's relationship with Claire. He really does adore her. They are getting to the age where they are really interacting and having fun together. Nothing like hearing them laugh together in the bathtub or when they are supposed to be napping. It is also very "interesting" to have one child understand the fine art of sharing and another one be oblivious to it. This is where I think having multiples would be easier - everyone is on the same playing field. It's hard to explain to Claire that Ford doesn't understand and it's difficult to get a 17 month old to share or play together. Sigh. It is so good for both of them though and I know their hearts and spirits are being molding by each other. In order to combat his older sister Ford has come up with a few tactics that he knows are effective. 1. Her Bunny. He knows Bunny is her "special" and he has been known to grab the bunny and run a few times wreaking havoc and accomplishing his goal. He was in a hair pulling stage for a while but that has been over for a while. So now he has moved on to #2: screaming in her face. I know it sounds strange but this is what he does. Basically he irritates her, she gets upset with him which ticks him off so he looks at her (getting as close as possible) opens his mouth big and wide, closes his eyes and lets out this high pitched scream. Which sends Claire into a tizzy and accomplishes his goal once again. Here's the problem . . . it's hilarious. He contorts his face and pulls his voice up several octaves and just lets it go. I try not to laugh at him because it is very cute in only a way that a one year old can be while trying to diffuse the situation with now two screaming children. So there are ups and downs with sibling life but oh what a tender heart this boy has - especially for his sister. Here's an example . . .

The other day they were arguing over "the bus" a very favorite toy in our house. They both love to load up the school bus with various Little People and other small figurines. This day the argument started over a Dora figurine that Ford was loading on the bus. Claire wanted Dora and started in on all the reasons why she should have her - she is a girl, she is my special, Ford likes Swiper and Boots better yada yada yada. Well Claire started crying and having a fit so she got sent to her room. Rhett happened to be home so he went in to "try to talk her down" and Ford went running into her room after him. He ran up to her bed and tried to pat her back as she cried then ran out into the living room grabbed the Dora and ran back into her room and handed it to her. I cried. Literally. I sat there with my mouth open and had tears running down my face. How sweet was that? I was amazed that he had complete understanding of the situation and knew what to do to make it better. I also laughed thinking that the days when Claire's tears were effective in manipulating him were numbered but for now he saw her hurting, knew what he could do to make her feel better and he did it - happily. So sweet. A tender soul indeed.
Ford and Rhett are alike in a lot of ways I'm learning. They are also both quite adventurous and like to climb and jump. I think it is hilarious to see Rhett for the very first time in his whole life see possible danger aside from the fun in such things. It only took 30 years and having a little boy of his own to come to these realizations so I can assuming it will be the same for Ford. In the mean time he is one tough little boy. He runs and falls and bumps his head and just gets right back up and keeps going. Like Rhett says "He's one. He falls down. It's just part of it. He seems to know that". Sometimes he will just come up to me patting his head and I give him a little kiss or word of encouragement and off he goes. He just wanted me to know he bumped his head. I have to keep my eye on him because he will climb up a ladder or move furniture around to climb up and reach things in no time. He's not wild and unruly at all he is just has this quiet sense about him and trying to figure things out - and sometimes that means doing things that will give Mommy gray hair! I try to just let him go and encourage him to have a wild little heart but sometimes he even surprises me . . .

The other day we were at a restaurant here in Lima and like a lot of family and fast food places here they had a large indoor play area (nice). Rhett went in with the kids while I went to the ladies room. When I met them in there Rhett informed me that this play area was designed for American Gladiators and aside from the ball pit it was a little intimidating. He was coaching Claire up the rope web thing so she could get up the three levels and through the tunnel to the gigantic slide. I decided to take Ford and let him climb around on the exit of the slide since there weren't any other kids in there with us. He disappeared into the tunnel while I watched Rhett and Claire try to master the second level ramp and rope pull which necessitated Rhett sitting mid way to help her. All of a sudden I see Rhett's mouth drop open (literally) as he looks to the top level where the tunnel comes from the slide and finally says "Well, hi!". I hear a laugh and I look up to see Ford's little head sticking out. Y'all, he climbed UP that slide! What? Can you appreciate how tall that thing is in the picture? It was crazy. He laughed and smiled at us then headed back down. We heard some knocks and bumps mixed with laughter as he tumbled down the slide - ending up in a giggly mess at the bottom. Just to make sure we knew it wasn't a fluke he went up again a few minutes later. I know Rhett was proud (as I was too) but we couldn't get over it. It think it became apparent to him what a little adventurer we have on our hands. He fell asleep in the taxi on the way home. Making it to the top of the world twice in one day will wear a little guy out.

So that is him. Our kind hearted, adventurous, precious little boy. I've been wanting to do a recap for a while now and I'm so glad I finally took the time to do it. This is one of my favorite parts of blogging. It is an awesome record that I know I would otherwise not take the time to write down. So if you hung in through all of the stories and you aren't a grandmother thanks for reading. We love you sweet little Ford and can't wait to see the man that you become!
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