Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Life updates - November 2019

While I still refuse to admit it, Remington might be considered, by some measures, a toddler. As much as I insist she is a baby, it’s really hard to believe that when I see her next to an actual baby. She is walking, talking, sitting at a real (kids) table to eat, becoming furious when I try to read her the “wrong” book, and doing all sorts of other things that are generally associated with real people, not adorable little baby lumps.

She is nearly 18 months old, which is so hard to believe. It feels like she was just born, but she’s halfway to age 2!

Hanging with Grandpa

 I always thought age one was my least favorite age, but I failed to realize a key factor in this judgment: every other time I’ve had a one year old, I’ve been pregnant! When Dalton was 17 months, I was 7 months along with Royce. When Royce was 17 months, I was struggling through the first trimester morning sickness with Remi. In retrospect, I have no idea how I did it. I cannot imagine getting ready to have another baby with a child of this age, much less doing it twice! 

With her BFF, Levi

It turns out, age one is super fun when a tiny parasite isn’t sucking every ounce of energy you have, and you have (a little) energy available to play with and chase this tiny person. I sometimes think I miss the baby days, but when good friends have babies and I’m reminded of what the day to day with a newborn is really like, I’ll take toddlerhood! Although I wouldn’t turn down a time machine to enjoy one last hour of a newborn napping on my chest, all curled up like they were in the womb.

She needs to collect all the binkies. To hold while nursing to sleep.

Of course I’m not going to gloss over the fact that Remi is talking. This has been weighing heavily on my mind since before she was even born. I now have 36 words on the list I keep on my phone of words she frequently uses, although I doubt that’s accurate since she seems to add new words daily. The other day, she was playing with an empty conditioner bottle, because #buythemnothing. She would hand it to me, say open, I would open it, and hand it back. Super fun, right? I started modeling saying “open, please” instead of open. After maybe 3 or 4 times of me modeling, she handed it back and said “open, please”. This was one of those minute, seemingly unimportant moments that left me shook.

 I’ve documented Royce’s speech journey here, and some people may know Dalton needed speech therapy and didn’t speak until nearly age 2, although he does not have apraxia (just a typical speech delay). I’ve never experienced typical speech development, and the idea that I could just….say something….Remi would hear it, and start saying it herself seemed unfathomable. How could it possibly be just that easy? And yet, it happened then and it happens all the time! She imitates everything she hears, so a lot of her words are said with the same inflection her brothers use, which is adorable. I feel really lucky to be able to experience this imitation (the boys never did it), and just generally hear tiny little baby words. It’s a lot of fun.

On that note, let’s update where Royce is. As I posted on my instagram stories, he no longer uses the iPad. We returned it to the school district last month. He speaks! He speaks in full sentences, all the time. He was trying to stall bedtime the other night, so he followed me into Remi’s room, instead of going into his room like he was supposed to. I told him to go to his room for bed. He stood by the light switch and said “I turn the light off for you, Mommy”. The goal of the iPad was always to facilitate speech, rather than take the place of speech, so while it was a great tool – good riddance! We are TALKING now!

Royce loves rainbows.

This is not to say he’s “caught up” or that we don’t have a lot of work ahead of us. He is often understandable in context, but there are also often times we don’t understand him and he has to find another way to explain himself. The one I’m most proud of was when he used blocks to build an “I”. He was trying to tell me what he made, but I had no idea what it was or what he was saying (I mean, he’s 3, who knows, it could have been a monster truck in his mind, why would I go to the most obvious thing?). After trying to say “I” several times with me not getting it, the closest I got was “H”, he pointed to the top and said “top” and then the bottom and said “bottom”. He knew by me guessing “H” that I was looking at it from the wrong angle AND figured out how to get me to look the right way!

So while I was and continue to be amazed by how well he communicates in these situations, now his main goal in speech therapy is to improve his articulation and minimize these situations. He receives speech therapy (from an amazing SLP) three times a week at school. On Tuesday, he will do his annual evaluation at Kennedy Krieger, which is a local children’s hospital through Johns Hopkins, which I personally credit for getting him speaking to begin with. They do incredible work. Their policy is six months on, six months off for speech therapy because it is in such high demand. He will begin his next six month stint this January. I can’t wait for him to see his therapist there, because he is like a different child between July, when he last saw her, and now.

One of my favorite current Royce phrases is “I just joking”, like when he told me he saw a Chick Fil A on a Sunday (he didn’t). He cracks me up with his constant jokes. He also just started to be able to ride a balance bike, and mastered it within about a week. My constant phrase to him is “one kiss then give her space!”. He is obsessed with Remi. Which is sweet, but she doesn’t want constant overbearing hugs and kisses. We are working on finding a balance so he can enjoy playing with her without knocking her over.

I definitely had another shook moment in the bath with Royce and Remi recently. They were making bubbles. “Bubble” is one of the patterns that is particularly difficult for Royce and targeted in therapy (CV1CV2 for those in the know, although this isn’t the greatest example, puppy would be a better one.) He was saying it in his way, which probably wouldn’t be understandable to a random person. Then Remi said “bubble” with perfect articulation. It just came that easily to her, something her brother, two years older, had been working on in therapy for months and couldn’t yet do. This was a harsh dose of reality after I was flying high on returning the iPad. That said, I don’t have real concerns about her surpassing him in speech. While her articulation will likely continue to be better, he is still two years ahead of her cognitively and that’s going to be extremely clear until they get to whatever age it is where two years of growth doesn’t matter any more (18? 20? 36?).

I hesitate to update on Dalton, because I fear jinxing us, but...five is a really great age. He’s old enough to understand reason (unless he’s tired or hungry), play actual games with, be actually helpful in the kitchen, and is just generally a fun person to be around! 

He's so helpful with his sister!

He’s old enough to have a real conversation. But he’s still young enough to be cute, and sweet, and silly in only the way a young child with no inhibitions can be. 

On the weekends, a lot of times one of us will take him out during naptime for the other two for some one on one time, and it’s 

He’s past the diaper bag stage, past the needing to be constantly watched and kept out of danger stage, past the middle of the night wakeup stage (the only kid in this family who is), and into the kid stage. Sure, the sibling fighting and whining makes my eyes twitch on a daily basis, but overall the kid phase is pretty fun.


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