~121~ Ethan update: ONE and a HALF!

That's right, I have a One and a Half year old! 
It's still amazing to me just how much they can change and learn in short amount of time. 
We Ethan's 18 month appointment on Wednesday morning. He's looking great as usual, and in typical fashion his pediatrician said that he's small, but healthy. 

Weight: 20.75lbs (7%ile)
Length: 30.25" (3%ile)
Eating: I wouldn't say that Ethan is a picky eater per se, but he is much pickier than he used to be. He's not a huge fan of vegetables with the exception of green beans and peas. Even carrots and avocado, which he once liked are no-gos.  He does still love any and all fruit though, thank goodness.  One thing that we've noticed more is that he is very clear about when he's done eating or doesn't want something you're offering him. When he's done eating he'll pull his bib off and sometimes start throwing food off of his tray. We still haven't quite figured out how to stop that from happening. When he isn't hungry or doens't want what you're offering, he'll quickly shake his head no and wave his arms in front of him.  We've started giving him spoons and forks, and while he knows what to do with them, he still prefers his hands for now. 

Sleep: We've been so spoiled with a good sleeper ever since Ethan was an infant, so when we had some rough sleeping phases this past month, it was a bit rough for all of us. For about a week or so, Ethan started waking up in the middle of the night and either taking close to an hour to fall back asleep or not falling back asleep at all (meaning we started our day at 3 or 4AM!).  He also was taking longer and requiring more effort to fall asleep at night.  Previously he would go to bed around 8 or 8:15 with minimal effort. We'd do our regular bedtime routine, we'd put him in his crib, and fall asleep on his own.  At this point, we were lucky if he was asleep by 9:30.  Mostly he didn't like it when we left the room.  He would be dead asleep and then decide he need to check to see if we were still in the room and when we weren't he'd start crying pretty hard.

My "Wonder Weeks" App showed that he was in a "developmental leap" at this time, so that could be part of it, but I also think that part of it was that we were pushing back his bedtime because it was summer and that the lack of a daily, predictable routine had an affect on it.  After almost 2 months of this, we finally broke down and decided to use the "Ferber Method" or "Sleep Training" to break him of this bad habit.  We knew that he was "playing us" because as soon as we'd walk back in the room he'd lay back down and start to suck his thumb.  I know that there's a lot of controversy out there regarding any sleep method that involves crying it out,  but it ended up working for us after just ONE night, so I stand by our decision.  And really, it was about him getting more and better sleep, not us. 

Talking: We're still at the same 3 words we were at from his one year update. The lack of progress is a bit concerning (more on that below), but the reassuring thing though is that his receptive language, comprehension and processing is phenomenal. He understands pretty much everything we say to him and can even follow basic directions like, "bring me your books", "help me clean up your toys", "We're going to go in the car", etc.   More recently he's also been able to follow 2-step directions  like pick up the cup and bring it to mommy, and understands pretty much everything we say to him. I always make sure to praise him big-time whenever he does a good job of listening and following directions. It's just production that is behind.  On the exact day that Ethan turned 18 months, he also started signing "please", something that I've been doing sporatically for a few months, but never consistently. We were/are very proud of him for communicating with us in a way that has meaning to both of us.   

After talking with his doctor at his appointment today, we made the decision to have Ethan evaluated for a possible speech display and to potentially receive speech therapy services.  I had talked with a speech language pathologist at my school after Ethan's 15 month appointment because I had concerns even then, and she said it's not a real concern until age 2, so I decided to table it at that point. However, since he hasn't made any progress since then, we decided that it wouldn't hurt any to get started on an early intervention to hopefully catch the delay now and get him caught up to a typical peer faster (vs waiting another 6 months until he turns 2, potentially widening the gap). I will be contacting Early Access services this week to get the evaluation set up. 

I know that it's not my fault, but it's still hard not to question if I'm not doing a good enough job as a parent to help with his language development. We'll just work to be even more diligent and purposeful in our use of language and repetition with him. It helps that a close coworker of mine (and daycare buddy of Ethan's) went through the exact same thing as Ethan when he was his age. He was also a 35 week preemie and is now almost 10 and has a great vocabulary and no issues with speech. Hopefully, some more intensive work with him gets him going in the right direction. 

Teeth: Ethan now has 12 teeth! 8 front teeth (4 on top, 4 on the bottom) and 4 molars.  All we have left of his baby teeth is his canines, and second molars.  We continue to brush his teeth nightly and are trying to start adding it in in the morning. 

1. Books! Ethan loves, loves, loves to have books read to him. He is constantly bringing his favorites to us asking (in his way) to sit in our lap and listen to them.  Currently, his most requested books are "Sniff", "So Big", "Marley and the Kittens", "Goodnight Moon" (read by my grandma), and "Little Pea".  Even though I sometimes get tired of reading the same book over and over and over and over every day, I love that he enjoys books and reading so much. I hope he never loses that!

2. Swimming A friend of mine has a pool in her background, so we were very fortunate to have the opportunity to go swimming a handful of times this summer. Ethan still loves the water and will even jump into my arms from a sitting position on the side of the pool into my arms. I'm so glad that he's not afraid of the water or going under.  He's definitely my little fish!
3. Dancing/spinning in circles

4. Daniel Tiger After reading about the positive development effects Daniel Tiger has on kids who watch it, I decided to check it out. Turns out Ethan loves it.  As soon as he hears the theme music at the beginning his eyes light up. Even though I know screen time this young isn't ideal, I figure he could be watching worse things and that the amount of time is pretty minimal. He loves it so much that we got him his own Daniel Tiger stuffed animal that talks and sings to him.

5. Brushing his teeth - Okay, he really just loves sucking the toothpaste off his toothbrush, but I'll take it.  Every time we change his diaper, he grabs his toothbrush and the toothpaste tube and hand them to us. 

In Other News:
At the end of August, we went home to Minneapolis for a mini family reunion with my aunt, uncle, cousin, and her son Noah. Liz and Noah came last August as well, so it was fun seeing the boys together again a year later. This time they were actually able to play together! My Uncle David and Aunt Linda hadn't met Ethan yet, so that made it an extra fun trip.  


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