You were up early today. Far earlier than normal. I guess maybe you knew that it was a special day, one that simply couldn’t wait to be started. I glanced at the clock when I first heard you. 5am. Two years ago at that time, Daddy and I were busily moving about the house, finishing getting our things together so that we could head off to the hospital.
Today, the last thing I wanted to be doing at that time was starting my day. Still, though, you were making it clear that it was time to do exactly that. And, so, I shuffled across the hall to your bedroom. As I opened the door, you quickly grabbed one of your blankies and threw it over your head. An early morning round of what has become one of your favorite games…hide and seek. Even at 5am, it is adorable. And I found myself laughing through a yawn along with your playful giggle.
Not quite ready to fully start my day, I asked if you wanted to snuggle in bed with me for a bit and was so happy when you said yes. We cozied under the covers and snuggled up together. I breathed in your scent, and my thoughts drifted to this day two years ago. I thought about the mix of emotions that I had that morning, as Daddy and I pulled out of the driveway, knowing that when I returned, my son would be riding along in the backseat. I remember feeling so anxious to finally hold you in my arms.
I drifted off to sleep with the warm memories of our first few moments together. I dozed for a few minutes, just long enough to reconnect with the newborn baby version of you for a moment or two. And then I was awakened. By your cold little hands smacking me in the face, as you exclaimed, “Momma…momma…MOMMA!” I peeled my eyes open to see your grinning face just inches from my own. And took that as my opportunity to shower you in birthday boy kisses. And that, my sweet boy, is the perfect summary of what the past year has been like for me. Glimpses of my sweet baby, mixed in with the little boy that you’ve grown into.
Last year, as we celebrated your first birthday, I was overcome with the thoughts of all the things that we’d experienced together; saddened at the idea that those things were behind us. I wanted desperately to freeze time. To hold on to every trace of babyhood that I could.
But it seems my time-freezing machine is broken. This past year has seen my baby completely melt away. A thought that, I admit, makes me a little sad if I focus on it for too long. But in that baby’s place is this sweet, playful, funny little boy. And as amazing as that baby was, this boy is so much more amazing. For every little thing that I miss about my baby, there are a hundred big things to adore about the kid that you’re becoming.
We’ve started to enter the stage that some people refer to as the ‘”terrible two’s.” Terrible? I don’t think so. Challenging? Well, yes. With each passing day, your sense of independence and strong-will seems to grow. Some might even say that you’re proving yourself to be a bit stubborn at times. A trait that, clearly, you get from your daddy. I confess, there are times when it is insanely frustrating. But, mostly, I am in awe as I watch these traits emerge. At only two years old, you inspire me. I love that you are already your own little person. You are kind and caring and gentle. Yet, you already have this spunk about you that seems to say “just try me” (I’m not sure who you could have gotten that from…). These glimpses at the person you will be as you continue to grow up make me incredibly proud. I’ve loved every single minute of getting to know you as your personality has continued to reveal itself. And I am truly looking forward to continuing to get to know you as new and bigger pieces of your personality emerge.
So, this year, I won’t wish to freeze time. Though, I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to slowing it down a bit…
Over the past year, you have really started to develop your own personality and sense of humor. In case there was any doubt before you are definitely a Wheeler kid. You keep amazing me what all that you know and can do. It almost seems like you know when I am thinking that you may not be ready for something, so set out to prove me wrong.
I sometimes wish you would stop growing up so quickly. I know that isn’t going to happen, but I can still hope that it might.
This update is long overdue. I wish I had a good excuse for going so long without posting, but I don’t. Well, I kind of do. I’ve been busy raising a feisty toddler. I’m about to make it up to you, though, with a massive update containing a TON of photos and video clips. You’re welcome.
For those who may have lost track, Zachary is just a few days away from 18 months old (!!!), and he continues to be the most amazing little boy. James and I are truly enjoying this stage with our little man. Here are a few snippets of life with Zachary these days…
- Zachary’s vocabulary is continuing to grow. It seems as soon as I manage to figure out what one word is, he’s adding two or three new ones for me to try to understand. Most of the time, I come upon realizing what he’s been saying when he repeats a word after me. Current words, as understood by Momma are: dog, bird, door, chair, more, woof, wall, shoes, juice (for all drinks), nurse, bye, ball, hot, up, Momma, Dada, banana, meow, bath, down, toes, yes, no, done, please, and butt. Hmmm…I’m pretty certain that I’m missing some there. And that’s not even considering all the stuff that he says that I KNOW are words but that I don’t understand yet. I’m still working on learning the language that is Zachary-ese.
- As I previously posted, Zachary has started using signs. Once he showed us that he was ready to use them, we started working on introducing additional ones. The signs he is currently using are: more, nurse, change, eat, drink, thank you, and please.
- We’ve been working diligently on teaching Zachary the basics of good manners, via saying please and thank you. He’s been catching on quite well and now regularly uses his signs to say please or thank you even before being prompted to do so. This is a “small” thing that makes for one VERY proud Momma!
- Zachary has also learned many of this body parts, and we continue to work on introducing additional ones. The body parts he currently knows are arm, hand, fingers, toes, tongue, mouth, teeth, eyes, ears, head, nose (after discovering his nostrils, he now points to his nose by sticking a finger straight up one nostril), belly, butt, and penis (yes, I’m serious…we believe in teaching the correct terms for everything).
- ur little man has started to demonstrate that he is learning his colors, by responding correctly when asked to bring/give us a particular colored item.
- After more than 14 months of nearly constant teething, we are finally (hopefully!) getting close to a reprieve. Zachary’s bottom canine teeth have both finally cut, bringing us to a total count of 16 teeth. The next set of molars to come in don’t usually start cutting until around age two. We’re hoping that means they’ll stay away for at least a couple of months.
- During a day spent with Daddy, Zachary learned to climb the furniture. He now excitedly climbs up there and sits next to Daddy every chance he gets.
- Zachary has been feeding himself with a fork for several months now. He is just recently starting to master the art of using a spoon, and we have finally surrendered and decided to let him have his independence while eating breakfast (the one meal left that was solely a spoon meal). It’s proven to be a messy couple of days, and I imagine breakfast will have to be immediately followed by bathtime for the next while. But the obvious sense of pride that he has when succeeding in actually getting that yogurt into his mouth is totally worth it. Well, that and the fact that it results in adorable photos and video.
Note: If you don’t watch any of the other videos, do yourself a favor and at least watch this one. I promise, it WILL be worth it.
In addition to keeping busy with learning so many new things, we’ve been knee-deep in everyday life adventures. Here are just a few of the fun things that we’ve been up to recently:
- In March, we did Zachary’s 15mos portraits. For his second year, we’re going to be doing portraits every three months (plus special occasions, of course!), rather than every month like we did the first year.
- We had a great Easter, complete with coloring eggs, meeting the Bunny, and delivery of some awesome loot by said Bunny (pictures of our celebration are on the family blog). In addition to all of that fun, we also took advantage of another great excuse for taking some more portraits. This time, we headed to Rancho San Rafael.
- We recently made a trip to downtown Sparks, where we discovered the lower level of the parking garage was full of sheep! After being given the go-ahead by someone who was part of whatever was happening, we took Zachary in to see the animals. He was really mesmerized by them all. By the time we left, he was making this deep grunting noise to mimic their sounds.
- There have been a few art projects.
- We’ve spent a lot of time playing. And try to get in lots of time outside, both in the yard and at the park. Zachary has proven himself to be “all boy” when it comes to his love for digging and playing in the dirt.
- There’s been a lot of general silliness, which has resulted in a lot of laughter.
We really are blessed to have this fun-loving, happy little boy in our lives. Everyday, I am reminded of just how fortunate we are to have been given the opportunity raise this amazing child. It’s amazing to look back and see how much he has grown and changed just in the time since I last updated.
And just in case you haven’t gotten quite enough Zachary adorableness, here’s one last collage for you. How could you not be head over heels for a little man who greets you so happily from the moment he’s awake?
Today, Zachary used sign language for the first time. Or, at least, I noticed it for the first time. We started working to teach sign to Zachary when he was around 6mos old. It didn’t take long before he could noticeably recognize the signs and would react to them (getting excited at the sign for nursing, etc), but he never seemed to pick them up to the point of using them. In the past few months, we’ve actually kind of let them go, figuring that he just wasn’t going do it. Today, though, Zachary and I shared a little bowl of chocolate ice cream, and when it was gone he kept putting his hand together. It took a moment (and him actually saying the word as well) before I realized that he was signing! We’ll definitely be starting to work with using signs again. Hopefully, he’ll start using some of the others as well.
And just for some added cuteness, here are a couple videos of the ice cream eating that led up to the signing. I hope you’ll enjoy them. I was so busy trying to get a couple videos that I only got a couple bites of that chocolate ice cream for myself. You’re welcome.
Someday, we’ll work on the whole “lip smacking isn’t very good table manners” thing. For now, I confess that I find it to be at least a tiny bit cute.
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- Zachary’s vocabulary seems to be exploding over the past couple of weeks. Current words are: more, ball, hot, up, Momma, Dada, banana, meow, dog, and bath. I’m actually pretty sure that there are more words there…we just haven’t quite picked up on some of what he has to say yet.
- James and I have done a lot of debating, trying to figure out whether Zachary will be left- or right-handed. He seems to use his left-hand dominantly for many things, which leads us to think that he will be left-handed. But just as soon as we start to think we’re almost certain of that fact, he switches things up and starts using his right hand more frequently.
- Yesterday, Zachary spent some time playing at the mall with Daddy while Momma indulged in some pampering with a massage. While they were hanging out together, Zachary got to experience his first “ride.” Check out the cuteness:
- Zachary continues to love to be Momma and Daddy’s little helper. He helps pick up his toys, picks up after himself if he spills something, and continues to love to help me with laundry. In addition to those things, we’ve recently started having Zachary help set and clear the table for dinner each night. I hand him items out of the fridge, and he carries them to the dining room and gives them to James to put on the table. Zachary LOVES helping with this chore. It is so amazing to see the look of pride on his face as he pitches in and helps us with things.
- Apparently, Zachary is all ready to grow up. The evidence can be found here:
- What’s really crazy is to think that there’s a strong possibility that he’ll actually fill those things out someday!
- Zachary has an absolute fascination with dogs. He has been exposed to them a handful of times, when visiting friends and Grandma & Grandpa. On Friday, Zachary got very excited while looking out the living room window to find that our neighbors were outside with their dogs. I took him outside to see them, and the neighbor was kind enough to let the dogs come over so that Zachary could play with them a bit. I swear, it was as close to heaven as a little boy can get!
Yesterday, James and I were on a mission to find something inexpensive (read: FREE) to entertain ourselves and Zachary for a little while. We ended up deciding to go to Scheel’s to browse around for a little while. Each of the two entrances into Scheel’s has a huge fish aquarium just past the registers, one fresh water and one salt water. Zachary LOVED watching the fish swim all about the tanks. We’ve been to Scheel’s a few times with Zachary, but this was the first time that he was really aware of the fish, let alone interested in what they were doing. It was so cool to see him experience this. We spent a ton of time just hanging out there, just watching the fish.
This past week, our local weather has taken a major turn. After weeks of sunny days and Spring-like temperatures, we were hit with several days’ worth of snow (and still more to come). Zachary has been really intrigued by what is going on outside our windows. We’ve been playing outside quite a bit lately, which seems to have made him all the more intrigued by what’s going on outdoors. He’s spent a good amount of time this week like this:
Friday, Zachary’s interest piqued even more, as the neighborhood kids were home from school and having a grand time playing outside. He spent a great amount of time watching them out one of our living room windows, pointing excitedly, as he drew my attention to the fun that seemed to be being had without him.
All week, I told myself that it was really too bad that we didn’t have the appropriate gear to take Zachary outside to play in the snow. We have a winter coat for him, purchased in preparation for winter days playing outside at daycare. We never purchased the rest of the stuff, though, since he was no longer in daycare by the time winter actually rolled around. And so we’ve hunkered down inside the house, watching the snow fall from the warmth of indoors.
Finally, it dawned on me on Friday. Why do we really NEED all that other stuff just to go outside for a little bit? Maybe we would get a little cold and wet. Big deal. After all, isn’t that why we have dryers and warm baths? So, I bundled the both of us up a bit, and we ventured out to the front yard.
Just watching Zachary try to maneuver down the hallway from his bedroom was enough to give me a case of the giggles. He was unsure of himself, waddling toward the front door with all the extra bulk of his winter coat and extra layer of pants. Once we got outside, Zachary stopped at the edge of the sidewalk, staring timidly at the snow just at the tips of his toes. He gradually started to step into the snow and lost his footing from the unexpected “give.” I helped him up, and he looked out towards the yard, uncertain about trying again to go any further than the front porch. He eagerly followed, though, when I led the way into the yard. We sat and played a little bit. Mostly, I demonstrated making snow balls, and he tried to eat them.
After a short bit of time, I decided to take advantage of our time outside and try to shovel the driveway while we were out there. I should have known that Zachary would expect to “help” with the shoveling. We took turns with the shovel. Me clearly a bit of the driveway, then Zachary having an opportunity to do his share. After a while, Zachary had had enough of being outside and headed towards the door leading into the house in the garage. So, I put the shovel away, despite the unfinished driveway, and we came inside. Of course, as soon as we’d gotten out of all our outside play clothes, he went straight for the front door, wanting to go back out. We haven’t ventured out again just yet, but we hope to get in some playtime during this long weekend while Daddy can come join in the fun.
To see more pictures, check out the photo gallery HERE.
This will be a short edition of Zacharyisms, as it seems there’s not much to share about this past week.
- This week, we’ve continued to work on weaning from the bottle. After a few weeks of still receiving his morning and bedtime bottles while we worked on getting Zachary to take milk from a cup, we finally decided to take the remaining two bottles away. I knew it was going to be a tough adjustment, especially considering that he STILL won’t take milk from a cup. After receiving some advice from our pediatrician, we’ve decided to put very little pressure on the milk aspect. Zachary gets a good amount of other dairy products, so Dr Z isn’t concerned about calcium/protein intake. He suggested that some children just need to get some distance from connecting the milk to the bottle before they warm up to taking it from a cup. So, we move forward. It’s been a bit of a rough week while we make this adjustment, but we’re all surviving so far.
- Zachary has become very interested in eating utensils this past week. We’re trying to be more diligent about always giving him his silverware with his meals. He’s becoming more and more determined to try to actually use it. Behold the look of pure concentration!
- Little Man has become increasingly intrigued by the cats, especially Reggie. He’s always been interested in them, but lately he seems to truly understand playing with them. He’s learning to interact with them appropriately, and loves to pet them now.
In an attempt to make up for this relatively short update, I leave you with this little video. Today, we stopped for lunch at our much-loved sandwich shop, Capriottis. Zachary wasn’t interested in his lunch. Instead, he stole part of Momma’s sandwich. Please excuse the quality; this was taken on James’ cell phone.
And if that doesn’t help you feel less gipped, just know that you have another update tomorrow to look forward to. Full of more adorable photos of this sweet face!
Yesterday, Momma and Daddy took me on an adventure. I felt that I needed to write immediately to tell you about all the fun we had. Unfortunately, by the time we got home from our adventure, it was time for me to get ready for bed. And I’ve been busily playing with my toys today, so I’m just now getting a chance to write to you.
When I got up from my afternoon nap yesterday, Momma told me that we were going to go outside. We’ve been doing that quite a bit lately, and I really like it a lot. So, I was super excited to take my ball out to the front yard and spend some more time kicking it around and exploring our yard and drive way. I was a little confused when we went outside (without my ball!) to find that Daddy had gotten my stroller out of the garage. “We’re going to walk to the park!” Momma announced. I wasn’t sure what this “park” place was, but I figured I was game for a little cruise in my stroller. So, I lounged back, soaked up some sun, and enjoyed the ride.
Once we got to the park, Momma let me out of my stroller, and I was set free to wander around. For a little while, I just walked all over the place. It was so fun to be able to go anywhere I wanted and not have Momma constantly telling me to come back to her, or to stay in the yard, or to stop going towards the street!
After a little while, Momma led me over to this strange structure and helped me climb the stairs up it. I was a little upset at first. Walking around was so fun, and I didn’t want to stop! Momma brought me to this yellow thing that she called a slide and sat me at the top of it. She let go, and I rode down to the bottom where Daddy was waiting for me. Wow! It was a lot of fun! Next, I got to go on a curvy slide. That one was so much fun, I went on a few more times. Then came the best part. Momma helped me climb up to the top, and we went on the twisty slide together. That one was definitely my favorite. We went on it again and again. Pretty soon, Momma and Daddy said it was time to leave the park. I went on the curvy slide one more time before we left.
Momma says we can go to the park again sometime soon, as long as the weather is nice. I hope we get to back a lot! Next time, I might try a swing, too. Momma tried to get me go over to one of those yesterday, but I was having way too much fun on the slides to leave them.
PS: Like usual, Momma and Daddy brought the camera and took way too many pictures of me. I had Momma put them on the blog so that I could show you all how much fun I had. She says to tell you to click HERE if you want to see them.