I’m a bit conflicted when it comes to writing these monthly (or bi-monthly, as is the current trend) posts about you, my sweet boy. I love being able to look back on what you were doing at a certain point in your life, and these posts aid my ever struggling memory. But sitting down to write them means I have to come face-to-face with a fact that saddens me a bit: you are speedily moving away from being my little baby. The redeeming part of this fact is that it is so very fun to watch you grow into the little boy you are becoming.
We’ve been spending a lot of time outside, and being out and about, and it’s been great for both of us. You love being outside so much that on most mornings, if we haven’t left by 10am, you get pretty antsy and a bit whiny. You still enjoy storytime at the library, and you’re becoming more and more brave as you grow. You’ll now get off my lap and play with the balls or the bubbles, every once in a while you’ll even dance to one of the songs. We frequent the playgrounds and parks around us, thankfully there’s one two blocks from us so we can go there for a quick outing if need be. You still adore being pulled along in your wagon and would probably prefer that it be our main form of transportation. That being said, you don’t mind being in the car. This was apparent when we arrived home after driving 9 hours from your grandparent’s house and 45 minutes later you were begging to get back in the car.
You’ve always been very observant of your surroundings, but now you’ve started taking specific notice of things. You enjoy looking up at the trees when the wind blows, and if a loud vehicle drives by the house or a group of birds starts chirping, you’ll stop what you’re doing and look out the window. Your memory is improving as well. After one of the (many) times you fell and bumped your head, throughout the rest of the day, you would occasionally point to the spot on your head that you hurt. It’s fun to see you develop friendships with other kids as well as with adults outside of our family. The first time I saw this happen was when you nearly jumped out of my arms to get to your friend Ailey who has 30 feet away from you. You love staring at a photo of her as well. Don’t get any ideas, if I have anything to do with it, you’re not dating till you’re 18. There are definitely adults that you prefer. One day we walked into storytime, you saw JR’s momma and marched right up to her and plopped yourself into her lap. I think you have a keen sense of when someone really loves you.
We have both been blessed with many wonderful friends. Our lives wouldn’t be nearly as rich if we didn’t have these friends. Here are a few of your buddies:
Your gross motor skills are improving. Though there was a week when you were falling constantly; I think you had gotten the hang of walking, and were trying to improve your speed. You haven’t mastered stairs, but you’re trying. Fine motor skills are improving as well. You recently started feeding yourself with utensils. The mess is out of control after most mealtimes, but it’s so fun to watch your determination and satisfaction after you get that spoon full of food all the way to your mouth and the food actually gets in your mouth.
Any kind of blocks are a favorite toy of yours; you could play with leggos for hours. Balls are still loads of fun for you too. Books remain one of your favorites. There are times when you’ll fall asleep with books, or carry them around the house with you, and you’ll never turn down a chance to snuggle up with me or dada to read a few of your favorites. When we’re in the car, you love to dance and clap to the music on the radio; the faster the beat the better! You love animals, especially dogs. To get to know a dog, you get right to their eye level, look into their eyes, and babble in your deep, serious voice. It’s so funny.
You also like to use that deep serious voice when you’re talking to your friends. Many times you’ll raise your voice so it sounds like you’re yelling, but really, you’re just getting excited. We’ve had to explain to many of your friends that you’re yelling because you’re excited, not because you’re upset with them. I think we’ve had some unintentional hurt feelings a few times. I think soon enough you’ll learn about volume and that it’s best not to speak loudly to your friend when he’s right in front of you. But…you are a Murphy, so if the loudness continues, I won’t be too surprised. You come from a long line of loved ones who turn up the volume when they get excited.
Your Grammy Jan introduced you to sand boxes when we were at their house for a visit before Easter. It didn’t take long for you to become fascinated by the sand.
While we were visiting your Murphy Grandparents in Indiana, we went to a Botanical Garden and saw a butterfly display. We all thought it was amazing and so beautiful. You didn’t share the same sentiment.
Since you have family who lives out of town, you are very used to using Skype to talk to people we wish we could see in person more often. Recently you were chatting with Auntie Hannah and she captured you in the midst of one of your “I’m yelling because I’m so excited I just can’t contain myself” moods:
The sleeping situation just gets better and better as you grow. I might have said this before, but it’s worth saying again: I’m so very very thankful that you’re sleeping well now. That first year was rough (though I know that compared to some, we didn’t have that difficult of a time, and for that I’m thankful), but we all got through it. Going through that rough patch has helped to increase my gratitude for good sleep, I seriously thank the Lord each morning that we all got through the night without getting up. One of the new sign language signs you’ve learned is sleep, and you use it daily. I can ask you if you’re ready to go to sleep, you’ll sign sleep, and walk over to the stairs, looking to me or your Dada to help you up to your room. There have been times when we’re out a bit past the start of your naptime, and when we get home, you make it clear that you want to bypass lunch and head upstairs right away to go to bed. At night, a bath is the beginning of your bedtime routine, and when we say “It’s time to take a bath Jack,” you sign bath, and head for the stairs. After books, milk, a song, and some cuddle time, we can lay you down wide awake, you’ll roll over on your side and contentedly suck your thumb into dream land. It’s a thing of beauty. Did I say we’re grateful?
It seems that orange is a preferred color of yours. Your favorite sleeping companion is an orange blankie with a tiger attached to it. It was a gift from your Grammy Jo before your were born, and now, when it’s time to sleep, it’s the first thing you reach for once we get to your room. I’m not sure if the preference for the color orange led to a preference for the orange tiger blankie, or vice versa, but it’s fun to see these traits of yours emerging.
One such trait that we see periodically is an acute attention to detail. There are times when you are very specific about the placement of a particular item, or the order you want to do things in. It’s more than you just being a picky toddler. We caught this in action one day when you were vacuuming (yes, believe it or not, you love to vacuum. I’m hoping and praying that this love for housework continues for the rest of your life). In the midst of vacuuming, you glanced over at the tv stand and noticed that the doors weren’t touching each other. Since you like for them to be touching, you paused from your vacuuming so you could adjust the doors to your liking. Then you carried on with the task at hand. It was pretty funny.
You were able to participate in the family Easter egg hunt this year. It didn’t take long for you to catch on. Thankfully, you didn’t realize that the rock-shaped items inside the plastic eggs weren’t in fact rocks, but candy. You didn’t once try to put them in your mouth.
You’re communication skills are growing. Verbally, you say a handful of words consistently (bubbles, dog, uh-oh, banana, dada, bath, bowl, up, momma [when you feel like it], to name a few) and we hear you “trying out” new words daily. Most of the words you do say are probably unintelligible to people who don’t spend much time with you. We’ve seen your frustration grow as you have the desire to communicate more, but your verbal skills haven’t caught up yet. And it’s for this reason that we’re stoked about sign language. I can’t count how many times your frustration over something has been cut short because I’ve asked you to “say” please, help, more, all done, sleep, or wait. Usually, you’re able to stop fussing, use a sign, and calm down completely, or at least a bit.
The new signs you’ve picked up over the last two months are: bath, sleep, help, home, Leah (for auntie Leah), grandma, grandpa, dada, momma, fish, play, flower, dog, read, excuse me, light, and I love you. The I love you one is pretty stinkin’ cute. What we didn’t expect is you deciding to make up your own signs. You’ve made up a sign for hot that you use each time I tell you that your food is hot. You also have a sign for chapstick; surely that’s not a result of your mother’s chapstick addiction, right? Sometimes it seems you are using a sign and I have no clue what you’re trying to tell me. I think I need to pay more attention to the Signing Times dvd’s you watch, you might be picking up new signs that I don’t know.
I have a hard time knowing whether you look like me or your dada; when I look at you, I just see Jack. But, I do see characteristics of both me and your dada in you all the time. Thankfully, you’ve gotten your dada’s ability to relax and not take life too seriously.
Jack, with every passing month I think, “this is the funnest stage of his life yet,” and maybe I’ll say that at each stage, but right now truly seems to be the funnest yet. You are such a joy to be around. Your personality is unfolding more and more each day; we love seeing the silly faces and actions you make up, and the things that make you laugh and smile. You’re expressing your frustration with things more openly, and we’ve seen a few brief, mini-tantrums. But we want you to know, that no matter how many tantrums you throw at us, we will never stop loving you and we could never love you any less than we already do. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not overwhelmed by how blessed we are to be your parent’s. We love you buddy.