It's been awhile since I've written one of your letters. You've been up to a lot lately. At 17 months, you zoom all over the house. You officially took steps at 15 months on your own and took off at 16 months. You pretty much never crawled again after you figured out that was so much better. You still like to play with the broom and dustpan, and we're working on you bringing the dustpan to the pile when I need it. It often doesn't work, and while I go fetch the pan, you manage to dance in my dirt pile and eat the cheerio that was sitting in the middle. Yeah, you don't really care about gross-ness. When I'm behind with the laundry, I often dump the baskets on the dining room floor (because we don't have a laundry room) to sort. While doing a load, I have found you swimming in the piles of dirty clothes...and doing your version of what looks like a snow angel. Yeah, that's gross. We're working on the word, "yucky" and "dirty." You've got the word, "Eww!" down perfectly...but it's just because you like the word and think it's funny.
When we're outside, sticks are the greatest. They would probably be the greatest inside too, but we keep them outside. I guess I didn't need to get those Christmas gifts I already got for you! (Which you discovered, but only grabbed a gift that's for your cousin and carried it around the house.) You love being outside to play, swing, or go for walks. You loved watching us rake the leaves, and boy did we have a lot of leave raking to do. "Wow! Whoa!" was heard down the street as the leaves flew in the air. You liked to try yourself with a stick in the leaf pile...and every time, you'd yell something...very loudly, and sometimes you'd go up to the clothesline pole and give it a good whack with that stick to get your point across. You are a total boy.
Leaf pick-up is sadly coming to an end, so our mornings are no longer spent at the window watching the big trucks suck the leaves up. But, have no fear, snow plows will be coming! I tried to take you out for our first sticking snowfall. You wanted to play so badly but those snow boots and huge snow suit (yeah, and the mittens), made it super frustrating. Maybe next year, winter will be easier.
You did so well during Thanksgiving as we spent time with your dad's family. You were great the 3 hours down, you did ok with the crowds you didn't know, ate a ton of food, and survived the 3 hours back home. We stopped in for leftovers at my parents', and your first sentence was formed! Grandma was bringing Grandpa's deer meat down to the freezer in the basement. You watched and waited for her at the doorway. You made noises when you couldn't see her anymore, so I said, "Say: Grandma, where are you?" Don't you know, you said, "Where are you?" More like, "Wheyahyou?" The reaction you received egged you on to say it over and over again, making our night. Today, while I took a moment to use the bathroom, you came around the hallway not knowing where I went and said, "Wheyahyou?" You melt my heart Stephen Matthew!
We set up our tree a week ago during your nap time. For the first few days, you wouldn't go near it. I think you thought it was alive or something. After those first days, you'd give a branch a nudge with the toy in your hand, watching ever so carefully to see what it would do back to you. You got a little more aggressive within another day and would whack the branch and take a step back. I think you have discovered it's not going to get you. You have found the ornaments to be super interesting. They are things you are to be "gentle" with. I know you're curious, but we are gentle and we leave the ornaments on the tree. I found evidence of little fingers being more curious than allowed. Ornaments are upside down on a tree branch....or my favorite, I saw, from the next room, you threw a ball ornament back in the tree because you didn't know how to hang it back on, or you figured that was how we got them on there. (Our ball ornaments are plastic.) I definitely had to muffle my laughter from that one. It was just so innocent and boy-ish. You love those ball ornaments the most...and the little red bells around the tree.
You sure are growing up. You no longer put your head over my shoulder after bed time bottle. You just want to sit on my lap...because you really just want to go to bed. None of this snuggle business. Now, your legs hang down past my knees in the rocking chair (yes, that means you are huge). It was sad for me because you were never a cuddler...that was the closest we got. You have just started to come over and sit on my lap every once and awhile while we play on the floor. I love those moments. Earlier on in my pregnancy with your little brother or sister, I being overly tired, would end up falling asleep on the couch. You'd come over and toss a toy at me or get in my face and start talking! You always woke me up within a minute of dosing off. That began our game of patting the couch. I would pat the couch to ask you to sit with me...you know, so I could relax and snuggle with you and not have to chase you around for a few minutes. You had no idea what I was looking for and would rather not sit, so you'd look so cute at me and just pat the couch back. Now, random times, you come over and pat the couch next to me...so I will pat it...and you will pat it again. But, you'll sit with Grandma G. and you'll even fall asleep on her lap. Umm, where is this when you're tired with us? :)
You are just so busy, and thankfully, my energy is starting to come back a bit. I am still so thankful to be able to spend my days with you. You're my partner at the grocery store (even if you're wearing clothes with food on it, I forget the wipes, and then you get free cookie all over your face), you're my partner at the post office (even if you got your finger stuck in the trash swing door from swinging it the first time I let you walk and stand next to me), you're my partner at story hour (even if we went to the wrong class our first time and you picked your nose through the whole thing), you're my partner on the swing (even if I have to put you in your own swing because Mama's stomach doesn't tolerate the swing together thing anymore due to nauseousness and a growing belly), and you're my partner at play time (even if I end up dosing off), and snack time (even if a few of the crackers have fallen on the floor). I'm still learning as your mom, and I know you're still learning as my son. I love you so much, Stephen. And, I'm so thankful to be right here with you.