Keeping Current With Gabriel

What size are his...?
-Clothes: wearing 18 months, but some odd articles of clothing in the 12m size still fit (??)
-Shoes: baby/toddler size 5/6 (depending on the shoe)
-Diapers: size 4

What's he eating?
Most of the time, Gabe eats cream of wheat with a baby spoon full of Nutella mixed in for breakfast. That is accompanied with a banana and some almond milk and sometimes a couple of crackers. For lunch and dinner, it's a mix of things depending on how much time we have and where we are. He really likes nutella and peanut butter sandwiches and can eat them all by himself big boy style!! (I don't have to cut them up for him anymore) He will eat crackers and/or bread items any time, any day. He likes to snack on cheese sticks and vanilla wafers and grapes. I've learned a trick that works a lot of the time with Gabriel--if I make a happy/excited face and make yummy sounds while I'm feeding him something, he will probably eat it. That doesn't work with green things though. What a bummer! 

What new things is he doing and discovering?
Gabriel runs around and jumps and hops and stomps like a pro nowadays! He is so active! I love it! He is SO cute and fun to watch! I get a kick out of watching him run around the house. He still dances to any and all music. He has started experimenting with new moves and rhythms and he nails all of them every time. He's going to be the SYTYCD champ in fifteen years!

We recently purchased Volume 2 of Baby Signing Time. Gabriel has already learned quite a few of the new signs! He still does mama, daddy, grandma, grandpa, sleep/bedcracker, banana, cereal, eat/food, drink, milk, water, juice, more, all done, cat, dog, horse, frog, and bird. Now he's also doing please, thank you, sorry, shoes, socks, wash hands, bath, help, ball, hat, potty, love, Jesus, and book. At least that's all I can think of... I cannot properly express my amazement at how quickly and easily Gabriel has taken to signing! It is SO NEAT to be able to communicate with him and vice versa! I can see the satisfaction and confidence building in him every time he is able to convey an idea, want or need to us. I love that he tells me when he's all done or even when he's sleepy and ready for a nap! Who IS this kid?!

Gabe now has six teeth: both of his lower central incisors and upper central and lateral incisors. Right on schedule and in a predictable order. I think he has started the teething process for his molars, which means they'll probably start cutting by summertime--eek! He usually sucks on his middle and ring fingers, but lately it has been his whole hand. He shoves his fingers way up into his mouth and chews on them with his back gums. Oftentimes I'll find an entire arm covered in drool, with the hand attached to that arm stuffed into his mouth.

As stated above, Gabriel knows the sign for potty and he has started using it quite a bit. He will do the sign, grab his diaper, scrunch up his face and say "Oh! Ooo! Oh!!" Which says to me that he is aware of when he is going potty in his diaper. He KNOWS. The fact that he understands what "going potty" means is kind of surprising to me. Isn't he a little young for that? He's only 16 months old!! I talked to my mom and she said that if he's waking up in the morning with a dry diaper, he may be ready to potty train. Guess what? He does. So I guess we're going to introduce the potty chair soon. We'll see how it goes. I don't expect him to take to it quickly, but would it be awesome if I could have him potty trained within the next six months?!

Gabriel is starting to talk. Finally! He says "dad/dada/daddy", "cracker", "mama", "ball", "oh wow", "uh-oh", "zoom", "hi", "bye-bye" and a few other words that have slipped my mind. He has such a cute little voice! I love to hear it and I can't wait to hear what he has to say next!

What are some of his favorite/not-so-favorite things?
-Toys- Favorite: Balls. Gabriel loves to throw, roll, and chase after balls of all shapes, sizes and colors. I love to watch him play! He also loves his legos and books. Not-so-favorite: I don't think he dislikes any of his toys...
-Foods- Favorite: Crackers and bread. Not-so-favorite: meat and anything green.
-Clothes- Favorite: Shoes. Now that we've transitioned from soft soled shoes to regular shoes, he can't get enough of hearing the sound of his footsteps. He also still loves hats! Not-so-favorite: Shoes. I know - I contradicted myself. He likes shoes when he's playing. If he's in his stroller or a shopping cart or riding in the car, he always tries to take them off. Other than than, he pretty much wears whatever I put on him without protest!
-People- Still Daddy and I still have the consolation prize of being the only person who can get him laughing really hard. When McKay isn't home, though, he LOVES Mamma! Not-so-favorite: He is starting to be little more wary about strangers and, honestly, I'm glad! He warms up to people after a few minutes--but he will NOT be forcibly handed over to someone that he doesn't recognize!
-Misc.- Gabriel started being afraid of the vacuum. Out of nowhere. He never used to give it a second thought when we vacuumed, but now it terrifies him. I have tried giving him the handle and letting him push it so he gets the idea that we're in control of the vacuum. He calms down and realizes it's not scary....but then if I try to set him back on the ground, he freaks. I guess it's just a phase.

Anything else?
We've started a new sleep-time routine. Gabriel has always been a good sleeper, but I started noticing a weird pattern. We would lay him down to sleep and he would lay down without a problem. The I would continue my routine and hear Gabriel babbling and playing over the baby monitor. Something needed to be done. I know I have hard time sleeping sometimes and it's usually because I can't turn my mind off. I remembered that I have an old iPod Nano that I haven't been using (it doesn't hold a charge and needs to be plugged in at all times to work) that I could put in Gabe's room to play music! Playing music usually focuses your attention and changes your mood. It's powerful stuff!! I hopped online and, lo and behold I got an Amazon Mom email that would give me a discount on Lullaby music! I went to town and bought 4 or 5 cds of Lullaby music. We already had "Babies Go! Pink Floyd", which has some pretty lullaby-ish all instrumental covers of some of Floyd's greatest hits, "Baby's First Classical Music" and "Baby's First Beethoven" to pick songs out of. I ordered a cd of celtic lullabies, a Disney lullaby CD (all of your favorite classic, soft Disney songs like "Baby Mine", "House at Pooh Corner" and "When You Wish Upon A Star") and two CDs of lullabies from around the world (which I LOVE! They are sung by people from various countries in their native languages - such beautiful music!) and loaded them onto the iPod. So now we change his diaper, turn on the music and cuddle/rock him for a minute or two to calm him before laying him in his crib to sleep. He sleeps better than ever now! .:LOVE:.

Mr. Personality
Gabriel's smile, laughter, and energy are infectious. No one can help but smile and laugh with him. No matter where we go, I get comments from people saying "He is SO cute!" and "What a happy baby!" and so on. McKay's mom watches Gabriel for us during the day while I'm at work and McKay is at school/ROTC. She always goes on about how easy and happy and fun he is. Of course, I couldn't agree more! He is so well-mannered and obedient and SUCH a ham! He almost always signs "please" when he wants something and is starting to sign "thank you" a lot more. When I tell him no or to stop doing something or come back or put that down, he obeys and sometimes follows with a "Oh! No! No no!!" and shakes his finger at you. He cracks me up!He still almost never cries - only (sometimes) when he is hurt (physically or feelings), or if he's really tired and cranky - and that's usually my fault because he tells me when he's tired. He is a super flirt. He will flirt with pretty girls anywhere, any time. He's such a funny kid! All in all, I feel pretty lucky. He has always been so happy, a good eater, a great sleeper and just a sweetheart in every way.

[Last updated: 3/16/11]