Dearest Braxton Cade,
Oh my sweet son...HOW can you be 18 months old already? I feel like you're growing way up too fast. I also feel like you're growing up faster than your sister ever did at your age. We've already done away with the high chair (last month) and bought a big-boy bed (last week) that you'll soon be hopping in to (and hopefully staying in!).
You are an ultimate JOY to our family, little man! I love your spunk - how you simply get up and walk with a purpose - head down and raring to go, like you have a mission you must accomplish.
I love your cheesers - how you light up a room when we tell you to give us the "cheese!"
And I love your determination. You don't let up. Ever. And while it may get a (little) annoying, it's also great that you consistently let us know what you want and don't let up until one of us - or anyone in the vicinity - hears you.
Highlights from these last few months:
* Speech: One area we're definitely working on is your speech development. You understand everything perfectly fine and do a great job of obeying commands, following directions, and pointing to various objects in books, in person, etc., as well as signing a variety of words that you don't (or can't) say. What you don't do the greatest job of is saying the words! You've mastered mama, dada, ball, uh-uh, and a variety of animal noises/sounds months ago. But you have yet to expand the vocabulary and start putting things in sentences. We're starting to hear the words "up,""mack" (sister), and some others, but we're definitely going to be talking to the ped at your upcoming well-baby check-up on things that we can continue to do. You love reading (yay!) both by yourself and with sister/mommy/daddy, and you babble at times. We label everything and ask you to say it and work on sounds - which you can do as well - but you either won't or can't (I'm thinking the first!) say many words. Why talk when sister does it for you, really?! A common younger child "problem," me thinks.
* Motor Skills: You broke your leg just before your 1st birthday, but it hasn't slowed you down since the cast came off just four weeks later! You're pitter-pattering all over the house, climbing up and down stairs quite well. Recently you've mastered how to escape the house by walking down the back stairs all by yourself and into the garage. (oh me!) Your fearless self also has allowed you to climb up the swingset ladder all by yourself and then slide down (again, all by yourself!). You love the mini trampoline downstairs and enjoy jumping on the bed until mommy walks in and catches you in the act. (you're getting better at sneakily sitting down before I get to you!). You aren't really into drawing or coloring yet. It interests you all for a minute and then it's time to get down and do something else...unless it's the big dry-erase board downstairs. You and your sis would spend hours down there coloring if I'd let you! (and wouldn't mind the constant mess!)
*Quirks: You love lining up all of your cars, tractors, and vehicles in their "parking lot" - aka the rocking chair in our bedroom. You also stack (very tall, mind you!) all of the play-doh canisters and then gleefully knock them down only to start over again. Once you've had enough with the play-doh, you move onto your building blocks (and do the same). You could dig in the dirt for hours and throw a huge fit when it's time to go inside (I don't mind this one bit - we have understanding neighbors!).
*Loves: In case you didn't know, you love to eat! And you enjoy all foods. You usually clean up your plate and then whatever your bird-legs sis doesn't want (or have) to eat. You love doggies and woof-woof whenever you hear or see one around the neighborhood - you love it even more when you can pet them and they lick you back. You love peeing in the bathtub - sometimes we don't make it in time. You smile and giggle and run around the house naked as a jaybird while we get your bath ready, and then sit and do your business (you're going to love reading this in a few years!). You love crushed ice from Bogey's. You love your paci (still) - but ONLY at night/naptime. We won't break you of that until after our long, 16-hour trip in a month. You also love to be rocked to sleep while I sing or hum you the lullaby "How Deep the Father's Love For Us." I don't know if I want to break you of that habit. The times that I do put you down without our special quiet time just seems like something is missing. I just love our precious snuggle time!
Little man, we love you so much and pray that you love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, and soul. We pray that you become a man after God's own heart - that you use your determination and your drive to serve God in your life, home, family, career, and community around you.
Love you, love you, love you, buddy!