I haven't wanted to rush him into walking, but it is pretty cool now that it's happening. My favorite thing, though, is how proud he is of himself when he does it! His whole body shows his delight at his accomplishment; he even claps for himself. :) And I am looking forward to him being able to walk as the weather gets nicer: parks and playgrounds are so much more fun when one is vertically mobile!
This month his language skills have exploded! While we were at Pop and Mimi's a few weeks ago, he began learning animals' names and sounds, and now he LOVES spotting animals and pictures of animals while we're out and about! It's a great way to keep him entertained at the grocery store. His favorites are dogs and bears. For dogs (and most other animals that make two-syllable sounds) he can go "uff uff" and cows (and other drawn-out sounds) he can go "vvvvvvvvv," which, apparently, to a 14 month old, sounds like "moo."
Some of Charles' favorite activities are playing ball, stacking blocks, playing with puzzles and shape-sorters, banging/shaking musical instruments, and--most of all--READING BOOKS. Our time together is passing so much more quickly now that he's bringing me books to read, and actually more or less sits still for me to read them! He loves Brown Bear and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, as well as But Not the Hippopotamus and any other story featuring animals. He LOVES Clifford the Big Red Dog and can identify pictures of trains and say "ch! ch!" ("choo choo," of course).
The past month or so Charles has also begun "singing" little songs. Sometimes he'll sing "with" me, sometimes with the radio, and sometimes just because he feels like it. As a music-lover, I hope his new-found enjoyment of song lasts a lifetime.
I think we're finally over the hump sleep-wise. Most nights he'll sleep from around 8:00 PM to somewhere between 6:00 and 7:30 AM. It's fantastic! I feel like a new woman. He's making up for missing his night-time nursings by still nursing around five times during the day, which I love. I read on a blog somewhere that most 13-month-olds nurse 2-3 times a day and just chuckled. I hope the day when he only nurses twice is still a long, long way off!
As you can see, Charles is really growing from a baby into a little boy. This all really happened after he was mostly done with cutting all four of his one-year molars at once (which of course has expanded his menu options as well). The molars have been accompanied with a prodigious amount of snot and congestion, but he's handled it well and hasn't seemed too uncomfortable.
Another contributing factor to his development might be the time we've been spending with other toddlers at the Morning Garden program at our local Waldorf School. He's the youngest there, with most of the other nine children around two years of age (the range is one to two-and-a-half). We really enjoy our time spent with other "green" moms and toddlers--it's nice being a part of a group where I'm not the weird one! I also love seeing the other moms close-up in action: loving on their toddlers, teaching them, disciplining when necessary. And since most of them have slightly older kiddos, they're able to assure me that whatever phase Charles is in that's not so happy will pass, that we're not the only ones.
Overall, the past few months have been awesome. Each stage so far has been my favorite!
*Photos by Rachel Stricklin, taken at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens