After a couple of (relatively) bad bath pictures (like this one), these have to be some of the best ones ever, rivaling the 8-month pictures, which are still my slight favorites. Will is a toddlin' and talkin' machine now, which is so much fun. At times, frustrating, as he has an attention span of about 2 seconds and is very demanding at times of things when I'm pretty sure he doesn't even know what he wants. But in general, we have been having a really good time with him. We just got back last weekend from a week in Lincoln visiting Grandma and Grandpa and they got to share in the fun - look for posts on that trip in the coming weeks.
In the past month, we've done all kinds of fun things. We built a fort and played with/ate playdough for the first times; played in the snow, with the cats, and with dad's clothes. Also we finally found a fun solution to distract from the horrors of having to get dressed for bed, which has been rough in the past. One of the most fun of Will's recent developments to watch is his "dancing" to music - I have some videos on this to be posted soon.
I've heard from other parents of young children how astonished they are as their kids start to learn - "soaking up" everything around them like a sponge. We're seeing that with Will now, literally every day he does something with either Erin or I to demonstrate something he learned that is so smart we have to call the other person and have him do it again. For one thing, his vocabulary and ability to communicate with us grows daily. As in the past, he still likes to jabber long strings of nonsense, but he also says certain things to make a deliberate point, consistently. Such as "uh-oh" - whenever he falls over, or anything gets dropped, he'll say it. He even says it when we're playing Wii bowling and the bowling ball collides with the pins and they all crash down.
He understands a lot of what Erin and I say to him now too. You can see that in the story of breakfast - he nods his head if he wants something we're offering. Although, to be fair, he nods his head if you ask him almost anything that he doesn't quite understand. Other than nodding/shaking his head and uttering a few things, he constantly demonstrates that he understands what we're saying. You can see, at the end of the story of breakfast video when he signs to us that he's done eating. He definitely knows the word "done" - he signs it reliably when he's done eating, and when he is sitting somewhere playing and wants to be done to go play something else. Also, last week I was playing a golf video game with my friend Andy and Will was sitting by us on the couch. When Andy made a nice shot, I told him "well done!", then Will looked at me, confused, and signed "done".
He understands more complex statements as well. When we read Barnyard Dance, one of his favorite books, one of the lines is "clap your hands", and he always claps when we read that line. I can even give Will instructions - for example, tell him to "go pet Duke" when Duke's laying on his back like he does. He'll walk over slowly, and carefully stroke Duke's tummy fur. Here's a very cute example: yesterday, Erin asked Will where his drum was, and he made the "I don't know" sign - we asked him the same question when he was in the bath last night, hence the picture below. He then went wandering around and a few minutes later, he found the drum wherever it was stashed and brought it out to show us, beaming that he had found it.
Will also knows his body parts. In the picture below he's responding to "where's Will's nose?". He also knows his ears and piggies, and sometimes other parts. Also, if we ask him "where's dada's/mama's nose?", he'll happily stick his finger up our noses.
Last thing - we can get hugs more frequently, and better ones, mostly because we can ask Will directly for a hug. Unless he's busy he usually complies. Now Erin and I always try to get the most special hug, in which Will actually pats us on the back during the hug - then we brag to each other ("I got some pats!").
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