Months Twenty-Nine and Thirty

April 11, 2022


Titus,

Diapers and potties have loomed large this month. Between you announcing you’re stinky, us asking, and your brothers observations we seem to be constantly discussing it. Beyond that, you’ve figured out how to get your diaper off. In or out of your crib, or otherwise. We seem to be getting closer and closer to potty training. You disappear about the same time each day into your playroom and shut the door. A few minutes later, you pop out to announce that you’re dirty and grab your basket of diapers for a change.

Overheard on the monitor sometime after 9 PM: “Daddy! Diaper change!” We’ve flipped your sleep sack backwards now so you can’t just unzip it and take the wet diaper off yourself. You are sleeping dry through the night now on occasion. Potty training is coming soon, whether we want it or not.

If we mention (or if you decide) it’s time for a bath, you head right for the bathroom. Without intervention, you will get all your clothes off, sit on the potty, and then climb right in the bathtub. You like to have a bath at night more than almost anything else. Titus: “I’m going to have a bath.” Dad: “you don’t need a bath tonight”. Titus: “Mommy, I have a bath?” Dad: “Getting a second opinion?” Titus: “Yeah!” This, all the way to melting to the ground in the hallway because you can’t have a bath.

The kitchen stool has created significant risks for us and rewards for you. Every time we turn around, the stool is out in the kitchen being used to access the counter or the fridge. From bread to cereal, to milk, you know where we keep it all and aren’t shy about doing it yourself. Since the stool is stored in the pantry, it gives access to all of those shelves as well. We an empty pack of gum and wrappers on the shelf one day. After establishing with your brothers that they weren’t theirs, we found one chewed piece of gum and 5 more pieces in the dog’s dish. It appears you know how best to dispose of the evidence. The only thing we have to keep locked up is that stool.

You stole the stool on multiple occasions, but on one you climbed up to the counter to get a piece of candy out of the upper cabinet in which it’s (not, apparently) hidden. In the process, the salt spilled out on the counter. As you later described it to Daddy, “Salt everywhere. Mommy clean it up!”

You love to run errands with Mommy. You know that there are always errands to run and can’t wait to go when it’s time. You finished your breakfast one morning and announced to Daddy, “I’m going to Target and the bank!” Not sure if you actually had heard Mommy talking about it that morning, but it was on your schedule. You also like Walmart, the grocery store, and Costco. “Errands with Mommy!”

Everything we say we hear back from you at some point. You are paying attention to all the little details and copying those sayings and expressions exactly. From our instructions to your brothers to things we teach, it’s all echoed. As Mommy was coaching Seth on basketball in the car one day, you piped up about every third sentence with “yeah! Uh huh!”

Your brothers have been trying to teach you basic math. You know 1+1 is 2, but just apparently through repetition. Seth asked you at the table “what’s 4 plus 4?” Through a mouthful of spaghetti, you replied, “Full of food!” We call you various nicknames, and always get the reply, “No, I Titus.”

At some point this month you decided that you could do the hoverboard just like your brothers. You hopped right up on there and went from standing and balancing to rolling all around the basement in a couple of days. Mommy just came down the stairs one day to find you rolling around. Back and forth, over bumps, and spinning, it’s all there. Daddy even found you driving around on your knees. It’s nice to be short, with that low center of gravity.

It’s been a rough couple months for sicknesses, but you pretty much roll through them with a smile, most of the time. A couple tummy bugs generally result with you on a towel on the living room floor next to a bucket, watching something to keep you still. Describing this to Nana over FaceTime, “Threw up in bucket! Watched mouse!” Later you had about the worst croup we’ve seen, and we ended up having to bring you into bed with us to try and get you to sleep. You spent an hour rolling around talking to your bunny, saying “hi” to Daddy. At about 2 AM, you found Daddy’s hand slapped it, and said, “Gave Daddy high five!” Sorry, dude, we are not co-sleepers.

The end of the month was quite eventful. Grandma and Grandpa came to visit, which was lots of fun as always. Mommy and Daddy came in late from a date (thanks for sitting, Grandpa and Grandma!) and found you wide awake and kicking the wall in your crib. “Hi Daddy! Grandpa put me to bed!”

In addition to that, Daddy broke his wrist and had surgery on it. Every time you saw Daddy in his splint for the first 5 days, you said “Daddy crashed?” or “you crashed?” Thanks for the reminder, little man.

You have learned and grown so much the last two months. Every day you are more independent and want to do everything on your own. Fortunately, you are still Mommy’s little snuggle buddy and need her every day. Keep learning and growing, but always need your Mommy.

Love,

Daddy and Mommy

Months Twenty-Seven and Twenty-Eight

February 12, 2022

Titus,

The first Christmas with you or your brothers was always a very special occasion, just to celebrate the milestone. But the second Christmas, where you’re walking, talking, and enjoying is even more special in many ways. Celebrating Christmas with you as you enjoyed time with your grandparents, cousins, and family; and celebrated our traditions was such a wonderful time. We celebrated with a candlelight Christmas Eve service, and you got to see the wonder of the light spreading through the sanctuary from person to person.

You haven’t quite realized that presents are supposed to be for you to open, so it’s far more fun to see you running around to carry presents to other people and just enjoying the whole time. You have quite realized that you’re the cutest in a Santa hat, which you now refer to as your “Ho ho ho!” It seems the presents require to you tear paper, which, up to this point, has been off limits to you.

Christmas also meant travel to and from Colorado to see friends and family, and to stay with them. You were so excited to get on the airplane to go visit, and very disappointed two days before that you didn’t get to get up to go on the airplane yet. Since Papa always made bacon or sausages in his air fryer, you’d pop right up in your crib in the morning and ask, “Hi Papa? Bacon? Sausage?” You also got to sleep over with your brothers for the first time at Grandpa and Grandma’s house. You had a wonderful time, but “Miss mommy” was the word when you got home. Sitting around the table at the restaurant, you greeted each of the 9 other cousins in turn. “Hi! Hi Grant! Hi! Hi Audrey!”, etc.

Coming back home to Virginia brought a snowstorm with 16 inches of snow and 36 hours without power. Daddy and your brothers got a whole week off work and school, and we did the gas stove, hanging out in front of the fireplace, games and books by flashlights, and lots of sledding. There’s nothing like the face you make deciding whether to cry over the face full of snow or enjoy the ride down the hill.

You are paying attention to every little thing that goes on around you now. Watching Mommy get ready in the bathroom, you walked over to the drawer and proceeded to give her makeup in the correct order. Just like Mommy and Daddy, you walked over to the kitchen hand towel, smelled it, and informed us “Dirty!”. Your older brothers have gotten into both Minecraft and Starcraft. Taking after them, you sit down at the table and say “Talk about Minecraft!” or “Two battlecruisers!” Not entirely sure what the words mean, but you’ve picked them all up from your brothers.

We find you after nap or bed playing in your crib, going through your words, and just generally having a good time. Seth put you in your crib at one point this month, at which point you climbed right out. That’s scored you the Sleep Sack Reversal, so the zipper is in the back and you can’t take it off. The loss of the use of your legs keeps you in the crib for now. Your brothers enjoy building forts out of whatever’s available, so you’re right on that train. We came in after nap to find that you’d “Built a fort!” by arranging a blanket for your stuffed animals.

The rapid vocabulary expansion also has you finishing sentences and books. You love to read the same book multiple times. From the Elephant and Piggie books to the Very Hungry Caterpillar, you know how almost every page ends. “And he was?” “Still hungry!”

You’ve started to figure out how to get your own pants on, especially jammies. (To be fair, you’ve been able to get them all off for a while, to include your diaper, especially with the promise of a bath, but that’s neither here, nor there.) It so fun to watch you figure out how to sit down, roll the pants so the tag is in the back, and work those legs in. With these discoveries, you’re also starting to figure out how to sit on the potty. “Potty!” It looks like it might be time for that soon. Again with the observation, we’ll see you closing the bathroom door with the statement, “Be out in a minute!” to blow your nose, or want to go potty, etc.

The bathroom also has water faucets, which are a new and intriguing experience for you. You went and got the stool out of the hallway bathroom to bring it to your bathroom. You proceeded to climb up to the counter, get your toothbrush, fill a glass with water, and carry the glass downstairs. We cannot leave you unsupervised ever. We knew this day would come when we gave you the room with its own bathroom, and here we are.

More words also brings more tattling on your brothers. “Seth pushed me!” “Oh yes? But did you hit him in the head?” “Yes.” When your first child tells you “No!” when you tell them to do something, it’s like a crisis of parenting. When the third kid does the same, it’s somehow cute (sometimes). Sorry to your older brothers for that one, Titus.

Mommy: “You need a haircut.” Titus, rubbing his hands across his head with a smile, “Fluffy puppy!” You bring so much joy to all of our days. We love you so very much.

Daddy and Mommy

Months Twenty-Five and Twenty-Six

December 11, 2021

Titus,

How can you be two already? With 2020 basically a lost year, it seems like you’re so old, so quickly. That, and it seems like we’ve been in Virginia much longer than just 5 months. We still expect you to be 18 months old, but you’re running, playing, talking, and asserting your little joyful nature with us and everyone you meet.

With a couple of colds that have been passed around the friends and school, you’ve learned how to blow your nose. Nothing makes you feel more accomplished as a parent than that. You declare that you need to “Blow nose!” and off we go. I think we can pretty much declare that we’ve successfully prepared you for the world and focus on your brothers.

You can even bring us the tissue or toilet paper to blow the nose, walking right up to daddy with the end of the toilet paper to blow. Unfortunately, the end was still connected to the roll. Three rooms away. The most impressive part is that you managed to go that far without a tear.

You’ve also figured out what the potty is for. On multiple occasions, you have informed Mommy that you’d like to sit on the potty, and successfully executed on that once. Not sure that we’re quite ready for you to go down that road, especially since you can’t actually get up there by yourself yet, but we’ll be there sooner than later.

One of our favorite family activities since the fall time change is hide and seek in the dark. You kick it off more often than not with “Count! Count!” and trying to turn off the lights. Counting to twenty in the dark as you run around that house is the best part of the game for you. We’ve got 18 of the 20 numbers on lock, just missing a few of the -teens sometimes. Nothing is more fun than hiding (in a not too hard spot) and having you joyfully squeal when you find us. Your brothers love to have you in the game, and are more than happy to play.

These months brought family visits and Thanksgiving with family and friends. Nana and Papa were here early in October, and Grandpa and Grandma came to visit for Thanksgiving. You just love to be able to run downstairs and give out hugs when people are visiting us. We also got to celebrate Thanksgiving with new friends! We have a lot to be thankful for, including you!

We’ve had quite a bit of time outside enjoying the fall colors and cool weather. A number of hiking days means trips in the backpack watching your brothers run around. You enjoy those rides with Daddy, at least for a little while, and then it’s time to chase the brothers and explore yourself.

We’re getting ever closer to retiring the crib. We’ve found you pulling out the baby plug covers behind the crib, to climbing out. The sleep sack has become more of a straight jacket, with the zipper in the back. The zipper in the front means you can get right out, and hand us your wet diaper when we come in after nap time. Seth stuck you in your crib, and you climbed right out. It’s looking like we’re close to time for a big boy bed.

You’ve had little problems negotiating staircases since moving into our new house, where we left off the baby gates. However, a head cold contributed to a rapid trip down the stairs and an ER visit. Fortunately the CT scan was clear, but how about that bruise! A few days later, we got a book in which a monkey bumps his head (and you, the reader, participate in “Clean it, kiss it, put a bandage on it, all better” with bandage stickers). Each and every time we read the book, you point to your head and the monkey’s head and say “Titus head. Fall down!”.

The secondary effect of the same book is that any time you get a bump or fall down, it’s a simple “clean it, kiss it, all better” and you’re off and running. That’s sunk in so much that we’re almost removed from the equation as parents. Mommy heard you running down the hall, trip, fall, and start crying. Next thing she heard was “Clean it, kiss it, all better!” and off you went.

The round knobs on all the doors in the house have been a good baby-proofing measure right up until a few weeks ago. With two hands and some twisting, you’ve figured out how to work them. We’re going to need more baby handles, and the bathroom is no longer a place for a few minutes of quiet.

This month’s secondary mission was to destroy the house. You often play(ed) with Playdough in the pantry on the lower shelves. You’d get it all out and leave it, and then come out when you were done. One day, you came out after playing for a while. When we went into the pantry, we found…no Playdough. When asked, you lifted the heater vent, reached in, and pulled out the lid. That’s right. 14 cans of Playdough down the heater vent. The next weekend, you filled up the toilet with toilet paper and a cleaning cloth. When Mommy found you in the bathroom, you informed her “Wet!” That’s correct. The floor covered in water is indeed wet.

We decorated the Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving this year. This is really the first year you’ve been involved, and you took right to the ornaments. You selected one glass ball full of sand and sea decorations and declared it “Titus ball!” It was carried around for the whole unpacking and decorating process, until we hung it out of reach on the tree. Each and every time you see the the tree you point out that ornament. Coming downstairs, you have to make sure the tree is turned on and all the garlands are plugged in around the house.

Just like every month for the last year, it seems, your vocabulary and sentences just keep getting longer and better. From describing your whole day to Mommy at bedtime, to telling your friends grandma “Meet you!” (nice to meet you), you’re just getting more and more interactive, and bring so much joy to everyone you talk with.

We love to hear your little voice all around the house. No matter the circumstance, you always bring a smile to our faces.

Love,

Daddy and Mommy

Months Twenty-Three and Twenty-Four

October 13, 2021

Titus,

Wow. So quickly you are two years old. You are developing so quickly into your own little boy with a unique personality. You’ve gotten so good at communicating now, exactly what it is that you want, and what you don’t want. The fact that you’re so very cute helps you out on the “don’t want” side. Just when Mommy and I are about done with you stealing bites of our dinner, lunch, snack, or otherwise, you bring out your smile and “thank you..much!”

The expansion in your vocabulary has been exponential this month, and you’re using it extensively. Stinky diaper. Mommy and Daddy were on the couch together. “Can Daddy change your diaper?” “No! Mommy do it!” Pulling on Mommy’s hand, “Come on! Diaper”. Got over to get the changing stuff, and then said “Daddy diaper?” Mommy’s really the best for all things, apparently including that. “Do you want Seth to change your diaper?” (Seth was trying out new things, and had changed a couple wet diapers with help). “No! Mommy change…diaper!”

If everyone is involved in your activity, you’re happy. If we’re doing something else that takes away from your time? We get the pull, push, or tug on the legs, along with “Play more! Play more!” You know what our smartphones look like, and you’re not hesitant to tell us to put them down to come and play or read.

We’re hearing your colors, numbers, and songs now all the time. Variably, you can count to 5, 10, and 20 with most of the right numbers in the right places. Sometimes it’s a count straight to ten. Sometimes it’s “What comes after 4?” “Blue.”You can identify pretty much all the colors in the rainbow (and what’s the big difference between blue and indigo, really?) All colors start as “orange”, and then you take a second and figure out which color it actually is. It’s fun to watch you excitedly describe the world to us using those colors. Noah’s learning to read, and you’ve got the concept of reading, if not the actual execution. You think his sight word cards are so much fun, and you’re copying spelling by mimicking the sounds.

New words and phrases come every day; more than we could possibly record or remember, but some of the best that come to mind include when you were stung by a wasp on the playground at a park. The next week we were back at the same park: “bug, bug! Ouch, ouch!” Also, we now get “why” all the time now, almost every time we ask you to do something. Most of the time, a simple explanation brings the response “oh, OK!” and off you go to comply.

Mommy scolded you for dropping food from the high chair (which is a regular occurrence, including the flipping of bowls of cereal and anything else. In fact, now you simply say ‘Molly! Molly!’ when food goes over the side to make sure that the dog knows she can come clean up. We’re at the point where she’s ignoring some food she doesn’t like.) Anyway, you got scolded for dropping food. You covered your face with your hands and said, “Sorry, Mommy”. A moment later, you popped open your hands and said “Peekaboo!”. It’s hard to discipline that cute face, especially when you’re event saying the cutest things.

Daddy has been traveling a lot for work, lately, so we’ve been on FaceTime frequently. Each conversation starts with “Hello Daddy!”, and ends with “See you!” You figured out pretty quick that the red button hangs up the phone, and you’re going for that when you’re done with the conversation. Even if Daddy asks to talk with Mommy again? Nope, red button. Daddy’s gone for a couple weeks, and you’re calling any random guy dad, too. At friends’ house across the street and time to go home? “Bye Dad!”

We got a new refrigerator in the kitchen recently. We thought through all the features that we thought we wanted and needed, considered the size and finish, and all the other details. Except…we did not consider that with a double freezer drawer on the bottom, you have the size and leverage to open either of those drawers. After once or twice seeing the popsicles and ice cream sandwiches come of of that bottom drawer, well. After the occasion you brought us a box of ice cream sandwiches, and the other occasion where you created sand paintings from a bag of coffee, we’ve had to reevaluate exactly what gets stored in those drawers.

You still love to sing, and your grasp of language means we hear you singing “1, 2, Buckle My Shoe”, “Baa Baa Black Sheep”, “Twinkle Twinkle”, and other songs, mostly under your breath. It’s very fun to sit quietly and hear you talking or singing to yourself.

You pop up in your crib in the morning, normally with a smile, and you’re off! You pretty much don’t stop moving. It took a cold to knock you down enough to fall asleep on your playroom floor. Otherwise, it’s running around, all the time. We also regularly find you being a frog, with a “Ribbit! Ribbit!” and hopping down the hallway. You also have a special skipping little run you do when you’re being naughty, you know it, and you’re escaping the scene.

Upgrades to the new backyard this month included a trampoline and a swingset! You love both, and can’t get enough of your own swing on the swingset. Your favorite is to be twisted up and let go, and we get regular requests to “Spin!” Getting ready brings your “3..2..1” countdown into kicking legs and squealing as the ropes unwind. You’ve also improved rapidly on the trampoline, from barely being able to stand, to hopping around (again with the “3..2..1”) doing seat drops. You can’t wait to jump with your brothers, and happily take turns bouncing with Daddy or Mommy. You run right out to stand against the net when it’s a brother’s turn to try something.

The move that really sums up everything is that look you give Mommy where you wrinkle your nose while smiling. Mostly when you’re being just a little naughty, or we’ve told you to stop doing something. You know you’re just too cute and too happy.

We love you so much, little two-year-old. We can’t wait to spend every day with you.

Love,

Daddy and Mommy

Happy Second Birthday Titus!

October 09, 2021

Titus,

“Happy…birthday…Titus!” For the last 6 months, you’ve been telling everyone else happy birthday, be it their birthday or not. Now it’s your turn! It’s such a pleasure to have a smiling, talkative, excited, happy little toddler in our lives each and every day.

We can’t wait to see what the next year brings for all of us. We all so enjoy having you as part of the family.

With all our love,

Daddy and Mommy (and Seth & Noah)

Months Twenty-One and Twenty-Two

August 13, 2021

Titus,

Big changes this month! We’ve moved from Nebraska to Virginia, moved everything out of the old house, moved into a new house, and gotten pretty settled. Whew! Fortunately, that came with a couple weeks in Colorado with the grandparents and cousins, and a couple of plane flights. 18 months of COVID quarantine means you haven’t done nearly as much flying as your older brothers had at the same age. Inexperience might mean a little bit of chaos in this case. Fortunately, we were all able to fly together from CO to VA to close on our new house and meet the moving truck.  The house is pretty well settled now, and your playroom now has a door. That’s pretty nice for when you’re all about pulling everything off the shelves. I think we’ve left it for a few days now without picking up, since it’s out of sight of the kitchen now.

You were quite confused by the process of our old housing being packed up. You walked around and watched the movers packing all the boxes, and then went looking for your toys and books in your playroom. Looking at us, spreading your hands, with a confused look, “Books?”. “They’re all in boxes, baby.” “Boxes.” Lots of excitement on the other end seeing everything come back out of the boxes to go in your new playroom. You were all about taking the inventory stickers off of items. For about a week, we’d turn around all the time to find that you’d brought us another little red sticker.

The process of moving has brought lots of new things, along with all the new things that growing up brings. You’ve moved up from the high chair to a booster seat, and pretty much taken over your own fork and spoon. Even for spaghetti, which is surprisingly clean. We painted and set up your new room, which you love. You were so excited to try short-sleeve jammies for the first time, and raced around the upstairs to show your brothers the fire trucks on them. “Seth! Seth!”.

Getting out in the world after 18 months of mostly not seeing anyone means picking up on all the fun colds and RSV you hadn’t gotten before. We’ve been back to church a couple times, and we’re all passing around colds now. You’re not too bad when you’re sick, just passing out on the kitchen floor wrapped up in a blanket. Poor little guy. It still doesn’t do too much to damp down your happy spirit, though. You’re back at it, smiling and chasing your brothers around pretty quick.

We are hearing new words from you every day, and you’re excited to communicate about all sorts of things. Numbers came quickly this month, and you like to count 1 or 2 things everywhere. 3 works as well, but then it’s just about always a skip to five or six. But each time you see more than one thing together, we hear “1…2…3…6!” At some point you also caught on to the 3..2..1 countdown, which is your go-to before jumping, diving, or otherwise executing acrobatic maneuvers. The new rocket picture on your bedroom wall also gets a “3..2..1..liftoff!”

You’re also all about those colors this month. We hear blue and green for almost everything at first, but if we ask again, you can identify red, yellow, orange, white, and purple. Given the new house and Mommy’s decorating preferences, blue is a pretty good guess anyway, so you do well.

Each time we’re headed downstairs and you want to come, though you are perfectly capable of coming down yourself, we hear “carry you?” With your little arms outstretched and a cute little question on your face, even if we’re half or all the way down. If you’re tired and it’s bedtime, we’ll even get that on the way back up the stairs, too.

Speaking of those acrobatic maneuvers, you’re all about the pool and water this month. It’s completely unsafe, but you’re a big fan. You head straight for the side of the pool, and walk right off, trusting that one of us will be there to catch you. Which we will, as long as we never let you near a pool unsupervised. Down the full length of the slide in our friends’ backyard, as well as jumping off the diving board, you’re fearless. A jump off the board also might necessitate a “3..2..1”.

You have implemented the cutest new surprised face this month. With a big round O of a mouth and wide eyes, you bring it out every time you see something new or fun, as well as any time you’re surprised by life.

Conquering anything climbable results in a resounding “Did it!” That list of things includes playgrounds, bar stools, chairs, beds, slides, ottomans, couches, more chairs, ladders, and many other things that we probably aren’t entirely comfortable with you climbing. Still, we’re all about getting a picture first before you come down.

In the morning, you’re almost always up before your brothers, so you get a little extra snuggle time with Mommy. Sometimes Daddy, but mostly Mommy. Inevitably, though, you pop your head up and yell “Noah?” Then you have to slide down, and run down the hallway to both brothers’ rooms, which are across from each other. If the sound of you running into the door doesn’t wake them up, shouting their names when we open the door certainly does. You are always so excited to see them in the morning.

The favorite toy right now is the turtle that has multiple different buckles on it. You like to buckle all buckles, pretty much wherever you see them. “Buckle!” We will leave you with any buckles and you will have them clipped together in no time at all. Multiple times on every car ride you swing the fully-buckled turtle over the edge of your car seat as a request to have them all undone again.

Made it 22 months without a trim of the hair, but it was definitely time this month. You got your first haircut, courtesy of Mommy. Don’t you look sharp!

This month marked the first time you really said “Love you!” back to us. You definitely say it to Daddy. Mommy gets “much”, since she likes to say “I love you SO much!” You are getting possessive about your parents, pushing your brothers away if you want to snuggle. Even pushing Daddy away, since you are definitely all about your Mommy. But Daddy gets Facetime hugs when we’re apart. You love to run over to the phone, and wrap it up in a big hug.

It really feels like you’re transitioning to being a toddler these last two months, and moving completely out of the baby phase. You are growing so fast and seem so big now! We love you very much.

Daddy and Mommy

Months Nineteen and Twenty

June 13, 2021

Titus,

You set out this month to both increase your skills and exploration, and to stretch the limits of Mommy’s nerves by climbing up on everything. The ladder in the garage, the ladder at the park, stools, chairs, tables, couches, and almost anything else vertical. We’ve both gotten more relaxed with you on staircases as you’ve figured out the going up and down. Of course, you spend your time watching your brothers go up and down walking, so you want to try that out! After a fall down the stairs, maybe it’s time to put all those gates back up, especially at the new house. At least the stairs are carpeted. A few bruises and apparently no lessons learned about the risk of descending stairs at speed.

In the same vein, we’d close the gate at the top of the stairs, and then close most of the doors to the bedrooms where we didn’t want you. Now, there’s no gate since painting all the walls in the house, and we don’t worry about the bedrooms. So now, you go around and close all the doors yourself, so we come up and find all the doors closed. You also persist in closing any other doors that are normally closed, from bathrooms, to the pantry and the refrigerator, whether we’re in the middle of using them or not.

You’re really latching on to various objects this month, from your monkey, named Timmy, to having a blanket in your crib. We gave you a blanket in your crib for the first time this month, and you like nothing better than to curl up around your blanket and your stuffed animals to sleep. Your newest animal is a monkey, who you’ve named Timmy. We now hear “Timmy!” as both an exclamation and as a statement all the time. In fact, you’ve clearly connected Timmy to being a monkey. Daddy pointed out Noah climbing all over the playground and said “he’s quite a monkey!”. You pointed at Noah and said, “Timmy!”

You are asserting your little personality more and more these last few months. You know what you want, and you know very well when your brothers (or your parents) are preventing you from getting it. From pointing and saying the name of whatever you want, which includes any and all food that Mommy is currently eating, to the high-pitched yell of your brother’s names across the house, we know exactly what it is that you want, and what you think you deserve. This does extend to playing by yourself, wandering off to your toys. It’s been a crazy month for the family, prepping the house for sale and getting ready to move. And here is cheerful little Titus, wandering back and forth through the chaos, just doing his own thing.

We’ve added a lot of words and phrases. Just a sampling:

  • Pizza!
  • Run!
  • Bummer!
  • Thank you!
  • Hike, hike! (When he sees anyone playing with the football, he comes running yelling “hike”)
  • Boom! Crash! (any time he or someone else falls down)
  • Stop it, Noah! (that’s pretty self*explanatory)
  • Airplane! (Pointing at the sky anytime he hears or sees a plane)
  • Turn! (Came and climbed up in Daddy’s lap when he was playing a game, pointed at the dice, and said “turn!”)
  • Bless you! (When he or other sneeze)
  • I full!

Beyond that, you’re mimicking all the other words and sounds you hear, along with lots of the activities you see. When Daddy gets on the floor to do pushups, you race over to get down alongside and lift your head and shoulders in time.

You’re starting to recognize your colors, starting with green and moving to blue and red this month. We’ve also occasionally worked out purple, yellow, and white. You call out colors on walks, on computer screens, and anywhere else you see them and consider it important that we know.

With the advent of summer, we’ve been going to the pool a lot more. You are a fearless swimmer, jumping right off the side into the water. This, unfortunately, without checking if we are looking or not. Putting your face in the water, blowing bubbles, and learning to float front and back, you’re a fan of the water.

You love FaceTime, whether with grandparents, Seth playing Minecraft with friends, or Daddy/Mommy. You know those sounds, and come running to say hi, including climbing up on the couch shouting the names of Seth’s friends. In fact, just like your brothers, you know how to work things. You stole mommy’s  phone and figured out how to switch on FaceTime from the voice call to Daddy. You then proceeded to carry Daddy around the main level of the house for 15 minutes.

We had some great time with the family twice in the past two months, first for spring break, and second right after school ended for you brothers. Running around with cousins in the basement, at the park, going on long walks in the backpack, and just spending time with grandparents and cousins. You’re more than ready to play with anyone, and quite think you can hold your own with everyone. Traveling on an airplane for the first time meant you got to get your first (and hopefully only) COVID test. You loved the plane, looking out the window and around in fascination at the whole thing. COVID certainly limited your under-two plane flights over the past 18 months. With the move, though, we plan on catching things up over the next couple months.

You are transitioning so fast from “baby” to “toddler” to “little boy”. We love each day with you, and are so blessed to be your parents.

Love,

Daddy and Mommy

Months Seventeen and Eighteen

April 10, 2021

Titus,

So…busy. We have truly raised and released an independent force of nature on the world. You’ve figured out how to climb, so we find you on the kitchen table, on the counters, on the _______. You’ve also discovered that the chairs move around, which pretty much gives you access to most surfaces in the house, along with the light switches. You can swiftly pull out the chairs and climb up to the table or the counter. Seth fixed the problem by putting a post-it on your back that read “Take me off the table.” Not sure that’s a long term solution, but at least your brothers are looking out for you. We’ve found you bridging from your chair to your high chair, climbing over the tray and into the seat in a precarious maneuver. Thank goodness that baby equipment comes with straps and buckles.

You like nothing more than to just wander and explore whatever environment you’re in. If you’re in the basement with your brothers, we just listen to the sounds of you knocking on the walls with a ball in your hand as you wander around to look at and touch everything. If if the backyard, you just walk all over checking out every little thing. That doesn’t mean we can leave you unattended, by any means. Between tossing rocks on the AC unit to dumping bags of crackers out on the table, you’re keeping everyone on their toes. Seth in March: “We should make a list of all the things Titus can do when we’re not looking. Climb on the table. Climb on the chair to get to the water dish. Dump out an entire bag of goldfish”.

From words to actions, you’re learning everything by copying, everything that we do. You can reach the drawers in the kitchen now, so you love to pull out the oven mitt and put it on just like we do, and then wander the house with it on. You grabbed the kitchen cloth, and then proceeded to climb up on the table and wipe it down for us. We hear the little hop-skip of your toddling run all around the house, keeping up with everyone to see what is going on.

You’re a little parrot this month. Your favorite word is still “Mama” or “Mommy”, closely followed by “no”, which is the default (and clearest) response to all questions, often accompanied by a determined shake of the head. Even if you don’t know the word for something, you’ll indicate it with the sound, like pointing at the lamp and saying “click!” It’s hard to even capture all the new words you’ve been learning and using every day.

We get lots of other sounds, too. From a whole range of animal sounds, to sounding out car “ca-ca-car!” from the back seat, you’re listening to everything we read and say. You love to run through the sounds from the animal book, as we ask you what a cow, elephant, sheep, horse, cat, dog, etc. all say. Finally, when Mommy asked you if you were a sassy monkey, you responded with a definite “ooh ooh!"

We use “bummer” on a regular basis for various things, so you’ve picked right up on that as well. It’s quite funny to hear you say “bummer!” after dropping your cup or some other perceived small problem. More talking has also added “peekaboo”, from popping over the arm of the couch, to covering your head with a blanket.

You continue to surprise us with how observant you are of all the things going on around you and how things go together. Seth left his glasses on the backyard table and ran out in the yard to play football with friends. You toddled over to the table, picked up his glasses, and then walked right out in the yard to hand them to Seth. Clearly you’ve picked up on all the times that Mommy and Daddy have asked Seth where his glasses are. Of more concern, those observational skills have extended to opening doors, fence gates, the sliding door lock, and other barriers, which makes it harder and harder to keep and eye on you.

Of our boys, you’re the first one to be willing to admit that you’re actually tired and ready for bed. You’ll actually say “yes” when we ask if you’re ready to go night-night, or will just tell us “night-night”. If we go upstairs in the evening, we will often find you having grabbed a book and crawled behind your rocking chair to read.

As with your brothers, it seem that each day your learning and growing is accelerating, from new words to new skills. It’s so hard to capture all that’s going on. We cherish being your parents, and look forward to seeing your smiling little face each morning.

Love,

Daddy and Mommy

Months Fifteen and Sixteen

February 12, 2021

Titus,

The saying goes “you spend the first two years teaching them to walk and talk, and the next 16 teaching them to sit down and be quiet”. It seems that you really only needed about 15 months to get into the full walking and talking now. I think the most often word we hear is “no”. That’s the almost exclusive answer to all questions, except for “what noise does (insert animal) make?” which is invariably answered with “woof”.

You know what you want, and you come and let us know. You do know please, along with the chest-swipe hand motion. We can stall you briefly by making sure you say it. Every day brings new words and phrases, but you’re a one-showing a night type of guy. You won’t repeat those new words for the other parent, no matter what.

Lots more snow in the last couple months, so we’ve had lots of time outside to play. You’ve been out sledding at home a number of times, and out playing in the snow. Your brothers also have taken advantage of the significant snowfall to build some serious snow caves. Our friends also had a nice tube that gave you the opportunity to head down the hill all by yourself. “Wow!” was the response to that.

If you can reach it, you have to explore it. If you can touch it, it’s going to get pushed, switched, pulled, turned, twisted, or knocked down. Once you realized you were tall enough to reach the tablecloth, you realized you could pull on it. Sippy cup out of reach? No problem, pull the whole tablecloth toward you until the sippy cup falls on the floor. Good strategy, until the day that you pulled the tablecloth with the plates and cup of milk. On an unrelated note, we don’t use a tablecloth in our house anymore.

We went to a drive-through light show just before Christmas. The boys got out of their seats for the drive through. You wanted to stand on Daddy’s lap to help drive the car. You managed to turn off the car (push-button starters are normally a helpful tool), turn on the wipers, flip on the turn signal, and climb onto the steering wheel before being banished back to your car seat. It may be true what they say about the third kiddo getting more leeway.

Christmas, as always, was a wonderful family affair. You’re just old enough to enjoy running around with cousins, exploring Grandpa and Grandma’s house, unwrapping presents with little regard for the actual contents, and focusing very hard on making sure the wrapping paper was cleaned up and put in the bag. You made sure to sing along to all the Christmas songs from your car seat, mostly the “ding, ding” and “ring-a-ling” parts, and rehearse “Nana”, “Papa”, “Grandma”, and “Grandpa” for the visit. You rehearsed that all the way to Grandpa and Grandma’s house, and then refused to say it to them for days. However, Grandma’s “Up” movie ornament was the biggest hit. You couldn’t get enough of the theme music it played, and always pointed to it for more. “Up!”

You are very determined to figure out the world around you. No matter what it is, you’ll examine it closely, or watch your brothers do it, until you’ve got it figured out. From light switches, to the baby gates, to drawers and cabinets, we’re pretty sure you know how it all works, even if you can’t quite use it yet (or we have it baby-locked). This all started with light switches, which you will happily play with when you can reach them. Nana’s level-style door handles were next, with you up on those tiptoes to open the pantry for a snack. Now you’re pushing your play table around to climb up and open the drawers. You can also reach most of the drawers in the kitchen, and the lower cabinets. It’s like watching a tornado go through the kitchen sometimes, as fast as you can unload everything onto the floor. You especially like to open the drawers by Mommy’s bathroom sink, to find your toothbrush. Still, your favorite toy this month is Daddy’s protein shaker cup. Just pouring in those ingredients brings you running right over to take it, shake it, and carry it around the house with you.

Fortunately for Mommy’s organizational side, you have figured out how to put things back away. This includes trash in the trash can, which you consider to be the most fun of all. After a diaper change, you’ll jump up, grab that wet diaper, and take it right over to the trash can. Dropping it in and closing the lid then brings an expectant look for the “Yay, baby!” and hand clapping from your parents.

Food this month means more exploring of all the possibilities of taste. You figured out that you love to use a fork, and are working very hard to learn to use it, to include attempting to eat your peanut butter and jelly sandwich with it. Being the first of the three brothers to not have a food allergy as a baby means that you also have the opportunity to sample many more foods, as well as trying out those words. You can identify all the boxes and bags in the pantry, and clearly give us a head shake and “no” when you’d like to have a different cereal or box of crackers for snack. At least, you can try the “no”. It’s only working now because you’re so cute. You love candy, and know exactly which (upper) cabinet in the kitchen holds all those goodies. Your blanket term for all things sweet is “cookie”, and Daddy seems to hear it a lot when he gets home from work and first picks you up in the kitchen.

Your brothers are a source of constant amusement and learning. Naturally, your brothers are constantly running and jumping around the house, so you are now running around the house after them, laughing and squealing. You’re even starting to jump, though footie jammies aren’t the best footing for that. The boys love to have you copy them, from spinning in the living room to bouncing on the trampoline. You’re also picking up other things about your brothers. When you even hear them arguing from across the upstairs, you’ll shout “Stop!” at them from the changing table, in just about the precise tone that your parents use for the same thing. Your brothers have recently started using Rock-Paper-Scissors to decide things, which you think is fascinating, though you’re pretty predictably throwing just rock right now.

We love to hear all your new, clear words, from “Mommy”, to “Daddy”, “brother”, “banana”, “bye”, “bath”, and so many others. It’s completely impossible to keep up with your rapidly growing vocabulary now. “Bath” is certainly in the top few words you like to hear from us. One utterance of that, and you’re headed for the staircase to right up to the bathtub. From your side, we hear “up” almost more than anything, except “Mommy”. You’ll happily stand at Mommy’s feet and combine those two, while attempting to jump up to her arms.

Titus, we wish we could freeze some of these days and weeks with you for a little longer as you’re growing so fast from a baby towards a toddler. You learn to say and do so many new things every day it would be hard to keep up even if we were filming your every move. It’s just a blessing to be able to cherish each of the things we do witness, both individually and collectively. You will continue to boldly be yourself, and we love each and every minute of it.

Love,

Daddy and Mommy

Months Thirteen and Fourteen

December 13, 2020

Titus,

If there weren’t video or photo evidence of some of your exploits these past two months, I’m not sure that we would believe them, even having witnessed them. For each of the three of you, it’s as if it’s the same, but completely different as you’ve each learned to walk, learned to talk, learned to get into the cabinets, to climb, and to everything else. Each day brings new words and new awareness of the world around you. You’re pointing out everything around you, from the pictures to food and everything else. When anyone says the word “basement”, you have to run over to the basement door to say “bounce!” with little knee action up and down and “down! down!” to go down and play (we have the trampoline in the basement you love . Since it’s your older brothers’ play area, it’s full of little things to pick up and taste. Fortunately for our sanity, since you’re walking now, there’s less eating things off the floor.

You got the walk down this month, moving around the house with your hands in the air for balance. A few weeks later, you figured out how to stand up in the middle of the floor from your knees, and now you’re starting to get that foot speed to run after your brothers. It’s so much fun to watch the progression.

With the confidence and strength to walk has come the confidence and strength to climb on everything. You can flip open the ottoman, climb into it, climb onto the lid, and right up onto the couch. We’ve found you standing on your play table to look out the window, and found you figuring out how to climb onto chairs and…pretty much everything else that’s down at your level. You’ve recognized that door handles are important, and we find you stretching on your toes to try and reach them. You’re racing up the stairs at any opportunity (read: the gate is left open). We are very happy that you’ve also recognized that you can turn around and slide down, as well as sliding down off of couches, chairs, beds, etc.

From the stools in the kitchen, to the shelves in the playroom, to the crossbar on the gate, you’re climbing everything to reach anything. That includes the block bin to reach the higher shelves, as well as the bottom drawer on the shoe bin. With the big climbing skills have also come the small skills, from stacking blocks, to doing the shape puzzles. You love to sit with Mommy and do puzzles and play with the shape ball in your playroom. Dinner is just another excuse for this. You flipped your water cup over and proceeded to stack pieces of hamburger on top, while saying “up! up!”

If this month had a report card, it would read that “Titus has greatly increased his verbal skills, and is already has an extensive vocabulary.” Each day has you saying a new word. Daddy gets home from work to find out that you’re saying “Cheese!” or “Ball!”, “Dog!” or “Bunny!”. We’re getting two and three word combinations, from “I do it!” to “Get bunny!”. Bunny is your favorite, right alongside Molly. You love to see Molly and chase her around the house for snuggles and pets, saying “dawg, dawg!”. Molly is pretty forbearing, as long as she gets some love from Daddy or Mommy in addition to you.

With the boys back at school, a shifting of schedules resulted in numerous nights where you decided that your 8-10 PM sleeping was a nap. So, we get you chattering away in your crib, and wanting to come downstairs and hang out with Mommy and Daddy for a while. With all the energy in the world, you’ll race around the living room chattering, squealing, and getting into everything you can.

The two words we hear most often, though are “uh oh” and “no”. We’re trying out “uh oh” to warn you about dangerous things like light socket plug covers, or yucky things like the dog water. You’ve quite quickly picked up on the fact that “uh oh” means something that you think is fun, and that you have our attention. So, you’re all about saying “uh oh!” and heading right for trouble.

“No” is also well understood.
Mommy: “Do you want spaghetti?”
Titus: “Spa-get-i.”
Mommy: “Did you just say spaghetti?”
Titus: “No.”
We regularly get “no” when we ask him to repeat his new words, as if to say “you heard me the first time.” Not one for verbal performances, at this point. You’re going to use your words to communicate and get what you need, but not just on command.

Mommy: “Instead of squealing at me, can you say please?”
Titus: “Plea!” with a hand-swipe across the chest pseudo-please sign.

The last two months have gained you lots of teeth, including getting five teeth at a time at one point. Despite the pain, you’re still pretty good natured, if chewing on everything from stuffed animals to the piping on the couch cushions. Lots of teeth means that you’ve been able to get after all the food. We’ve tried out lots of new foods with you, and you’re all for that. If Daddy or especially Mommy is eating something, you have to try it out. From cheese, to crackers, to sandwiches, pizza, ice cream; it doesn’t matter. You need one for each hand, no matter what it is. Even if we have to break it in half, you’d like to double-fist it. This included Thanksgiving morning cinnamon rolls. You’re thankful for all the foods, and we’re very thankful for a kiddo who doesn’t have any food allergies. You are not shy at all about asking for a handout.

Mommy’s phone is identifiable for one thing, and that’s FaceTime. either Nana, or Daddy, if he’s out of town. At least once a day, you have to grab the phone and say “Nana! Nana!”. If Daddy’s been traveling, it’s a few days afterwards that any sight of the phone brings a “Dada!” with a point at the phone.

You love to be in the kitchen with everyone, from helping with the dishwasher (once again, pulling things out), whether the dishes are clean or dirty. Noah would appreciate it if you did a little more putting away after the pulling out of clean dishes. You love to climb up on a stool to help cook, and are great at getting out the pots and pans.

You had fun helping to decorate for Christmas this year. You helped put up the tree and pull out all the ornaments (pulling things out is one of your top skills). After we got everything put up and done, you were still all about taking a few of the ornaments off the tree. So, we put a gate around the whole tree. About 3 minutes after that, you figured out that only one side was secured. So, we velcro’d the other side to a chair. Not long after that, you figured out that you could undo the velcro to get into the tree area. Ingenuity, thy name is Titus.

We love to have your joy for life as part of our family. As I sit here writing this, you’re in the playroom blowing raspberries as you wander around with your toys. No matter the time of day or night, we can almost always count on a big smile. Even when you’re not completely happy, you bring passion to everything that you’re doing, generally with a heart-tugging “Mama?” when you need to snuggle and sleep.

We love you lots and lots!

Daddy and Mommy

Month Twelve

October 15, 2020

Titus,

And just like that, you’re one year old. 12 months ago, we had to dash off to the hospital to get ready to meet you! Since then, you’ve made your own space in our house and all our hearts. Each and every day this month you have explored new places, figured out new skills, and pulled even more things off shelves and out of cabinets. We love having you as part of our family, with all your energy, excitement, and joy for life.

You’re an amazing, speedy crawler already (fortunately you’re loud on the floor when you’re headed for trouble). This month, you’ve been working on taking those steps, from one, to two , to more and more, you’re off and walking when you want to. When you get tired, though, you drop right back to crawling. By your birthday, you’d walked across the room many times, chasing Mommy, Daddy, your brothers, and even the dog. We love you to see you learning to walk!

With the strength to crawl and walk comes the strength to pull up and climb, too! From stairs, to the slide, to the shoe bin, and the ottoman, you’re climbing anywhere you can get a knee up. Every time we turn around, we see you climbing up something. You can even manage the slide now. The month started with climbing up and down the slide ladder, and now you’ve figured out how to get those legs over to sit and slide down. Noah can’t resist racing over the slide from anywhere, yelling “I’ll catch you!” Fortunately, you’re working on turning around to slide off couches, beds, and to go down the stairs. Eventually, the gates will come down again, sooner than we’re ready to see you be a toddler.

When it comes to exploring, you’ve been getting into everything in the house. If it’s in reach, and isn’t locked, it’s pretty much been explored. You’re a big fan of the shoe bin in the kitchen. This month, we noticed that you had progressed from just pulling all the shoes out to actually putting the shoes over the back of the drawer into the inside of the cabinet. If we can’t find a sandal now, we know where to look. You’re into the cabinets with the pans, the pots, the craft activities, and quite enjoying pulling all of it out onto the floor. You’re faster than a 5.5 earthquake on pulling all the toys off the shelves in your playroom.

Speaking of those toys, we’re watching you learn how all your toys work, from rolling balls down tracks, to working with Mommy on the shape-sorter. We love to see how you are learning new things each day, and especially picking up skills from your brothers. As they play with balls, build tracks, and drive cars around the house. You have their love for books, and sit in your playroom flipping through your board books (after pulling them all down off the shelves).

Being the third child, and the first child to have no food allergies means that you get to eat pretty much whatever you want. Anything we’re eating, you probably get to try. You love eggs and bacon, all kinds of meat, pizza, the list goes on and on. Mommy enjoys trying out new food with you, and you love to have her do it. You’re more than happy to dive into pretty much anything, but will confidently and clearly express your opinion of food you don’t like by twisting your whole body around in the high chair. Molly is also a fan of your eating habits, especially that you’ve taken to dropping food over the side of the chair if you’re getting full. Only the right side, which Molly knows very well.

You love to go outside and play with your brothers. Evening walks generally end at the park, and you get quite fussy if you can’t come out to swing with Daddy or your brothers, or to crawl around the playground. Noah loves to push you around the driveway in your car. You’re big enough to go in the jogging stroller running, so you get to be part of the family run & bike trips around the nearby lakes. Before too long you’ll be right there riding a bike with your brothers.

You’re a talkative little munchkin this month, starting with knowing your name. It’s “Ty!”, said barely above a whisper, but we hear it pretty regularly. “Who’s the baby?” “Ty! Ty!”. You’ve also got “Ma!” or occasionally “Mama!”, and “Da”, both of which are used fairly liberally. Daddy’s been out of town, and a FaceTime call gets “Da! Da! Da!”. You get your brothers names most of the time, and of course, know Molly as “Daw! (dog)”. On a family walk, a dog behind a gate started barking at us as we passed. You looked over at the fence, said, “Daw!” and started growling back at the dog. Mommy almost always sings “He’s Got the Whole World” at bedtime, which includes the line “He’s got Mommy and Daddy”. Daddy sang that part to you waiting for Mommy to come put you to bed, and you responded “Got Mama!”.

You caught Mommy and Daddy kissing in the kitchen, and rapidly crawled over making kissing noises. Whether to just note that we were kissing, or to come get a kiss and snuggle for yourself, we’re not quite sure. You can’t go to bed without your routine, which has to include the night-night hug from Daddy. That hug entails a dive from Mommy’s arms to Daddy, followed by a snuggle. That snuggle can be no more than about 2.8 seconds, and then it’s time to dive back into Mommy’s arms for bedtime.

We love you so much more than we did when we first had the blessing of holding you for the first time just 12 short months ago. We still love you to the moon and back.

Daddy and Mommy