So to provide a bit more insight into our daily life, I thought I'd post a more in-depth update.
Max already has several words, many of which he uses correctly. This language ability is a bit beyond his age group right now. His words are mama, dada (which he uses correctly), hippo, car, hi and bu-bye (with waves for both of those). He says tickle whenever he tickles something (us, his toys, his food - whatever) or wants someone to tickle him. Once in a while he'll get out goose (as we live across from a pond) or jayhawk (a very breathy zaaahaaa). He says toot after he passes gas as well (thanks, Dada).
Here is Max going crazy watching the cars go by during the evening rush, the reason we know "car" and "go" and "bye" now:
He is an avid reader. The kid LOVES books. He can sit and look at them for 10 - 20 minutes at a time, turning pages, pointing, saying names. He really has an unusually long attention span for a child his age. Max is very good at working with his hands. His pinchers really go to town when he feeds himself, tries to unlatch his carseat or high chair latches, or turn pages in books.
Max is fantastic at pointing at what he wants and has recently started to sign to me when he is hungry and when he's all done. We don't "do signing" per se, but these two work well for him. On the toy front, he can stack blocks 5 or 6 high, given a flat surface. He does fairly well at his shape sorters, and he is great at both taking things out of containers AND putting them back in. He has several "tricks" in his repertoire now. Most importantly, he has learned to wave the wheat - a valuable March skill in our house. He signals touchdown, waves the wheat, can tell you he is 1, wave, clap for himself when he is happy, and give a high five.
Here is the much-adored waving of the wheat:
Max has started to wave hi and bye in most social situations. At Gymboree and playgroup last Friday, he waved and said hi to each child as he/she walked in. It takes him a few minutes to warm up to people. However, if you come down to his level, and give him a few minutes to engage with you, he usually turns into a loving little boy.
Walking is still out of our range for now. However, we're told that is because he is pursuing all of these other intellectual things. He does cruise along the furniture quite fast, will walk holding our fingers, and has started doing the yoga poses that will build into standing alone (without pulling up on furniture). Steps will be within the next few weeks, I'm sure.
Here he is practicing yoga.
Every day, we try to do something a little different or do one of our favorite things. Ron and Pam gave us a couple of bird feeders to put on the back porch. Max is usually the first to notice any visitors - usually a couple of house finches (1 male and 1 female) as well as a chipmunk we call Stugots (yep - I typed it). His ability to perceive detail amazes me.
Max and I have been practicing "coloring," though right now, he takes the pointilist approach - slamming the crayons on the paper for dots. However, he's starting to get the hang of things. And he doesn't try to eat the crayons, so that's a victory. We also practice a similar skill, using a spoon or fork to actually eat. Currently, Max is good as long as I put the food on his utensil. However, he has made some attempts to do it himself. As I am off this semester, we try to balance our days between going out - playgroup, reading times, gymboree, errands, walking, park time - with staying in and reading, talking, singing, and so forth. Max has really taken to liking the idea of "helping" Mama or Dada - with laundry, with dishes, with cooking, with carrying. It isn't always helpful, but it's a great idea.
Here are some pictures during a recent visit with my friend from grade school on up, Kerri. She had her son, John, about a week after we had Max. We're able to get together every few months, as they just live in Wichita. During this trip, we ventured to Crown Center where the boys played and rode the escalators.
Here is a trip to the zoo from last weekend. The membership has been great, as Max really notices so much new stuff each time!
All in all, we love the little man and we're really growing into a family as Paul and I learn more about Max and more about ourselves as parents. What an exciting year we anticipate.