18 Months Old

Jude is a year and a half!

IMG_9522And a month into being a big brother.

IMG_8997It’s been a challenging month for all of us as we adjust to a new status quo.

IMG_8612We weren’t really sure how Jude was going to react to his new baby brother. He certainly seems to really like the ‘bay bee’ and is always asking to see him or talking about him. But at the same time he seems to dealing with a lot of emotions – jealousy, confusion, anger, sadness (I think) towards me. We’ve seen this come through in many different behaviors throughout the month. In response we have been showering Jude with lots of love and extra special attention as well as explaining everything – talking about his feelings, talking about what we are doing with the baby (for example, when Toby needs a diaper change), and reading the books on new baby. He actually asks to read those books at bed time, which is a good sign that he is wanting to make sense of things too.

IMG_9532I am pretty confident Jude is going to adapt in no time.

IMG_9605Besides Toby, the other big excitement for Jude was of course my parents’ visit.

IMG_8974They were out doing stuff pretty much every day. Luke and I tagged along for a few outings too, like to the mall, with a little outdoor train:

IMG_8646Mango ice at Ice Monster :

IMG_8960And to the outdoor fountains, where Jude was a super star, and put on quite the show for all the Mainland tourists!

IMG_9169My parents were amazed at just what a social butterfly he is – always waving and smiling at people and posing for photos. They said on one occasion they were out and he was throwing a tantrum but as soon as he saw someone stopped and waved and smiled!

IMG_5944At home, he acts up more – the past month has been a whiny one. But usually engaging Jude in a game, with a toy, a snack, or (last resort) the iPad can usually make the tantrum pass. We just love how much fun he is when he plays with us – a total goof.

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IMG_9187This month I’d have to say he has two favorite things – dancing with Dad and playing in the dirt. He jumps  right up in Luke’s arms as soon as he gets home and asks for the music to be turned on. And when we are outside, he goes right past the playground now and heads for the dirt. He is always searching around for sticks to dig with and rocks to collect.

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IMG_9421The biggest change developmentally this month is hand down language ability. I am floored by how many words he knows now. He can also understand all my instructions (but often ignores!), and can even grasp an instruction like ‘wash your hands first, then sit in your chair and then we will read a book’.

IMG_9259I was really worried that when Toby came along, it would affect Jude’s sleep – maybe he’d hear Toby crying and wake up or he would just regress. But thankfully, sleep wise, we’ve hadn’t had any changes. However, we’ve seen a change in his eating. When my parents were here he started refusing breakfast in the morning. Maybe a little protest or maybe he is genuinely not that hungry first thing in the morning. Who knows. The rest of the day he eats great so we’re not too worried.

IMG_9433We are still having trouble with the stroller- this was a before Toby thing. He does not want to go in it and we often have to hold him down, strap him in and give him lots and lots of Mentos (he’s obsessed with these ‘mints’). It’s really tricky as I need him or Toby in the stroller when we go out and the other in the baby carrier. Right now, it’s easiest to have Toby in the carrier as I can breastfeed him quickly. I love that Jude wants to walk by himself but this always ends badly – him running into the street or just going in an opposite direction. I am hoping this is just a passing thing and he will come to love the stroller again.

IMG_9247It’s been a big month, so many changes.

IMG_9333We’re so proud of what a big boy Jude is getting to be!

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Our Big Helpers

My  parents plane touched down in Taipei ten minutes after Toby was born on October 3rd! Luke called them not long after landing and told them the news – it was a pretty epic arrival. Thankfully we were able to organize a someone to pick them up from the airport. We were also lucky that our babysitter was able to cancel her other work and stay and look after Jude while I delivered. She put Jude to sleep and then stayed on until my parents arrived. I was really hoping to have a few days with them before baby to show them the ropes – ins and outs of Jude’s routine and how to get around the neighborhood. But it didn’t work out that way and so when Jude woke up in the morning he got quite the surprise!

IMG_2395Thankfully Luke was able to leave the hospital and show them around a bit.

IMG_5609It was great when Toby and I were finally discharged from the hospital and we were all back home together.

IMG_8775I was keen to capture Jude and his new little brother so one of the first things we did was have my friend take photos of us. It was an added bonus that Grandma and Grandpa were here for a few shots too.

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IMG_8727So happy we were able to capture the special occasion.

IMG_8722The rest of the three weeks they were here was busy – they helped out with EVERYTHING, especially keeping Jude busy so I could rest.

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IMG_9186There were lots of time where we just chilled out, too.

IMG_8882Jude especially loved watching Sesame Street on Grandma’s iPad.

IMG_8733And Toby loved getting his gassy belly rubbed by Grandpa, known in our family as the ‘Baby Whisperer’.

IMG_9151He has the magic touch.

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IMG_9293We managed a few meals out – Din Tai Fung,

IMG_8860And the Diner. Both were successful thanks to lots of toddler distraction devices!

IMG_8792Mom and Dad took a few mornings ‘off’ to hike up Elephant mountain and go up Taipei 101.

IMG_5767And  after getting Toby started on the bottle, Luke and I were able to sneak off for our first date night. We saw the awesome  flick ‘Gone Girl’.

IMG_5886Before we knew it, it was the night before Grandma’s and Grandpa’s flight back to America. They helped with bath and bedtime one last time.

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IMG_9270And in the morning we took one last group photo.

IMG_9298Jude and I dropped them off at the airport.

IMG_9302It was a very, very sad occasion.

IMG_9310We got back home and Jude ran right into their room. Grandma thinks he was just looking for her iPad but I think he was looking for them.

IMG_9318I can hardly even begin to thank my parents for all their generous support during these three weeks. They helped out so much, not only with the boys, but also with day-to-day chores. We were all very lucky to have them here and miss them tremendously! Hopefully we will see them again in Taipei in the not too far distant future.

17 Months Old

This month flew by. I remember when we found out we were pregnant and calculated how old Jude would be – 17 months – it sounded so big and so far away! And now here we are, Jude’s 17 months and a big brother!

IMG_7746Our blue-eyed little man has had a pretty good month.

IMG_7286We played and played for most of it.

IMG_7433Jude has continued to want to be involved in everything we are doing.

IMG_7482Doing the dishes were a big hit this month,

IMG_7889And anytime I have a bowl out mixing or something on the stove he has to be alongside me watching.

IMG_8217His curiosity and enthusiasm for cooking prompted me to get him his own kitchen. I was lucky enough to find this great Ikea one second hand.

IMG_7756It’s been his go to toy. He will get his toy pot out, throw plastic food in and mix away! He’s been really into feeding all stuffed animals and little people figurines. He will place them on the counter and offer them a drink or a pretend food and even makes a noise like they are drinking or eating and says ‘mmm’ after. Cute!

IMG_7790Our friends with older toddlers say the play kitchen and play food in their homes continue to be big hits so its a great addition to our collection.

IMG_7527Jude had  a lot of solo time with Dad on the weekends this month as I have needed the breaks.

IMG_7302These two can be quite the comedy act – always playing some kind of game. If not chasing each other around the living room, they are most likely dancing together. Jude will demand that Luke picks him up and points to the stereo for him to turn on music. It’s adorable to watch him imitate Luke’s dance moves!

IMG_7355The cooler weather has made bike rides possible again.

IMG_7568Luke took Jude all around one afternoon, which included a stop at the sandpit.

IMG_1952During the week Luke coming home is always a big event. Jude will hang out by the door in anticipation of his arrival. He runs up to him and sweeps his arms around his neck. Often Luke ends up engaged in some kind of game before he can even get his tie off!

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IMG_7917We managed to check out a few new playspaces this month. The one below is the newest free government funded playroom right in our neighborhood.

IMG_7720Jude loved the pretend BBQ area,

IMG_7741Disco sticker room,

IMG_7734And prism mirror.

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IMG_7728We visited another government playroom a little further away one morning.

IMG_8106This one had great puzzles.

IMG_8116We had a few friend play dates, too.

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IMG_7961And if I can’t think of anything else, and we just need to get out, I would take him down the street to the Xinyi Sports Center for some playtime and a snack. We usually hang out in this little reading area to eat our snack. Jude loves all the attention (and especially food) he gets from the seniors.

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IMG_7787We have had a lot of battles around controlling media consumption lately. TVs, iPhones, and iPads are everywhere and of course any toddler would want to play with these incredible light shows. We don’t have normal TV, just Roku, linked through to Youtube. So I will let him watch a Sesame Street episode here and there. I use an egg time to keep track of time (although he usually loses interest before it goes off). Also, my friend told me about guided access for Apple devices. It is amazing and also allows me to have some control over what he accesses on the screen and for how long! I have had to take him to a few pregnancy check-ups and there is no way I could have made it through those appointments with out such a handy distraction!

IMG_7320His fine motor skills are pretty incredible – he continues to surprise me with how well he can manipulate objects. He can turn the water taps on and off now too! This, combined with his discovery that the step stool can by moved around is dangerous!

IMG_7444Because of his fancy finger skills I thought it was a good time to try out playing trains. He can make them go ‘vroom vroom’ around but doesn’t quite yet get the concept of the track. So we push them around on the furniture or floor. He absolutly loves when I trail the trains over his body!

IMG_7667Besides the kitchen he also got another fun toy this month – a water/sand table. It’s amazing how something as simple as pouring water can provide so much entertainment!

IMG_7404The non-stop ‘talking’ has continued. I love it! It is such a cute stage. Our conversations are starting to become more fluid, I can ask a question and he will give me an answer. A few weeks back I started asked him how he was and he said ‘good!’ with such enthusiasm.

IMG_8279The three of us play this fun game where we make a fort under a big blanket. Jude goes nuts for it – we sit under it and he babbles away to us, waving is arms around and giggling.

IMG_8334Two more teeth (bottom canines) making their way through his mouth. Not long until he has his full set of baby teeth!

IMG_8031Towards the end of the month he got a bit sick with a cough and a cold.

IMG_7974I can always tell when he is starting to get sick as he is grumpy,  super tired,

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IMG_7285We had some special treats to make him feel better – like McDonalds and lots of popsicles.

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IMG_7827It took a wee while to recover but he did so just in time to meet his brother.

IMG_7924 I’m so excited to watch as Jude and Toby get to know each other. It’s going to be a big adjustment for all of us but I think Jude will embrace his new role as big brother.

Toby

IMG_8445Tobias George made his grand entrance four days early on Friday 3 October at 6:14pm, weighing 8.2lbs and 20.5in.

IMG_2327It was a whirlwind birth taking just 5 hours from the start of my contractions to his arrival. The date has been particularly significant as he was born at pretty much the exact same time my parents’ plane arrived in Taipei. October 3rd is also the anniversary of my Grandma’s passing last year.

IMG_2330We’re all happy, healthy and enjoying this special time with our second son.

IMG_2474More photos to follow in the coming days.