I never thought of three as being a large number, but Kellen seems so much more grown up now than he did just six months ago. Perhaps the best single word that describes him at this point is… spongy.
What I mean by spongy is, it seems like Kellen absorbs nearly everything he’s exposed to, for better or worse—behavior, habits, words and phrases. He surprises us regularly, and we’ll often wonder where he picked up this or that. A lot, he picks up at school, I’m sure.
For example, for a few weeks, we worked to get him to forget the word stupid—stupid ducks, stupid giraffe, stupid whatever. Obviously, he doesn’t know what it means, but that’s a word we’d just assume he not use at this young age. Thankfully, he has yet to spout anything more objectionable than that.
His vocabulary has expanded vastly—in good ways as well—over the past six months. He’s gotten very good at counting and identifying letters and numbers, and we’ve finally managed to get him to say his name and age, enthusiastically holding up three little fingers (although it looks like two in the photo below).
Testing, 1, 2, 3
Kellen has gotten very good at testing his boundaries, and he’s not at all ashamed to throw a tantrum if things don’t go his way. Every once in a while, he’ll throw something he shouldn’t or one of the dogs will get a tail pulled.
It’s funny—some things he’s never had trouble with—getting a haircut, for example—he’ll suddenly decide he wants no part of. He’s been to get his hair cut several times now, and he couldn’t have been better behaved. The last time though, he threw one of his more embarrassing fits and… well, long story short, he’ll be getting his hair cut at home for a while.
He’s also become intimately familiar with the concept of time out. Sometimes, it seems like he knows he’s going to be told to go into time out when he does something. That being said, he usually accepts his punishment without protest and apologizes afterward. Overall, he’s a very well behaved little boy.
Unfortunately, I don’t have many photos of these not-as-cute moments. Perhaps I should take more…
Kellen has grown to love school. At the mere mention of school, he’ll exclaim how happy he is to get to see Ms. Joan and Ms. April, his teachers. Next school year, he’ll go three days a week instead of two, albeit for a shorter period of time each day.
In mid-December came our first experience with Kellen’s on-stage talents—his school Christmas program. We dressed him up a bit for the occasion. He did really well; he was one of the few in his group that followed along. After a while though, he decided he was a little tired of all the “singing,” which was entertaining in its own right.
Christmas this past year brought the usual array of family gatherings. Kellen has gotten progressively more interested in Christmas and opening presents and understanding what they mean.
Despite all the complicated, high-tech toys available for toddlers, the most often-used ones for him are small and simple, usually animals. He did, however, get a wagon from his grandparents (my parents), which he definitely enjoys being chauffeured around in.
During our Christmas celebration with Aimee’s sister’s family (including Kellen’s cousins, Kasey, Hayden, and McKinley), we thought it’d be cute to get a photo of all the kids by the tree wearing matching, themed pajamas. Kellen was not in a cooperative mood—even the two-month-old put him to shame—but it made for some hilarious photos! After several attempts, we were finally able get a great photo of the four of them.
Kellen continues to grow more and more capable and independent (and tech-savy). It’s interesting—things we take for granted, like taking bites from larger pieces of food or using utensils to eat, he has to be taught. But things we didn’t have the option to learn at his age, like manipulating a tablet or smartphone, he seems to find much more inuitive; he loves to see photos and videos of himself; apparently, he’s quite vain.
Kellen is also eager to help around the house. He helps load the dishwasher, open and close doors, clean the pool, and pick up his toys. He’ll even help with yard work. As he gets older and more capable, he’ll be quite handy to have around.
In late March, we finally made the decision to turn Kellen’s car seats to the forward-facing position. For safety sake, we held out as long as we could, but he’s just too big to sit comfortably in the rear-facing position. I think he’s found it enlightening. He pays much less attention to his toys in the car and more to what’s going on outside, calling out various colors of cars, trains, cows, etc. Thankfully (for our backs), he can now get in and out of the car and his car seat, with a little help with his seat harness, all by himself.
Snip & Snails & Puppy Dog Tails
They say little girls are made of sugar and spice and all things nice, while little boys are made of snips and sails and puppy dog tails. Kellen is starting to embrace that old adage, taking an interest in all manner of creepy-crawlies outdoors. I’m a bit of a connoisseur of the outdoors, and I regularly take Kellen to our neighborhood park and various nature preserves and what not. While we’re out, or even while I’m working in the yard, I like to encourage Kellen’s curiosity of the outdoors and its inhabitants. If I run across and snail or a worm or something, we’ll stop and take a look together.
In the first photo below, he’s playing with a cicada husk we found on one of our walks. Mommy liked hearing about that one.
This year, Kellen participated in his first Easter egg hunt. In years past, we didn’t think he’d get much out of it, but this year, we figured he was ready. We hid plastic eggs in and around all his various play areas in the living room. He needed help with a few, but he loved finding all the eggs, and really loved opening each one to see what was inside. Kellen’s not big into candy, so most of the eggs contained small toys—several fuzzy chicks, a couple seahorses, and a couple butterflies. The couple pieces of candy he did find, he quickly discarded in favor of the toys.
We might need to wait another couple years before we try a visit with the Easter Bunny. I’ll be 40 this June, and I still find them a little creepy.
A Birthday Road Trip
For Kellen’s birthday, we decided to take a (long) weekend road trip to Grapevine, which is near Dallas, to visit Great Wolf Lodge, an indoor water park resort.
This was Kellen’s first time visiting a water park, and he had a blast. At first, he was pretty adventurous. He went down the toddler water slide (with one of us) twice, but after that, he was no longer interested. While we spent most of our time in the toddler pool, we did manage to convince him to wade around in the wave pool a few times; he enjoyed the waves as long as they didn’t get too high.
The resort staff even put a Happy Birthday poster on our room door, although Kellen wasn’t in the best mood when I took the photo.
On our way back home, we spent a little time at a park in Dallas.
Later this year, we’re planning a week-long trip up the Gulf Coast. That’ll be our most ambitious trip thus far. When considering where we might go, we decided we weren’t quite ready to put Kellen on a plane. Maybe next time.
3 Year Checkup
Six more months means another checkup. Kellen weights about 37 lbs. (90th percentile), despite feeling much heavier, and is 37.5 inches tall (51st percentile). He has quite an appetite, although he can be picky at times, and he continues to be healthy.