It’s been almost a year since my last Leo Lately post, but it’s been so much fun raising this kid that I haven’t made time to document the experience the way I should. He’s become such a comical little guy. The things he picks up, how he processes the world and the way he’s started to express himself constantly amaze me and crack me up at the same time.
Here’s some of my favorite Leo-ism lately:
“Let’s shoot bows!” This year Santa brought Leo his first bow and arrow set for Christmas. Ever since then, Leo’s been particularly interested in going downstairs where Tony’s created a nice target practice area. Tony & I shoot at a target about 12 yards away in one lane, and Leo shoots at his inflatable deer from about 3 yards in another lane. It’s been fun watching Leo learn proper protocol when it comes to shooting and retrieving arrows.
Jeff Whippy. Leo was a big KU basketball fan this year! While he still struggles to watch games for any long period of time, he’s always quick to cheer for the Jayhawks. He specifically loved finding his favorite player – number five – on TV, whom he called, “Jeff Whippy” (Jeff Withey).
“Can I have some candy?” This year Leo’s really started to figure candy out. Ever since Valentine’s Day, we’ve had a small stash of candy that he’s received from school friends and family that we keep on top of the refrigerator. Leo asks several times a day if he can have some candy, doesn’t matter if we’ve just woke up in the morning, or if he’s finished dessert. In his mind, candy’s always a possibility. In reality, I think his requests maybe work 2-3 times a week. (Thus the ongoing stash.)
T-ball time. Leo’s been excited to get back into playing T-ball this year. We just wrapped up a 4-week skills session through Parks & Rec, where for the most part, he was a star. His interest is even stronger this year, and he’s even happy to go out in the field and wait for his turn to bat. Next week he’ll have his first official practice for a T-ball team. I can’t wait to see how he reacts to an actual game experience. He’s watched Tony & I play for several years now, so he’s pretty pumped to get a turn!
“You heard me.” Leo’s speech continues to improve, but sometimes it’s still a bit difficult to understand what he’s saying. (Particularly with his growing vocabulary and the fact that he doesn’t usually talk very loud.) Every now and then when he says something, and I’ll respond, “What did you say?” Leo will come back with some attitude, “You heard me.” It cracks me up every time.
“Can we go visit the neighbors?” Over the course of the last month or two, Leo’s become really interested in going over to visit our neighbor Rod when we get home from work. Rod’s in his 80’s and spends a lot of time in his garage which overlooks our house. I think both Leo & Rod enjoy seeing each other. Leo’s always telling me he needs to go over there to “help.” It doesn’t matter if they’re fishing or burning, he’s convinced that they need his support.
Big brother. At Leo’s 4th birthday in March, we let him know that he was going to become a big brother. Up to that point, we’d been talking with him for several months about having a baby someday. (He’d become pretty obsessed with the idea around October of last year that we really needed a baby.) When we’d have these hypothetical discussions, Leo was always insistent that we needed a baby boy. Once we told him that we actually were expecting, Leo did a total 180. From that point on, he was only interested in a sister. So six weeks later when we found out that it’s a little boy coming in September, we were a bit nervous how Leo would react to the news. Initially, Leo was great. You can see in the video we shot where he told the family. But about 10 minutes after we finished he was laying in bed, and out of no where said, “But I wanted a girl!” He’s pretty much adjusted to the idea of having a little brother, and is very excited, but every now and then he still asks when he’s going to get a sister.
It’s amazing to look at my last Leo Lately blog post. It’s only been four months, but it seems so long ago! Over that period of time, Leo’s personality has continued to blossom and his speech has improved greatly. (According to the speech therapist at USD 501 he’s gone from being understandable 14% in February of the time to 58% of the time in May- yeah!)
Here’s some of the fun things Leo’s doing and saying lately:
“But I want to right now.” Whenever I talk about future plans that get Leo excited, he wants to do it immediately. Whether it’s baseball practice after daycare, going to visit Grandma Vickie or just playing with Tony, Leo’s ready to go.
T-Ball time. We’ve had mixed results with Leo’s first t-ball experience. He really likes to play, but still struggles with the idea of having to participate without mom by his side. I’m sure the fact that he was only a few weeks over the minimum age limit has a lot to do with it. Hopefully next year he’ll be ready to be a bit more independent at practice.
Let’s play outside. Leo loves being outside. In fact, we don’t really spend a lot of time inside at all unless we’re eating dinner or getting ready for bed. Leo’s usually out back drawing on the driveway with chalk, riding his tricycle or driving around in his powered car that the landlord left in the garage for him to play with. When we’re at grandma’s house, Leo loves to play in the sandbox or help water the plants.
Goldbug. Leo loves to spend time looking for Goldbug in his Richard Scarry book. He received it from Tony’s parents as a gift, and it’s one of his favorites to look at before bed time – especially if that means mom and Tony are going to help!
“I want to see Carson.” Leo’s found his first official buddy outside of daycare. He loves spending time with Carson, his cousin-to-be. Leo asks about Carson a lot and really enjoys being able to play with him when we go down and visit on the weekends. They have a lot of fun together. : )
Dinosaurs & Hot Wheels. When Leo does actually play with toys, you can usually find him with a series of Hot Wheels cars or a couple of his dinosaurs. He’s at the age where he’s pretending, developing stories and using the toys to act things out. It’s pretty cute.
Shapes and counting. Leo has a pretty good grasp on counting to 10, but he’s starting to try to count even higher. It’s pretty cute because he’s consistently skipping a lot of numbers… 9, 10, 11, 14, 18, 19, 32, 99! We’ve also been working with him on learning basic shapes.
Growing up. While we’re still battling with the whiney stage, it feels like we’re making some progress. For the most part, bath time is becoming more peaceful and he’s been great about allowing me to put in his ear drops without a fight.
My fruity boy. Leo loves fruit. He is always asking for strawberries, blackberries and blueberries. He loves apples and bananas. If only I could get him to give veggies a bit more consideration!
There are some days when I just don’t feel like I’m able to give enough… not enough time, not enough energy, not enough patience, not enough balance. There’s always lots of love, but I worry it’s not enough for Leo to really know.
I wish there was a manual. Something to help guide me so I knew I was doing things right. All I want is to raise a happy, healthy boy. Well-adjusted. Well-behaved. Intelligent. Independent. Kind-hearted. (Hopefully athletic.)
Sometimes I think I’m on the right track. Other times, I’m not so sure. Sometimes nothing I do seems to be right. Nothing I try seems to work. I can’t get him to calm down, to be happy, to understand what he’s saying, to stay strong and not give in and take the easy route.
I know it’s always going to be challenging. But I’m hoping, praying, that as Leo’s speech improves, things will get just a little easier. I will know what he’s saying and he’ll understand me better, and we’ll be able to talk through things.
Until then, I’m just going to keep doing my best and looking for the manual…