I would say this, Month 17, was officially THE month. Life changed forever and I joined the normal human race again as a moderately well-rested person. I laugh because I really thought that I was acting/thinking normally during the last 17 months. However, a month of real sleep and I suddenly felt much, much smarter. As of last month I had reported that Levi still woke now and then but we could just call down to him that we are here and for him to get back in his bed. He now knows that is all we are going to say to him between the hours of 7:30 and 6:30: "We are here. We love you. Time to go to sleep. Climb back in your bed." At the start of Month 17 Levi gave one more valiant effort to fight this new situation, but only discovered himself in the same position. He has since given in. We also still find that he needs the two baby gates vertically in his door in order to keep him safe and in his room all night. In the middle of the month we added the Ok to Wake Clock. Genius. He knows when the clock "bug" turns green he can get out of bed. We set it for 6:30 every morning and it works like a charm. (Thank you, Andy and Heather!) We now have a response for the 5:00 a.m. wake-ups: "It's not time yet, Buddy. It's not green. Go back to sleep." Fantastic.
By the end of this month I went to bed with no expectation at all of being woken, save the odd 5:00 a.m. clock reminder. I can't even say how wonderful it is to know that whatever was haunting sweet Levi's subconscious is now quiet. He obviously feels very secure. He doesn't even cry when he wakes in the morning or after his naps. Simply waits at the gates and says, "Dada? Mama?" All those sleepless nights, being kicked in the head, up and down the stairs in the dark, hours of crying, rocking, a smelly behind in my face, sleeping on the floor by the crib were all worth it.
I'm tellin' ya, the baby gates are fantastic and I highly recommend this to anyone. The child can still hear you, see you, move around freely (I don't care what he does in that baby proofed room all night as long as I am not woken up, honestly), but they can't leave their room. Boredom and a feeling of security will generally send them to sleep. $20 at Target saved my life. (Well, that and the $30 for the Ok to Wake Clock on Amazon, God bless it.)
And Levi loves the gates. He even tries to put them up himself. Though they are what contain him and make him go to bed, they are also obviously what make him feel safe and secure. Whew!
Sleep obviously made a difference for Levi's ability to learn too. Here are some of his fun firsts for the start of the summer. He continues to catch up quickly.....
Rinses his own hair in the bath; LOVES praying and often asked for it first thing in the morning; into the park again (thankfully) and meeting friends there; sometimes puts himself in time in when he knows he's in trouble; OBSESSIVE reading of Dr. Seuss books/The Big Red Tractor/On the Go; Can point to certain words like, "I am Sam;" really participates in music class and loves to pray for his teacher, Miss Jennie; Loves climbing (or as we say, "finding places for his toes") on all the big kid toys at the park; Peed on the potty (on purpose!); talked on the phone (again, on purpose!); Said "please;" Says "God" A LOT at church; Played a violin all by himself in music class!; Plays by himself for long periods of time; starting to enjoy craft times; Loves having choices to make; Got signed up for a 2 morning/week preschool in the fall!!!
And some funny, random firsts: Inexplicably scared of some apps on my phone all the sudden, some books seems to be for Mama to read and some are books for Dada to read - this is very specific, thinks finding a Dr. Seuss Wocket in his Pocket is hilarious, got GROUNDED from two parks for not walking on his own (I just can't carry him all summer!) - worked like a charm and is walking great now; getting lots of scrapes and bumps to which we say, "Can you still wiggle? Oh good! You're okay;" We pointed out one gas station and now he points out EVERY. SINGLE. GAS. STATION; asked Aunt Elizabeth to pick him up!; Points to ears every time I say, "Levi, listen with your ears."
To end my busy month of May my students had their end of school recital on May 25th. I was SO proud of them and their hard work. I love them so dearly and send a huge "Congrats" to my six graduating seniors - all of whom will be doing music in some way in college. What a wonderful group I am blessed to teach.
I see this mischievous look a lot. He seriously keeps me on my toes.
My mom came into town to help me survive the end of May/beginning of June while I performed with Intimate Opera. Gracie has always adored Mom ever since they bonded in San Francisco. Mom's door was carefully guarded. No one is going to get to Nanny without going through Gracie first.
A swing in Levi's room! God bless Ikea.
Had to take a picture before we upgraded to a new cable box. Those 45 Wonder Pets served us well. Our new collection has been coming along nicely.
Levi's buddy, Jaden's, 2nd birthday! Only Levi's 2nd birthday party to attend (the first was Elias' who is also pictured below) and it was a huge hit. Lots of fun at Gymboree with his friends.
Our friends Isaiah and Elias
Levi and Jaden chowing on pizza.
Then, of course, Levi had to get a book out of diaper bag for a post-meal read.
Brad catches all sorts of fun things in our bathroom as he gets ready in the morning.
Brad also caught Levi on what seems to be a private call.
And apparently worn out....
For a while now Levi has had a SERIOUS obsession with lining things up. He is constantly configuring his toys into different arrangements. I've started snapping pictures. He is very, very, very exact as he does this and spends large amounts of time enjoying the task.
Watching his doggies play
Ethiopian lamb stew and Levi giving thanks. Aw.
Making a new friend at Mulberry Fields Park in Zionsville.
Chillin' with our bud, Lincoln, while playing at the park.
Levi's dream come true: a tractor ride. Thank you, Streuh family, for the fun night!
We've been enjoying a lot of new projects around here. Below, paint in a bag (great placemat!) and food coloring/vinegar/baking soda (huge hit).
A visit to Crown Point to see Aunt Elizabeth and Uncle Keith! Below, taste of Crown Point. Lots of fun.
Baby Truman's first trip to the zoo!
Riding the zoo carousel with Dada - the dolphin this time!
Chair picture, Month 17. The "Got Injera?" shirt is one of my new favorites. (Injera is the traditional bread which, along with berbere spice, is the cornerstone of Ethiopian cuisine.)
Brad and I do slip in date night now and then. I would like to thank the Todds for taking LT for the whole night so that we could go to Zoobilation! I had always wanted to attend the black tie foodie fundraiser for the zoo. It was all I had hoped and more. I would attend every single weekend if I could. And when else do I get to wear my Vera Wang!? (Um, never.)
I also had a fun performance with Intimate Opera this month doing a collection of scenes, three of which I sang in and one I directed! My directing debut, haha. I especially enjoyed performing Act II of Menotti's the Medium (below with Larry Goens). Thanks to all the friends and family who came! Really means a lot.
And a few favorite moments:
This is what gardening with LT looks like. No wonder I had no luck putting my garden in this year.
Complete obsession with books is starting to pay off. We like to joke that he can't talk but he can read. Ha!
Early one morning while visiting Keith and Elizabeth in Crown Point, Levi discovered his best world of worlds: a SLIDE of BUMPS. And of course, only head first would do.