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March & 17 Months

Mark and "Pink", Ottawa, March 2013
Mark and “Pink”, Ottawa, March 2013

I skipped the 15-month update because we were in Mexico and the 16-month update because I was in Nicaragua. And now it’s March… and “baby” Mark is 17 months old. Almost one year and a half—well, I have been telling people he is 1.5 years old for a while, people who don’t have kids don’t talk in months!

Mark changed a lot during our three weeks in Mexico. He truly blossomed.

First, his walking skills improved since we let him run wild in the streets in Mexico. We realized he was able to walk for quite a while before getting tired—I was actually impressed. He ran everywhere on the beach and in the ruins and learned to climb stairs better. He also enjoys pushing his stroller or a shopping cart.

Mark has been understanding simple commands such as “no!” and “come here!” for a while. Now he gets more complex sentences. For instance, he can bring me whatever familiar object I ask for (socks, a snack, a toy), if I say “let’s go take a bath” he walks to the bathroom, etc. The past week, he also started answering questions. We were in the car and he was fussy. “Are you hungry, Mark?” I asked. “Mmm!” It definitely meant “yes.” Last Saturday, Feng and I took him to a jungle gym. He played with foam balls and I tried to take it to the slides, but he didn’t seem to be willing to go. “Do you want to go up there with the other kids?” He replied by shaking his head, a clear “no”—I could tell he was a bit scared of the older kids and I respect that.

Being able to communicate better is pretty awesome. Now, instead of assuming he is hungry, I ask him. And he seems less frustrated as well since I understand him better. Okay, he doesn’t say five distinct words but I get the message most of the time!

His fine motor skills are pretty amazing. He can play with all his toys (he loves his garage, throwing balls, stacking rings, Duplos, etc.) and he likes turning the pages of his books. He is still fascinated by lights but it’s hard to find Christmas trees in March…! He also enjoys sharing his pacifier with me—it’s a silly game we have, he puts his pacifier in my mouth (oh come on, it’s clean!), it makes him laugh. He can also hug (although not for long!) if I ask him for “un câlin.”

Mark loves music. He dances by himself and claps his hands (we could have made quite a bit of money in Mexico when he was “performing” in the middle of the street!). He likes Bob Markey, Mark Anthony (his hit song was big in Latin America when we were there) and rock music. He also “sings” along if he feels like it. Fortunately, he doesn’t get his dancing skills from his dad or me!

When we got out, he walks with me, his hand wrapped around my finger, and he explores the world. I don’t take the stroller anymore in the stores or at the mall, I am proud that he can walk for forty minutes to an hour and I encourage him to do so. He likes to play hide and seek in stores and grin to whomever comments he is cute (in English or in French!).

He doesn’t seem to suffer from separation anxiety too much and he is not traumatized by the fact mommy went travelling for a while (phew!). Actually, considering he was a Velcro baby, he is more independent now. When we are out, he often leaves me for a bit to go explore (I keep an eye on him, of course!) and he comes back when he is done. At home, he can play in the living room while I am in the kitchen (although I don’t like that because we have many things he is not supposed to play with and he will grab them if we are not looking).

He started to be more social as well. He finds other kids, especially older ones, fascinating. Again, this started in Mexico, he had never cared much about anyone else before. He still doesn’t like it when people get too close (he hides behind me) but he smiles back and waves, “bye bye!” He likes staying with his grandparents and he is very excited when I call his “grand-maman” (my mom) on Skype. He grins and tries to touch the computer screen.

Probably because we spend so much time with me, Mark hates feeling left out and he wants to do everything like us.

If I drink Coke Zero or coffee, he wants some too—fortunately, he is happy to just pretend drinking. He wants whatever we eat, follows us everywhere (“Mark, I just need to pee!”) and screams if I ever leave him alone in his room with the door shut for a minute (since his room is completely childproof, I don’t have to worry about safety when he is in there).

Over all, Mark is completely exhausting but he is turning into a fascinating little boy. I can’t wait to see what the next few months bring!

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