(Very) Short Stories from the Life of Spencer

Chapter 6: July

Life has been moving fast at the Kelley house. From broken appliances, burst pipes, minor plumbing upgrades, to bachelorette parties, road trips, and weddings. It's not going to slow down for a couple of months. This reality is encouraging me to grow as a person by getting over my desire to make each post perfect. So, without further ado, here is what Spencer is up to these days.

He has mastered the ability to climb in his booster chair at the table. I looked over one day, and there he was. Unfortunately, he seldom sits in it longer than four minutes. He also loves to throw things onto the ground (forcefully) and see what happens (loud noises and shattering pieces are preferable). He also likes to do this when he is mad, but most of the time it's just for kicks.

In preparation for his aunt Natalie's wedding, I gave Spencer his first hair cut. I basically cut off a few inches that had grown into a quite curly mullet. I didn't cut anything else. His hair is actually crying out for a real hair cut, but it curls up so nicely in the humidity that we'll probably wait until the dryer days of winter. Until then, he's pretty much au natural. Really cute somedays and rather mangey and matted on others.

Spencer is also getting very strong. He loves to jump on me, which used to be fun. Now, it is typically painful. Not sure how we're going to phase this out. At night, he likes to get all riled up before bed time. The other night he was swinging his arms as hard as he could and he accidentally socked me in the face. It truly hurt.

Spencer can drink from a cup very well when he wants to. The problem is that he doesn't want to--not nearly as much as he wants to pour the water out. It might be years before I put milk in a cup for him. Pouring, splashing, splattering, swishing, and lapping liquids off the floor are all too exciting. I think his last few teeth are coming in. He has almost all of them already, but I can see the last 2 teeth he lacks on top making their way down--they aren't molars (he's had all of those for a while now).

He currently loves climbing behind sofa cushions, and throwing them on the ground. Not the pillows on the sofa--the actual cushions. He hates it when I wear my glasses, which I'm needing increasingly more often. Every time he sees me in them he starts to fuss and say "glasses" (which sounds nothing like the actual word), and he reaches up and tries to pull them off. If I stand my ground and leave them on--Oh, the drama that ensues. Speaking of drama, unfortunately, Spencer is not loving his baths these days. I don't know why. It's getting really old.

While Jonathan was out of town, I said our bedtime prayers (when Jonathan is home he says them). After I said "Amen," Spencer repeated it. It was more like "ma-men." Precious. He's really cute (and usually really sweet) when he's tired, as long as we are on-track to getting him put to bed. If we are trying to do anything else, not so sweet.

Speaking of new words, Spencer will be 20 months old tomorrow, and I have been working really hard on his words. Notice I say that I have been working hard on his words. He has not. He typically won't even try. He has probably only added 2 or 3 new words to his spoken vocabulary in the last month. I say "spoken vocabulary" because he understands hundreds (probably thousands) of words. But, whenever I point to things and ask him what they are, he won't say anything OR he will point to something he can already say the word for and say that word. So, then, I'll point to the first thing again and I'll say "What's that?" Then I say what it is. Then, you'll love this, he claps for ME. He says, "Yea!" and grins and claps. As if he's really and truly proud of me for saying that word. It was really cute the first hundred times or so, but now I'm wondering how we are ever going to learn some new words.

A few nights ago, I repeatedly asked him to "use your words" when he was trying to get me to do something. He did his little fussy dance where he lifts his knees up really high really quickly and squints his eyes and fussed at me. I can't wait for the pediatrician to ask me if he says x or y at his 2 year well-visit. He's never said the regular first words first. He still doesn't say "uh-oh," although he finally stopped calling me "Bob Bob" and now says "Ma ma." His first words were "I love you." No lie. It was more like "Ay ya yAAA." This past month he has started saying "'kay" as in "okay." I will never forget the night that I put him bed, and said, "I love you. Have a great night." He looked up at me and said, "'kay." I have to say, it was precious; and he's said it most nights since. He pretty much says 'kay instead of "yes." Although, if you really push him on it he will sometimes acquiesce and say "yes." I know full well that all kids do things at different times and in their own way, but Spencer's ways in this department seem very unique. On the up side, I typically know exactly what he's trying to communicate. He's got communication down to an art.

I got Spencer some new jammies with fish on the pants, and when I put them on him for the first time he was so intrigued. He looked closely at them and pulled on them and even sat in weird ways to be able to look at them better. By the next morning, I'd forgotten about the interest in his jammy pants until I took them off to change his diaper. He screamed loudly, and I could NOT figure out what was wrong with him. I continued changing his diaper, which he happily allows every morning, and then, when he usually gets up to run off as soon as I have a clean diaper on him, he grabbed his pants, pushed them towards me and fussed. He was completely consoled and quite a happy camper once I put them back on him. He ended up wearing them all day--in 100 degree heat. He's never done it since, even with those same pants, but that day he was not taking off those pants! I was a little worried, since he seemed a little young to be starting that; but like I said, he's never done it again. Strange little sweet boy.

Spencer now pulls everything he can out of our kitchen drawers. All the silverware, boxes of foil and plastic wrap with the blade built into the box, our nice sharp knives. It's quite an adventure. He loves to get as many pieces of silverware as he can possibly carry into the living room and stick them down behind the couch cushions. He can also get things off the counter with ease. A few mornings ago he helped himself to another muffin. On the other hand, when Spencer is finished with things, he is very serious about that. He has deposited his cup or bowl onto the kitchen counter when he's finished with them, and today I caught him throwing away every last piece of his grilled cheese sandwich because he had eaten all he wanted. On the one hand, I'm pumped that he seems to have such a bent toward neatness. On the other hand, he threw away half of his grilled cheese. BUT, I should probably be more of a cup half full kinda girl when it comes to these things. He ATE half of his grilled cheese! =)

He loves to try to take about 4 stairs at a time (even going down), and he refuses to hold on to the side. So, the other night at church I wouldn't let him hold my hand to go up and down the stairs. He wants to hold it so that he can basically free fall down the stairs while you hold onto his arm. He got really mad at me, but eventually he did surrender. He held onto the side and took one (or two) steps at a time. But EVERY step was an inward battle, and he would have fallen and hurt himself multiple times if I hadn't grabbed him at the last possible nanosecond.

Spencer seems to prefer eating foods that are different every day (not overly healthy ones, of course). But, if I make something new, he will almost always eat some of it. Things he has seen time and time again he will literally take from my hand (or his plate) just to purposely and forcefully throw it across the room. Lately he's been mixing it up and throwing it backwards over his shoulder. It's not cool.

A new Dora movie has a specific scene that has Spencer cracking up every time he watches it. There is a volcano that blows bright colored balls everywhere, and when the map talks about it, he giggles, and when it happens, he giggles loudly and a lot. It is so funny! He's not an exceedingly giggly child, and he was not an exceedingly giggly baby, but for some reason that part makes him laugh every time. I will be working in the kitchen and hear him burst into laughter. It's really funny. He also started randomly laughing on the ride home Sunday night. I thought he was choking at first, and then I thought he was crying. That's how strange it is for him to spontaneously start laughing. He has always laughed the most when he's really tired, and it was past his bed time. So, I don't know if he has just been exhausted much more often or if he is just starting to laugh more. Either way it's hysterical.

In health-related Spencer news, I think he is lactose intolerant. I've read that it's very rare for kids his age to be lactose intolerant, but our little experiment has overwhelmingly confirmed that he is an exception to that rule as well. I'll spare you the details that led to my hypothesis, but suffice it to say that the off-brand Lactaid is still twice as expensive as regular milk.

Spencer's love affair with all things television related is still in full-force. This was actually quite a life-saver on our 7 hour road trip to Tuscaloosa. No, that was not a typo. I threw caution to the the wind a few weeks ago and agreed to go with a friend to see another friend in Tuscaloosa--with Spencer! It went amazingly well, although we were both quite exhausted when it was all said and done. Spencer slept better than I'd ever imagined (not much in the car, though). I never would have made the trip alone with Spencer, but since I was not in charge of driving us there, I was able to muster the energy to take care of Spencer for our four day excursion. I have been trying to "live a little" these days (yes, this is "living a little" for me, ok?), and I think it's a good thing.

We got back from Tuscaloosa just in time for Natalie's wedding festivities. Her wedding was BEAUTIFUL, and Spencer was a little bit of a nightmare. But the day went great, even thought it started ridiculously early. I'm hoping to write about it all soon.



I've been trying to hang some framed pictures in order to free-up more storage space. The problem is, I really like my house the way it is (for the most part). Every time I put something "extra" on the wall, I just want to take it down. Every time I walk into our office/guest room/room full of junk, I know that I need to do a little "purging" of my many boxes full of greetings cards from Great-Aunt Shirley and notes from junior high school; but I also believe that the English language includes the word "keepsake" for a reason. I can call things a "keepsake" and not feel guilty for filling up an entire extra bedroom with things I neither need nor use on any sort of regular basis.

But look at these little gems and answer me this: How could I get rid of these?

These girls are still my friends, and if I don't preserve our carefree youth, then who will? Not to mention that last frame represents some of my finest artwork to date (unfortunately). So, the plastic, cardboard, pink-sparkling frames will retain their place of honor, but if my cleaning out continues at this rate, I may have to start calling it the "Keepsake Room."