2014 is the year that our “family” has really hit began to hit it’s stride.
Carter turned 1, and has really started to gain a personality. He communicates mostly non-verbally now by pointing, grunting, and shaking his head yes/no. He tries a few baby-signs for “more” and then confirms or denies when we ask him. His head nod for “yes” cracks me up because he has to move his whole upper body. He’s walking, climbing, and loves to do laps in our living room and go up/down the stairs repeatedly.
The kid has toughed through a good cold and a couple rounds of ear infections without even letting that break his stride. We didn’t even know he had an ear infection until he had a 1 year checkup in mid December.
He’s starting to try and talk. If I say “High Five!” and hold my hand out, he puts the right number of syllables together and mostly matches the tone as he slaps at my hand. He will throw out “Wow!” and “Uh oh” from time to time – and periodically we catch Ma-ma / Da-Da / Pa-pa used mostly in the right context.
The level of interaction continues to increase across the board – especially with Chase. They find ways to play together, to steal each other’s toys, and be exactly what I hoped brothers would be.
Chase at 4 has been my favorite part of being a parent so far. We can start to experience things together and learn and discover as a team. He may ask me “What’s this car’s name?” – some toy from one of the new Cars movies – and we’ll find out together. Or, he’ll ask a question that doesn’t really have an answer and we collectively imagine answers. “How could we get touch the sky?” for example. However, he’s managed to start asking some tough questions that I wasn’t really prepared for.
Chase: When the dinosaurs were here, we were just bones, right?
Me (confidently): No, actually we weren’t even here yet.
Chase: Well, where were we??
Chase: When will dinosaurs be alive again?
He’s a smart kid and is patient enough for me to explain almost any topic he asks about, which is good because some of these tougher questions required me to think pretty hard on an answer…
It’s an interesting shift in my personality as well. The things I want to do now revolve around how fun they’ll be for us to do. I’ll take an evening go-cart race at Craig’s Cruisers over almost anything I used to do for fun by myself – as long as Chase is in the seat next to me in the cart. We can laugh together about the fart gun in Despicable Me, and I enjoyed that way more than Bill Burr’s comedy special that I watched by myself.
We have to balance how much he wants to watch Iron Man, Legends of Chima, or Ninjago — But we manage to get outside as well where he prefers Soccer, “Pretend football” so he can catch, and basketball on our hoop’s lowest setting.
Haircuts continue to be interesting. We’ve never taken him to get a “real” haircut, mostly because I’m pretty decent at cutting hair and have a professional grade set of tools. So for now Chase is rocking a mostly real-looking haircut instead of a typical buzzcut. Normally, we’d do a #2 clipper on the back/sides, a 4 on the top, and a 3 to blend it.
I’m sure every year continues to get better and better as a parent. But 2014 was a pretty solid one for the VanBergen family.