Tuesday, September 14, 2010


My Jasper John is 18 months old today. This is a milestone I've been waiting for for a very long time for several different reasons, and I am so thankful the day is here, and for how far the Lord has brought me and my little pal.

When he was four months old, we found out that Jasper had a condition in his neck muscles called torticollis. At four months old, he still wasn't holding his head up, and wasn't propping up on his arms yet either. From there I found out that it would take months and months of physical therapy and doctor visits to strengthen his neck, arms and back muscles. We were told that he should be good to go by anywhere from one year old to eighteen months old.

Since then, we've realized that the torticollis itself was pretty easy to get under control (easy meaning daily exercises at home and bi-weekly trips to the doctor for about six months), but that it delays milestones significantly, so we've been playing catch-up ever since. I don't generally consider myself to be an anxious, stressed out kind of person, but I've worried over my sweet baby ever since, struggling to give his conditions and "issues" over to God. And God has taken such good care of both of us.

Back in July, we also discovered that Jasper has an eye condition called Strabismus, which requires eye surgery (next Wednesday...please pray!!) to correct.

All in all, my little dude has had a rough-edged start to life, but I can't begin to describe what a perfect fit he is in our family, and how blessed I am to be his mommy. My heart overflows. The Lord is using Jasper to teach me what it means to give something over to Him that I instinctively wanted to hold tightly clenched in both fists. He's taught me the beauty of growth and development. He's shown me the true miracle it is to have a healthy, whole child - the way all the parts of our bodies work together to heal, restore, grow, improve, etc.

And with this introduction, and the thanks and praise that are due, written above, here are the physical, measurable results of the my growing, thriving 18 month old:

1) Jasper is one curious little kid. He feels the need to understand how things work and what their function is, big time, and how to make it do what it does again and again. This includes the buckles on his car seat, any door knob or lock, elevators, phones, the DVD player, using a fork, unrolling toilet paper (joy), flushing the toilet (or just touching the toilet water - double joy), taking things out of cabinets and (sometimes) putting them back in, stacking different kinds of objects, wheels of all sizes, etc etc. I think he has the mind of an engineer, like my Grandpa. It's really cool to watch, because Michael is more this way, but Bennett and I aren't at all.

2) He's my little helper. If I need the door closed, he wants to be the one to close (or open) it. If I need a lid put back on a container, he wants to do it. If I want to brush his teeth, guess who wants to give it a go? He's already pretty good about picking up toys and putting them back in their buckets - especially at his age.

3) He's still my cuddly mama's boy, and I love it. We're at a good place with this now. Before, it could get wearing throughout the day, because it was hard to leave the room without him fussing. But now that he walks/fast crawls (depending on his mood), and is far more verbal, this has greatly improved, and we're at a really fun, pleasant place with this. Now he just stops occasionally during play to come give me a hug and a kiss, and he snuggles with me right before bed, and (unlike another little boy I know) he lets me hold him in my lap while I read him books. Our relationship has evolved into something pretty special and unique, and I love it.

4) His vocabulary has exploded over the past couple of months. He doesn't say as much or talk as clearly as Bennett did at his age, but the verbal stuff has always been B's strong suit, and Jasper's strengths lie in other areas. The beautiful thing is that Jasper is right on target - right where he's supposed to be/needs to be, which is WONDERFUL. His favorite words are those that have the hard /c/ sound at the beginning or end, like car, lock, knock, stuck, yuck, and also words that start with the /h/ sound, like hot, hat, or head. The funny thing about this is that these were two of Bennett's very last sounds to make. Kids are all so different!

5) Whoa, my baby is one picky eater. And I surrendered any judgmental attitude I may have felt toward other mommies who fed their kids junk food and unhealthy stuff a LOOOOONG time ago. Jasper is on the small side and he prefers carbs and sugary things (always has) to anything else. He flat out won't eat anything else without huge strides and efforts and games on my part, which I do a lot, but sometimes the time and effort and energy it takes just isn't realistic or possible, and I plop my kid down in his high chair with sugary cereal instead of sliced cheese (that he absolutely would not touch with a ten-foot pole), because he needs to gain weight, and he needs something in his tummy. All that mumbo-jumbo about kids eating when they're hungry flew out the window for me months ago. It's just not true. When Jasper is hungry, he cries and wails miserably until he's offered something he'll actually eat. He can wait me out for meals at a time, and at his size and developmental rate, that's not something I'm willing to do. Applesauce and yogurt are major staples at our house for this little fella. Just telling it straight up like it is. Judge if you must!

6) Walking - oh, the big fat "W" word. Yes, Jasper is walking. But only when he wants to. Which is only some of the time. And almost always when he thinks no one is watching. I attribute this to his torticollis delays, and also to his personality, and I've made my peace with it. The dude is going to start running sprints when he's good and ready, and not a moment sooner, so I might as well save my furrowed brow, good intentions, and mommy expectations for someone who cares, and that someone is not a certain red-headed eighteen month old I know.

7) My second child has the patience of Job. He is the best errand-running kid I've ever known or heard of. When we're out and about, he hangs out in the shopping cart or stroller like a pro with no complaints. Truth be told, I have to be very intentional about making sure I talk to him and interact with him like he needs, because he just doesn't ask for/demand attention like another little boy in our house :)

8) His eyes are permanently the same dark gray-blue they were in the hospital, and his beautiful red hair is curling more and more the longer it gets, especially when it's damp. I'm thinking about putting some kind of light curling cream in it to encourage the curls. It'll be interesting to see what happens with it as he gets older and after his next hair cut.

9) Jasper is still very people-shy, although he's grown out of it some. He still doesn't enjoy going to the nursery at church initially and cries every time, but I'm told he has a lot of fun once he's with his other little friends :). He's also warming up to strangers more. If someone asks for a high five or "knock knocks" (bumping fists), they get one no questions asked. But someone else holding him is another story.

10) Some of he and Bennett's favorite games include Hide 'n Seek under Jasper's bed, playing with Bennett's cars and car garage (Jasper's FAVORITE toy, hands down), taking walks up and down our front sidewalk, "wrestling," building and knocking down block/car towers, and pretty much anything Bennett dreams up for the two of them.

I'm so proud of my little guy and how far he's come. He and I have experienced very real growing pains together, but it's made the months that much richer, and our bond that much stronger.

Happy 18 Months, Jasper John!!


Betsy@Living in the Moment said...

Love this post. How awesome it will be to look back and have all of these memories written down. I got a good chuckle when you debunked the whole, "Kids will eat when their hungry." so not true.Praying about the 22nd.