Here are Ryan, Michael, & James back in the old picture chair. Bob and I had stopped the monthly photo because keeping the kids in one place was almost impossible. We've learned a trick or two in the last six months - the iPhone is our friend. The boys are watching their favorite rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody by the Muppets. It keeps them mesmerized and if we time it right, we can take a picture when Animal comes on the screen and get three smiles. Our boys LOVE their Muppets. Now that they are a year and a half, our boys are all just about 30 lbs. James is still the shortest at 34 inches, Ryan is 34.5 inches, and Michael is 35 inches. All of them are above the 90th percentile for height, but they all have small heads.
James is still our craziest kid. He likes to wear buckets on his head, prance around in a circle, make funny faces, and talk to the fish. He is by far the most willing to talk to strangers, and in fact, he has been known to chase people his size around attempting to talk to them. When we go out to eat, we have to make sure that James has the ability to see all around him or he will spend the entire meal trying to turn around and see what is going on behind him. He is extremely observant and will try and copy whatever it is you are doing. He says lots of words through his pacifier, but he's not as easy to understand as his brothers (probably because he has always got something in his mouth). His brothers seem to understand him fine, though. He likes to pull the rocking chair over and stand on the back like he's in a rocking chair foxhole. He likes to wear his shoes and gets mad when you take them off (the boys have learned that shoes equal going outside and/or leaving the house, so they will bring you their shoes when they want to go outside). Today, I told the boys "let's go take a bath." I went to grab some diapers, and by the time I made it to the bathroom, James had turned on the water and was in the tub, fully clothed. This was the first time anyone had actually made it into the tub despite their numerous attempts in the last couple of weeks. For some reason, one of James's favorite things to do is tear paper into tiny bits. He likes to use a napkin, and he has almost mastered using a fork (a spoon is a little harder - he does a flip that causes whatever is on the ride to his mouth to return to his tray). Bob has taught him to yell "rarh" as he stabs at his food. James loves graham crackers. He will go into the pantry and bring you the box of crackers. He must have one for each hand. Don't even think about giving him just one cracker - or if you do, you'd better break it in half so that there are two of them.
Michael has turned into Grandpa's boy. He is very smart and likes to take you by the hand and will lead you to whatever he wants you to do. Lately, he takes me to the fridge and says "milk." He is still a very neat eater, but he likes to hold his fork up in the air and then eat with his fingers. If you put something on his fork for him, he takes it off and then eats it, although today, he did eat his macaroni & cheese off of his fork. He says all kinds of things. Today, he heard an airplane, pointed to the sky and said "airplane." He has a very large vocabulary if you count nickums, neengas, dickums, etc. He says lots of real words as well, but these are his favorites. Today, he spent about 10 minutes sitting on the bouncy horse playing with its hair. He has started putting whatever it is he eats in his hair to use as styling gel. Maybe he's trying to tell me he'd like a trendier hair cut. He is almost (probably already) in need of a haircut, but I'm reluctant to admit that my baby already needs another haircut. Bob has taught him to tackle & count to three then declare himself the winner. He will take a running leap at you that will knock the breath out of you. He still loves his blanket and will bring it anywhere you let him. We've done pretty well at keeping the blanket upstairs, but sometimes there are great protests when leaving it behind. Michael LOVES to read. He still makes you read books over and over again. He will fight his brothers for books, and if you stop reading before he's ready, he'll try and slam you in the face with the book. We are working on expressing our opinion in a more genteel way, but you can't fault a boy for loving to read.
Ryan is our most opinionated child. He has taken to expressing his opinion by yelling at the top of his lungs, turning red, and occasionally throwing himself to the ground. I am trying to get beyond this by telling him we don't act this way and giving him eye contact and telling him to stop. So far it's mildly effective, but I'm determined to win this contest of wills. He is still our eagle eye. If you are making one part of his meal while he's supposed to be eating what is already on his tray, he will make a fuss until you bring him what he's watching you prepare. He likes his mommy, which makes me very happy, but it is taking a little longer for him to get used to the nursery than it used to. I'm sure we will get to the point where he just wants me to go away, but for now, I am a fan of the love. He likes to go visit Daddy and touch all of the things on his desk. I think he's missing the Christmas Tree, but he seems content to bring me his Noah's Arc animals. His favorite is the zebra. He loves to read, but he has particular pages that he likes to spend his time with. He likes the panda page in Just Like Daddy, the lion page in I Love My Daddy Because, and the page with the dogs and airplanes in The Eye Book. He will bring you The Nose Book and the whole way across the room, he will touch his nose. He also loves his blanket, but he likes to rub the tag. He probably has the best skill with the fork and spoon of the trio, but he is the least interested in the shape sorter. Every once in a while, he'll stop by and put one shape in and be off to do some other exciting thing like standing on the window sill, climbing on the table, and attempting to mount his horse without help.
Our drummer boy with a single drumstick. James likes to have two things in his hands. He loves drumsticks, wooden spoons, and any other thing that he can hold easily and create noise with.
Michael and his milk. This little guy can't get enough of the liquid goodness. I wonder if he's so tall because of all the hormones he's getting in his milk. Hopefully he'll be a tall, coordinated, talented basketball player so he can take his parents on expensive trips to exotic locations.
Ryan and his tag. Bob and I watch the show The Middle, and the little boy, Brick, keeps ketchup packets in his pockets as comfort condiments. I think Ryan might be destined for some comfort condiments.
Here is our little family in their Christmas Eve finery. I see Michael is still a boob man.
The Newhouse Family (note the milk addict needs his cup).
The Ptomey/Cain Clan (with a headless James).