2012 and 2013 were both challenging years for us. 2012 was hard because Keith was an especially difficult infant due to digestive problems. As soon as Keith outgrew his acid reflux, all three of our parents experienced serious health issues. Helping the folks consumed our 2013.
2014 has gotten off to a better start, though. While Christi’s dad still has issues, overall, he’s doing pretty well. Eric’s mom has stabilized. Unfortunately, Eric’s dad is currently on hospice, but we’ve come to terms with it, emotionally speaking. We now have caregivers coming in to care for his dad, which has helped ease the burden.
Over the last two years, we’ve consistently taken Kosmos out for day trips in the San Diego area, but we’ve only done a few longer trips, all within Southern California. We’re speaking at the Nordhavn Southwest Rendezvous in May, and we plan to take Kosmos up to Dana Point for the Rendezvous. We’re hoping that next year we can take some time off work to take Kosmos to The Sea of Cortez. Our ultimate goal is to return to the South Pacific in 2018.
Now that she’s getting to be an older boat, Kosmos has needed more maintenance/repairs. We’ve done lots of stuff, such as installing a new water heater, bilge pump, and inverter. And, there is more on the to-do list, as well.
Eric still works a lot. DivX has been doing some interesting things to help make movies and TV shows easier to move through the Internet. Look for exciting things coming from them!
One of the many reasons work was hectic was because DivX’s parent company, Rovi, put the DivX division up for sale. Eric had been meeting with all the potential buyers, which was a full-time job on top of his full-time job! The sale process was just completed. New investors bought DivX, and Eric was promoted to Chief Technology Officer. Currently, the DivX crew are dealing with the transition, so realistically speaking, Eric’s workload isn’t going to ease up anytime soon.
While Keith is still all-consuming, he is an absolute joy! He is turned two last month. He is happy, well-adjusted and is very enthusiastic about everything. He is definitely not a baby anymore; he is an independent little boy. One of his most commonly used phrases is, “Self. Do it.” (meaning “I want to do it myself.”).
We stopped counting words a long time ago, but we estimate that his vocabulary has to have at least 1,000 words. He’s been stringing together several words into cohesive thoughts for a while now. For example, he’ll say “Car. Blue. Play,” meaning “I want to play with the blue car.” He is in the declarative phase, which means he loves to tell us about everything that he sees and does as it happens, such as “Eating. Eggs. Yellow. Yum!” We now have conversations with him, which is kind of mind blowing. About three weeks ago, he started using prepositional phrases (words like “of,” “and”), and forming actual (simple) sentences. He still struggles with pronouns, often confusing “me” and “you.”
He can count to 13, knows all the basic shapes, all the basic colors, all the basic body parts, all 26 upper-case letters (we’re working on lower-case letters now), and dozens of animal names and the sounds each of the animals make. He can identify his name when he sees it written out, and when we spell out the letters “Z-O-O,” he screams excitedly “ZOO!”
Keith is still obsessed with vehicles. He knows the names of most types of trucks – at a construction site, he’ll tell you which one is a bulldozer, loader, excavator, etc. He can also identify the different parts of the vehicles – engine, wheels, headlights, etc. One of his most noteworthy abilities is that he can identify makes and models of cars. Starting at 18 months, whenever he saw a model match car that one of the people he is close to drives – even if it was another color – he’d say the name of the person who had the same make and model vehicle. He has a toy Mustang, and when he sees Mustangs on the road, he points them out, too. Keith’s favorite activity is to sit behind the wheel of a car and pretend to drive it. He asks to “drive” our car, his grandparent’s car, and the neighbors cars multiple times a day, every day.
While Keith can say a lot of words clearly, most of the words are not enunciated quite correctly, so sometimes Keith has to repeat himself several times before we figure out what he is saying. At 18 months old, Keith also started using sign language more. Keith mostly uses the sign language to clarify words. For example, he’ll say a word that could be “cheese” or “keys” and we’ll ask him to sign which one he means. We now understand why the toddler years can be so difficult for non-verbal kids. Keith tends to get agitated when we don’t understand what he is trying to communicate. Often, the things that Keith talks about aren’t things we would have ever guessed were on his mind – so if he weren’t such an effective communicator, we would have no clue what he was trying to tell us. We’re surprised at how often he brings up things that happened days, weeks, or sometimes even months ago.
Even though temper tantrums aren’t nearly as much of a problem for Keith as they are for most other toddlers, he is still two and does still throw his fair share of fits. But, he’s a good kid by nature and we feel blessed.
Keith likes to play outside, and currently his favorite outdoor activities are digging up rocks in the yard and riding around on his toy vehicles. He seems to always have a small toy car or truck in each hand. He loves to have books read to him, particularly books about vehicles. He also loves to look at pictures and videos of himself. He’s never been particularly interested in playing with other kids, but he’s starting to warm up to them, particularly if they are older than he is.
In good news, at the end of January, Keith suddenly became a better napper. He no longer fights naps and sleeps an average of 1.5 hours. He used to only sleep half an hour, and getting him down was a struggle. Christi hopes the good napping is permanent. She loves having that time to get other things done (and sometimes nap herself!).
In bad news, Keith still wakes up an average of three times a night. Christi had long suspected that vivid dreams caused him to wake up because he usually cried before he woke up; most babies wake up then cry. In September of last year, that suspicion was confirmed when Keith started talking in his sleep. He doesn’t necessarily wake up crying anymore, but he does seem disoriented and needs to be assured that it was a dream before he lays down and goes back to sleep. It’s been interesting to hear what he dreams about – mostly food, vehicles, and the playground.
Christi is doing well now. Since she has been doing the lion’s share of caregiving, the last two years were hardest on her. Christi has always been a self-confident person, but being Mommy to a difficult baby shattered her self-confidence. In 2012, she felt like a total loser because she couldn’t get her baby to stop crying or sleep (he didn’t nap much or sleep through the night). She was exhausted and hungry (since Keith was breast feeding, Christi was on a severely restricted diet until he outgrew the acid reflux), and found it difficult to think and function. Many people were critical of her parenting choices, and since babies don’t do much, there was no way to know if she was making good choices or not. She had little positive affirmation.
2013 was better – By March, she was eating normally again, and as Keith developed, she had more affirmation that she had made good parenting choices. But she still had a lot of doubts and felt like a loser because he was such a bad sleeper (both naps and night). Nowadays, as Keith has developed into such an exceptional little man, she’s regained a lot of that lost self-confidence. She’s still perpetually tired from the lack of continuous night sleep, but she’s not totally exhausted anymore. And she’s starting to feel somewhat like her old self again.