Technically speaking, this year was our son's second Thanksgiving. However, as his Thanksgiving meal last year consisted solely of milk, I am calling yesterday his first real Thanksgiving with Turkey, stuffing, and all the sides. Let me tell you (which I obviously am right now), he is following in the role of almost all Americans before him and absolutely loves Thanksgiving dinner. The only side dish that he didn't eat was the mashed potatoes. I know, it is a horrendous day when a toddler doesn't like mashed potatoes (note sarcasm), however his dislike of the dish probably had something to do with the consistency. While he is not a big fan of regular potatoes in general, he has eaten them before and we are chalking up yesterday's non potato eating incident as an anomaly. But enough about the mashed potatoes and on to bigger and better foods like the big flying bird skillfully cooked in the oven that he loved. Yes, our son is a big fan of Turkey. He is also a big fan of green been casserole, turnips, parsnips, stuffing, sweet potatoes, gravy, and cranberry relish. An eating machine he is. The biggest surprise that I had was his enjoyment at eating the green bean casserole. While it is one of my favorite Thanksgiving meal dishes, I had my doubts as to whether or not he would actually eat it. My doubt stems from the fact that if given green beans alone, our son will immediately push them out of his mouth with his tongue, a nice half chewed green mess that slips and slides down his chin and onto his bib. I guess the only reason he actually ate the casserole was because the green beans were not plain but mixed instead with cream of mushroom soup and the wonderful crispy onion strips that decorate the top. Whatever the reasoning, he absolutely loved them and all the other food. The tradition of stuffing ourselves as a family on Thanksgiving continues. On a side note, perhaps the most amazing part of the day yesterday is that almost all the food was cooked by my wife's grandmother who is approaching 90 years old. All of it done with minimal help from others. (I did get to cut the Turkey, however, and of course make sure the skin was OK by sampling massive amounts of it).
This year there were 9 of us gathered around the dinner table. Every other year it alternates between 9 and about 14 people, depending on who alternates attendance. With only 9 people, you would think there would be less food at the table. You would be wrong in your thought however as the Turkey was a whopping 23 pounds and the sides looked like they could feed an army. When dinner was over and every one sitting around the table looked halfway bloated, the dishes on the table looked like they had hardly been touched. Talk about excess. The good news is that we probably won't have to cook for a few days as we took plenty of leftovers home with us. Then came desert. This year desert was kept to a minimum. There was one pie, cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, and a pumpkin type desert that looked like a pie but wasn't a pie. So yes, we stuffed ourselves again after a while and proceeded afterwards to filter out of the house, find our way home, and wallow with our overly gassy, bloated stomachs we had created over a few hours of stuffing our faces. All in all, it was a good day. So enough about dinner and all the fixin's and back to my son's second, first Thanksgiving. I noticed a few things yesterday about our son that are big steps for him. Let me correct myself before I go any further; I have been noticing these things about our son for about a week now, however, it was yesterday that they really started to show themselves. The first is that his walking is becoming more and more steady. He is "toddling" less and less and actually starting to walk without his upper body swaying back and forth precariously. This steady walking of his is not a permanent feature as of yet. He still gets his moments when he looks like a drunken sailor circling the house, it is just that now he looks like he knows how to walk. It is the cutest thing to watch him from behind, walking away, his little feet moving steadily underneath him as he explores every nook and cranny of a house. In addition to walking more steadily, he is coming to understand that he can't just propel himself willy nilly towards a set of stairs sans concern. Now he actually gets to the top of a set of stairs, stops, and looks to grab a hand for assistance. Once he has an adult hand, he gets down stairs one of two ways; either trying to take the steps like a big boy or dropping down onto his but and inching forward till his feet hit the step below. He even does that on small curbs and any type of step, whether it is one step or ten.
The other major advancement that I have noticed is his understanding of certain objects. I have mentioned before that he absolutely loves being outside whether it is 35 degrees out or 85. It doesn't matter to him, he just wants to be outdoors. With the colder weather, however, he has come to realize that he can't just go outside any way he wants to. He needs his coat, his hat, and in his mind, his shoes (although they are a little more cumbersome than he would like and we normally opt to have him walk around just in socks or bare feet.) Yesterday as we were sitting around the table, he walked up to the sliding door leading to the deck and stared desperately at the outdoors. My wife and I both said, "Go get your coat and we can go outside". Without even a moment's hesitation, he went right over to his travel bag and looked for his coat. Not finding it in the bag, he looked on the couch, saw his coat, grabbed it and brought it to us. Keep in mind that he is only a little over 13 months old at this point. To me, it is amazing that he is putting all these little pieces together in his mind and learning about the world. Not that I expected it to be any other way, I have just never experienced this before, so to me, it is amazing. He has also begun trying to put his shoes on by himself. Currently he has very little success in this arena, however, the attempt is being made so I guess that is all that counts. It is not only his shoes that he tries to put on, but also our slippers and any other type of shoe he can find. It is the funniest thing when he walks up to us and tries to take the slippers off of our feet so that he can put them on his. So that concludes the big steps he has been making in his development and while his vocabulary is still almost non-existent, his babbling is becoming more nuanced in his pronunciation of different consonants and vowels. He is trying to talk, it just isn't there yet. All in due time. Today, I am off to work and as such, must end here so that I can go get our little muffin out of his crib for breakfast. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and got to spend quality time with their family.