I still need to make a post with pictures from New York, but here is a little quick post from this morning.
All of the sudden, Carter can eat with a spoon. He's been dipping a spoon into things and playing with one during meals for a long time, but he's never really been able to productively eat with one until the last couple of days. It's just happened seemingly overnight, as so many things with toddlers do.
One of the really nice things about this is that I can give him breakfast foods that were previously really messy, and he can basically eat them independently. Amazing! Here is a video of him eating breakfast cereal. He really likes cereal, and can say and sign it, and gets excited when he sees me making a little bowl for him. He can eat a ton of it, and will sit there and work very hard to get every last piece out.
At some point he'll dump it out on his tray and play in the milk, of course. He will also lap the milk off the tray, and then grin at me and say "yucky". I'm not sure if it's actually yucky (he also likes to eat soap and grin and tell me it's "yucky") or if it's just his little sense of humor.
He will also eat his yogurt from a bowl with a spoon. Until recently, I would spoon-feed him yogurt, and then give him the spoon and bowl when it was almost empty. He would somehow still manage to get it all over him. A few days ago I just started handing him the bowl and the spoon, and letting him go at it. He can now pretty much eat the yogurt from the bowl!
Of course, at some point this also devolves into messiness:
But still, it feels like a big jump in his development. It's funny how traveling always seems to do that. Every time we go on a trip with him, he comes back and immediately takes a big developmental leap. After the last trip, he seems much more independent and confident. He will play on his own for long periods of time now, for example. Even at Gymboree and at playplaces, he just runs off and doesn't look back at me for support. He has started to insist on walking alongside the stroller when we're out and about, instead of just riding in it.
His language is moving forward a bit too. He's still firmly entrenched in that toddler world-labeling phase, but he will occasionally use a verb or even string a couple of words together. For example, a few days ago Doug was trying to help him with something and swore he said, "I do it!" Yesterday morning when Doug left for work, Carter cried at the door and said, "want Daddy!" over and over. He says "walk" or "march" while he's moving, is finally learning the "stop and go" game, and will say things like "cooking" when I ask him what Daddy is doing in the kitchen, or "going car" when we head out the door. It's not consistent yet, but every now and then a glimpse of what's coming next peeks through.