At 18 months we took Ian to the nursery at church; he was THRILLED to go, and when we came to get him later, he told us to go back so that he could stay there.
Ian never really babbled as much as I expected him to, but by the time he was 2 years old he could talk to an adult not from our household, and that adult could understand him. Also around this time, we noticed that he would become VERY INTERESTED in a certain thing, like tractors; for months and months he would be very focused on any sort of TRACTOR and NOTHING ELSE. We had noticed that Ian was very strong-willed (but isn't every child strong-willed?), and around this time we also started noticing that he was very defiant, especially towards me.
I had started getting the feeling, some months earlier, that there was another little person who wanted to join our family, but I was SO SCARED! I hadn't forgotten how awful my pregnancy had been, and I was really worried about being able to take care of Ian if I got that sick again. But I'd talked to many women, and some had said that they had had morning sickness really bad the first time but that it hadn't been so bad in subsequent pregnancies, and some said that they only got sick when they were pregnant with a boy, and some said they only got sick when they were pregnant with a girl, so I tried to cling to the hope that it would be different if I got pregnant again.
I had taken a pregnancy test
I waited fearfully for the constant, severe nausea to start...but it never did! I felt yucky in the mornings and evenings, but I could still function! I could stand and walk! I could still eat and drink! I decided that if THAT was morning sickness, I could absolutely survive! And it didn't last as long as it had the first time! (Of course, with this pregnancy I had a doctor who actually would have DONE SOMETHING to help me if it had been like the first time...)
Ian was very excited when I got pregnant and we started talking about "the baby in Mama's tummy". He INSISTED it was going to be a sister named Baby Elizabeth. I was happy to go with that and dusted off my list of girl names and got the girl crocheting out again. (Imagine our surprise when the ultrasound tech put the wand on my stomach and it was IMMEDIATELY APPARENT that it was not going to be Baby Elizabeth after all!) As my tummy got rounder and rounder, Ian enjoyed patting it and giving kisses to the baby.
Ian had a really hard time with changes and transitions (time to go home from the park, time to stop playing and do something else, etc...), so as soon as I knew I was pregnant I started talking to him about what would happen when the baby was born. We passed the hospital often when we went out on errands, and every time we would drive by I would say, "There's the hospital where Mama will go when it is time for the baby to come out of my tummy. You might wake up one morning and Grandma will be there! Grandma will stay with you while I'm in the hospital, and she will bring you to visit me..."
Once, around this time, when Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers was Ian's favorite book, I walked by his room to hear him saying, "Never ever, ever take a blue scoop tractor from a stranger!" in the most serious voice. I laughed and laughed!
I could always tell when Ian was sick because he would come sit on my lap; it was the ONLY time he would sit on my lap for any period of time. He was a VERY BUSY boy! One day I was walking down the hall, and I heard something I had never heard before: Ian was laughing, and it was a sound of PURE JOY. I rounded the corner to find him, and his big stuffed dog, sitting on his dresser, with a large container of baby powder, and he was delightedly shaking it ALL. OVER. THE. ROOM. (FYI: When one is already in a REALLY BAD MOOD about having to clean up half a container of baby powder, it DOES NOT HELP one's mood when the vacuum cleaner repeatedly shocks one during the clean up.) He also delighted in clearing a certain bookshelf EVERY. TIME. HE. WALKED. BY. IT. And dumping the bag of crackers all over the floor. And dumping all of his toys in a big pile. For some reason, he acted surprised every time I insisted he clean up whatever glorious mess he'd just made!