The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Posts tagged ‘kid’

Month 14 Or, The Chit Chat Kid

Here we find ourselves (we meaning me, myself and I) a few days into month 14 and lo and behold, the mighty munchkin continues to delight. I have found it weird that this is my comparison point – but here it is. It’s like a new relationship when you’re dating someone, except the shine has not really rubbed off. There are times that I think, ‘oh I’m tired … I wish I could just do nothing all day long’ but the little fella continues to pass along a steady diet of love and happiness, with bouts of sleeplessness and irritability.

What’s that rambling nonsense? Is that coffee-fueled jabber? Sure. Yes. But also that’s month 14. Ka-chow.

Month 14 seemed big. They’ve all been big, but this one felt like a number of mental things clicked for the little guy that have been so exciting to see.

This is a month 15 story, and I’m sorry to steal your thunder 15, but this feels representative of month 14. My wife and I went over to the kiddo’s ‘school’ for Halloween the other day and when I walked in the room my wife informed me excitedly, ‘he knows how to say high five!’ And yes, sure enough, our son would excitedly say high five, and/or hold up his tiny little adorable hand and then if you high fived he would say ‘high five.’ Do you know just how STRANGE it is to have someone who you spend tons of time with, who you adore endlessly, and who is only capable of about 10 words surprise you with a new word/phrase? It’s odd, and delightful. Also, his ‘high five’ is really more of a ‘ha fa’ but he knows what’s up.

The month started off with a new streak of independence which we had yet to see, and it showed up consistently at mealtime causing us some consternation until we figured it out. The kiddo had a sudden interest in taking a much more active role in feeding himself, and it showed up as rejecting old fan favorites and being a little tyrant at the table until it clicked. We figured it out one day with blueberries. We had cut a number in half because he has some personal revolt against chewing and will swallow down large chunks of food with a pained look on his face as the food goes down, then quickly reach out and repeat the whole painful process. But no, I don’t want those blueberry halves. We tried this, that, and the other thing but what finally worked, and worked very well, was holding the container out to him. He pounced on it and would grab tiny adorable handfuls and throw them in his mouth, chewing his little meaningless chews and swallowing painfully. But hey, he was eating. Phew. The same trend showed up in other foods … string cheese was no longer cut up, he got the whole stick. Bananas likewise are now served in about 3 or 4 big chunks instead of little bite sized pieces. It makes mealtime easier all in all, but it took a bit to figure out this new desire.

I don’t know when this happened exactly, it was before month 14, but I think I’ve yet to mention it so I’ll do so now. Another word in the kid’s small but growing list is book. It’s really just a b noise, but he knows what it means because he’ll pick up a book, hold it in the air, and say, ‘buh … buh … buh.’ He’ll look at you while doing this, which means please read me this book, dear mother or father. And if you’re busy cleaning up or doing something else you’ll eventually hear his little persistent noise, look up, and see him patiently waiting while repeating ‘buh’ over and over. It is almost incomprehensibly adorable. Naturally, you plop down near him and he’ll excitedly crawl right up to you with the book and then become overjoyed when you open up the book to start reading. He especially loves The Pout Pout Fish. One funny part about this is that you have an almost 0% chance of actually reading the book. He loves turning pages and will aggressively turn the pages on you as you attempt to read, skipping large chunks of the book with his fat-fingered page turning. Generally The Pout Pout Fish is reduced to about 20 words, scattered across various pages. One morning I did manage to read about 50% of Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb about 10 times. That was a very exciting morning. Dum ditty dum ditty dum ditty dum.

The words we’ve got going now, perhaps mostly in the order of appearance: dog, dad, mom, ball, bye, book, banana, airplane, car, high five, outside. Airplanes get a reaction even when we’re inside the house. He’ll hear one, point to the sky and say, ‘ah-pane.’

The word car seemed to arrive instantly, and boy was it an exciting walk when that word first appeared. We have, as one might expect in a suburban neighborhood, a lot of cars. And you know who delighted in pointing out every car? Our little wordsmith. Something between a ‘cat’ and a ‘gah’ and a happy point at car, after car, after car, after car. Sometimes a pause to wave at a car driving by as I would wave (it feels weird to point to random neighbors cars as they drive by so I try to wave to make it not seem like I’m being ominous or threatening).

The language front has been amazing this past month, which has been wonderful to witness.

Now on to the physicality. The kiddo is still not walking, which is completely fine, but boy do I dislike it when people say, ‘he’s not walking yet?’ or any variation on that. This does nothing for us, or the person saying it, so … why say it? That said, we have had a lot of fun physical developments.

He climbed down the stairs backwards for the first time during this month, and just like when he learned to climb up them he went from never having done it to expert in seemingly no time at all. Initially he wanted to crawl down things face forward, which would lead to me flipping him around and trying to pull him down backwards to show him. He didn’t like that and would try and squirm away from me till one day – boom. I get it. And away he went. That day he climbed up the stairs over and over just to get the chance to then climb down them. My wife said he would occasionally crawl up one or two steps then point at the top of the stairs so she would carry him up so that he could climb down again. Crafty, lazy, stair descending monster.

The next big happening was my wife’s first night away from the little guy since his time in the NICU. She took a short trip to hang out with a friend for the weekend so the little guy and I had some nice adventures of our own – a museum, swim lessons, a Halloween thing and some typical errands. It was a great weekend with the little guy, made all the better by the fact that sleep changed this month and became somewhat reliably good. He’d still wake up one or two times a night, but a quick visit to hand him his pacifier and re-sing the putdown song or letting him cry for 2 or 3 minutes usually did the trick to get him back into a solid sleep. The difference that makes is huge, and made the weekend (and this last month in general) much easier on the parental side. I can’t overstate what a big difference solid, predictable sleep makes. As I write this he’s napping (and, ironically, his first nap was oddly short today so we’ll see how this one goes).

During that weekend the mornings were spent the same way my wife spends them … wake up, play for a bit, breakfast, play for a bit, then a walk, playing and an-time. The walk pretty much always involves a stop off at the nearby park where he loves the swings and these little spinny type toys. It’s like a little dome you sit in and someone else spins it. It’s hysterical to watch his little eyes when he gets stopped because they bounce around as he tries to come back from the dizziness. But he loves it. Because as soon as things quit spinning for him and his eyes can focus, he begins to rock back and forth, his hands still holding on, waiting for you to start spinning him again. But oh … when you leave … that’s his least favorite part. And if you dare walk by the playground casually without stopping? He’s not a fan of that either. Usually my trick is to find some other thing to point out to distract him – oh look, an airplane!, or oooh a neighbor’s dog! Thankfully distractions exist in spades.

Ok friends, gut check. Even I am sick of writing this down. But you know who might not be sick of reading this a ways down the road from now? My son-loving future self. So, here’s to you, pal.

This month also featured … clapping! I know this is typically something kids conquer much earlier but we never clapped at home, so I think this is something he likely picked up from daycare. I don’t have too much to say about that, it was just fun to see him clap. I think sometimes he claps because he enjoys the act of clapping, and other times it’s because something happened that he liked (generally food-related).

This one may be silly, but I was pretty enthused in the moment. The kiddo and I were at the nearby playground, which has the play area’s ground comprised of small pebbles. The kiddo loves to grab handfuls of small things and then he pulls his arm back so his hand is at his side, near his waist, and then he drops whatever it is (mulch, pebbles, sand, whatever). He was doing this over and over when I got his attention and showed him what I like to do at the beach – grab a handful (pebbles instead of sand), and then slowly open my hand and let it drain out between my fingers. I did this over and over and then lo and behold, he switched from his method to mimicking what I was doing! Amazing! He only did it a few times before he decided he liked his game more … but it was the first time I’d seen him see me doing something and then so quickly mimic it.

And speaking of learning things … We went to a pumpkin patch one weekend and the kiddo went down a slide. This was the first time I’d seen him kind of scoot his body forward to get into a spot where he’d actually start to slide down. This was very fun to see but it showed up again later at his swim lessons when he squirmed/scooted his little body from the side of the pool, where I’d placed him, toward me in the water. It was fun watching his tiny little self sort of trust fall into me from the side of the pool, excitedly reaching out and grinning as he’d come at me.

Last but certainly not least, and another late blooming thing – peek-a-boo! This month the kiddo really fell in love with that, and it’s been hysterical to watch. He is terrible at it. He’ll cover one eye with his hand and stare at you with the other. But with an object like a towel or pillow he’s great, he’ll hide behind it and then we ask where he is excitedly and boom, he reveals he’s been there all along. Boy, aren’t mom and dad stupid for not knowing I was right here? One adorable and sad daycare pickup was when I showed up and he had clearly just been crying, but I walked in the door and he’s sitting with tears on his face, his tired little eyes, and boom, he throws his hands up to immediately begin a peek-a-boo game with old pop. Heartbreaking and sweet.

Anywho … that’s 14. I may have to revisit how I do these because boy, even I’m bored at this moment.

If you’ve stuck with me, you really ought to get a life.

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12 Months, or Words, Cupcakes, Kids and Giggles

First of all, I’d highly recommend the song Hands Down by The Greeting Committee. I’m listening to that while writing this.

12 months. ONE YEAR OLD. I said that a number of times to my son after his first birthday / on his first birthday. My little one year old. It’s crazy. It’s been said many, many times by many people smarter than I … but it really is crazy how time both flies and crawls. He’s a year and a week as of my writing this, and already his birthday feels like such a long time ago. (Though part of that is a very good and adventuresome weekend my wife and I have had which we are pretty pleased with ourselves about. Several walks, a 5 mile hike, a trip to the pool, a picnic … the kiddo has gotten a lot of fun this weekend.)

This month, inspired by not wanting to take the time to organize my thoughts, I’ll just be rambling like a lonely man who desperately needs some friends and then someone shows me the slightest bit of interest and I talk their ears off. In other words, your standard blog post. Shouting my drivel into the void.

The kiddo has a vast vocabulary of … an unknown number of words. I really thought it would be easier to identify when he figured out a new word but I suppose my skeptical nature makes it tough. He has a handful of consonants he’s gotten down – b, d, m … so when he figures out the word for dog, which is, ‘dah!!!’ and then later he maybe knows the word for dad, which is, ‘dah!’ (dogs are far more exciting) and then sometimes he just crawls around saying his noises indiscriminately it is quite difficult to tell the difference between an intentional labeling dad as ‘dah!’ vs looking at a block, or a grape, or the toilet and saying ‘dah!’ Are all of us ‘dah!’ or none of us, or what? SPEAK, CHILD!

But we KNOW he knows the word for dog. He is now VERY HAPPY to see dogs when we go out on a walk (we have a dog at home who inspires less excitement … she only gets a few excited ‘dah!!!’ a day). We also feel confident he knows the word for ball, and the word for dad. Bye is a maybe. But you know what?, who knows.

I have described before the kiddo and I having a game where we chase each other around … like a hide and seek meetings chasing kind of thing? I don’t know. Anyway, that has continued to be a favorite and my wife got to experience him initiating the game which she was thrilled by. The kiddo was playing in the family room when he popped his little head out behind the couch and then ducked away. He popped his head out again and my wife thought, ‘!!!’ (yes, that’s a thought you can have) and she instantly went to the ground to crawl away. He came out from behind the couch, cackling and happy as can be to have a play partner.

This month involved a lot of thinking and planning and birthday party-ing. We went to Phoenix to see family and have a joint kiddo and dad birthday party. This was a bit earlier than either of our birthdays, but we were going to be around family so you might as well go for it. The kiddo’s cousins were there, running around and playing which is a new spot of fascination for him. He has taken to really enjoying seeing kids playing. I like to imagine he is marveling at how they are small like him (bigger of course, but not grown up size) and yet they can MOVE, they can RUN and JUMP and PLAY and he just loves seeing this. But, again, who knows what is going on inside that tiny head of his. My mother-in-law sent an article to my wife and I talking about how brain scans on a baby indicate the same areas of the brain firing that those on LSD have. So … your baby is living in a world where everything is trippy. Kinda makes sense. All these benevolent giants who speak in some gibberish language and get randomly so excited about who knows what. It’s got to be strange.

Back to the party. The party in Arizona was good … and educational as far as the party my wife and I threw him back home. The kiddo is SOCIAL, he really likes waving at people and smiling at them and being, basically, a big old flirt with anyone who will pay attention to him (someone says hi, he waves after maybe a 30 second delay, and then he smiles at them and sort of hides by digging his head into my should while he continues to wave and glancing at them … I gotta tell you, it’s effective, but I don’t know if it would’ve worked for me during my dating days … people would’ve found me mentally deficient). But his sociableness takes a back seat when there are a LOT of people around. Thankfully he did great with a crowd of cousins and family running around. Although I got feedback from my mom and sister than I am too quick to take the kiddo back from others. It’s a fair criticism, they’re right, and I will try to do better … I guess. I do like breaks from the kid, but I also enjoy interacting with him quite a bit. My wife or I sing to him before putting him down for sleep, and one of my made up lyrics to the tune of Somewhere Over the Rainbow is something like, “I never want to be apart … mostly.”

The kid did the cupcake smash … somewhat. I had him in the Bjorne because a lot of people singing to him and staring at him had him a bit off … That was a good lesson learned for his next birthday party. I wanted to watch him eat the cupcake! Thankfully, at the party at home he was seated and I got to take in his cupcake delight. It was entertaining because he is normally a VERY distractible eater, but with that cupcake he stayed focus from bite one to the last bite. He flipped the cupcake over and then ate till he reached the frosting, and then it was a second wave of enjoyment. Oh that sweet, sweet frosting. People staring, people laughing, people gabbing all around him? Who cares. CUPCAKE. He ate pretty much the whole thing … which is a pretty decent portion for a little guy.

The birthday stuff also inspired a thought from me: this child has WAY TOO MUCH STUFF. I am starting to have more worries about him being spoiled, catered to too much, things like that. Of course, I say that and I will go to a store and see a toy and think, ‘ooh! I want to get this for him!’ And when he cries out you can bet I’m there in a heartbeat. I will have to train myself (which is not something I expected) on not buying stuff for him, and letting him feel frustrated or sad or whatever. Especially with him getting older these will be important things for me to do. Oh, self-growth, you again? I thought I ditched you at the fork in the road. The birthday stuff ALSO made me think – we need to set a budget up front for any and all gift times (eg Christmas and birthday) or my wife and I will happily go overboard. Heck, I’d buy him Legos right this instant (and kindly play with them to keep them from getting rusty …).

We ate out at a restaurant for the first time where we ALSO ordered for him. That was very exciting and also, it turns out, a short-lived phase. We went from, ‘oh this will be so fun to eat out with him!’ to ‘maybe we should just stick to picnic lunches so he can crawl around like a maniac and shout at random trees.’ It’s unpredictable if he’ll be focused on food or frustrated by the confines of a high chair. But it was fun during those few weeks, and thankfully burritos are very transportable so the picnic life will be a good one.

Now for a smattering of adorable things.

The kiddo and old pops are signed up for a ‘parent and me’ swim class (yes, it’s parent and me, not mommy and me you old-world sexist … nah, mommy and me is what comes to my mind too). Anyway, to prep for the class the kiddo and I went to the local pool and had a GOOD time! I was very happy because the last time we tried the pool we had a decidedly BAD time. Crying, fussing, looking around in fear. Not fun. But this time he was happy to take in all the sights, sounds, and all the kids running around and playing. He also waves at EVERYBODY. Lifeguard walks by? Give a wave. Other kid? Wave. Parent? Wave. Me? Wave. Thankfully the lifeguards are sweet and got into it, waving back at him every time they passed. Swim lessons, here we come!

The kiddo has also seemed to realize he can reach up for things? I mean … I’m not quite sure what this is, but something has changed. He would stand up before and reach for things, but there is a sudden new love of stretching and reaching up. If I am holding him in the family room he will reach up for the fan as though it’s JUST. RIGHT. THERE. I think the poor kid doesn’t quite have depth perception mastered. Either that or he’s a real dreamer.

I have been reading the same bedtime book whenever I put him down for a while now. Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site. I’m a big fan of it. In the book there are occasional sounds, like a (sigh) or a (yawn). One sound I had not done for a long time, it’s one vehicle dumping rocks on a heap. (Cruuuuuunch.) I decided one night to add this in and my sound effect for this is pretty similar to a sound he and I have made back and forth occasionally. I did the (Cruuuuuunch) noise and he turned to me, all snuggled up in his sleep sack on my lap, and he grinned from behind his pacifier and returned a (Cruuuuuunch). I smiled but kept reading. He was unperturbed. (Cruuuuuunch.) I kept reading. (Cruuuuunch.) Finally I turned to him and returned with a similar (Cruuuuuuunch.) Again a big old grin and we just made the noise back and forth a few times before I went back to my attempt at a soothing, sleep-inducing voice reading goodnight to a bunch of trucks. But the next few times I read the book I was treated to a (Cruuuuuunch) conversation which I dearly loved.

Ok, how to describe this one. Wiggling your finger over your lips while you make a noise to get an even funnier noise? Yeah, that. He’s into that now. I’d like to think I introduced this to him, but he may have figured it out on his own. He has waving down like a champ (though sometimes with a 2 minute delay) but to turn that waving hand to your mouth to make a funny sound? Revolutionary! But boy does he love doing that right now. We have whole conversations of this sound, back and forth, and sometimes we try to get strangers involved too. It’s a good time.

The kiddo has also gotten faster at getting down. It’s more of an on-purpose fall than a sloooooowly, sloooooowly squat back down kind of affair. This is really helpful for him when we play our chasing game.

Last but certainly not least (especially since I got it on video) is a new way to make him laugh! The kiddo, wife and I were driving to a store to wander when he was getting fussy in the backseat with me. (See how I spoil him? We are doing less companion in the backseat driving intentionally these days.) I decided a great bit of entertainment would be if I pretended to eat a toy, and then coughed it up. Hysterical, right!? Chomp, chomp, chomp, the toy was gone! This got a little grin from the kiddo. And then, cough … cough cough … pop, here’s the toy! AND WOAH! Some giggles! Amazing, fantastic, soul-rebuilding giggles! (It’s a daily battle between reading about Trump and interacting with my son. One destroys the soul, one rebuilds it.) Soon I realized … he doesn’t care about my fake eating or spitting the toy back up … he just LOVES the fake cough! It’s hysterical to him! And thus was born many a time of fake coughing. Though I’ll admit, it isn’t nearly the hit anymore. Tastes change. Humor is ever evolutionary.

Phew. We’ve done it. Another rambly post finished.

By the time I post this he’ll probably be well into the 13th month, and I’m not sure yet if I’ll continue a monthly update or not, but I think I’d like to. I started reading a book last night about the second year of life, which will hopefully help me to mold my little human into someone who grows up to be a happy, healthy, functional big human. That’s the dream, anyway.

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Happy birthday, kiddo.

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