The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Posts tagged ‘parenthood’

22 Months, Or … The Tiny Talker

The delinquent dad here with another update – this time for a great big 22 month old. At this point I baffle strangers when they ask, ‘how old is he?’ and I say 22 months. I can almost see them doing math in their head. Following my wife’s lead I have adopted a simpler answer of, ‘none of your business.’ Just kidding. I say a bit shy of 2. And then I say, ‘now get off my lawn.’ This is especially effective for making people scatter when I’m at Target.

I am deep into 23 month land so I can hardly remember 22 months, so this may … for once … be a relatively short update. But we’ll see. I bet I can manage to be long-winded.

The kiddo is all about words. Man oh man he is a good little communicator and mimic. I made a note of every word I heard him say over the course of an afternoon, plus what I knew from memory … but I bet I missed some. Here is what my chatty little 21.5 month old was saying:

animals
dog
cat
elephant
mouse
donkey
horse
fish
whale
bunny
dinosaur
lion
cow
moose
animals
turtle
vehicles
boat
airplane
truck
jeep
car
helicopter
dump truck
food
banana
apple
cheese
yogurt
mac & cheese
treat
cookie
juice
water
milk
spoon
cup
gummies
pouch

clothes
socks
shoes
shirt
shorts
jeans
boots

body parts
foot
toe
knee
elbow
nose
mouth
ears
hair
face
belly
teeth
fingers

other
bicycle
mom
dad
house
lake
book
george
tv
remote
phone
nap
night night
school
dido
vacuum
weed whacker
lawn mower
flower
kayak
more
ball
outside
inside
street
close
trash can
wheel
hi
hat
that way
park
eyeglasses
door
tickle
bright
splash
bubbles
rock
fast
blanket
high five
please
thank you
pocket
bonk
better
all done
Velcro

verbs
up
help
move
walk
push
sit
come
race
eat
hop
walk
wash
swing
slide
turn
kick
kiss
hug
help
open
close
wash
From a thing I read online two year olds should be able to say 50 or more words by the time they turn two, and our kiddo’s chatty style is clearly a point of pride for ol mom and dad.

The kiddo continued to add more words and phrases to his repertoire with his mimic style. Sometimes when my wife or I are pushing him on the swing he begins to demand that WE swing too. ‘Swing?’ or ‘Dada swing?!’ over and over til you take a seat. When I do this I pump my legs in an exaggerated style and ask him to do the same saying, ‘up … and dooooown’ repeatedly. He doesn’t quite get the instruction, but he does repeat what I’m saying. So that’s nice?

An exciting observationt I heard the kiddo put together for the first time was noticing (or being lucky in timing) when we are almost home. Generally I am pretty chatty when driving with the kiddo, asking him things, talking about things, just whatever. One of the my typical observations is when we are almost home I say … surprise … ‘almost home!’ And now the kiddo has taken up the mantle and says the same! Hurray observational prowess!

Likewise when leaving for daycare he often says goodbye to just about everything. ‘Bye bunnies! … Bye house! … Bye neighbors … Bye car … Bye lake … Bye park … Bye truck.’ (And then that one is repeated a lot. We have a lot of trucks around us.)

A very sweet thing that showed up this month is kissing injuries. If the kiddo falls or has a minor injury, ie not tear-inducing, he will come over mildly upset and say ‘kiss?’ A kiss is promptly delivered. Mom or dad will then say, ‘is that better?’ and he would say ‘yeahhhhh.’ That evolved over the month to optimize the conversation. Instead of waiting for a question from mom or dad he would ask for a kiss, get a kiss, then state ‘better’ before running off.

In general a lot of things lead to either high fives or kisses. Threw out some trash? That’s a high five. Bumped into the couch? That’s a kiss. One day my wife, the kiddo and I were hanging out in the backyard when the kiddo found a dead bug. My wife said, ‘oh leave him alone he’s hurt’ and the kiddo said, ‘owwie?’ and she said ‘yes, he has an owwie’ so he promptly got down on his hands and knees and began to go in for a magical, restorative kiss. We quickly picked him up.

I had two heartbreaking things this month with the sweet little guy. The kiddo has a high chair that is sort of mounted on our kitchen table. He ran up to it excited for some food and tried to hang … this is especially worrisome because that hard floor under him is only too ready to greet him if he should fall. I told him no very sternly which earned me the saddest, sweetest little upset face I’d run across in a while. He looked up at me sad as could be, lips turned down but trying not to cry, and he went to his mama. I came around to the couch where they were sitting and he turned away from me, still trying not to cry (why kiddo, let it out man!). The trying not to cry made it even worse. But he was upset with me, and wouldn’t let me comfort him, which was a first. Poor little fella.

The other new heartbreaker, which is only getting stronger, is words mixed in with crying at bedtime. We had ourselves a recent stretch of bad sleep so he wouldn’t go down easy like he had for a long stretch. One night we put him down and instead of going to sleep he began to cry. And in between those cries he managed to say, ‘help me dada.’ Lord have mercy child, you’ll kill me one way or another with those heartstrings you own.

I know it might not sound like much, dear reader, but I’m a light weight.

Another language step that was a bit of a sad arrival was a change in his responses to questions like, ‘how was your day?’ and ‘how did you sleep?’ Previously either of those questions, or ones like them, got a very sincere nod yes. Suddenly the word ‘good’ showed up and now that’s the standard answer.

One thing I enjoy doing with the kiddo is what I refer to as a ‘tickle test.’ I’ll move him so he is flat on his back, and then I say let’s check the left armpit … then I tickle, the neck … then I tickle, etc. He especially loses it at the neck so I usually save that for last. Tickling at a certain age is a harrowing experience to undergo because you laugh so much you can’t breathe and you just sort of writhe around like a snake. So I thought, is this a form of delightful torture? But the thought was dispelled because the kiddo came up to me one afternoon and said, ‘tickle test?’ Buddy, you got it.

The kiddo can be a real stinker. A goose. A moose goose, as I call him. He will say no to many things with absolute delight. When he’s tired he really likes to test the waters and do things he knows he shouldn’t. I’ll be holding him and he’ll hit me very gently and then look at me, really focusing and watching, to see what I’ll do. Generally the first hit leads me to saying, ‘hey, be nice.’  This has led to a hobby which would make a stranger look askance where he will hit himself (not hard) and then shake his head no and say, ‘nice.’  Sometimes he’ll even do that and then pet himself as he says nice. It’s great.

Now we’ll end on a classic little boy story. The kiddo was getting some good naked time in one night, running around happy as could be. He ran into his bedroom and began peeing on the floor. He stared in fascination (as I scrambled for a towel). The urine ran out which prompted a big laugh and a pause, then, ‘again!?’

21 Months, Or Look at the Words on that Boy!

I’ll start with something that happened at some point, I have no idea when, but it wasn’t during this month. One day the kiddo and I were heading home from swim lessons and we were stopped at a red light. I looked over and there was a cop giving me this weird little wave. I am sure my eyebrows danced a bit but I thought, ok, rolled down my window and began to return the same weird little silly wave and the MOMENT I began I realized … this is exactly how I wave to little kids. This cop is not waving at me. It was a good time.

Now on to the 21st month. This is the month of the little chatter. The kiddo has consistently been behind on gross motor, but great with language, and it really came alive so much more this month which is a blast for ol’ mom and dad. One change that ol’ mom and dad need to embrace as a result of this is no longer talking about the kiddo like he’s not right there. Because now when we’re relaying a story of some funny thing … he’s listening, and he’s paying attention, and he’s taking notes.

The kiddo and I had developed a pattern.

Kiddo: Spoon?
Me: You want a spoon?
Kiddo: Yes

Kiddo: Yogurt?
Me: You want yogurt?
Kiddo: Yes

But, smart little fella he is, he decided to optimize me out. Here’s how it goes now.

Kiddo (begins walking toward the park): Swing? Swing? Yes.

Does dad happen to want to go to the park at that moment? Irrelevant!

Another exciting language development has been the arrival of a lot more two word phrases. We have some two word things he says that he probably thinks of as one word. For example, there was a perioed where the word truck was replaced with BIG TRUCK because we started trying to add adjectives. But it didn’t quite take. Instead it was just that every vehicle became BIG. BIG CAR. No, dad’s car is actually kinda … BIG TRUUUUUUCK (as an actual big truck drives by), yeah, yeah, that is a big truck! But dad’s car is … BUNDY! (Because a bunny ran by. It’s tough to have a conversation with this guy sometimes.)

BUT! Now we have actual two word phrases. I believe it started with a bye bye car, but then quickly expanded to bye bye truck, bye bye airplane, and one sweet morning a bye bye mama which was adorable to hear. But it’s grown so much past bye byes now. We’ve got open door, close door, lock door (he likes opening and closing doors), baby bunny … I can’t even think of them all.

A special category of two word phrases are two word bossing dad around phrases. Dada sit! Dada come! It’s good to be wanted.

But you want to know a terrible first? A terrible time to be wanted? The kiddo unlocked a new form of torture when we put him to bed one night (which goes swimmingly more often than not) and I was downstairs and thought I heard him crying. I went to the staircase to listen and heard, *sniffle, sniffle … cry … dada? … cry … dadaaaaa* Oh man. Brutal. How fast was I in that room? Very fast.

Speaking of fast (dig those transitions) … The kiddo’s most impressive phrases have been inspired by the bunnies that live under our back patio / our neighbors back patios. He LOVES them, and we have a few baby ones out there now. The kid just plain loves being outside and will go, window to window, door to door, saying ‘outside! outsiiiiide!’ And all the while he is looking for bunnies, or bundy as he calls them. Just the other morning he stood at a window saying hi, hi, hi … bunnnyyyyyy … baby! … baby! Hi! When we let him loose in the backyard to hunt bunnies he’ll sometimes run up to them screaming, sometimes approach them with his finger on his lips saying ‘shhhh’ very loudly and then giving out a loud squawk/laugh. It’s a mix of emotions when hunting bunnies. One day the impressive phrasing was said while approaching a bunny, ‘hop hop hop …’ then the bunny ran away because this tiny, loud, crazy person was coming at it, ‘wait wait wait!’ (which is what I often say to him) and then after the bunny had successfully sprinted off to an insurmountable distance away (the other side of the yard) ‘FASSSSSSST!’

And speaking of hops … The kiddo had another PT appointment for his gross motor skills and we will have one or two more before he turns two. The PT person is thinking he is doing fine but she wants to check in to make sure he makes progressing on jumping/hopping in place. He gets the concept. He’ll say ‘hop!’ and go up on his tippy toes … but there is no leaving the ground. At swim lessons too he has an opportunity to jump when the kids crawl out of the water (he’s stellar at that) and then turn around and jump into mom or dad’s arms but my dear sweet boy instead sits and wiggles his way back to the water and my arms. One day, kiddo!

And before we leave the lawn it would be a great personal failure to forget to mention the heroes of the month – lawn mower, weed whacker. My. Gosh. These two. The kiddo LOVES the lawn mower and the weed whacker. It has thankfully simmered but there was a stretch where these were literally the first words out of his mouth when he woke up. You’d hear some little noises that let you know he was waking and then, ‘weed whack! … lawn … lawn … lawn … weed WHACK.’ He watches me mow the lawn and weed whack with rapt, undivided attention, and if I look over at him and wave or make a silly face he eats it up (which I am quite fond of). My wife’s mom visited for mother’s day weekend and she had the fun task of sitting outside and holding him while I mowed and weed whacked. She decided that night that the kiddo really needed a brand new toy … a toy lawn mower! He would love it! It arrived a few days after she left, we took the kiddo and the lawn mower outside and what did he do? He sat down, said watch, and looked at me. Kid. No. I am not going to use a one foot tall lawn mower to … ok, fine, I’ll humor you. He has since done some indoor lawn mowing but I don’t think he’s truly embraced his lawn mower just yet. One day! We did, however, say good morning and goodnight to his lawn mower, my lawn mower, and the weed whacker every day for about a week.

Mother’s Day weekend was a nice time with my mother-in-law, aka Granny, too! She watched the kiddo for a big chunk one day while my wife and I furniture shopped (hooray?). The sweet little boy cried as we were leaving but then smart Granny said, ‘you want to go to the park?’ and he said, in a half-cry voice, ‘yeah …’ and then ol mom and dad were forgotten about and outdoor adventures were the order of the day.

It was a nice weekend, and great to see the kiddo getting comfortable with his grandma sooner as time is going on. The kiddo is always reluctant with a new face, and reluctant with a repeat face that he doesn’t see very frequently … so it’s great that he is beginning to enjoy the company faster and faster.

We also spent a weekend in Minnesota to visit other family (my wife’s dad’s side) and a few of those folks he seemed to take to pretty quickly. One day one of my wife’s cousins swooped the kiddo up to give us a break, and she distracted him with … yep, going to the garage to say hi to the weed whacker and lawn mower. And my wife’s uncle went ahead and fired up the weed whacker which probably really delighted the kiddo.

The weekend was very relaxed and fun, and the only downside was sleep. The kiddo did NOT sleep well, and in fact slept in bed with mom and dad two different nights. And somehow when he sleeps in bed with us, he always manages to find me and snuggle up so close that he sort of wedges himself slightly underneath me. It’s very sweet, and I love it, but man do I sleep horribly. I woke up at one point and his head was wedged into my armpit, I pitied how he would smell the next day. And each time I’d wake I’d squirm away a few inches, only to wake up again later with this tiny fella smushed against me. It inevitably gets to the point where I have no more space to squirm away, and I just have to accept my tiny space heater friend.

One thing that was a lot of fun to see in Minnesota were the kiddo’s cousins (well, second cousins? whatever they are). One of them is I think 7 and really enjoyed playing den mother to the kiddo. And he loved it too. I’d finish telling the 7 year old, ‘no let him just wander, you don’t need to pick him up’ when he’d walk up to her, raise his arms and say, ‘up!’ United front, please, kid? The kiddo LOVES ‘playing’ with other kids, though most times I see this happening they are older so it’s him running along and trying to keep up. There were two girls at a playground playing and they very sweetly included my son, and he was I think the monster in their game so they ran away about 50 yards and then he ‘ran’ (he’s just learning to run) about 5 yards toward them in the same time it took them to do 50 and just laughed hysterically the whole time. Then they ran back and flew by him and he turned and chased them some more, continuing the delighted laughter.

Now for a number of small things.

My wife was switching clothes from the washer to dryer one day when she said something to the effect of, ‘I feel like a typical boy’s mom. I keep having to fish rocks out of the washer because [kiddo] always puts them in his pockets.’ And it’s true, once he discovered pockets it caused a real wave of delight, and now they are the perfect place to store rocks.

Any parent, aunt, uncle, babysitter, or person around kids knows they like to read the same books over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. It is mildly mind-numbing. For fun I like to give just about everyone an accent. Did you know Babar was German? Did you know the Pout Pout Fish was French? Did you know the Man in the Yellow Hat has a Cockney accent? It’s a little spice. But here’s some tragedy. My wife was on the sidelines during a ‘dada!’ phase and every book picked up was taken to me, the kid would seat himself on my lap (pulling me up and saying ‘move!’ if I was laying down) and then I would begin to read. But wait, what’s this!? Every time I started an accent the kid would say, ‘no no no’ until I would stop and use my normal voice. Now every character sounds the same and there goes my little side-game. Oh, child, why!?

The kiddo very adorably said ‘yes!’ (often more of a ‘yesh!’) … but we lost that this month. It has been replaced with ‘yeah.’ A tragedy because it’s less cute, but one that is not surprising because both my wife and I say yeah. Goodbye yesh, hello yeah (and nope).

One day the kiddo was trapped inside, likely the highest possible tragedy in his mind, because it was raining outside. He sang out, ‘rain rain go way.’ I was dumbstruck. He KNOWS THAT SONG!? That’s AMAZING! I’ve said this before but it is really just crazy to have this tiny person developing alongside you, figuring out language and movements and only a few months ago all he said was babbling gibberish and now he’s got words, phrases, and a whole line of a song! And it was context-appropriate! It’s incredible.

Now a few things that maybe started happening earlier I just don’t remember.

Over the winter months before daycare my son and I developed the following routine. I’d put him in the carseat and he would lift up his baba (pacifier) for me and I’d ‘warm’ it because it would’ve gotten cold overnight. I’d pop it in my mouth and suck on it for a second then hand it back over. Now it’s beautiful out, no more cold baba in the morning but the kiddo still hands me the baba and says ‘warm.’ Every morning. ‘Warm’ and I suck on it for a second. I’ve switched my language and now try to ‘charge’ the pacifier and I announce this and say it’s charged with love. But a week or so into this I still get, ‘warm!?’ when he gets plopped in the car seat.

Something that came from daycare was a funny learned behavior that likely isn’t quite what daycare is going for. The kiddo will scream/shriek/shout/whatever word you want for ear-piercing or just generally loud noise … and then quickly put his finger up to his mouth and say ‘shhhhh.’ Buddy. It’s not a combo move, it’s one or the other.

Speaking of not quite there the kiddo has a number of times pinched my face quite hard and then said either ‘ouch!’ or ‘no no’ and then he pets my face while saying ‘nice … nice.’

That’s it for the rambling dad. Off to more adventures with my favorite 2.5 foot tall person.

April 2019 Haiku

April 1 (Monday)
April Fool’s Day tricks
Read some nonsense and bought it
(Felt like Donald Trump)

April 2 (Tuesday)
First jog in long time
And holy cow this is tough
Jog … Why? What’d I do?

April 3 (Wednesday)
Daycare ‘incident’
Description always says ‘friend’
Friends don’t scratch friends, man!

April 4 (Thursday)
Basement progressing
Now when I’m at stores I stare
Awed at new TVs

April 5 (Friday)
Work self-assessment
How am I doing? Oh, fine.
But, Dickens word count …

April 6 (Saturday)
Swim lessons with son
He mostly just stares in awe
…Sometimes blows bubbles

April 7 (Sunday)
Beautiful day out
Bought a dump truck toy for kid
So watch yourself, dirt.

April 8 (Monday)
My bosses last week
Goodbye drinks, and they’re her treat?
Don’t mind if I do!

April 9 (Tuesday)
70 plus out
Jogging with shorts and tshirt
Tomorrow: blizzard

April 10 (Wednesday)
Snow coming down fast
Beautiful to admire
Dreading the drive home

April 11 (Thursday)
Nature’s snow coated
Can’t help but take a deep breath
And appreciate

April 12 (Friday)
Basement work going
Kid thinks it’s me making noise
Keeps calling “dada!!”

April 13 (Saturday)
The spring tradition
Hunker down in the winter
Meet neighbors in spring

April 14 (Sunday)
Walking up to store
Forgot something. Say ‘aw nuts’
Son starts chant: ‘aw nuts’

April 15 (Monday)
Boss has now moved on
Now I’m the team’s scrum master
Ah! What … non-power

April 16 (Tuesday)
Walk with the toddler
He plants himself and says ‘NO!’
Aw! Darling! … Tough break

April 17 (Wednesday)
18 year old girl
Denver schools shut down for fear
So … Gun laws talk time?

April 18 (Thursday)
To be a young lad
Son and I sat by big road
He *LOVED* all big trucks

April 19 (Friday)
Kids egged park by house
Egg something better! Like pans …
Maybe add cheese, too.

April 20 (Saturday)
Kid’s into singing
The words are so so at best
But the boy has soul!

April 21 (Sunday)
Afternoon storm hits
Quick! Time to try out rain boots!
(Dad loves photo ops)

April 22 (Monday)
Tough bug I’m working
Also stumped by side project
My old friend: defeat

April 23 (Tuesday)
Teammates are in town
Today lunch AND brewery
Productive? Work? Huh?

April 24 (Wednesday)
Co-worker told me
Phone as good as in person
My face said: uh, no

April 25 (Thursday)
Kiddo tried chili
‘Hot, hot.’ Small dance. Licks his lips.
Then … Another bite.

April 26 (Friday)
Short notice meeting
Says: ‘new work, starting Monday’
Well … That’s calming news

April 27 (Saturday)
Great treat recently
Kid is waking up slowly
And babbles a lot

April 28 (Sunday)
Big aquarium
Applause, woahhs, pointing, dancing
The kid. Is. A. Fan.

April 29 (Monday)
More details on work
Less dramatic than Friday
(Kinda fun stuff, too)

April 30 (Tuesday)
Ignore the new work!
Finish up our dull testing!
… Yeah … That’ll work out

20 Months, Or … AW NUTS!

Well friends it’s that time again. An update on the little monster. He is now clocking in at about 2.5 feet tall (it’s just funny to say that) and … whatever he weighs … and he’s a big 20 month old. At this point I think people are staring at me a little confused when I say his age, as though they’re saying, ‘wait … what’s that mean?’ Maybe after 18 months you’re supposed to just say ‘a little over a year and a half’ until it’s ‘almost two.’ Come on, people. It’s math. Just do it.

I mentioned to my wife the other day that I thought my lists of fun ‘new’ stuff or noteworthy things has seemed to ebb and flow in recent months. One month the list will have twenty things, the next month just ten. Things are apparently happening in more of a spurt fashion these days. And this month was a packed one. LOTS of fun new language stuff for the most part, but also some physical things, too.

Let’s split it up into language, physical, and other.

My wife and I have been pretty good about reading to the kiddo and it is helping with language I think. The kiddo loves looking at a few magazines we have (my wife gets some psychology related ones due to her work) so we will look at the pictures and ask him to point stuff out. Lately I have been trying to get him to point to a picture and I say what it is … but that isn’t too predictable. Anyway, it is so fun to have him name things. I am generally a chatterbox when I am doing something with him, narrating or naming things like the world’s least interesting documentary. It’s been like this since he was born. And now, all the sudden, I say, ‘can you point to the pen?’ and boom, he points to a pen a lady is holding in a picture. HE KNOWS PEN! It’s just crazy because I have no concept for what he does and does not know and now I finally get a little insight into his knowledge.

Beyond being able to identify things he is also trying a LOT more with language now. The other night I said a bunch of friend’s names to see if he could say them all and he tried, one after one, to say each name. It was adorable and impressive. Two words that are especially cute and enjoyable to hear are yes (almost a yesh) and turtle. Although the poor kiddo has picked up on old mom and dad’s habit of yeah instead of yes, and yeah is unquestionably much less cute to hear.

He’s also doing a lot more random babbling with words mixed in. He picked up my phone and said, ‘hello? buzza buzza buja ba? ja ba?’ Or … something. It’s some impression of a native English speaker that he’s doing. It’s a pretty bad impression, but getting better day by day.

Outside of words he had a sudden uptick in sign language, too. ‘More’ was suddenly used for more than just asking for more food … it is also showing up at the playground. I would be pushing him on the swing when he’d sign to me, and say, ‘more? more?’ Buddy. I’m already pushing. You don’t need to ask for more.

One funny thing that he has been doing for a while is nodding yes which seems to also cover good? I hope at least. ‘How was school?’ Nods yes. ‘Did you sleep well?’ Nods yes. The yes nod sure can be an answer for a lot more things than I had ever been using it for. Maybe it’s time I up my communication game at work.

One fantastic and delightful new language thing is singing! I was singing frere jacques one day to him (or at least the first two lines, because that’s all I know) and then HE started SINGING IT BACK! He really has the jacques part down but the rest is sort of babble, but it’s all to the tune. ‘Bah rah jacques bah du da da jacques.’ Actually as I was writing that I’m realizing he throws in jacques a lot … but he’s got the beat of the first line mastered.

Last but not least on the language side of things was some education for dear old dad. You see, I learned this past month that I say ‘aw nuts’ a lot. How do I know this? Because my son now says ‘aw nuts’ a lot. I looked in the fridge for some milk and didn’t spot any so I said, ‘aw nuts’ and my son, in my arms at that moment, repeated it. I thought, ‘that’s funny … I’ll have to try to get him to do that for [my wife].’ Well, try not, friendo, it is readily available. Walking up to a grocery store I forgot something and said, ‘aw nuts’ and so in the three of us marched, the kiddo chanting, ‘aw nuts! aw nuts! aw nuts!’ all the while. And one morning this past week the little guy woke up a little early, sat in bed jabbering to himself, which included several minutes of yelling, ‘AW NUTS! AW NUTS! AW NUTS!’ Little pitchers indeed have big ears.

Now on to the Olivia Newton-John segment.

A very sweet new M.O. for reading books is the kiddo climbing into your lap. A less sweet, more demanding side to this is that if I am laying flat on the ground he will walk up by my head, grab my shirt and pull upwards while saying either ‘up’ or ‘move’ over and over. He isn’t satisfied til I am sitting where he has a lap to sit on, and then we may begin the ‘boop’ which is the new word for book (I swear he said that word more correctly two or three months ago).

A less ideal habit the little monster had for a while (we came up with a good solution) was really enjoying getting any box or container out of the food pantry and wandering while shoving his dirty little hands deep inside to fish out a few snacks. This was bad for a few reasons but boy was the dog a fan. My wife had the bright realization that he just enjoyed being able to fish his own snacks out. So we took to buying those little boxes of raisins or little goldfish packages, and we’ve since graduated onto some reusable snack cups that are kid friendly. It’s the munchkin snack catcher, and I’d recommend it.

Another big and exciting step forward is with drinking. The kiddo now occasionally drinks out of a ‘grown up’ cup all by himself. This usually ends up in a fairly wet dog below, and a soaked shirt, but hey – progress! The day I get to stop cleaning those annoying little sippy cups with all their little parts will be a happy day.

Lately we have had a great post-work routine going which involves the Mrs. and I getting home and taking a walk (sometimes my wife goes for a jog) and hitting the nearby park. I decided it was imperative the kiddo had a dump truck (because I am a little child and will buy him toys that I too want) so the dump truck and rocks or sand have been pretty consistent companions since the day that truck was purchased. I am currently saying ‘excavator’ or ‘digger’ a lot to really push my wife to say ‘hey I went ahead and bought an excavator toy to go with the dump truck.’ (We spoil him with toys, and I bought the dump truck so … I’m going to let my wife make the next purchase there since how can I complain about us spoiling him when I’m 50% of the problem?)

One day recently I noticed something very sweet with the kiddo. There’s an area near us with some good little incline/decline walking (which is great exercise and walking practice for the fella). I had squatted down taking a video of the little guy exploring and enjoying the day when he stuck his right arm up clear in the air as though raising his hand to ask a question … I realized, ‘oh, he wants me to pop my finger in there to hold his hand.’ After a few seconds of walking like that he stopped and looked around to find me. I thought oh geez, this kid is clearly spoiled. He is so used to raising a hand and my hand appearing in his almost instantaneously. I told my mom about how this kid gets too much constant hovering attention from me and she reframed it as he gets to feel very secure. Phew, good save mom. But … yeah … he is showered with attention.

Now onto the other portion.

This one could qualify as a physical I suppose but I think of it more as a mental jump that is pretty fun. Normally I do daycare drop-off and my wife does the pickup. One day I was doing pickup but instead of coming over to me he looked up, saw me, stood up and walked over to his cubby. I stared, surprised, because normally he’s excited to see me but that day he seemed indifferent. But wait! He was just one step ahead of me! He grabbed a mitten, his jacket, and then immediately sat down and started trying to put his jacket on (he can’t actually do that yet). It was amazing! Go kiddo! He knew the routine and wanted to get a jump on it. One of the daycare folks also said he will often go and sit by the door around the time my wife arrives and start to say ‘mama’ a bunch. Smart fella.

Thinking back to the mimic stuff with language of all sorts … that also extends to behavior, too. One day the kiddo and I were at Target and I was looking for something specific for him. I was holding him and walking along patting different clothes, or pointing to them, saying ‘nope … nope … nope.’ The kiddo started squirming so I set him on the ground only to see him continue the routine … walking around the clothing, patting it, and saying ‘nope! nope! nope!’ Oh my funny little circus house mirror.

Lately the kiddo is fulfilling ‘stereotypical little boy practice #2704a – a LOVE of trucks.’ He and I went and parked by something so I could take some pictures of him and let him roam (it is a pretty spot). It also happens to be near a big road which proved to be the real winner that day. He stood and stared at the road for a little bit, taking it all in, before he stood up and decided to make it interactive. Around that time a few 18 wheeler trucks and maybe some construction vehicles drove by because he started going NUTS! Waving frantically, trying to greet all these vehicles, standing and dancing with joy (this funny sort of shaking dance he does), blowing kisses … just overwhelmed with delight at all these cars. It was hysterical.

Ok. Now from stereotypical little boy stuff to some thoughts on that.

We have a really nice neighborhood park and some nights there’s a flag football team that practices there. The boys all look like 3rd graders (or so?) and I imagine they all live near here which makes the team incredibly convenient for the parents. Watching some of the boys it makes me think of myself at that age. Not as in I would’ve been on that team, but as in those would’ve been the boys I made fun of quietly with my friends, while they made fun of my friends and me out loud, in front of everyone. The age old nerd vs jock. This made sense … but it also surprised me a little. Part of me feels like there is more awareness of how awful bullies are and the impact of them, and there are more ‘new age’ kinds of parents who let their boys play with ‘girl toys’ and things like that. But boy, watching these kids interact it reminds me that while there may be more awareness, knowledge and execution using said knowledge are two different things. The coach is especially representative of the type of guy I would like to see disappear. He makes fun of the boys to ‘motivate’ them. Asks who let a girl on the team, that kind of stupidity. And the boys themselves are quick to pick up on machismo … walking up to practice ‘adjusting’ themselves. Boy. Please. What do you have to adjust, child? It just strikes me as a bunch of boys pretending to be men who never got stable or comfortable enough with themselves to be anything but a series of stereotypical cliches.

On that note, we bought a pink shopping cart for the kiddo (full of fun foods to shop for). Why the hell is grocery shopping pink? Boys don’t grocery shop?

Oh, society.

Anywho, our little fella will hopefully embrace and be comfortable with a much less rigid look at what it is to be male vs female. Because, frankly, it’s pretty easy to be a stereotypical male, and I’d like him to do better than that.

19th Month, Or A Pooping, Walking, Talking Machine

I’m not going to wait on this one, the kiddo did enough of that, the big highlight of the month was … WALKING! He had a few bouts of solo walking last month but boy it really came alive this month. The month started with a little trip my wife took to visit a friend, and my mom came and spent the weekend with the kiddo and I. Saturday night, after a day full of activities including swimming, we were hanging around in the family room and bedtime was fast approaching. Suddenly a switch flipped because he started walking. And walking. And walking. He’d go back and forth between my mom and I, ping-ponging the four or so feet between where the two of us were sitting. All the while holding baby.

Yes, my mom brought baby when she came to visit and the kiddo was delighted. He held on to her during all of her initial walking. Maybe he just needed someone’s hand to hold, and if it was an inanimate hand … so be it.

Aside from walking, it was a good visit with my mom and it’s nice to see that the kiddo is more playful and interactive with others these days (not just clinging to mom or dad out of a stranger danger reaction). Although the kiddo does still like to cling to me, and his climbing me like a tree seemed to amuse my mom. (When I’ve got him in my arms he’ll sort of reach up and climb around on my shoulder/head … I’ve got him supported the whole time but he just sort of monkeys around up there.)

My mom left, but thankfully she left baby behind. Baby has continued to be a hit all this month. Baby and Dido (our robot vacuum) are the two most requested names in the house. When the kiddo wakes up he and I often have breakfast together, and walking downstairs he’ll excitedly greet Dido by saying Dido’s name over and over. Then, around breakfast wrapping up, ‘baby! … baby! … baby!’ is the name of the game.

Baby has helped us out a few times, too. For example, the kiddo was sick at some point this month and he refused his medicine. So I got out a tiny syringe and had the kiddo give baby medicine, then boom, he took his with grace! Whala! Another time he was refusing to eat so baby fed him (which was a trick, I tell you, navigating baby ‘holding a spoon’ and feeding the kid with that). So, thanks baby, for the help. He has also put a diaper on baby a few times which is either very telling in that the kid things we aren’t gentle at all … or, perhaps more logically, his motor skills aren’t quite 100%. The diaper gets unfolded and put on the ground. Then baby is picked up and sort of smashed on top of the diaper. Then … sometimes, that’s it. All done. Other times the diaper is aggressively smashed on top of baby and then he works for quite a while to try to secure it with the straps. Whatever form it takes, that diaper business is aggressive.

I mentioned a sickness and we had two bouts of it this month. The first round was a wicked cough and maybe a fever … but the cough led to bad sleep which meant cuddling up with mom or dad through the course of the night. My wife ended up missing a day of work, and we had a weird hours day one day where I was home some, my wife some, and our sitter some. Spread the love! Thankfully he bounced back from that fairly quickly and we managed to catch up on sleep … Probably. Maybe. I don’t know. I still always feel like I could go to bed at around 7pm.

One thing we allow when the kiddo is sick is TV. Normally we have 0 TV going when the kiddo is awake and boy is it crazy how much he loves it. Just the littlest taste and he can’t get enough. After that round of sickness he kept pointing at the TV and saying, ‘me-me … me-me’ which was educational because who knew he had a word for TV? Thankfully that has since dropped off because he’s been TV free for a few weeks now.

Another new word this month was … ‘a poop.’ It was amazing. My wife and I were hanging out in the family room one day, or maybe it was just me, and the kiddo said, ‘a poop.’ I said, ‘do you have a poop?’ and he responded, very helpfully, with, ‘a poop.’ I looked and holy smokes … he’s right! He has a poop! He is starting to figure out bathroom stuff! Later that day or the next the same thing happened and my wife and I were so pleased, and adoring of his smarts, and really applauding him and … that backfired. Because then he just started saying ‘a poop’ all the time for no reason. It was still an entertaining little phrase for him to say but much less accurate. Our adoration died off and I think he’s now slowly sliding back into accurate territory.

Another fun weekend this past month was when my wife’s folks came into town. They were here for a long weekend and my wife and I had a nice outing of just the two of us, and we all headed to the mountains to go sledding together. That was a strange day because of a sudden bit of sickness. I drove the kiddo in my car, and my wife and her folks rode in the other. The idea was that the kiddo would nap in a quiet car with me. We arrived and I got out of the car only to find my son looking very out of it and with a chest covered in puke. Not great. I wasn’t sure when during the drive he threw up but oh he was looking pretty sad. We decided to walk around for a while and be low key to get a read on the kiddo and he perked up nicely with whatever it was out of his belly. We ended up doing some sledding with him mostly watching (he is greatly amused by ol’ mom and dad sledding) but it was clear he was still a bit off. The next morning that was confirmed when he threw up on me about a half dozen times or so. My wife gave him some medicine which thankfully settled his little belly and the road to recovery began. It was a short stomach bug but it worked its magic because it managed to transfer to my wife, my wife’s mom, and myself. That seems to be an unfortunate ritual we have had the last two visits with my wife’s folks. You get a stomach bug, and YOU get a stomach bug, and YOUUUUU get a stomach bug! And, strangely, my wife and I’s pattern tends to always be first the kiddo, then my wife, then me. And it’s always a slightly different form for each of us.

We ended up having a day where we stayed home with the kiddo … but not for some lame stomach bug nonsense. No, no, no. It was for a BLIZZARD! We had some classic bonkers Colorado weather where we went to the park one afternoon, 50s or maybe low 60s out, and then the next day … blizzard. The bad weather didn’t arrive til about 10 so my wife went out and got us some ‘blizzard provisions’ which included junk food for us grown ups for lunch (while the kiddo napped) and donuts. This included donut holes for the kiddo which was very entertaining. For some reason he thought it was an apple so we kept hearing ‘apple?’ the rest of the day. Yeah kid, we know, you want another.

And speaking of requests … the kiddo’s language has kicked on again. For a while I think he was so focused on walking that the language subsided (the PT helper had suggested that would happen) but it has come on again. It’s especially fun reading to him and seeing what he knows in books. Although, it’s a real crap shoot. You can look at a page and he’ll identify grapes, shoes, a baby, fish, pencils, and a bird. And then you ask again and he points to a baby when you ask where a cat is … But, but, you KNOW what cats are! So, who knows. It’s all a mystery inside that tiny, crazy brain.

Another fun thing, and cause of guilt at the moment, are new swimming lessons! We missed a bunch in his last class because of illness and visitors. When I went to sign him up for the 18 month to 3 year old class (meaning he’d now be the runt) we were put on the wait list. Eventually the teacher called my wife and we got in! Hooray! And my wife said sorry he was sick so much last time, we’ll be there more next time and what do you know, of the 3 classes so far this round we’ve only made one of them. DOH! Hopefully we’ll have a clean attendance record from here on out.

I mentioned above the kiddo and I often have breakfast together. On work days I swim on Tuesdays and Thursdays, come home and shower, then have breakfast with the kiddo. (Although lately he wakes up wanting to eat PRONTO so I’ve missed some.) He is getting better and better with the spoon which is really neat to see. And I don’t have my hand constantly on the bowl (he was inclined to flip the bowl for a while). He doesn’t just use the spoon to get stuff, he seems to seek out cheerios (or whatever) to get on the spoon and scoops much more! The scooping is often combined with him saying ‘scoop’ which is fun, too. That was a big effort of my wife’s to get him to learn scooping, and she would say the word over and over so … now we have this.

And, great news, I finally finished reading the book about raising a 12-24 month old. That’s right. Finished right before he turned 19 months. Impressive, right? Now I’m on to reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block. Hopefully this time I make better progress.

February 2019 Haiku

February 1 (Friday)
Kid’s fever broken!
Hurray for feeling better!
(And, I pray, good sleep.)

February 2 (Saturday)
Beautiful day out
Playing at park with kiddo
Soaking up the sun

February 3 (Sunday)
Wife’s birthday ‘today’
Cake, gifts, and calling her old!
Fun was had by all!

February 4 (Monday)
‘Innovation’ work
Get to code what I want to
Looks cool … works awful!

February 5 (Tuesday)
Donuts out? Yes please.
Later that day – still donuts?
Fine. Yes. (No control.)

February 6 (Wednesday)
Signed basement contract
We’ll have a finished basement!
It’s gonna be sweet

February 7 (Thursday)
Next level cold temps
Sniffle, and my snot freezes
Jealous, Phoenix fam?!

February 8 (Friday)
Another week done
And what do we have to show?
Seven so-so tweets!

February 9 (Saturday)
Note to future self
When someone talks to my son …
Don’t answer for him!

February 10 (Sunday)
Home Depot morning
Picking stuff for the basement
Surprisingly fun

February 11 (Monday)
This code should be fun …
Teammate’s territorial
And we’re on same task

February 12 (Tuesday)
Storyboarding time
South Park references abound
(“Step three: profit” jokes)

February 13 (Wednesday)
Gave a speech today
Did it go over well? Not so much.
Is it over? Yes.

February 14 (Thursday)
Happy Valentine’s
May you have candy and love
Or, some GREAT candy

February 15 (Friday)
Dad and son trip time!
Kid and my first solo trip
Flying to Phoenix

February 16 (Saturday)
Hanging with cousins
Kiddo eats up all the fun
Happy times for all

February 17 (Sunday)
Ostrich farm today
Strange, smelly, and lots of fun
Kiddo fed a goat!

February 18 (Monday)
On the flight back home
Sat by kid seeing first snow
(Poor desert child)

February 19 (Tuesday)
Back at work today
And hey! Guess what! Hard problem …
Still a hard problem

February 20 (Wednesday)
Approached with idea
It would be fun and scary
(For now, it’s an IF)

February 21 (Thursday)
Read about toy fair
How can I convince my wife
That I should attend

February 22 (Friday)
Weeks with no Monday
Always somehow feel longer
Black magic work stuff

February 23 (Saturday)
Sleepy little boy
No swimming for us today
Instead: more nap time

February 24 (Sunday)
Basement clean up time
Prep for it getting finished
Where to put this STUFF

February 25 (Monday)
PT for kiddo
Neat how they take household stuff
To make kid ‘workouts’

February 26 (Tuesday)
Kiddo shrieks at me
I shriek back in faux surprise
Laugh, laugh, laugh … Repeat.

February 27 (Wednesday)
Kiddo took some steps!
Real, honest to goodness steps!!
Go little monster!

February 28 (Thursday)
Imagine, please, a world
A world without violence. Strife.
A world that’s … BORING.

16th Month Or, The Little Walker That … Chooses Not To?

It’s New Year’s Eve, and I’m thinking back on the past month. The trouble with all of this is exactly what the age old line indicates – things change so fast. It’s usually halfway through the month or more before I think, oh hmmm, what’s new this month? And by then I’m not quite sure. Although I’m saying all that and this feels like a month where not as much changed. And I’m saying that and here we’re probably about to have a novella post. Who knows, eh? Let’s dive in.

With the 16th month including Christmas I’d be remiss in not mentioning the hysterical but very sad picture from daycare when Santa came and visited (yes, they had a Santa and photo setup). When my wife went to pick up the kiddo they gave a picture of the sweet little boy mid wail, tears on his face, sitting on a smiling Santa’s lap. Classic! For my family we have a Christmas Eve get together with my mom’s side of the family and Santa shows up (who sounds shockingly like my dad …) and again, the kiddo was not having it. To be fair to Santa, the kiddo is VERY into mom and dad and pretty much no one else so Santa is just part of the greater ‘other.’

Speaking of that, the kiddo has been on a tear of a dad mode streak. It was very sad for my wife because he’d sometimes be upset if I just left the room, or handed him over to her, or anything where it was not he and I together. This is a natural thing, but it had been going on for a good stretch and was starting to tax my wife’s heart … Don’t you know I gave BIRTH to you, child!? You know, all that. But thankfully he started coming out of it just at her breaking point. The tiny tyrant strikes again.

The kiddo actually has one more person in his repertoire of acceptable people – the person I hand him off to at daycare. For the first while he did not like being handed off at all … no sir. But then we hit a golden stretch where he would actually open up his arms and go for a hug-like handoff. He was happy and excited to see her and oh, dear future self, you know how much better that made the start of my workday than handing off a crying little sweetheart. But lately, the last few weeks or so, he wasn’t crying but he wasn’t interested in being handed off either … I attributed it to the strong dad-mode phase of just wanting to be with me. And now, when daycare starts back up after the New Year (I’m writing this on New Year’s Eve) he’ll be in a new room and that means a new handoff routine and new people. In the previous room his favorite person would literally let me hand him off to her and he’d be held by her for who knows how long (could’ve been just till I got to my car, who knows). This was great because he’s a cuddly little fella and that helps ease the transition I imagine. At the new room do I just set him down? Or what? He’s also the only non-walking kiddo in that room which probably doesn’t matter to him one bit but I kind of hope he’ll have some sense of peer pressure and decide, ‘aw heck, guess I’ll try that walking thing.’

Anywho, big changes afoot there that I am dreading. Hopefully it’ll be a quicker transition than I am anticipating.

Speaking of the morning routine, part of that now includes the kiddo saying some new words. Usually I walk into the kitchen holding the kiddo and say, ‘want to have breakfast?’ to which he responds ‘breakfast’ and then I’ll say, ‘what do we need first?’ and he’ll say ‘a bowl.’ (In a book I read I recommended not using articles … I see why now. He thinks bowl is a-bowl, and he thinks door is, a-door … Close enough, eh?) And then I say, ‘what do we need next?’ and he says, ‘a bowl’ … even though we already have bowls and I’m holding a spoon in my hand. So, we’ll get that next step sometime.

The kiddo has also improved his fine motor skills a great deal. We had a short stretch where he was interested in using the spoon and feeding himself … but that waned. BUT, he figured out how to cross his fingers and that thrills him. It’s his pointer and middle finger and he’ll sit and just stare at his hand and do that. If you then hold your hand up for him to see and cross your fingers he looks at you with this pleased as can be grin. Like, YEAH! ISN’T THAT AWESOME!?

I was also surprised and delighted one day when I noticed him trying to snap. We were visiting my family for Christmas and standing in line for an aquarium (which he LOVED) and I was snapping along with music and then would watch his hands. Sure enough, he’s staring and pinching his tiny little thumb and middle finger together and sort of slowly rubbing them together. The kid’s got talent! (I have no idea if other kids already know this by age or if that’s typical or what … but it delights me.)

Also over Christmas he finally figured out his ears! We had been doing the ‘where’s your nose?!’ and ‘where’s your belly?’ which he had no problem, but ears, eyes and mouth had continued to elude him. Sometime while visiting family it clicked and where’s your mouth, and where are your ears registered delightful responses. I especially like the ears question because he grabs both and kinda plays with them. He’s been on a quest since a few months old to rip my ears off so hopefully he’ll redirect some of that loving attention to his own ears.

Ok last Christmas time story. For the trip we stayed about half the nights at my parent’s house, and half at my sister’s. Well, sorta. The first night at my sister’s the kiddo went down too late (we had gone out to dinner) and crashed right away. We didn’t end up talking about how to handle if he wakes up crying because he had been sleeping great at my parent’s. Mistake. My sister has two kids and my wife and I assumed we’d want to take care of the little fella pronto if he woke up crying. A bit after midnight he wakes up crying and we spring to action pretty quickly, one of us going in to say nice things and rub his back. … No dice. We take turns doing that one or two times (?) and then decide to bring him into bed with us. … Also no dice, but a much more time consuming version of no dice. He just squirms and wiggles and moves around and is most definitely not sleeping but wants to be sleeping. We decide to take him back into his bed and he is quiet for a bit before the crying starts again. I go in and decide to spend a longer chunk of time in there with my hand on his back to let him drift off while being comforted. I grab a pacifier he had thrown out of the crib (he likes to do that when frustrated with sleep) and put it next to him in the crib. He responds by taking the pacifier out of his mouth, reaching his hands between the crib slats and dropping it on the ground. He then grabs the pacifier that I had just placed in there, reaches his hands out between the crib slats and drops it on the ground. Ok then. Message received. My wife heads to the couch in the family room, and I go lay down in bed with him and he is AWAKE. He says something to me happily, sits up and then body slams my chest (he likes to do this sometimes). I try for a while then head out to my wife to discuss (at this point it’s a bit after 2 am which means we’ve been trying to get him back to sleep for two stinking hours). We were afraid to put him back in his crib to let him cry it out because of the noise so … we hop in the car and drive 45 minutes to my parent’s house (with our happy little very awake child sitting in the back babbling and making raspberry noises occasionally). I imagine my sister and brother-in-law were quite confused when they woke up to us having disappeared in the middle of the night. My sister said it was like a bad breakup where someone just bolts. My family will have a fun time bringing up our middle of the night fleeing for a while I imagine.

Ok, last five things. Quick hits!

1 – The kiddo is, I think, very aware of other people’s opinions on him. He will wave and smile and shrink away with shyness at TONS of strangers (he loves airports for this reason). But a new thing is that when mom or dad laugh while talking with other people, he’ll grin and laugh too. It’s very funny to me.

2 – A very strange, magical, and adorable thing is my son’s relationship with our handvac. Yeah, you read that right. It is hanging in the laundry room and he will point to it very deliberately while being held. So you walk over to it, points, walk closer, points … and then you eventually get to the point (3 feet away or so) where he gives out a quiet little whimper of fear, clutches you and looks away. You step away and boom, he’s back to pointing at it. He has this love/fear thing going. But we’ve accommodated this and he has slowly gotten closer and closer before being afraid to the point that now he will touch the handvac for a few seconds before the whimper arrives. Strange kid.

3 – Often after work I will hold the kiddo, pull out my cell phone and ask, ‘want to have a dance party?’ And then I’ll put on some music. This is to the point that if I am holding him and pull out my cell phone he says something and immediately begins dancing (which is a sort of one-armed aggressive up-down movement).

4 – My wife’s maiden name is one-syllable, and more often than not I use her maiden name instead of her first name. (To the point that when we’re visiting family she finds it strange for me to use her first name.) Our son heard me say ‘hey <last name>’ so much that he has picked up on saying this same phrase. I don’t think he knows <last name> is my wife, he’ll just randomly say it. It’s pretty fun.

5 – The walking front. Oh, the walking front. It feels like so long ago that we had the disappointing 15 month appointment and were so worried about his walking status. Well, he’s still not walking but somehow the fear has dissipated. My wife called the early intervention folks who advised we call back later because he was too young, and given that he’s premature, for him to qualify for that help. But in a few weeks we may well be making that call. In the meantime he has improved his semi-walking game because he can now turn his little zebra walker when he walks around with it, and he’s doing more brief .5 second stands on occasion. Fingers crossed, eh future self?

Til next time, DWEEBS.

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