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.
Me: You want a spoon?
Me: You want yogurt?
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.