Friday, January 26, 2007

Earlier today I was talking to some people about how we used to explain rules to Claire Helen, and at what age what worked. I was going on about this month versus that month, and decided to look back at some old posts to see about all that, and it turns out I had no idea what I was talking about, and in the span of a year have completely forgotten what she was up to. Which would be pretty helpful to know, as there’s another toddler in the house. All this to say though I am not really a fan of “Look what my kid can do!” brag lists, I’m going to post one for record keeping, at least of Simon. We’ll see how far I get with Claire before she wakes up. You can avert your eyes if it smacks of egoism to you, and I’ll put up some pictures soon as cover.

At 13 months, Simon can:

Walk! Very quickly and sturdily, though still a bit like baby Frankenstein. He can climb on basically anything if he has his Robeez (little leather shoes with grippy leather on the bottoms) on. So I keep him in socks in the house, just to keep him off the mantle as long as possible. Would that I was kidding. I’ve just started letting him walk beside me when we run errands, and he is so proud of himself. He balls his hands up in fist, stares straight at the ground 2 feet in front of him, leads with his belly, and does his little Busy Man hum (Mmmm. Mmmmmm. Dummmm. Mmmmm.)the whole time. He would probably keep walking in a straight line until he got to Tibet if I didn’t turn him at corners.

Talk! Maybe, oh, a dozen words? More than 5, less than 30. Many of them sound remarkably similar- I don’t think any of you could tell the difference between “there” and “Claire,” for example, and the biggest difference between “no” (Neyney) and Dada (Nahnah) is the shaking head that accompanies the former. He also signs “more” when he wants more singing/playing, “milk” when he wants milk, “diaper change” when he wants me to come with him somewhere, and “please” when he wants anything else. I’m not really pushing the signing thing this time because I kind of have mixed feelings about how it went with Claire Helen. But he’s doing it.

He’s right in that early toddler language explosion stage where every day you feel like Anne Sullivan* because your kid said “gaaaap” right after you handed them a grape. And! He just said “Woof!”After I pointed at Betty! Sign him up for Yale right now!! SURELY HE WILL CURE CANCER BY AGE TEN BECAUSE HE SAID “CUH” WHEN I POINTED TO THE CUP! All the back patting that goes on over this stage is probably in the top 20 things that annoy non parents about parents, but is why people are willing to have more than one child after realizing they don’t know how to throw up into a receptacle for four solid years after they are born.

Think! He just this weekend gained the ability to follow two part directions (pick up the shampoo, and put it on the shelf), including directions about objects not in sight. He can recently be calmed not only by objects/activities such as motion and singing, but also stories about things he likes or the idea of an activity he would like to do in the future. I consider that kind of a big Age of Reason thing, and one of the hallmarks of toddlerhood versus babyhood. He can also identify the letters C and S, though I’m pretty sure has no idea what their being “letters” signifies, just that they are the big pieces in Claire Helen and Simon’s name stools, and that Claire Helen puts on a pretty big show for him when she discovers he has one. Oy.

He’s also developed some insane toddler preferences. He treats an open refrigerator like Mat and I treat episodes of The Wire, and will freak right out if you try to close it while he is busy staring at it. He doesn’t try to get anything off the shelves; he just wants to study the food, enjoy the fact that this week we bought the purple yogurts instead of the blue ones, and did you notice those parsnips are starting to look funny? His favorite place in the house is the bathroom, and if he manages to move the stool next to the sink and get up on it, he screams like someone is poking his eyes out until you rush in terrified, at which point he smiles calmly and points to the faucet for you to turn the water on. If he wants something food oriented, and you have something else food oriented in your hand, he will chase you around the house trying to get it out of your hand so he can throw it angrily on the ground. Weirdo.

We continue to be impressed with his ability and interest in art, specifically drawing. Given a roomful of activities, he will invariably choose to draw in some way. He’s got a great little grip on pens and pencils, and when you tell him to “draw a circle” will draw a slightly more curvy line than the squiggles he’d been drawing before. And then look expectantly for mountains of praise. I kind of love that about him. He is so sure that everything he is doing is SUPER and you are going to be SO EXCITED TO SEE THIS. Ironically, though paintbrushes are still highly favored objects, he has no idea what to do with them, art wise. I think he thinks you should eat the paint off them, maybe like they’re special spoons, just for your watercolor eating needs. They’re actually the only non food object he ever puts in his mouth, but it comes up about twice a week when we drop Claire Helen off at preschool, since they generally have some kind of painting out as a choice for free play(morning provocation), which he makes a beeline for, assuming Elmo the class guinea pig isn’t within view for some good poking. She loves that.

Still a preternaturally cheerful little dude. I’ll try to get to Claire’s write-up tonight, but you know how we parents of young children are. We might be too busy out whooping it up. Friday night! Par-tay! Woooooo!

*Helen Keller’s teacher. Is that obvious? I couldn’t decide if that was obvious.

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