We are stunned that suddenly, the countdown to two years old has begun. It seems like it’s been forever, and yet we’re not sure where the time has gone.
New words? We’ve officially stopped counting. He picks them up so quickly, usually directly after you tell him one. The ones I remember are: alone, sorry, teeth, hot dog, scone, spider, bottle, quilt, alone, play, peanut butter (“peanabbudder”, which makes HRH and I giggle every time), ice cream, hamburger, outside, stop. Liam is now using descriptive words, which is awesome because it further underlines his sense of self-awareness. He was crying the other day and told his caregiver, “Liam crying”. (Thanks for the tip; nice of you to narrate the action for us, kiddo, otherwise the subtle action might be lost on us.) When he asked for milk two nights ago and we gave it to him he took it with a smile saying, “Happy”, and he says it at random times during the day to us as well when he smiles. Likewise, when he relaxes in bed after we put him down, he sighs and says “Happy.” It’s a nice way to end the day.
And as to bed, that brief period of rocky nights of short or interrupted sleep have given way to a cheerful little boy who looks forward to bed and now limits us to one story before sliding off my lap and pattering over to the crib of his own accord. Sometimes we don’t even get the full story in before he slides off my lap and says, “Night-night!”, heading for the crib, dropping his cup in over the edge, and trying to climb in after it. He’s sleeping around eleven hours a night, with a nap averaging two hours in the afternoon.
In the past week alone I’ve seen such a physical change in him; he’s becoming more and more of a little boy in his face and body. He’s wearing 2T pants, and 2T or 3T tops, with shoe size of 6.5 or 7. He recently learned how to climb up on our bed, and now we really have to watch him in the bedroom because he likes to stand on it, too, as well as burrow under the covers. He tries to climb into his crib, but fortunately hasn’t considered climbing out. He’s becoming more physical as he ages, more confident in his body and ability. This means less fear (not that he ever had much to begin with, alas), along with a tendency to forget how strong/heavy he is and what kind of momentum he carries when he throws himself at someone, or swings a foot or hand or elbow. He can also soak up damage like a little tank. Along with better control of his body has come an increase in his awareness of his effect on other people. Recently this has been demonstrated by hitting someone (not very hard, but firmly), then saying “Ow” to describe what happened, followed by, “Sorry, [Person-I-Hit]”. It’s very interesting to see him make the connection between the three things after having learned from us that hurting someone is Not Okay. It’s not so great to be the person he’s pretending to beat up on, of course, but it’s part of the learning process for us all.
Recent new foods have included chicken dogs and a bite or two of hamburger. He’s usually more interested in the buns. He’s begun drinking cambric tea and feels very proud of it, and we have a nice little ritual where we each sit on the floor with our teacups and sip our tea together.
His alphabet is really coming along well. Every once in a while you hear a very clear “T U V” coming from somewhere in the house. His colours are really settling too, and he can count to four almost all the time. You can have conversations with him, so long as you get into the Liam headspace to interpet his singsong statements and facial expressions. He loves to sing, and does it while he draws an dplays and rides in the car. He runs different songs and words together too, one of our favourites being: “A B C D E F G, how I wonder how you — apple!” His sense of humour regarding the ludicrous in language now complements his sense of ludicruous in the physical, as the previous example demonstrates. If we pause to let him fill in a word in a song, sometimes he gets a mischeivous look and says something completely different. Our caregiver found it very amusing one day when she sang the first line to the ever-popular Twinkle Twinkle and stopped to let him supply the final word, and he said “Turtle!” instead.
He is a joyous and unabandoned tree hugger. He loves to run around the backyard, and to balance himself on his tummy on one of the swings. His official backyard job appears to be picking up rocks and moving them from against the house to the garden, or vice versa. He has also developed a fascination with sitting in buckets and baskets. The laundry basket is especially exciting. He likes to be picked up and carried or dragged around in it, and dumps all sorts of things in it before getting in himself, as if he were packing for a trip. He has also learned to fake a smile for the camera, creating the oddest expression, baring his teeth and closing one eye. HRH calls it his Calvin face.
This past month also saw the loss of his dear little daycare pal Boo the bunny. Every once in a while Liam finds a picture of a bunny and puts his finger on it, looks at me and says, “Boo?” Boo is playing the Summerlands, he is told. It saddens HRH and I more than it affects him. He found a picture of Boo in his scrapbook the other day and kissed it. Again, it choked us up. He chases the cats with great delight; all he wants is to pick them up and hug them, but being cats they are of different minds, and so he tries to hold them down or pull them to him with fistfuls of skin and hair, which does not go over well. He got boxed by one of the upstairs cats the other day (with very good reason), and was so stunned that something he loved so much would hit him with a pointy paw that he cried in astonishment and was upset. He wasn’t physically hurt, you understand; he was wounded in spirit.
The potty training continues along. We don’t make a big thing of it, allowing him to guide the process. He refused to use it at home for while but used it at the caregiver’s and his grandparents’ homes, so theorizing that it might be our cold bathroom floor deterring him I moved it from the bathroom into his room, and voila, everything was back to normal. He woke up pretty much dry this morning, so I asked if he wanted to use the potty, and he did. Later in the day he asked his grandma for it and proceeded to use to for both solid and liquid waste, so great strides are being made.
I gave him a round rice cracker in the car yesterday and instead of putting it directly in his mouth (he places them between his teeth vertically to bite them, we have no idea why) he held it in both hands and rotated it back and forth. “Wheel,” he said thoughtfully. It’s so great to see him connecting the shape of a cracker with the shape of an object he’s seen elsewhere.
His current TV show/DVD of choice is Peep and the Big Wide World. HRH and I love it too, as the writing, characterisation, humour, artistic style, and pacing are great. His current favorite book is a tie between The Patchwork Cat and a version of The Night Before Christmas starring a family of mice visited by a human Santa. (Not that we read the poem; we talk about the story happening in the pictures, which are what really interest him.)
Liam loves the DS. It’s the perfect size for him, too, which is a bad thing because it’s only got one operational hinge and he’s stronger than he thinks when he grabs for something in two hands and pulls in two opposite directions. I may try to find a secondhand Finding Nemo game and play it with him. I think he’d enjoy that a lot. He loves to read, loves to draw — he’s filled an entire book with drawings, and we’ve given him a second one, planning to build up an entire collection of Liam’s Sketchbooks volumes one through whatever — and he loves music. I think we’re all doing pretty well.
And so the countdown is on: thirty-one days until Liam’s second birthday. That means I ought to start thinking about a birthday thing.