Today is a momentous day: Liam and HRH removed the front rails of the crib this morning, to make him a real bed.
He scrambled right up onto it and said, “A bed!” Then I pulled out the Nemo spread I bought him months ago in anticipation of this day, unfolded it and said, “Who’s this on your new blanket?” He leapt off the bed and stood taking it in with a slightly open mouth for a moment, then said “Nemo” in quiet, reverent tones. I put it on the bed and he threw himself back on to test it out. “Liam on a Nemo bed!” he said, and went to find his favourite toys to pile on it. Every once in a while as he played he’d say, “Oh, nice bed!” in a casual way as if he’d just noticed it. We’ll see how bedtime goes tonight. HRH was a little sad last night when we confirmed that we’d be doing this as planned today. I’m relieved, because I frequently have to lift Liam in and out of the crib many times every day because he wants to play in it. This way he can do the climbing in and out himself. I don’t anticipate any major problems in keeping him in bed at night; it’s so exciting for him that I think he’ll want to stay there on his own.
Lately when we’ve put him in his crib at night and turned out the light he would say “Too dark! Turn on light!”, which was ironic to me because he was the one insisting on sleeping in the blanket tent that HRH made for him over half the crib. If you want more light, come out of the tent, kid! There’s plenty of light being cast by the aquarium. So we’d turn the overhead light back on and turn the dimmer down almost as far as it would go, then turn it out completely once he was asleep. This will no longer be a problem, because he hasn’t requested the tent back up now that the crib is a bed.
He woke up at six the other morning, pointed outside and said, “Too dark! Turn on light!” I said, “I can turn on the light inside, but I can’t turn it on outside. The sun isn’t up yet.” He looked surprised. “Sun not up yet?” Then he pondered for a moment. “Maybe… call sun? SUUUUUUN! WHERE ARE YOU, SUN! COME OUT!” The sun isn’t the only thing he’s called. A few weeks ago HRH and Liam were on the back deck watching a storm roll in. The sky was dark and the wind was tossing trees around, and lightning was flashing with thunderous accompaniment but it wasn’t raining quite yet. I was in the kitchen and I could hear them talking. Suddenly HRH bundled Liam inside. “Raining?” I said. “No,” said HRH. “My son leaned on the railing, held his arms out to the storm and said, ‘Thunder lightning, come play with Liam!'” As some of you may know, HRH has a certain sympathy (empathy?) with weather, and having experienced first-hand what being next to a lightning strike is like, he chose to curtail the suggested playdate.
Our big TV died some time ago, and two weeks ago we re-acquired our smaller oak-cased television from the upstairs neighbours. We went out and bought a rabbit-ear antenna, and voila! Reliable DVD watching! Plus we get CBC and CTV and Global, which means the Tudors, Heroes, and House for us, and — the best of all for Liam — the Doodlebops again. But really, just having a reliable television for movie-watching is such a relief. We put movies on to relax, and having a screen that flickered and shrank unpredictably was decidedly not relaxing. His favourite film is still currently Lilo & Stitch, although he’s been asking for “Woody Buzz” again recently, and once a week he’ll ask for Peter and Benjamin or the mice (also known as the World of Beatrix Potter series. Music-wise he’s still big on the Cars soundtrack, but here again he’s been asking for “Woody Roundup”, which is what he calls the Toy Story 2 soundtrack.
Two weeks ago he came and sat on my lap to watch the third movement of Beethoven’s cello sonata in A minor with piano accompaniment (as played by Leonard Rose and Glenn Gould — YouTube is incredibly useful sometimes). He became very excited, said “Liam play piano!” and thwacked enthusiastically at the laptop keyboard, sending the semi-colon key spinning off into the air. It’s kind of hard to be mad at a child for being passionate about music. I brought out the viola for him the other day and he gasped with delight, clapped his hands, and said “Liam make music!” I love that he gets so excited about it. Eventually he’ll love it in a less physically violent fashion and I won’t have to run interference.
When Liam wants to do something he’ll suggest it, and generally, because life tends to be a series of crushing defeats for a two year old, the answer is no. So sometimes he’ll deliberately ask for a list of things he knows can’t happen, in a veiled effort to get to something reasonable that we will, he imagines, agree to with relief and enthusiasm. “Go outside?” he’ll say. “It’s too wet, Liam.” “Watch… Woody Buzz?” “It’s too early to watch movies, Liam.” “Go see Nana Grandad?” “It’s too far, Liam.” “Go bookstore?” “The bookstore isn’t open.” “Go see… lobsters?” And he has a look on his face that says, ‘You see, I am not dim, I have cleverly herded you into my crafty trap, you cannot POSSIBLY say no to driving to the grocery store because we ALWAYS need something from the grocery store and while we’re there we can stop by the fish counter for, oh, half an hour so I can watch the live lobsters.’ The first time he said it I nearly choked because I laughed so hard at the unexpected appearance of crustaceans on his list.
He loves to play tea-time with his tea set, and now we frequently have a pretend tea session after his pyjamas are on and before we curl up to read stories at bedtime. “Oh, tea!” he exclaims and scrambles to get the tea tray, pouring pretend tea in an enthusiastic (if not tidy) way into the little red teacup, tossing it back before saying “Mama tea! and pouring me a cup. Once we’ve sipped, he says “Oh sugar!“, and we go through the spooning of pretend sugar into our cups. Then I inevitably have to look under the dresser for the little cream pitcher, and we do it again, and then HRH gets his cup too. His pretending is becoming more complex by the day. Liam picked up a block last week and waved it around in the air making whooshing noises. “Rocket!” he said to me and ran around the room with it, still making the happy whooshing noise. Then yesterday he picked up a helicopter toy and waved it around. “Harold flying with Buzz!” he said. This interested me because Harold is a helicopter character from the Thomas the Tank Engine world, while Buzz Lightyear is a character from a Pixar film, and he was imagining Buzz was there. When he takes a bath he plays with two plastic turtles and a Little People treasure chest, and the turtles pretend to eat what’s in the chest. “Turtles eating… oatmeal,” he’ll say. “Nom nom nom!” The turtles eat for a while, and then he says, “Turtles eating… sausage!” (That’s one magic chest: not only does it serve up any kind of food the turtles wish to eat, it appears to be a never-ending supply as well. Disguised as gold coins and various other piratey treasure too, I might add.)
He reads voraciously, on his own as well as with us. Mortimer, Murmel Murmel Murmel, and The Incredible Book-Eating Boy are all still frequent bedtime requests. He’s added The Cat In The Hat Comes Back to his Seuss favourites, too. He points at words while we’re out and about sometimes and says, “Letters!”, although he doesn’t voluntarily identify them very often. He frequently counts to ten, and sometimes goes beyond, but after ten there’s no guarantee they’ll come in correct order. He likes to touch the magnetic letters on the fridge, then knock them all down, saying “Chicka chicka boom boom!“.
He grows every single day. People notice a difference when they haven’t seen him in a week. His head now comes up to my hip! We’ve given up on size 2T pants; size 3T is where we need to be now, because his legs are so long. Tops absolutely need to be 3T or larger because his 2T shirts show a little too much tummy! Shoes are between size 7 and 8, and he’s wearing at least 3X coats. He can climb just about any staircase, and walk down them too if he’s holding someone’s hand. Afternoon naps range between an hour and a half to two and a half hours long, and night sleeps are about eleven and a half hours long. Every day is an adventure; every day is fun. Even when I get frustrated, there’s something to appreciate or marvel at about him.