The Muppets continue to be omnipresent in our household. On Tuesday Liam took two wooden spoons from the drain board, chanted some gibberish, said “bork bork bork!” and tossed them in the air over his shoulder. I had to sit down to catch my breath after laughing. The Muppet Movie has become his movie of choice, which is fine because we enjoy it a lot. Watching it repeatedly over a short period of time has reminded me that it’s the source of quite a large number of in-jokes and catch phrases t! and I share.
Completely unrelated to this, he declared that he was Chef Liam the other day as he was helping me cook. I was browning beef cubes for stew when he took the spoon away from me and said importantly, “No, I stir, I Chef Liam.” So, keeping a watchful eye on him beside the stove, I let him finish browning the meat, then the onions and carrots. Then he helped me roll out pizza dough, spread the sauce on it by himself, then scattered some cheese, the pepperoni, mushroom, peppers, and then piles and piles of mozzarella on top! All I did was neaten things up and put in in the oven. Not long after that he came home and said, “I be a train driver.” Then a few days ago it was “I be a pirate.” And tonight, it was “I be a firefighter! In a helmet! And in a fire engine!” It’s kind of neat that he’s already experimenting with ideas for professions. Or maybe he just likes the idea of wearing the different hats.
New words that I can remember: ‘actually’ ( “Mama, what’s this in my soup?” “It’s a piece of potato, Liam.” “Actually, Mama, it’s a noodle.”), ‘because’, and, naturally, ‘Gryffindor’. In general the language use is becoming more complex by the day. Yikes. He can hop on one foot, his two-foot jumps have become real feet-off-the-floor long jumps, and one of his favourite things to do is spin around in place until he bumps into something or falls over.
The kid is crazy about the kitten. They play madly with one another, Liam dragging around a string and Gryff pounding after it, or Liam jigging a crumpled up drop card from a magazine tied to a shoelace and the kitten leaping around for it like Nureyev. If the cat’s not in the room, he waves the string around and says in a song-song way, “Gry-yff, I have your stri-ing,” and the cat comes shooting out from wherever he was in the house and launches himself at it while Liam shrieks with laughter. He has to go find the cat every night and pet him or blow him a kiss, depending on where the cat is, before he’ll go to bed. I am so glad that we seem to have succeeded in that particular objective of making sure cat and child get along and bond: the two of them have similar energy levels and keep one another busy.
New and (new favourite) books this month include: Mouse Soup by Arnold Lobel, and Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig. They were second-hand, so I’m not concerned that we have to replace Mouse Soup already; the pages practically crumbled in my hands when we settled down to read it the first time. I love that any printed word fascinates him. “What does this say?” he’ll ask, pulling one of our novels towards him. Or he’ll assemble a random string of magnetic letters that look nice together on the fridge door and ask what it says. Last week he spelled something out for the first time, pointing at the letters. “D – O – G,” he spelled, then triumphantly said “Lightning!” and ran off as I looked at whatever the word was in bewilderment. Not only did it not have any of those letters, it wasn’t even remotely near the word ‘lightning’. Still, he spelled ‘dog’, even if he didn’t connect it to what he was seeing or saying. We’re working on ‘cat’ now. He used to recognise his name, ‘Mama’, and ‘Dada,’ but we haven’t written those out for him in a while so I have no idea if he still do it.
He has recently developed an obsession with being photographed. For example: “Mama, I have a big idea!” he said to me a couple of weeks ago. “You could go get the camera and take pictures of me!” “In your bath?” I said. “You’re offering me free blackmail material to use against you in your teens? I accept. You will regret this.” His caregiver’s webcam fascinates him. He has begun collecting photographs of people he knows, and keeps them in a tidy pile on a bookshelf in the living room. He sits and sorts through them like baseball cards or something. The day we got Gryff, I had to print a photo out for him to take to bed and sleep with.
In the car, he has, (completely independently of me) developed one of my quirks. I turned the car off the other day, having reached our destination, and he said, “No, Mama! We have to listen to the end of the song!” I hate it when people turn music off in the middle of a song. I like completion. If we can’t wait till the end of the piece, then the end of a musical phrase will do. I’m a sucker for musical resolution. Evidently, so is he. Or maybe he just likes hearing the end of his favourite songs.
He helps wash the dishes, dragging a chair over and swishing them around in the water. He has also agreed to help feed Gryff, and he carries the bowl of food oh so carefully into the next room. He is much less careful with his bowls of Cheerios. If he asks to help while I’m getting dinner ready I’ll get him to set the table, too.
He had his first lollipop this month. It was orange. The waitress brought it to him when she brought our bill the day he and I had lunch out together. I hadn’t intended to give it to him but he grabbed it and so I said he could hold it while I settled the bill. Then it naturally found its way into his mouth, like most things do, and he chewed through the plastic. The first I heard of it was when he said, “Mmm, Mama, this very good!” from behind me when I was putting on my coat. “Oh, candy!” he exclaimed at the caregiver’s the other day when he pulled a box of mints out of my bag. “I like candy!” And how did you figure that out? I wanted to ask, because he’s had maybe three or four pieces in his entire life. But I suppose we’re genetically programmed to like sugar and sweet things, because it’s a form of quick energy. He had his first mint that day, and kept taking it out of his mouth to lick it like the lollipop. He couldn’t understand why it was getting smaller and why it finally vanished. He doesn’t yet understand why his soap is smaller every week, either. I recently modified a test recipe for granola bars and he won’t stop eating them. I should be thankful, I suppose, but instead I’m just mildly irritated that he and HRH eat most of the pan before I can save some for my breakfasts.
He has finally reached the age where he can tell us stories in bed. “Tell me a story about Mack! And Bun-Bun! And they were flying!” he’ll say. “Oh yes?” I murmur. “And then what happens?” “And then Bun-Bun falls down! And Mack falls down! And Mama finds them!” “And then what happens?” And then Liam goes on to tell me the whole story is what happens, although he hasn’t yet figured out that’s what he’s doing. He still thinks he’s telling me the story to tell him. Except I never do; at the end I say, “Wow, that was a great story, Liam,” and he says, “Yeah!” with enthusiasm, as if I’ve just finished telling it to him. The other day I came to an interesting realization: my son asks for bedtime fanfic. “Tell me a story about Thomas/Frog and Toad/Lightning/ Buzz Lightyear,” he will suggest. And even worse, it’s often Mary-Sue fanfic, where he is one of the main characters and the best friend of everyone. It’s all I can do not to laugh now that I’ve made the connection and he asks me for a story along these lines. The other night I was tired of making fanfic up for him and had zero imagination after a long draining day, so I started telling him the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. He listened in absolute silence all the way to the end, when he turned his head on the pillow to face me and said with a huge smile, “That was a really good story, Mama!” Of course it is, kid; it’s stood the test of time and countless refinements over the years.
Last week he played a game at the caregiver’s where he trotted around the living room, down the hall, around the spare room, then back through the hall to the living room. She asked him what he was doing, and he said, “I’m playing a game!” “What game?” she asked. “The BLUE game!” he said with delight and kept on going. We never found out exactly what the blue game was or what the rules were. It doesn’t really matter. He knew what it was, and that’s what counts.
Other Liam-related posts this past month: