This month has been an explosion of new words. Among them have been French fry, bean, animals, shade, table, chair, jam, elbow, noodles (which he calls ‘noddles’, terribly cute!), rainbow, two, blue, mail, CD, night-night, dear, deer (yes, he differentiates), puppy, little, yo-yo, bell, sticker, snowplough, tow truck, dump truck, paper, tickle, happy, down, yoghurt, running, beaver. We’re thrilled that he can identify ‘happy’ correctly. He’s working on ‘mine’ and ‘sad’, and he tells us he’s tired by saying ‘night-night’. Of course, he also says this when I pull the afghan over my legs when I’m cold, since tucking someone in is an indication of bed. He names lots of body parts, and strings words together: “Dada go? Puppy up. Love Maggie. Yoghurt later.” But the best new word this month: LIAM! Not only that, but he can look at himself in the mirror, point, and say “Liam”, or pat himself on the chest and say it. He’s also said “Me!” a couple of times while looking in the mirror, or when we say his name to him.
Well, to be honest, ‘Liam’ is tied with ‘love’ as the best new word of the month. He walks up to me, leans his head against me, and says “Love” in a very contented tone. Oh, hey, is that my heart swelling nigh unto bursting?
He is so terribly gentle with Maggie. He leans his cheek against her as well and says ‘love’, or ‘gentle’, or ‘nice’. He touches her various body parts and names them: “Maggie ear… toes… eye… tail…”. HRH explained to him that Maggie was actually the oldest in the family. He loves her so much that I can already see the issues we’ll have to deal with when her age finally negatively affects her quality of life.
As his fine-motor skills improve he is becoming better at crafts. We had a lot of fun making Valentines for people this year, drawing with markers and glitter glue (which is great fun to smear). He is also in love with stickers, which we were using as toilet training reinforcement for a couple of weeks, but stopped once he began demanding stickers just for running into the bathroom, or brushing his teeth. When given a sticker he would want it on the back of his hand instead of the record sheet, and then he would peel it off and stick it on someone else happily (usually HRH or I, but sometimes he’d get a cat). We’ve stopped the reward thing, as it served its purpose for the first ten days or so, and now the stickers are just fun-time treats. He tries to eat them, the nut, and once he’s licked them they don’t stick to anything. If they were paper-based I wouldn’t think twice about it, but half of them are foil-based, so we keep a close eye on him. He also likes to give stickers to his favourite toys and pictures in books. He’s generous, that’s certainly not a problem.
Remember that picture of Thomas the Tank Engine he drew? Every time he passes it, he glances up and says “Ati!”. So not only did he draw something representational, he recognises it as the original subject weeks after he drew it. This boggles my mind. Last night HRH asked him what he wanted to draw, and he said “Nemo!”. He picked the marker colours on his own, pulled the caps off and snapped them back on again properly, and drew something orange with green, blue, black, and brown accents. And then he later looked at it and said “Nemo!” again. I don’t know what to be more excited about: the ability to uncap and recap markers properly, or the execution of a representational drawing and correct recognition of that representation after a delay.
The daily routine is nice and simple. Liam wakes up on his own around 7:00, and has some toast and milk. At 7:30 we let him watch Thomas and Friends on PBS. Then at 8:00 he gets dressed, and then sits down at the table for cereal or oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, with juice. Then it’s either out to the caregiver or Grandma, or to run errands, or settling down to play. Around 9:45 he has a snack of more juice and crackers. Lunch is served between 11:30 and noon, and usually consists of some combination of grilled cheese sandwich, pasta, chicken nuggets, potatoes, and vegetables, followed by fruit or yogurt. After lunch we settle down with some milk to read stories for about ten minutes, then Liam goes down cheerfully for a nap. It feels like he shoos us out of his room — yes yes, this book, now this book, okay, bed now, bye, later! Naps last between 90 mins and 2 hours (although last week he pulled a 2 1/2 hour nap, yikes). Once he’s awake we play some more, have a snack of cheese or fruit and crackers, and sometimes watch part of a film or some TV episodes on DVD. We all sit down to dinner around 6:00, then Liam has his bath around 6:30. By 7:00 he and a parent are snuggled in the chair for a couple of stories, then he asks to be put down in the crib and left alone. He reads to himself, talks to his bunny, then nods off and sleeps for around twelve hours.
Toilet training proceeds apace. He stayed dry through his nap last Thursday, but I think that was luck. Some days he only uses two diapers/training pants, other days he uses six. He adores brushing his teeth, to the point where he’ll brush them five to seven times a day. I’m not going to argue.
This bitter cold was driving us all crazy. With this very welcome thaw, complete with sun, I’m so looking forward to being able to go for walks in relative comfort again.
Oh, and the aquarium score: we’re down to a half-dozen fish.