When I was little, your Mubby (who is my mommy—can you believe that?) used to quiz me on all sorts of things: letters, numbers, colors, and when I got a little bigger, songs and poems. I have gotten the impression over the years that your Skittergramps (my dad—another mind-blow for you, I’m sure) thought she was pushing me too hard or otherwise over-stressing those skills, but she always insisted, “She loved it.”
“Yeah, right,” I thought. “What kid would love to be drilled on academic-type subjects when he or she’s still in diapers?”
Then I met you.
It didn’t start out as drilling, specifically. You have a magnet board with letter and animal magnets, and you started grabbing the D and saying “Dada.” I agreed with you: yes, D is for Dada. Then I sort of casually showed you the M and told you it was for Mama and Miles. You picked that up so fast that I thought “What the heck?” and started asking you about other letters. Now, probably a week or two after we started playing that game, you know about ten letters. You know them in multiple contexts, too. We were walking home from Hy-Vee the other day, and you looked up and said “Bee!”
Now, that’s a tricky one, because the word bee can mean lots of things in your world. Foremost, it’s your nanny, Bean. But it also means green bean, bee the insect, and pea. I thought maybe a bee was buzzing around overhead, since we were near some flowering bushes, so I asked you if you saw a bee. You looked up again, pointing excitedly with your finger, and insisted “BEE!”
Sure enough, we were standing directly under the big red B of the Bakery sign on the side of the building.
You find letters everywhere, including on my computer keyboard, which makes it difficult to type anything when you’re nearby, because you move my hands off the keys and start naming letters. Sometimes you say the actual letter name, and sometimes you associate it with a word that begins with that sound. Yesterday you got a kick out of playing with your basketball and reading the initials printed on it: Nanna Bee Ay.
You’re not even two yet, Miles. How am I going to keep up?
This makes me think of this horrible midwife we saw when I was early in my pregnancy with you. I was interested in taking Omega-3 fatty acid supplements because of evidence that they raise a kid’s IQ, but I had read some conflicting information about what sources of Omega-3s were good choices. I asked the horrible midwife specifically about whether flaxseed oil was okay to take during pregnancy, and rather than answer my question, she pooh-poohed the idea of taking the supplements at all.
Well, forget you, rude midwife. I ended up taking an Omega-3 supplement specifically for pregnant women, and it seems to have worked out pretty well. I should also note that we successfully avoided that midwife for the rest of the pregnancy and birth, choosing instead to work with her informed and compassionate colleagues. I so clearly remember my relief 21 months ago when I asked which midwife was on call, and it was one of the non-evil ones.
But back to you, Little Scoop. It’s not just letters you’ve learned lately. You’re learning new words and sounds and gestures and ways of organizing your world. Yesterday you were in your crib after nap, and you crawled around pointing out all the elephants on your sheets, making an elephant noise and trunk gesture with each one. Then you repeated it with the lion, then the giraffe (which was hard, since your giraffe gesture involves throwing your head back to extend your neck, and a crawling position is not very amenable to that), then the monkey.
On Monday, which was a Daddy/Miles morning, your dad called me at work to tell me some exciting news: you made a three-word sentence, sort of. He was feeding you blueberries at breakfast, and you said “More please blue.” That’s only the second time we’ve heard you combine words. The first time was when you pointed at the toilet and said “Mama bye-bye.” I don’t think you meant you wanted to flush me. I think you were referring to how, when you’re around and I use the bathroom, we wave bye-bye to the contents. A little ridiculous, yes, but I’m trying to prime you for eventual potty training.
More is probably your favorite word right now, up there with no. You’ve given up using your modified ASL sign for more, which had been your most frequent communication tool, and switched entirely over to spoken English. Actually it sounds more like “Mo-ey,” but we know what you mean, and I know you’ll refine your language as you continue to develop.
We did all kinds of fun stuff this month, one of the highlights of which were a trip to the apple orchard, where you wanted to pick every single apple you saw in the trees and on the ground. We also had a super-fun time at the Blank Park Zoo, where you saw zebras, giraffes, a tiger, lots of fish, otters, and other cool animals. Our main purpose for going was the Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players concert. It was pretty loud, louder than I expected for a kids’ concert, but you were entranced. You stood on one of your many grandparents’ laps—all four of them joined us for the occasion—and watched, so serious, taking in the music. You weren’t distracted by the people getting up, sitting down, dancing, and yelling. You just watched and listened, and when a song ended, you clapped and said “Mo-ey!”
We’ve got more wackiness coming up in the next few weeks, including a trip to Nanna and Papa’s farm and a visit to Uncle Tyler’s new house in Lincoln, Nebraska. Long drives are easier now than they used to be, since you’re happier to look at books or your collections of family photos. That’s not to say you don’t melt down sometimes, and those occasions can make road trips pretty awful. But they’re happening less lately. We’ll see how that trend changes as you approach the oft-maligned two-year mark.
In the meantime, in the words of Modern English via Justin Roberts, I’ll stop the world and melt down with you.