This is coming a day early, because tomorrow we’re going to Nanna and Papa’s farm, which has cows and kitties and a dog the size of a pony, but the Internet access isn’t so great.
We’re coming into your last two months as a one-year-old. You love to say two, whether as a reference to your upcoming birthday or as a clarification on how many crackers you’d like. It comes out more like doo, but we know what you mean (most of the time).
Your language skills have grown so much this month. You love to try out new words and make observations about your world. Sometimes when we’re outside playing, you look up at the sky and say “Blue!” like you’re the first person who ever noticed it. I love watching you get so excited about things.
Another thing we’ve learned about you this month is that you very much do not like your observations to go unacknowledged. If we’re trying to get you calmed down for bed and you notice your an orange crayon somewhere and start yelling “Oh!”, my first inclination is to ignore your outburst and focus on Go, Dog, Go or whatever story we’re reading. But if I try that, you’ll keep hollering about your crayon for a very long time. It’s not that you necessarily want to play with the crayon; you just really want me to notice that you noticed it. If I say, “Yes, that’s an orange crayon,” we can get right back to the book.
I also appreciate your desire for accuracy. The other day, you were looking at one of your blocks that has letters on all six sides. The letters are consecutive, and I could see an X and a Y on the surfaces facing me. “Beeee,” you said.
Assuming it was actually a V you were looking at, I took the opportunity to model the fricative for you. “Yes, that’s a vvvvvvveeeee,” I said.
You looked at me like I was nuts. “Beeee,” you said again.
Then you turned the block and I saw that on that block, Z had been reached and the alphabet started over. It was, in fact, a B. Sorry for not believing you, honey, but thanks for not falling for it. You know when things aren’t right and you won’t stand for it, whether it’s a letter or a cabinet door that’s ajar.
First-born syndrome, maybe?
Life without siblings and without time with other kids in a daycare setting has created (or maybe reinforced an existing tendency toward) timidness in you. When we go to the library and play with the wooden train set, other kids grab trains out of your hands, and you just stare at them. You don’t usually get upset. You just seem bewildered that anyone would act in an impolite manner.
The same thing happened yesterday when we went to the mall and you played on the kids’ play structure. Lots of kids, mostly bigger than you, were running all around and bumping into you, mostly accidentally except for one rude jerk who needs some anger management. Right now, you are a tender little fellow, which I find a lot more charming than an aggressive nature. But your dad thinks you need to learn to assert yourself, and he’s probably right. I’m not sure how we’re going to do that, but we’ll sort it out.
What you lack in aggression you make up for with curiosity and a love of learning. You know almost all your letters now, most of them in the traditional way and some of them in funny ways. For example, when you see a k, you say gay and make a kissing noise. I don’t think you’re making any comment on gay kissing, specifically. You just need to practice your unvoiced consonants.
You love to point out letters you see places. On our mall trip yesterday, we had to pause by a jewelry store so you could show me the “D—Dada!” in the word diamonds. I never thought of the Coral Ridge Mall as teeming with educational opportunities, but it turns out there are a whole lot of signs to read. You didn’t believe me that the concentric circles at Target weren’t an O, though.
You had your first Halloween with anything resembling awareness this year. I though you’d get a kick out of all the doorbell-ringing, but what you liked best was just being outside at night. We went to an event at our neighborhood shopping mall a couple of nights before Halloween, which was fun enough but kind of confusing, and then we went to some neighbors’ houses on real trick-or-treat night. We tried to bring you back inside, but you wouldn’t have it. You just wanted to wander around the yard, kicking leaves and looking at our jack-o-lantern. Once we finally shoehorned you indoors, though, you had fun answering the door with me. You also liked sorting all the brightly-colored candy, though this year your consumption levels were pretty low.
Another exciting thing that happened this month was a trip to Lincoln, Nebraska to visit Uncle Tyler. His sports team didn’t do so hot in their game that weekend, which would ordinarily have sent him into a spiral of grumpiness, but you made him smile. He made you fly in the air, played catch with you, and shared his toys.
(Photo by Gary Clarke)
Mubby and Skittergramps taught you to flex your arms and make a muscle-man grunt after saying Tyler, a gesture that now represents the letter T to you. Now, when you see a T, a lot of the time you skip saying Tyler altogether and just do your muscle grunt.
It happens organically, the development of a family code. Every day when we talk about the things we see and the people we know, tiny bits fall together to form a language that only we understand. It’s like when you see a cow and say Papa (because Papa raises cattle) or when you see a raccoon and say Guh (don’t ask). When you’re thirsty, you ask for ghee mi, which is not Indian food at all, but rather Miles-milk in the green cup. It requires a lot of explanation for people who don’t hang out with us, but that’s okay. A family code is one of the things that holds us close together in this fast-spinning world. It can also introduce some great words into a person’s vocabulary. Thanks to Uncle Tyler, I still sleep on a dudju every night.
Yes, you do throw a tantrum now and then, but mostly you are sweet and hilarious. Despite some incoming molars, you’re doing better with your sleeping overall, though this morning I woke up with your feet in my face and your head pointing down toward the foot of the bed. You and your Beanie-nanny have great times together, and you never fret anymore when your dad and I leave. This morning, your block tower was already four-high by the time we got out the door.
But just when I think you’re such a big boy, you cuddle up on my lap and smash your cheek against mine. Sometimes you transmit applesauce that way, but I don’t care. As you played on the mall play structure yesterday, every couple of minutes you’d look around to spot me on the benches. I kept moving so I could keep an eye on you, and as you scanned the adults sitting there, I could see you mouthing “Mama?” When you’d spot me, you’d give me a huge smile and get back to your playing.
It’s okay, Little Scoop. Go have your adventures. I’ve got your back.