Monday, June 23, 2008

You're almost 2 now

The view from the bleachers

Dearest 3B,
Not just because of our travel schedule over the last few months, I've missed a few monthly letters to you. Part of the reason for my lapse has been your explosive development during that time, particularly your linguistic advances.

Every time I start to write an update, it's already out of date. I'm not the only one to notice, although I'm probably the only one writing it all down; many parents at playgrounds, coffee shops, and play dates have noted that you like to talk and wondered where you get that from.

Good question. Where do you get this need to express your every thought to the world at large?

Among my notes about this, I have a note in my email account from May 8, when you were on the farm with Mama:
Mama said: a, b
3B said: c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l,m,n,o,p
Mama said: q, r
3B said: s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z
These days, you mostly speak in full sentences, although some of the constructions aren't grammatically correct. You are consistent, however. For example, you always use "you" instead of "I," like when you express your desire to go to a concert by saying, "You want to go to the coffee shop and see Mr. Skip."

And this makes sense, since you constantly hear us refer to you as, well, "you": Do you want to go to the coffee shop? Do you want to take a bath? Do you want some cookies?

This led Mama to opine that perhaps, "After two years of talking like this I can talk normally now. Instead of 'Mommy does this...' and 'Mommy goes here...' maybe I can say 'I do this...' and 'I do that...' and he'll start getting the difference between 'you' and 'I.'"

It's not that you don't understand pronouns. A few weeks ago, when we were in the basement, storing clothes that you'd outgrown for your sibling-to-come, you clearly said, "We are standing in the basement." And you use them to form contractions. Just last night, as we sat under your blanket on your bed, you said, "We're sitting in the tent." You also use "her" and "him," although you're more fond of "dat woman" and "dat man."

You use the former frequently to express what is either a charming or slightly awkward thing for older women. While you don't pay much attention to girls your own age, any grown up woman is of great interest to you, especially if she's Asian. Last Thursday, I believe I may have figured out your mysterious Asian woman fetish when we were flipping through my alumni newsletter--hey, it was your idea--and you said, "You see Auntie H."

I asked where you saw Auntie H, and you pointed to the Asian woman in a picture of four people and said, "There."

Good to know, although I'm not sure that will make it any more comfortable for Mama and I when you again weave through a crowd, pick out the one Asian woman, stand two feet in front of her, point straight at her and announce, "Want to see dat woman."

It's not as if you don't have any social graces. You know how to say, "hello" or even simply "hi." You even know to shake hands and say, "Nice to meet you." Hell, you could even tell her, "You want to high five." and hold up your hand.

I'll just say that it's a good thing you're cute.

Speaking of cute, you got another haircut last Thursday with Mama, which went much better than the first time, in part because Mama was better able to head off any meltdowns, and in part because ever since that first one, Mama and I have been talking about haircuts, how much fun they are, and playing at cutting your hair with your toy scissors. I'd like to say thanks for being willing and able to pay attention to what we're saying and learn and make changes as you absorb new information.

I should also thank Cartoon Cuts for keeping the lollipops coming during your haircut.

Along the lines of absorbing information and making changes, you're clearly working hard on that. When you sense that we're about to ask or tell you not to do something, you start yelling, "No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No!" and crying. I suppose it might be that you're telling us not to tell you no, but I think what you're doing is internalizing the "no" that you expect to hear from us.

Don't let this worry you. Even Superman needs a superego.

This is really just a new extension of your old habit of doing something we've asked you not to do previously, while saying things like, "Don't climb up and press buttons on the television." and "No [pulling the] keys [off of the computer keyboard]." as you scatter the keys around the room like Scrabble tiles.

However, you've also started to use "No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No!" to express your displeasure with the world, like when you bang your head--and why is it always your noggin that gets knocked on something?--on a chair, dresser, piece of the floor, and so on. You also yelled that at the couch when we were playing Jump on the couch and you dove face first into the arm of the couch.

I wholeheartedly agree that the couch shouldn't have hurt you like that. However, to its credit, the couch does have padded arms, unlike Mama and Papa after carrying you around. Seriously, I think you're big enough that you can not only start to carry your own weight, but mine too. Of course, I'm just kidding. With every new word or turn of the phrase, with every "No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No!" and with every smile, snuggle, and hug, you lift all the burdens from my back. At those times, there is only you; there is no work, no warring world, no weariness.

And, of course, even when you stand up in your crib at 3 a.m. and yell, "No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! Want to go into the other room. Want Mama to come in and rub your back! Want to go to the futon over there and snuggle!" --I will always carry you.

Even if I don't have the time to write down what I'm seeing, I will always be watching you, loving every moment of your life, and always looking forward to seeing what comes next.

All my love,

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  1. Awwww....

    He's so SMART!


  2. The smart is from Mama's side. The smart ass is from my side.

  3. I have been looking through old photo albums, and I can see where some of it comes from. No, those were not Mama's photo albums.

    He is too delightful.

  4. Anonymous10:04 PM

    Good lord, almost two? How did that happen?

    Saying "I' is a big developmental step. It will come soon enough.

    Hey, at least 3B confines his charm and wit to Asian ladies. My kids will run right up to pretty much anyone and tell them their life stories. While I love their sociability in general, it does get embarrassing at times.

  5. I look forward to the day when you have more than one and you say "Please don't jump off the wall." and then have to repeat it to each child as they all try their hand at what they clearly shouldn't be doing. My explanation to my herd is, "If it is not okay for one of you, it is not okay for any of you. Please don't make me repeat myself 4 times!!!"

    I always encouraged sociability. I think what I am saying is I like to talk. This is a good thing, and fortunately most men dressed in full camo understood when a small child would run up to them screaming DADDY. That is what daddy looks like when he comes home and when you are visiting base, they all look like that.

  6. AMama: He doesn't tell his life story yet, although he will recount parts of his day. Right now, he's really big on reciting long passages from his favorite books.

    KMoo: We'll have that times two thing eventually. And it might be times four, or six, or eight, since we generally have to tell 3B something two or three or four times. Every day. And I'm just impressed that your kids had good enough vision to see Daddy in all that camo--good eyes. They must have eaten lots of carrots.

  7. Anonymous10:47 AM

    Awwww. My son is three but I remember 2 fondly. (seriously, not being sarcastic!)

    The pronoun stuff was helped along a LOT by reading over and over and over "The Eye Book" by Dr Seuss (except I think it is published under a different name.) That book is the best for pronoun stuff.

  8. &Baby: Thanks for the tip, we'll check it out.