Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Smokestack lightning

After my niece Luna's first weekend here, we settled into our weekday routine, which has me leaving the house by 6.30. Yes, that's a.m.

Neither Luna nor anybody else wanted to wake up before I left--I didn't particularly want to either, but early to work, early to home--so she spent most of her days with Mama and the kids. That was good for everyone because we know that while Luna loves Mama and me, she didn't come to see our cute faces and amazing antics, and while 3B and Jewel love us, it only took a day before the first words out of Jewel's mouth in her crib every morning upon waking were, "Na Na? Na Na?"

I'm telling you, our kids are about as loyal as Barky ever was...What's that? You have food? You have a shiny thing? You're my new BFF!

To say that it was wash, rinse, repeat doesn't do the week justice, but it gives you an idea. Luna got to sleep in every day--something that it sounds like she doesn't get to do on any day back home, thanks to all of her activities--while Mama and the kids went to school, daycare and work. On some days, Luna did homework, which led me to believe that perhaps we're not as closely related as I previously thought.

I never knew it was legal to do homework during spring break.

On other days, Luna came into DC and either wandered through museums by herself or met up with me and walked through the Library of Congress, cherry blossoms or the Capitol. It was fun for me to see as much of her as I did, although it certainly wasn't as much as Mama and the kids got to see of her. Luna had plenty of time to see all of the kids' tricks, especially from her frequent perch shoehorned between their car seats as we drove around.

Just yesterday, Mama and I were trying to count Jewel's tricks after her 18-month checkup, during which they asked if she spoke 5-25 words. Mama instinctively answered yes, but then started wondering how many words Jewel really does say. With 3B, the question wasn't ever if he spoke enough.

Still isn't, come to think of it.

Before he was 18 months old, he had already said, "Fire engine down road," which we count as his first full sentence. (Yes, for all you Truman Capotes in the moose on the wall, he was missing a few articles and a verb, but cognitively he was putting sentences together.)

I started counting Jewel's words with "choo choo," which sound more like "coo coo," but which she had just showed off for the first time this weekend when we were taking a walk outside and she heard a distant train. She lifted up her head, turned toward the sound, looked back at me and said "coo coo." After I said, "Yes, it's a train. A choo choo." she went back to her work. Last night she showed it off for Mama by pointing to Thomas and saying it.

I'm pretty sure she also muttered "Smokestack lightning shining just like gold," but nobody else heard it.

We also counted
  • mama
  • dada
  • nana (which means either Luna or her babysitter)
  • bro bro
  • duck (which is a weird glottal sound, but perhaps that's Friesian for "duck")
  • moo moo
  • her horse sound (she actually does a pretty good whinny)
  • ba ba (at bedtime this means "bottle")
  • baa baa (at any other time means "sing me Baa Baa Black Sheep")
  • dis and dat (her first words, which always mean "what's dis?" or "what's dat?")
  • ...and so on
We got up to about 25 words, although most anyone else wouldn't understand them. We didn't count what's now her favorite gesture: holding her hand out, fingers cupped together, palm upward, extended toward whatever it is that she wants, meaning "I would like to have this right now." In a bonus move, she'll tip her head to her shoulder, believing that the cuter she is the more likely she is to get what she wants.

She's not too wrong about that. And if it doesn't work the first time, eventually it will. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Papa Bradstein, like an aging potbelly steam engine, will huff and puff and chuff 200 miles across Massachusetts in two days to help fight cancer. Please support his ride.

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