Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Notes on a Toddler

My son is now right around 20 1/2 months, and I feel that 2nd birthday fast approaching.  I'm crazy excited about his birthday and throwing a big party and getting an excuse to spoil him even more than he usually gets.

But milestone pediatrician visits make me nervous.  They give you that little sheet where you check off what things your kid is doing yet.  My son has always done great developmentally, has actually always been ahead for his age.

But I still dread my imaginings of his doctor peering at the checklist through her glasses.  "Oh, he isn't counting yet?  Not at all?  Oh, I see."

So I've been paying close attention to my son's recent accomplishments.  This has been difficult, however, because there's a ton of stuff it seems like he just started doing overnight.  Recently, he has:

Started using a training potty.  Don't get me wrong, he's only successfully peed in the thing three times, and has never indicated a desire to poop in it.  What usually happens is he says, "Pee pee potty", and by the time we get him undressed, he's already gone in his diaper.  Or sometimes he just wants to go pretend like he needs to use the potty.  But still, the kid's not even two, and he's got the basic idea down.  Now it's just about getting his bladder to catch up to his brain.

Started building with blocks.  He would always stack blocks before.  But now he's really gotten the hang of how, not just to stick his Duplo (giant Lego) blocks together, but how to actually stack them evenly so they don't unbalance and tip over.

Cooperative play.  My son is spoiled, and he actually got two little play guitars at Christmas.  He enjoys this because, as soon as I get home, he hands me the big one, he picks up the small one, and we rock out some Playskool duets.  He will also sit and play tea party very nicely with his cousins, and treats his stuffed animals like real-life little friends.  (His best bud at home right now is a Care Bear that belonged to Mommy as a baby.)  He will share his sippy cup and snacks with Grumpy Bear, read to him, and even sat him and bounced him on the spring horse.

Talking.  Obviously, he didn't just start with his first words, or even just his first words put together.  But it's like his vocabulary and grammar exploded overnight.  He associates possession to items now.  He remembers things he's been previously told for similar situations, and applies them.

This past weekend, my husband had to work.  When it was time to get my son up, I grabbed my coffee from downstairs first, and carried it in one hand while I carried him with the other arm.  Obviously, we've warned him over and over about what things shouldn't be touched because they're hot.  One of the first things he did after greeting me with "Hi Mama" was to point to the mug in my other arm and warn, sounding so adorably serious, "Mama coffee hot".

When we got upstairs, he looked around, confused.  "Daddy?"  He went to the window and stared out at the parking lot.  "Where Daddy car?"  I told him, "Daddy's at work, baby.  He'll be home soon."  Later, he heard an engine in the parking lot (I think our dogs taught him that trick) and he ran to the window.  "Daddy car?"  He looked down in disappointment.  "No, Daddy at work."

With his newfound vocabulary, he also talks to everyone and everything.  I mean everything.  We were waiting to be sat outside a restaurant the other night, and he went for a stroll around the sidewalk, literally greeting every rock.  He would crouch down and wave, "Hi rock."  Then he would go on to the next one.  "Hi rock."

He also has to say goodbye to everything when we leave somewhere, which stretches trying to leave somewhere with a toddler from forever to impossible.  "Bye doggies.  Bye kitties.  Bye light.  Bye books."

Oh yeah.  Books.  He apparently inherited from Mommy the gene which enables you to compulsively read the same books over and over without getting sick of them.  (I just finished "Geek Love" for the 5th time.  It's about a family of emotionally incestuous circus freaks, one of whom starts a cult where people endeavor to get all their limbs cut off.  There's also a telekinetic and a microwave dinners heiress.  I strongly recommend it.)

My son will only play with his toys for so long before he's scrambling into my lap with a book.  "Mama read?  Please?"  So we read an Elmo story for the 8th time that afternoon, though we both totally know how it ends.


"Elmo loves you."  That's the end.

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