Archive for September, 2013

1. A 19-month-old can throw a snack cup — the kind with a twist-to-lock lid — such that it pops open when it hits the floor.

2. Cheerios travel impressively far on highly polished surfaces such as the floor of our local Target.

3. Saying there’s been a Cheerio disaster gets a smile from a worker bee.

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Baboo: Please?

Me: Please what?

Baboo: Ice!

(I fetch ice and give it to the Boo.)

Me: Here you go!

Baboo: No!

Me: Okay!

(I ditch the ice.)

Baboo: Please?

Me: Please what?

Baboo: Ice!

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Me: Say “please.”

Baboo: “bees!”

Me: Say “pee.”

Baboo: “bee!”

Me: Say “daddy.”

Baboo: “dah-DAY!”

Me: Say “yes.”

Baboo: “yesh!”

Me: Say “house.”

Baboo: “housh!”

Me: Say “ice.”

Baboo: “eyesh!”

Me: Say “kitten.”

Baboo: “nyow-nyow!”

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You are 19 months old.

You have somehow learned that this symbol means “trash”:


You have been collecting new words: nice, trash (which was “dash” and is now “tash”), Elmo (much to Mama’s chagrin), go, pop, boom, help, pee, beep, please, eat, on, in, baby. Not that these words sound exactly like they’re supposed to

You now eat bananas like a normal person (previously Mama fed them to you on a spoon because you either refused to touch them, or smushed them and then complained about your banana-covered hands).

You adore your Daddy more and more as time goes on, running to see if he’s home after every nap and sticking as close as possible to him when he’s home. If you see a picture with a man and a baby, you call the man Daddy.

You occasionally get into a temper, usually when you’re tired. And it’s not really a temper so much as a very pathetic display of tears and sadness over a profound disappointment such as the kitchen gate being closed when you’d prefer to roam the entire first floor.

You sometimes take Mama by the hand to lead her to an activity you’d Iike her to participate in. Usually it involves a book. With kittens. Because…

You love, love, love kittens. Love them. When you see a dog you make your kitten noise. So it’s really cool for you that Grammie bought you a book that actually meows.

You enjoy play dates for the most part, though you tend to hang back a bit and remain puzzled by the concept of sharing.

You have become adept at going though play tunnels.

You love to “help” Mama sweep.

You will sometimes stamp your foot if you’re not getting something you want. We have absolutely no idea where you learned this charming little behavior. Seriously. Mama hasn’t stamped her foot since she was enduring the third fitting for her wedding dress.

You eschew all vegetables except carrots, sweet potatoes and the stems of broccoli.

You know what toilets are for, and you ask Mama if she needs to “bee” every time you see one. If she does, you enjoy getting paper for her, and you try to flush it while she’s still doing her business.

You can go up and down the steps of the jungle gym all by yourself. You can also get into and out of your little chair by yourself. You tend to throw your arms in the air and squeal whenever you get out of the chair successfully. Mama may have taught you that part.

You love to put on one of Mama’s or Daddy’s shoes and clomp around in it.

You said “no!” when you saw the needle for your flu shot, but you didn’t even cry afterwards.

You are 19 months old, and you are edging gently into Toddlerville.

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The other day in Target I was standing agape in the sippy cup aisle once again (Why so many? Why?) when I saw something that made me smile. A bunch of somethings, actually. A bouquet of babies:


See, when you’re the white mom of a mixed-race baby, you start to notice these things. I’ll never forget how bummed out I was when I realized that all the babies represented on one of Baboo’s toys were lily-white. It took everything I had to resist grabbing a brown crayon to amend that situation. I mean, which America are you living in, toy company that shall remain nameless? Even here in the Midwest, any outing makes it clear that this country’s beautiful melting pot is all around us.

So thanks, Munchkin, for your cute and diverse bib-hanger babies. You made this mom’s day.

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It’s a classic piece of unsolicited advice: Babies change everything. But it’s actually true.

For example, shopping:

– Target used to be where I went for affordable work clothes and fun housewares. Now it’s where I dance a little jig if I leave for under $100.

– Baby Gap was a store I glanced at occasionally as I cruised into The Gap, thinking, “huh, cute.” Now it’s where I struggle to resist spending my kid’s college fund.

– Old Navy was my source for cheap jeans that actually fit me. Now it’s where I go to feel smart about dressing my child.

– The grocery store was an occasional necessity. Now it’s midday entertainment, and (sometimes) a twice-a-week necessity.

Time management…

– Ten free minutes used to mean making a few phone calls. Now it means showering, and maybe a phone call on speaker.

– Laundry used to happen on weekends, whenever I got up. Now it happens before the baby gets up and during naps on weekends. And weekdays.

– I used to unload the dishwasher as soon as it was finished. Now I wait for the baby to be around because he enjoys handing dishes to me. Sometimes I even wait until he’s a little cranky because seriously, he loves helping me.

And everyday objects…

– The couch was where I went to watch movies. Now it’s where I go to nap.

– Measuring cups and mixing bowls were for, well, measuring and mixing. Now they’re bath toys and hats and drums and…

– My iPad used to be the reason I was never bored. Now it’s the reason I’m able to cut the baby’s hair.

And trim his nails.

And brush his teeth.

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When Baboo was about seven months old, or maybe a little older, I started teaching him baby sign language. Just the classics, really: more, all done, please, thank you. For a while, he used each new sign to mean what the previous one meant, plus the meaning for the new one. So when he signed “please” it actually meant “more” and “please,” and sometimes “I want it.”

Now that he’s 18 months, he has a good range of words to convey his desires and chat about his world. All the books and websites say this is when kids experience a “language explosion.” In Baboo’s case, this has mostly meant pointing out every trash can and excitedly proclaiming “dash!” He also now chants, “go, go, go” every time we pass the gate to the basement, which is our route to going to the store/playground/for a walk.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been focusing on getting him to say “yes” in response to direct questions instead of signing “more” or “please.” I knew he could handle “yes” because three or four weeks ago, he began saying “house” and “ice” clearly (whereas before it was just “ow” and “eye”). The “yes” project went well enough that I was satisfied. My baby was On Target with this Major Developmental Milestone.

But then last week, he was in his high chair and he started doing the sign for “more” perfectly. He’d never done this, so it took me a minute to get what he was saying. I seriously thought he might just be playing with his fingers. So I asked him, just to be sure: “You want more?”

Again, the perfectly executed “more,” plus the word itself, reasonably clearly. Not the “muh” of the past few months. “Mow.”

I think he got tired of me sitting there with my mouth open, because then he signed, and said, “more, please.”

Both signs, perfectly, accompanied by words that were actually recognizable. He’s never done that. Hasn’t done it since. But apparently he put all the pieces together to do it last week, and decided to show Mama what he could do.

Astonishing, what goes on in that little head.

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I'm over 50. I'm raising a fifth grader. Sometimes he posts too.


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