Archive for the ‘Happiness’ Category


The Boo walking around with a blanket over his head, deliriously tired and laughing like a maniac.

Narrating his cooking play: “We need some coffee in the filter, then pour some back, that’s too much, now pour the hot water…”

Cracking up while singing to him at bedtime because he started giggling in the middle of singing along with me.

Waiting a few seconds for him to speak when he’s clearly thinking very hard about what he wants to say.

Sleepy morning hugs when he just drapes himself over me.

When he says “Want to rest on Mama for a little bit” after we finish reading books, before we walk to his bed. He reclines on me like I’m a human BarcaLounger and we talk about the day.

His dead-on imitation of me answering my phone, and the sweetly devilish grin that follows.

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You are, for all practical purposes, two and a half years old.

You now have this at your disposal:


You are working on the physics of pedaling, though you still find pushing forward with your feet Fred Flintstone-style to be far more efficient.

You ask, “What happened?” almost constantly, as a way to review the immediate past. Sometimes you answer yourself, sometimes we help you out.

You recited the following passage from a book after hearing it approximately six times: “Let’s start in the jungle where the tall trees grow and the monkeys swing from vine to vine.” You did this over your post-nap snack, just after seemingly spacing out for a few minutes.

You have several other favorite questions: “What is that?”, “What is that called?”, and “Where’s Daddy?”

You are making good progress on straightening out your pronoun usage because when you say, “You want Kix” or some such, Mama looks confused and says, “I don’t want Kix!” But your default setting is still to use “you” instead of “I.”

You have been introduced to the concept of privacy.

You have no desire to ditch your diapers, though we did buy you some very cute Thomas underpants that you like to look at now and again. Also, you’ve peed in the tub a few times, so you know how that works.

You have some charming toddler mispronunciations: piwwow (pillow), fadder (father), suhkuw (circle), dare (there), etc.

You adore having your Avva (Indian grandma) with us. You ask where she is when you wake up, and run to her when you find her. You also love to haul her around by the finger, and playfully run into her on occasion, so we have explained that she is delicate. Your favorite things to do with her are play hide and seek and go on walks.

You want to wear a sari like Avva does; you have settled for being wrapped in a towel.

You have started drawing cats, narrating the entire process: “We need a circle, and some pointy ears, and whiskers…”

You are utterly delighted with the conversion of your crib to a toddler bed. You expected all the rails to come off, not just the front panel, but we explained that’s to keep you safe, just like on Caillou’s bed, and you seemed to accept that.

You sat up and called for Mama the first morning you woke up in your big boy bed. So we practiced getting up, opening your door, and finding Mama. At the start of that day’s nap, you sprang up to go find Mama. Mama explained that big boys stay in their beds until after they wake up from their naps. She asked if you could do that, and you said yes. Then you went to sleep.

You have added “mommy” to the other names you call your mother (Mama, Amma). None of us use that term, so it took us a while to figure out you did this because that’s what Caillou calls his mother.

You are two and a half, and you reveal more of your big boy brain every day.

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A few weeks ago, on a whim, I began to sing the Alphabet Song and stopped to see if the Boo would pick up where I left off. I sang “A B C D” and he chimed in, though not singing, “E F G.” I sang a few more letters, he spoke the ones that came next. We went through the song a few more times, and no matter where I left off, he picked right up and never got the sequence wrong.

Yesterday I started the same way, singing “A B C” and then stopping. He said, “NOT D.” And giggled. I giggled, and we continued this way through the whole song, singing, speaking and giggling, right down to “now I know my” “NOT ABCs.”

Such a mystery, the mind of the toddler. So much information packed in there, and such creativity in how it comes back out.

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I wish I had made a note of the first time I turned the word “tuna” into a game. My best guess is that I was putting a can of tuna in the pantry, narrating the event like you’re supposed to do so your kid learns to talk all proper-like.

While I don’t know the when or why, I do know what I said. “Tu-nah, tu-nee, tu-nay, tu-nai, tu-no!” You know, like you do when you’re sleep-deprived and desperate for entertainment at three in the afternoon. The kiddo probably laughed, and I probably repeated the string of silliness a few times.

So now this is one of our go-to verbal games. The Boo or I will break into a string of tuna riffing from time to time, and then pause and look at the other player with a silly, expectant grin. We run through the list, usually ending with “tu-no.”

One day last week, I was the one to say “tu-no,” and then the Boo said, “tu-yes.” And giggled at his first joke.

My little boy, folks: Lover of language, maker of goofy jokes.

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Now that winter is beating a slow but definite retreat, we’re dropping by our favorite playground whenever it makes sense. It’s been really fun to see the leap in physical skills the Boo has taken since the fall, and he enjoys eating snacks at the little picnic table almost as much as he digs the ability to climb and slide on his own.

Playgrounds are surprisingly intimate spaces given that they’re open-air venues. I’ve seen children cradled after scary and/or bloody falls, witnessed dead-serious negotiations over balls and buckets and shovels, and smiled at babies nursing as their siblings run amok.

The other day as I was spotting my kid’s ascent on a metal ladder (!) I heard a snatch of Japanese, which I used to speak fairly well. I turned my head just in time to see a mom next to her daughter at the bottom of a slide. The girl was 4 or 5 (I’m terrible at gauging ages) and was in a lovely frilly dress and hair bow. Her eyes were closed, seemingly because of the bright spring sun. The mom placed her daughter’s hand on the slide and said, “1, 2, 3.” The rest of what she said was beyond my capabilities, but the meaning was clear to me once the girl flickered her milky eyes and smiled.

This is a slide, this is what you do on a slide. Someday soon when you’re ready, we’ll get you up there.

I hope I get to be there when that little girl is ready.

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You are two years old.

You get a monthly kids’ magazine called High Five and you know it’s for you as soon as it show up. You love the stories and songs in it, but the big surprise for us is that you can find about half the items in the hidden pictures puzzle:


You enjoy spinning to make yourself dizzy, washing things in the sink, and practicing your jumping skills.

You want to sing your water bottle to sleep when we put it in the fridge because Mama said it was going for a nap once when we laid it on its side. You now like to do this with certain toys, and last night you did it with a Cheerio that was apparently worn out from bring on your high chair tray.

You get rides in the laundry basket after Mama puts the clean clothes away.

You are learning how to somersault.

You have begun to protest diaper changes by trying to sit up through them. Often you can be persuaded to calm down with a song or the promise of playing with a favored object like a nail clipper (really), but on the night of your birthday you bumped your head, so sometimes Mama reminds you of that when you’re doing your Baby Abs of Steel routine.

You enjoy washing dishes so much that you sometimes have a meltdown if you can’t wash them when you want to. You also like scrubbing the shower floor, and often enlist the help of your bedtime buddy.

You have begun to state clothing preferences, usually by asking to wear your robot shirt.

You can get up on the piano bench and play by yourself.

You refer to yourself as “you,” often while pointing your chest for emphasis.

You refer to Mama as “I.”

You swiftly declare yourself done with your meal if told you can have something you want after you finish eating.

You have begun to deploy the phrase, “I don’t like it.”

You finally got to go out in a fresh snowfall, but refused to touch the snow. Mama suspects this was because you got a face full of it the day before when we walked to a neighbor’s house while it was falling. You stomped around in it a bit, but were disappointed that we couldn’t make a snowman from it because it was so dry.

You recently met a newborn baby, whom you studiously ignored except to ask Mama to put him down and to say goodbye to him.

You speak in full sentences about 20 percent of the time.

You began eating pasta a few weeks ago, but once again refused to touch or taste your birthday cake.

You know how to get down from the big bed safely.

You delight in playing hide and seek with Mama, especially when you’re in your looniest pre-bedtime state and thus most likely to run into walls and furniture while scurrying from room to room. But she has a hard time resisting your requests because of the pure joy you radiate when you find her and throw yourself against her, squealing.

You enjoy sitting in a big boy chair when we have snacks at the mall.

You made your first attempt to sing an actual song on your birthday. It was “Happy Birthday,” and you took artistic license with the lyric, proudly warbling, “happ burfday for you.”

You are two years old, and it’s a struggle to refrain from calling you “baby.”

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You are 23 months old.

You received a wooden train set for Christmas. Your favorite thing to do with it is flip up the arms on the crossing gate.

You also enjoy fitting together two or three random pieces of track and dumping all the pieces out of the huge basket where they live.

You know when Mama skips a page of your favorite book, and you do not hesitate to tell her so.

You have learned to ask, “May I?” while grabbing things off the countertops. Sometimes you add a “please.”

You started saying the Telugu words for “what” and “hang on” during a recent Skype call with your Indian grandmother.

You have known for a while that sheet music is to songs as books are to reading. But now you try to pick out the songs after Mama finishes playing.

You adore packing and unpacking things: the matchbox car carrier, groceries, the dishwasher, a case of MP3 player stuff.

You talk around things that are in your mouth: straws, toothbrushes, your thumb, your bottle. And so now we ask you to take things out of your mouth and repeat yourself so we can understand you.

You have counted to four once, and to two once, both times while picking things up. You also count along when Mama counts the stairs as we go up or down.

You do not like Mama to carry you up or down the stairs, and will yell “walk!” in protest, but you often hold your arms up for Daddy to carry you.

You are roughly 34 inches tall and somewhere between 25 and 26 pounds.

You cried as soon as you saw the nurse at the doctor’s office, refusing to get on the scale and weeping your way through an armpit temperature reading. As far as we can figure out, she give you a shot a long time ago.

You know there’s a camera in your room, because daddy told you.

You are still an angel on the changing table, though you have begun to twist from side to side as you try to see things on the floor.

You have a five-syllable word: peekakabaga, your mashup of peekaboo and kabaga, which is your word for kaboom. You also have many new words, chief among them: booger, medicine, snot, kaboom, game, really, bless you, peanut butter, wallet, careful, broken, fixed, better and booty. You have also begun to string two and three words together: Hi bug, open Sesame, goodbye daddy, may I please.

You have seen three snowfalls this winter but have yet to play in the snow because every time, you’ve been sick, or Mama’s been sick, or the temperatures have been deadly.

You respected the Christmas tree while it was up, helped put the ornaments away, and asked after it when it disappeared from the living room.

You were shown “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and wandered out of the room after 5 minutes.

You repeat words in conversations that take place while you are concentrating on something, the most stunning example being at a kiddie art class where you were talking to Grammie and Mama and stopped to repeat a color uttered by a kid across the room.

You’re very, very good at repeating a word after hearing it for the first time.

You are beginning to attempt to sing and for a while you said “la-la” if Mama asked you to sing a song. This week, you began to actually vocalize, sweet little lines of “ahhhhh.”

You said “sorry” to a boy you bumped with a piece of gym equipment — your first spontaneous apology.

You are 23 months old, and sometimes you still fold up your legs and feet exactly like you did when you were a newborn.

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