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Archive for the ‘Milestones’ Category

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For two months, I’d prepared the Boo for school with a multi-pronged campaign of propaganda. I started by reading him chirpy, syrupy books about first days of school (four or five of them, from Baby Elmo to Maisie to Harry and his dinosaurs). After a while, he rejected them.

So I started playing school with him, making his train set figures ride in cars to school, where Mama would drop the Boo with his nice teachers and friends, and then leave to go to Target. The Hubs and I talked excitedly about school, saying what a cool big-boy thing it was going to be and how much fun he’d have.

Last week, I added a song recommended by my mom’s friend, a very experienced early childhood teacher. Here, check out the video, it’s pretty amusing.

The Boo loved the video and did not object to me singing the song to him at every nap and bed time. I also whistled it a lot to get the association nice and deep into his little brain.

Then the day arrived. The Hubs, his mom, Boo and I all went together to take photos and visit his classroom. The hubs left with his mom, and I stayed with the Boo for about ten minutes, talking to him and his teachers, and helping him glue some stuff.

Then I took a deep breath and said, “I will help you put your photo up, and then I’m going to go.” I made masking tape loops and had him help me position it and pat it in place. I explained that we did this so he could find his hook without needing to read. Then I gave him a big hug and kiss, told him I loved him and would see him soon, took another deep breath, turned around, and left.

I rounded several corners and made my way to the Director’s office, where I made myself a cup of tea, smeared some cream cheese on a bagel, and reminded myself to keep breathing. I didn’t exactly feel like I was going to pass out, but I was fuzzy and disoriented. I’ve spent the past two and a half years within sight and/or hearing of my kid, and suddenly not being able to see or hear him felt completely wrong.

Another mom and I went to the school’s foyer and chatted with the Director for the next hour. It was distracting, and it was nice to get to know them better, but it was difficult (and a little bizarre) to sit there socializing, knowing my kid was probably having a hard time at the other end of the building.

Later, as I chatted with an old friend, I realized what else was bugging me: This is the first time I’ve trusted anyone other than a family member to take care of him. I hadn’t realized that when people talk about letting go of your kids, they’re really talking about relinquishing control. It’s a good thing for both of us — but in my focused drive to prepare him, I hadn’t realized how much of an adjustment it would be for me.

At the end of the class, the teacher brought the (weepy, babbling) Boo to me. I knelt down to cuddle him as the teacher gave me the full report, cradling his head in my hand as I listened to her. The important part: He was never so distressed that he needed to be brought to me. This was better than I expected, a success in the teacher’s view and in my book. But the most amazing thing about the Boo’s first day of school? I didn’t cry when I said goodbye to him.

I guess my propaganda campaign worked after all.

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Bedtime Story

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Heading up the stairs, the Boo issues a proclamation: “I don’t like my bed.”

Actually what he says is, “You don’t like your bed,” because he’s making good progress on fixing his pronoun usage, but I don’t correct him when he’s overly tired and/or cranky.

I make a light remark about how nice his bed is, with the stripey sheets and the fuzzy green blanket and Tigey and Tigger. He does not reply, and we continue up our climb.

We go through the bedtime routine of books and cuddling on the glider, with a detour for adding batteries to the noise machine. These days he prefers to walk from the glider to the crib, and last night he had a question when he got there.

“What is this?”

“It’s your crib.”

“What is THIS!”

I notice that he’s hanging onto a couple of slats.

“Those are bars.”

“I don’t like bars.”

Ah. Crap. And here I’d had such lovely visions of him staying in his crib until his third birthday.

“Would you like us to take the bars away?”

A huge smile, a beam of little boy light in the dim room.

“YES!”

And now you know what we’ll be doing this weekend: cursing over poorly written directions while wielding an Allen wrench, all in the name of helping our little boy grow up.

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We recently took the Boo to India to meet and stay with the hubs’ mother (“Avva”). Yes, we might be slightly crazy, though honestly, it all went a lot better than we thought it would where the Boo was concerned. Herewith, a list of the highlights.

You asked, “Where’s Avva?” immediately after arriving at the airport for the first of four flights that would take us to India over the next 36 hours. Your next question was about going home.

You were happy to receive a lollipop for takeoff, then displeased when it became sharp after you bit into it.

You were so enthralled with your personal in-flight entertainment screen that you would watch a cartoon you’d never seen, without sound.

You hugged a total stranger at the playground in the Frankfurt airport. He happened to be a brown-skinned man. We all laughed and called him your new daddy.

You slept on the long-haul flights and never went into the kind of frenzy we had feared you would. You did get a little wiggy during the last layover on the way there, but that was an eight-hour ordeal after more than 24 hours of travel that had all three of us strung out.

You cried when you met Avva, whom you had only experienced over Skype from the time you were six months old. We concluded that you thought she lived in the iPad.

You gave your Avva a hug within 24 hours of meeting her.

You delighted in discovering all the switches and fans in Avva’s house, and particularly loved the switch for the pump that delivers water to the tanks on the roof. Fortunately, all of these switches are about five feet off the ground.

You loved watering the plants in Avva’s front and back yards despite your distress over getting mired in thick mud.

You did not get sick (not counting the rash you developed).

You became enamored of a stick that is often used to drive away street dogs.

You did not care for the noise of steam escaping from the pressure cooker and would clamp your hands to your ears when it was hissing, even with the kitchen door closed.

You experienced several firsts during our stay: your first Slinky (instant love); your first time blowing a whistle (instant joy); and your first encounter with a gaggle of adoring, but loud, Indian Aunties (instant tears and vehemently closed eyes).

You climbed onto the lap of a visitor, a total stranger. Even after you realized he wasn’t your daddy, you stayed in his lap.

You met two of your cousins, and enjoyed playing with their carrom board, tricycle, and scooter.

You woke up the first six nights we were in India, sometimes tossing and turning for four hours before you were able to sleep again and often crying from the frustration of trying and failing to sleep. Sometimes Mama singing to you would help, sometimes it wouldn’t.

You shared a bed with Mama during our stay — a first for you and a big change from your crib. At first you would sit up and call for her if you woke up, but then you realized you could just roll over and cuddle with her. In the mornings, you would lean against her and announce that you were awake.

You asked to sleep with Mama when you woke up in the middle of the night back at home. She explained that the crib was too small but said she could take a nap with you in the big bed.

You thought Daddy’s nightly ritual of killing mosquitoes before you went to bed was hilarious. You also loved the mosquito net that cocooned our bed, though you would be in such a hurry to get in or out that you would often slam into it before Mama had a chance to raise it for you.

You tried a tiny bite of mango. You seemed to like it, but refused additional bites.

You refused to try any of the three delicious varieties of Indian bananas your Avva had gotten for you.

You devoured the sev (fried chickpea flour sticks) Avva made for you, but otherwise stuck to eating the food we brought for you.

You announced, “This is not home. This is India. This is our India home.” This happened about a week into our stay.

You went to India with Mama and Daddy, and we were nothing but impressed with how well you handled the trip.

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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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Well, it happened. We recently experienced the oh-so-special rite of passage known as Baby’s First Stomach Flu. Don’t worry, I’ll spare you the gory details except to say I was amazed to find that it’s true: You don’t get grossed out by your own kid’s messes.

About 36 hours into it, the kiddo was lying completely still on a blanket at 9 a.m., which completely freaked me out, because oh my God he’s listless! That’s one of the Seven Warning Signs of Dehydration! So we hauled our sad little Boo to the doctor and were relieved to learn that he was not dehydrated, but that we should take steps to ensure that he not become dehydrated, as this would land him in the hospital.

To my surprise, the pediatrician recommended not just Pedialyte (which: gross), but anything we could get him to drink besides milk and water. White soda. Gatorade. Juice. So on our way home, we picked up all of those things.

At home, we put every option in little medicine cups, plied him with promises of videos, wheedled and cajoled him until we were worn out, but he would barely try any of it. A few hours later, a possible reason for this rejection of sweet drinks occurred to me.

He’s never had juice.

Not even a sip.

This is the Right Thing To Do now, to give your kid no juice, or diluted juice. So that’s what we did. No juice for the Boo. And that’s how we ended up with a sick little boy who would only drink the two things the doctor said to avoid.

He got better anyway, and I let him occasionally dip his finger in salt and lick it off, and let him have potato sticks (for the salt and the potassium) between bites of banana.

But you can bet your boots I’m going to get him used to drinking juice as soon as I can.

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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:

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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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A week ago I left the Boo in my husband’s care for the day. I had never done this before, as there had never been a need. But an uncle had died and there was a memorial in Detroit and we take our funerals seriously in my family, and so off I flew.

I was worried about how the baby would react to being away from me — I’d only ever been away from him for a few hours at a stretch. The day dawned and he slept late, so I didn’t even get to say goodbye to him — and he’d be asleep by the time I got back.

Naturally, he had a great time with Daddy. So great, in fact, that he now asks for him as soon as he wakes up in the morning. And when he wakes up from his nap. And it’ s only been a few weeks since he started calling out “Amma” when he wakes up.

The first few times, I thought it was sweet. Then it began to rankle. Nearly two years of constant care brought down by one day — one DAY! — of non-stop fun. Suddenly I was the proverbial chopped liver in my kid’s life.

But on the plus side, perhaps this means he’ll have an easy transition to school.

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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.

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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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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.

20140118-103719.jpg
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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Well, naturally I thought of a bunch more fun stuff that’s new in the past month as soon as I hit “publish.” That’s just how it works, y’all. So here we go…

You developed a terror of having your hair washed after a single incident of soapy water getting in your eyes. So now we all take turns wearing your new special bath hat:
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You get such a big kick out of crossing the street that sometimes our walks consist almost entirely of crossing the street. You say “yay” every time we reach the other side.

You now have a running commentary while you play.

You enjoy sending people, animals and food on trips into space, and will say “bass” (“blastoff”) after Mama or Daddy says “3,2,1.” Then you sit and cackle while we fly the the ship around.

You deploy the word “funny” correctly. You use the word “have” to ask for things, then use “may” to say it’s okay for you to have whatever you were just given. You also use both words to say that someone else has something.

You like fire quite a bit.

You have begun throwing things, seemingly for fun. And so now we chat about why throwing is not always a good idea.

You watch video clips of songs while Mama brushes your teeth, and you want her to sing whatever song is newest at nap time and bedtime. Right now, it’s this.

You play with words, most notably turning later into laytay, tuna into tunoo, soon into soonoo. You also substitute “f” for “s,” making it tons of fun to listen to you talk about something being stuck.

You have a few new clear two-syllable words, most notably “coffee” and “photo.”

You expect everything to open, especially toy cars.

You can get into the bathtub all by yourself. Sometimes you try to do it before we get you naked.

You recognize the numbers 2, 4, 5 and 8. Credit for this is due entirely to your father.

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