Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Newsletter: Month 18

Bless me JB for I have sinned... It has been more than 3 months since your last newsletter.

I can't even believe how far off the train I've fallen... You can blame your baby brother or sister for this. Even though s/he isn't even fully developed yet, let alone born, s/he is already affecting the undivided attention that you've come to expect from your mommies.

Let me explain. No time to essplain... Let me sum up: Your mommy got your mama pregnant about 3 months ago. There was a lot of nausea (and some vomiting) at the beginning and you were very often barely in bed before your mama was asleep. The division of labor was upset, and there was a lot to do that didn't involve the (often pointed out to me by non-bloggers) very indulgent practice of posting snippets of our life up on the web.

Ironically (or perhaps predictably) so much has changed developmentally in these 3 months, that I'm not sure how to sum it up or break it down. You have a huge vocabulary now... you will repeat most of what we say, but you have words that you can conjure up with minimal prompting. Sometimes, you just sit and come up with words. It's like you might be flipping through a mental Rolodex and when you shout them out randomly as you consider them. Last week in the car, you kept repeating, "fire" (Fie-her) a word that you had just learned at Nana and papa's house. Then a few minutes later you kept repeating "owl". I couldn't understand what you were saying b/c you pronounced it like "How-ul" and b/c it was so out of context. When I asked you, "what are you saying? I can't understand what word you are saying." You told me, "how-el... hoo,hoo... howel." I looked at your mama and said, "holy (beep)!" Because I was so impressed at how you were able to communicate your point when you wanted to.

A non-inclusive list of words you know: hot, cold, up, down, water, stairs, bib, spoon, more, ball, hammer, truck, bus, car, please, thank you, help, sit, book, beep-beep, yuck, eww, ut-oh, milk, drink, coffee, sip, apple, pasta,waffle, bean, grape, stawberry, blueberry, melon, cereal, cheerios, potty, poop, tissue, snow, light, bright, arm, eye, nose, cheek, teeth, mouth, leg, foot, toe, knee, finger, head, hair, socks, shirt, shoes, hat, zipper, fire, mama, mommy, papa, nana, grandpa, granny, TT, mackenzie, cam cam, Bella, bill, barbara, heather, alisa, amanda (lots of other names from day care), octopus, walrus, fish, puppy, lobster, lion, monkey... When you say a word that ends in "K", you really enunciate the sound. Like in "Milk"... Think of the guttural sound made in Hebrew if someone said, "L'Chaim" and add that "k" noise.

You are singing (sort of) and counting. Singing usually involves you saying "ABC", or "e-i-ei-o", the word "happy" in a cute sing-songy way, then one of your parents or relatives sings the entire rest of the song for your amusement. If there is not a crowd of people staring at you, you will usually give me a mangled, barely recognizable version of the song's epilogue "Now la-no-na-ABCs, ney ney no new see with me." Your cousin, Cam sings the entire Happy Birthday, in tune, not even missing a word... When she's done you sing the solitary word, "Happy" and then let her cycle through it again solo...

Whenever any music is on, we can usually get a "hooray!" and some swaying out of you. You have 2 basic dance moves: the above mentioned rocking side to side, and the staccato demi-plie where you bend slightly at the knees and kind of bounce up and down for a few counts. You truly dance like a rhythm-less white man at this point, and we've thought of getting you a t-shirt that says, "cool kids rock" to mock the over exaggerated simplicity of your dance moves. It is brutally adorable to us. God knows we are mostly responsible for your repertoire, even though we have been trying to teach to you other dance moves (shoulder bounces, raise the roof, dance with your eyebrows, dance with your neck) no doubt, they will only enhance the perception of you as a mini Rick Ashley with top teeth precariously poised to take a chunk out of your lower lip should you roll an ankle if you get too excited while dancing.

You are very mobile and in control of your body, but you are cautious and only a little interested in climbing. You like ladders and step stools, but will mostly stay off on furniture that isn't meant for climbing. You are also a very good listener, and have taken to sitting at the top of the stairs waiting for us when we run down to the basement, for example.

Your grandpa gave you a plastic basketball hoop for Christmas and at first you were just too short to get the ball in slam-dunk style. Now you have grown, or changed your tactic, or both, and able to get the ball and put it through. Balls have emerged as one of your obsessions. There is no rhyme or reason to your obsessions, and for those who would automatically hear me say you are inclined to love any kind of ball and report that it is your natural inclination as a boy to dwell on balls, I would like to offer your other current obsessions: tissues, shoes, drawing utensils, and the letter "o". (To be fair to the gender police, you are also a truck, bus, and car/steering wheel addict.) Of all of these, the letter O is the most confusing to me, but if you go for a letter on the fridge 9/10 it is "o" and you can pick it off of my Uconn sweatshirt too.

The "tissues" game we play non-stop. You've never met a tissue or wipe, or paper towel you didn't love. You love pulling tissues out of their boxes; and you love wiping things up including your face and tables and chairs; and you love throwing tissues away... you love tissues.

Every day when you see me after I've gotten dressed, you look down at my feet and say, "shoes." I think if I came down wearing a prom dress, or a fire fighter's uniform, you would not even notice except when you looked down at my shoes.

Your behavior for the most part is admirable. You have started whining quite a bit. We try to discourage the whining and you are responsive. The scene is usually,
JB: eh, eh, eh (whiny trying to get something noises)
mommy or mama: That's whining, and it is not the best way to get things, you know.
JB: (without the previous whining tone) peeease.

The other times you have a melt down, it is usually some version of "I want to do it myself", or what I can only describe as a "You don't know me..." rebellion. Several times, we know exactly what is going on. For example, you are hungry and need to eat, but think you don't want to eat and refuse to get in the chair... you offer us every version of "NO" that you have learned (saying the word, shaking the head, swinging the arms, stomping the feet). We have found that if we just back off what we are trying to tell you to do, you circle round and do it. It seems to us like a hungry teenager, shouting, "YOU DON'T KNOW ME AT ALL!"

Some of the sweetest times with you recently involve watching you become a little more independent. You like to draw. As much as not leaving knives and dangerous objects around, we have to remember not to leave crayons and pens around b/c you like to draw and have no idea about why you should draw on paper and not furniture or walls.

You also like to go outside

and will sometimes grab my 15lb purse and sling it over your shoulder, head toward the door and say, "bye-bye". This usually means it is time to do some bird watching: "oooh, burd... tweet, tweet." Now that I am writing about this, I realize it is exactly what anti-gay groups are afraid of, that not having a dad will make you think you need a purse to leave the house. Ironically, i never used a purse at all until after you were born and I had gotten used to having a diaper bag to carry everything around. But I promise, we can replace that Lady's Bulsa with a socially acceptable backpack, or brief case and no matter what those social conservatives think, we know that boys who are comfortable carrying purses (either their own, or those belonging to the women in their lives) are probably more desirable and useful to society than the other segment of the male population.

JB, your bedtime ritual still blows our mind. Between 6:45 and 7:30 depending on how tired you seem, we ask, "Do you want a bath?" You almost always do and head toward the stairs. You can now be heard counting as we climb the stairs. Mama or I say, "one, two" you often hit "three" then we give you "four" and frequently you come up with "five"... For the rest, we are on our own, you can not be bothered to utter a number beyond five at this point, but it is clear that you get the concept. Once we are upstairs, you get your bath toys out of the drawer while we draw the tub and you throw them into the water one by one: boat, truck, truck, duck, walrus, fish, sea horse, lobster, octopus. At some point you usually ask to sit on the potty by pointing or saying "potty" or saying, "euwwww." Except for that one dumpage that solitary time, you haven't so much as tinkled in the pot, but you still want to sit there.

After your bath, we dry you, lotion you up (most days), use a q-tip on your ears. We diaper and dress you in your pjs. We read a book or two (these last few months you have started to become very interested in books); cuddle for a few minutes with your blanket and binki (the only time you use your binki these days is at bedtime and occasionally in the car); and then we put you in your crib. Oh first, we do a lap around your room and say goodnight to a bunch of things in there... always in the same order. Goodnight lion, hippo, monkey, elephant... goodnight choo-choo train, goodnight giraffe, g.n. tigger, g.n. dinosaur (x3), g.n. lizard, g.n. planets... then we kiss and hug you and put you down. And that's it. I mean maybe once a month there are a few tears and we give you "one more hug" and then you just put your head down, dig into a comfy position and fall asleep. The entire routine takes 15 to 30 minutes depending on how much lotion we apply, or how long we let you splash in the tub. And pretty much every single night, we marvel at how amazing you are to let us put you to bed without any drama.

You have clearly demonstrated your capacity for tantrums, but at 18 months old, guess what else you can do? You can whistle. I swear. You are like a Casablanca advertisement: You just put your lips together and blow, and music comes out. This never fails to astound any bystanders...

You are a super star.
We love you so much it hurts.

Your mommies


C-LO said...

He can say "beep-beep." Hee Hee! Great letter. I love the updates.

Sarah said...

i just found your blog today through another lesbian moms blog and i wanted say that JB is so cute and I love your writing style of his life!

Tracy said...

Thanks, Sarah! Welcome to the GSO!