Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Newletter: Month 34


Today you are 34 and some-odd-fraction months old.

Holy smmokes. We talk a lot about you in these here web-pages, but if these were supposed to be "monthly" newsletters, we (and by "we" I mean "I") have failed you.

You and I had a big fight at dinner tonight.
It started with Sit down and ended with you crying in time out and me red-faced, muttering, and pacing a few yards away.

The new thing from you is NO.
I mean all kinds and versions of "no".

There's the little, "do you want more milk?"

And then there's the, "Please SIT in your chair."

And then there's the, "You are in time out."
NO, I am not going to time out... no.

The defiance comes with a touch too much whining for my taste...
"Whaaaaaaaaaaaaa! NOOOoooooo!!!"
And hysteria... at least it did tonight.

Since you have generally earned the nickname, Mr. Mellow, you can sometimes be like living with Dr. Jackle and Mr. Whine. Honestly, it IS hard to hear "no" to the simplest request, query, imperative (from a not-yet-3-year old) when your safety or comfort is at stake... I am sure this will be as hard or harder when you are 7, 10, 13, 16, 21 years old, but i guess my thought is that at least you will have the vocabulary for a fair debate and enough of a grasp of the concept of cause-and-effect for me to not have to be the only one "choosing my battles".

But these events are not without my own emotional response. And our similarities are already emerging as reasons we will butt heads: stubborn, watery, sensitive, brave, wishy-washy-not-sure-what-i-want-and-that-is-hard-enough-to-deal-with-inside-of-me-let-alone-having-to-try-to-convey-it-to-you, DON'T BE DISAPPOINTED IN ME, and LET ME FIGURE IT OUT ON MY OWN! heads. Sweet, sweet boy, you and I are a lot alike.

But, you are also like your Mama- she won't go into the Ocean unless I beg or trick her either. You and she notice things I miss every day. Things I would miss completely if you weren't pointing them out: "Hear the crickets, Mama and Mommy?"

It's been several months now that we are blown away by the way you are calculating and figuring out the world, grouping ideas and things together correctly, extrapolating out notions that seem impossibly wiser than your age.

You know all four components of your given name; you know your address including city and state. You know what we need to do in different weather- what to wear if it rains or snows or is hot, why we put the windows up or down, when we use the windshield wipers, why lights go on at night; You look for stars and the moon when the sun starts to go down. If you see a digger, you ask how he can do his work without a dump truck. When you see a telephone pole, you tell us about the wires attached and what they do, what they are for. When you see our neighbors leaving, you ask where they are going... and we have to think up 5 or 6 "maybes"... "Maybe they are going to work... Maybe they are going to visit their kids... Maybe they are going to the store..." we joke that "everything comes down to safety": hard hats, lights on cars, reflectors, lines on the road, seat belts, windows that don't go all the way down, treads on shoes... When answering the incessantly asked question, "why", I would estimate, 80% of the time the answer is ultimately safety. But that's not satisfying to you:

JB: Why that truck have a step there?
Random Mom: because it is too high without a step.
JB: Why?
RM: so that the driver/worker can get to the top without getting hurt.
JB: Why?
RM: to keep him safe
JB: Why?
RM: It is probably an OSHA violation; his employer needs to prevent repetitive motion injuries and calculate what step size is ergonomically proper to avoid undue stress on his joints.
JB: Oh.

It sometimes seems as if you will only accept the answer that is above your pay-grade, and then your reaction is a very mellow, "oh." As if, "Why didn't you just say that in the first place?"

You are getting good at pretending and telling stories. Your cousins have helped you learn about pretending. The three of you are constantly "taking our orders" in your pretend restaurants and you alternate between having every imaginable food we can conjure up OR telling us, "We don't have that here," to all the items we request. It is adorable but maybe makes us think we go out to eat too often.

JB loves sports: the world cup on TV, baseball, basketball, our softball games. You are starting to understand the difference between the games and the rules, the positions, and the teams. You take turns being the batter and the pitcher, the kicker and the goalie. One day, you used 4 sippy cups to tell me which were the on the soccer team that "had the ball" and which were on the team that "didn't have the ball" (this was based on the color of their tops). You also have followed Mama's lead in your affinity for dance as a spectator sport. There's this show called, "So you think you can dance" on TV which I hope (by the time you are able to or interested in reading these newsletters) is a faded memory. You and she sit and watch and rewind and cue up your favorites for me to see. There was one where boys were dressed at ball players and "danced it out"... it was like all of your favorite things rolled into on 3 minute segment.

We bought you a pair of "tap shoes" which are really a pair of plastic, purple girls shoes that make noise as you clip-clop across the floor. We set out to buy you some flip-flops but when you wandered over to the girl's section of the store and used your most politely hesitant voice to ask, "Can I have these?" We just couldn't leave them behind in the store. You couldn't nap for the entire weekend after we bought them b/c they were on the floor near your bed and it was too exciting to sleep with those shoes just sitting there. We are sufficiently convinced that you want to try to dance and in the fall there's an "all sports" class at the Y at 9am and a tap class down the street at 10 am... I think if we buy you real, authentic, ACTUAL tap shoes, you will soil yourself in excitement, so... I mean... CLEAN UP IN AISLE SIX... bring it on...

Your vocabulary is impressive. Your conversational skills are ever-improving. See this post for a few of my favorite, recent items. Despite your obvious smarty-pants status, you have developed this somewhat annoying habit of asking, "What?" when really you know exactly what we said and what is going on. You've had trouble hearing in the past due to the difficulty with your ears being full of fluid, but if we just spoke louder every time you asked, "Whattt?" (you like to really enunciate the hard "t" at the end) it would be like a school for the deaf around here. Then too, we've noticed that if we just don't respond to the "Whattt?" you tell us what we said. Your Mama complains that I have a Premature and exasperating "What" that is part of my vernacular, and I have also heard you say my "which one?" That is one of mine too. You had an ENT appointment last week which revealed that both of your ear tubes (Placed in January) are out, so now we will have even a harder time determining if your "Whattt" is related to water-logged hearing or absent-minded distractedness.

Speaking of trips to the hospital... In June, you got your first stitches. Briefly, here's the tale. ML was sent home from school with a fever. He puked all over me and then when I handed him off to Mama, he puked all over her. in our brilliance, we were carting him all over the house, trying to calculate how best to get him comfortable and cleaned off, so he puked in about 4 or 5 rooms of the house. I took you to come mow the lawn with me so you would be outside, and I was worried about your safety in the backpack carrier, so I buckled you in with your sunglasses on and took 5 steps away to get the batting helmet that you love to wear (safety first.) You kicked yourself over and the sunglasses cut your forehead when your noggin' hit the pavement. We called your TT. she came over in less than 300 seconds. It was the dinner hour and Mac was in nothing but a tutu. Dried blood caked all over your face, you asked your cousin, "Why aren't you wearing a shirt?" She deadpanned, "Why is there blood all over your face?" When I said, "I'm sorry buddy, I think we have to go to the hospital." You started sobbing a staccato alternative: "We'll... stay... here.. you mow the lawn... I'll sit ... and ... watch... I fe...el bet...ter." You got 4 stitches. The trip to the ER took 5 hours. You are stuck all summer wearing a bandaid over your forehead to try and prevent the sun from making the scar more noticeable. I felt terrible for at least a week, but then I made up some story about how it would have been much worse if I hadn't buckled you in the carrier- that's the story that I'm sticking to kid.

You've started using expletives like, "Awesome!" and "Cool!" to describe things. You use the words, "actually" and "also" and "holy guacamole"... you are clear on what drink is an "adult beverage" and what is a "kid beverage". The "Actually" kills me... I just love it. We say it all the time, but when it come out a kid's mouth, it is just so funny.
This exchange typifies the adorableness of it:
Me: JB, what's your favorite letter?
JB: um... 'A'
Me: That's a good letter.
JB: Ummm, actually, it's 'B'

You also hear words and they make you think of other similar sounding words. When you overheard your grandpa use the word, "mediocrity," you looked at him and said, "And also, I have crocks on."

You finally started treating ML like he is occasionally intruding on your perfect world. When he comes crawling towards you and the toys you are playing with, you have started say, "NO," to him. (surprise, surprise) You do this when he starts to crawl away or toward the stairs too, "NO" as if you need him to stay still for you to be comfortable. This makes sense. Your brother is very different from you- he is all "go now, ask questions later" and you seem to have always been a "Let me take it slow and think about things before I move" kind of kid. We are pretty stern with you about saying "NO" to ML. We try to tell you that you don't have to protect him or your toys that you can tell us and we will steer ML to safety... that you can just explain to him how to do things, but this is coming out as instinct "NO, ML," and to be honest, your mommy and mama are surprised at how long it has taken for any territorial behavior to show up.

Then too, I would be remiss if I did not point out how often you reach toward him with a soft touch to say 'HI' and how you don't react hardly at all if ML swats at you or climbs on you. You continue to be an absolutely amazing big brother. All we could have hoped for and more.

You are doing great at school. The teachers say you are one of the best kids there: polite, friendly, happy, smart. You have made it clear that you remember your old school, but you prefer the new one and that is a relief for us- we would have been very heartbroken if this transition seemed to have hurt you somehow.

Your favorites right now:
Food: spaghetti and meatballs (still)
Color: Orange (still) but at least 1/2 the time you will tell us your favorite is orange AND red
Favorite toys: trucks, "soft things" (puppy, barry white, polar bear, teddybear), glove-balls-tee-helmet, puzzles,
TV show: Handy Manny
Potty training status: Mostly dry, most nights... sometimes not, but otherwise completely potty trained. (as it's been for nearly 6 months now)
Patented "JB kisses": 'two handed' - one hand on each cheek of the person you are kissing.

We can't believe that you are going to be 3 years old in less than 2 months. You are getting so big and despite all of the "NO's" you are lobbing at us on a daily basis, you are as sweet as honey from the hive. We are astounded at how cute you are and smart and beautiful... It sure makes it hard to be stern with you and consistent when you misbehave. But we will figure that all out...

We love you very much!!!

Mommy and Mama

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