The twenty-first month

Dearest E.,

I have just one word for you this month. No, wait, make that fifty-three. Because that’s how many new words you came up with this month! It was an incredible language explosion, especially when you consider that before this month started your entire vocabulary consisted of fifteen words, twelve animal and vehicle noises and eleven signs. It’s been so exciting for all three of us. Your Daddy and I love hearing the new words you come up almost every day, and you clearly are so proud of yourself and so pleased to be able to make yourself understood more easily. We were just starting to get some minor meltdowns related to you not being able to communicate to us what you wanted, and I suspect that gave you the impetus to start bringing out the words.

Your choices have been equally interesting. The first four words that appeared this month were all colours: “red”, “green”, “blue”, “yellow” and “orange” came a couple of days later. There was also a whole slew of words that start with ‘b': “broom”, “bee”, “bunny”, “bus”, “ball”, “bag”, “brush”, “bread”, “bear”, “bath”, “bird”, “black” and “brown”. And you also came up with words for some of your favourite things: “sweep”, “sausage”, “tuna”, “snow”, “puffs”, “wheel”, “read”, “toast”, “airplane”.  Some new words have proved very useful: “wet”, “uh-oh”, “yummy”, “pull”, “dark”, “bye-bye”, “little” (especially when paired with “big”), “pants”, “shoes”, “night-night”. But some new words surprised us: “juice” (from a picture in a book as it’s almost never in the house), “umbrella”, “rock”, “tea”, “duck”, and “door”, especially since you still don’t have words, noises or signs for some things you love, like bananas, crackers, or hat. It has been a truly fascinating process watching what you’ve come up with. On days where you burst out with four or five new words by lunchtime I can’t wait for your Daddy to get home to tell him.

You also have some truly fantastic noises and expressions these days. In addition to “uh-oh”, “bye-bye” and “night-night”, this month you mastered “whee!” to express glee (usually accompanied by you pitching your bunny down the stairs in imitation of when Daddy has her slide down the bannister). You use “awww” if you agree wholeheartedly with what we’re saying, and you have an “oooohh!” if something particularly tasty appears at the dinner table that never fails to make your Daddy and I start laughing. This month you learned to hoot like an owl, whinny like a horse, and tick-tock for a clock. You call your farm “E-i-e-i”. You had a song you liked to sing at the end of the month. It sounded like “Walky walky, up, up, up” and your father and I remain at a total loss to explain what it is that you’re saying. The closest match I can think of is a line from the “Sleeping Bunnies” song we learned at the drop-ins (“Wake up, sleeping bunnies, hop hop hop!”), but if I ask you if that’s what you are saying, you are very quick to tell me “no” (which still sounds like “ah!”).  You’re using “out” with enormous confidence, and some mornings if you feel we’ve been too slow to come and get you we’ll hear a chant of “Out out out. Up up up. Out out out. Up up up.” coming from your crib.

Ah yes, mornings. The one negative side to this explosion of language is it seems to coincide with some very early wakeups (sometimes even pre-5 a.m.). You’ve tended to be a child whose sleep gets disrupted by big developmental leaps. It doesn’t seem to affect your naps, which for the most part have been rock solid this month, lasting anywhere from two to over three hours. But it does mean you occasionally wake up in the night and can’t resettle, and more often than not you’re up for the day at a time when we’d really rather get a bit more shuteye. There was a week in the middle of the month where you stopped coming out with new words (probably because you were consolidating what you’d already learned), and  you did sleep later. Then the new words started up again, and so did the early mornings. “Dark! Dark!” you tell us when we come into your room and pull open the curtains.

This month also brought some real consolidation of your physical skills and some increased confidence. You can put together your Brio train track without assistance (although you do tend to get a bit frustrated around the fifth piece of track so we usually work as a team), and you’ve mastered the art of turning the train cars around to make sure the magnets line up. You’ve become much more confident on stairs. Early in the month you started crawling backwards down the big flight of stairs from the top floor, whereas before you used to ask to be picked up, and by the end of the month you were happy to go down them sitting down on your bum. Likewise with going up: as the month progressed you moved away from crawling up them to walking up them, and now you can climb the entire flight holding on to the bannister or to my hand. At the park you now walk up the stairs to the slide rather than crawl, and you’ve regained your confidence with the bigger curly slides. You love turning off light switches, and you’ll help me at night to switch off the light in your room, and to switch on your heater and your white noise machine. You’re really interacting with your relatives when we Skype, and you know who everyone is and what you normally do with them. If it’s your Australian Granny, you immediately start asking her to do the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Round and Round the Garden”, whereas if it’s your Canadian Grannie you start playing peek-a-boo.

You are very, very fond of your routines. For months now we’ve been tidying up your toys after dinner and before your bath and this month you’ve started putting them away unprompted once you’ve finished eating but your Daddy and I are still at the table. The first time you did this you busied yourself putting away every single Megablok, every truck, and every book. Then you put away the DVDs you’d been sorting into a big pile, and then you came over, signed that you were tired, and said “bath”. You then went and stood by the gate at the stairs! Your father and I just watched in amazement. Since then you’ve decided that we should also tidy up the toys before your nap. You make sure to put away everyone’s hats and mitts after we come in from an outing, and if we leave our coats on a chair you’ll drag them over to the closet and make it clear in no uncertain terms that we’re letting standards slip. I have a great video taken one Saturday morning where you unpacked a bag from the farmer’s market and sorted all of the potatoes and onions into two separate containers without me once suggesting you do so.

You have a great sense of humour. You absolutely love to hurl your bunny down the stairs shrieking “whee!”, although this does get a bit tiresome for Daddy and I when we’re trying to get you ready for bed and someone has to rescue the bunny. At mealtimes you’ll put your bunny on your chair and have her pretend to eat your dinner, then on my chair, and then finally sit her up on her chair. One day we were in the downstairs bathroom. You looked at the tub, looked at me, and signed “water”. “That’s right,” I said. “We put water in the tub. Can you say water?” You looked right at me, grinned, and said, “Bath”. I couldn’t argue with that!

Your all-time favourite toy right now is your train set. You absolutely love it and it comes out every day. We build Megablok towers and tunnels and overpasses for the trains. We had to get out the extra Megabloks we brought back from your Grannie and Grandpa’s house because we kept running out of materials. I think more track and more train cars will be an ideal birthday present (hard to believe it’s almost time to start thinking about that!). You also love your new xylophone and your farm. Everything else tends to get rotated around, but you usually have a couple of puzzles, an assortment of vehicles, some sort of building blocks (other than the Megabloks which are always out), and some sort of stacking/threading toy on your shelves. You love some of your books so much that this month I had to start enforcing the “we read a book five times and then you need to choose a new book” rule for my own sanity. You have some new favourites, particularly Dr. Seuss’ Amazing Alphabet Book. You have the board book and the ‘real’ book, and you’re definitely now more interested in the full version. You’ve also been very keen on books involving outer space. Whatever Next and The Way Back Home have been getting a lot of attention lately. You also love any books with counting in them, so Ten Little Ladybugs, Curious George’s One to Ten and Back Again, and Doggies have been selected quite regularly. Plus there are some old favourites that you are never tired of hearing: Llama llama Red Pajama, Cars and Trucks and Things that Go, Tons of Trucks, Fingers and Toes, The Greedy Python, I Went Walking,  and Goodnight Moon.  You love nursery rhymes too. We always sit on the couch under a blanket when we read, and if we start without your bunny you will hop down and run off to get her before we continue.  You are very busy these days so it is a lovely chance to get a cuddle.

This has been a great month. We’ve always loved seeing the new things you can do, and it’s been so interesting to watch how you develop, but the language jump has just been fantastic. We can’t wait to see what new words you’ll come up with next month!

love,
Mummy

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2 Comments

Filed under E.- the second year, Letters to E.

2 responses to “The twenty-first month

  1. What a wonderful record of E’s development, and what sweet memories will come from looking back at these letters years from now. Also, you really seem to know your child. I can tell you’re very tuned into him. So great!

  2. Sarah

    Oy, Isaac has had some early wakeups this last couple weeks too! I think he’s going through a growth spurt after plateauing since November’ish. He gained 2 lbs in less than 2 weeks, eeeek! He’s also started to put two words together in mini-phrases (baby eat, mommy’s coat, etc), so maybe it’s a combination of developmental and physical growth. Whatever it is, Mommy no likee. I’m not a fan of waking up before 6:30 am :).
    E. sounds like he’s a lot more patient than Isaac with his blocks and train set. Isaac ends up flinging his stuff across the room after just a couple minutes. If can’t get something set up the way he wants it, or if something falls over when he didn’t want to, oh boy watch out, haha. He hears “Son, can you please be patient?” at least 20 times a day from me now (and occasionally will respond, “noooooo!”).
    It is so much fun though. I absolutely love the talking. LOVE IT.

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