You, my darling son, are never at a loss for words these days! The language explosion that started last month has kept right on going. According to my notes you added another 42 words to your vocabulary this month, again with some really interesting choices. You now call both the cats by name. You have also started saying “please”, although you usually need some prompting as to when it is most appropriate. You’ve added a few more words that start with ‘b’ (book, baby, bang bang, bubble), some useful concepts (opposite, neat, new, dead, roll, home, light), some generally handy words (purple, rain, eye, nose, star), some favourite breakfasts (Cheerio, peanut butter), some more vehicle identifications (tow, double decker, cement mixer), and a whole slew of animals (octopus, zebra, crocodile, Peter (Rabbit), emu, goat, platypus, dog and “ribbet ribbet” for a frog). If I wanted any further evidence that Cars and Trucks and Things that Go remained a truly essential part of your daily life, I need only look at you pointing out Goldbug on every page and saying “Gol-gol” every time you find him.
You’ve also started participating when I’m singing to you. If I sing “Old MacDonald” or “The Wheels on the Bus” and we come to a verse with an animal you know, you’ll make the noise when I get to the appropriate point in the song. This is especially fun when you’re in the bath. You also like to sing “Old MacDonald” when playing with your farm (which you still call E-I-E-I). You’ll line up the animals to make a train (complete with “choo-choo” noises) and then you’ll get me to sing the verses in the order of the animals with you making the sounds.
By far the neatest thing that happened this month with your language concerned numbers. Around the middle of the month you suddenly started to become interested in looking at the numbers found on the page in Cars and Trucks and Things that Go with the fire trucks and having me identify them. Then one day you were recognizing (and saying) “zero”. Then you wanted me to identify ALL of the numbers in the entire book. Then suddenly it clicked and you could identify 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9. 1 came a couple of days later. 8 remains an issue, partly because there aren’t any examples in Richard Scarry and you’re still not all that interested in looking at numbers in other books. And before the month was out you could say all of the numbers as well except for 8 and 5 (you often say four instead).
But it didn’t stop there. At a drop-in at the end of the month it became clear to me that you understood the concept of “two” when you went and found two forks from the toy kitchen, told me one was “yeh” (yellow) and the other one was “reh” (red) and then told me there were two of them! You repeated this with two knives, and when we were home that afternoon you spent a lot of time (completely without prompting) pointing out to me the examples where there were only two bunnies (or cats or dogs or groundhogs) in a vehicle in Richard Scarry. You will also tell me if there is only “wah” (one) bunny. And, since I’m writing this letter a couple of days late, I can add that you woke up from your afternoon nap today in a terrible state- crying inconsolably. When eventually you calmed down (after a snack and a trip outside to watch Daddy shovel snow on to the road so it could melt) you got out Richard Scarry (yet again) and then proceeded to show me that you now understand the concept of “three”. We spent a good solid ten minutes or so flipping through the book with me pointing to various cars and asking you how many animals were inside. If the answer was one, two, or three, you were letter perfect every time. This just blows my mind that these concepts could solidify so quickly. It certainly helps to explain why your sleep has been so disruptive this week!
Ah yes, sleep. I’m afraid your early rising continued this month, which has meant your Mummy and Daddy are feeling pretty worn out. We’re hoping the switch to daylight savings time might help us encourage you to sleep a bit longer in the mornings again. I think your record was getting up for the day at 4:53 one morning this week. But then you also have days where you sleep until well past 7:00. You also have a tendency to fall asleep almost as soon as we leave your room, only to wake up again twenty or thirty minutes later. Normally you’ll just talk to yourself for a while before going back to sleep but one night this month you woke up and started clapping. You applauded yourself for two or three minutes, then did a convincing R2D2 impression with lots of “Wah-ooo!” noises, and then immediately fell asleep again. I was laughing my head off downstairs listening to this.
Naps are equally hard to predict. Some days you only nap for ninety minutes, others you go down for a full three hours or even a little bit more. And the length of your nap doesn’t seem to reflect how much sleep you got (or didn’t get) the night before. You’ve also had the occasional night waking where you’ve needed us to come in and give you a cuddle and help you get resettled. All of this is quite unusual for you, and I would bet money it’s related to the leaps and bounds you’re making in your language. At least there has been absolutely no sign that you are thinking about dropping your nap, for which your Mummy and Daddy are truly grateful.
We had a rough patch in the middle of the month when you had your first bout of croup. It started in the wee hours on a Sunday morning, and listening to you cough in your crib I thought it could be croup. You ended up spending the last few hours of the night sleeping propped up on my chest as I sat upright (and awake) in bed, just like we used to do when you were really tiny before we realized you had MSPI. But you were better in the morning and we consulted Dr. Google and Dr. Youtube and convinced ourselves it wasn’t croup. Wednesday I took you in to your paediatrician’s walk-in hours. We saw a medical student first and you were so outraged at being at the doctor’s that you worked yourself up into a frenzy. This made it incredibly easy for the doctor to diagnose you with croup when he arrived as your breathing had become laboured and strained for the first time since Monday morning from being so upset. Your Mummy was mostly upset that she had been right but had allowed doubts to creep in from watching videos online. You didn’t need any further medical treatment, but it took well over a week before you were back to being your usual cheerful self. You didn’t eat much for a few days and since you’ve always been a slender little guy I was a bit taken aback by just how skinny you’d become when we were getting you ready for your bath once you were recovering. Luckily you’ve been eating like it’s about to go out of style in the last week or so; I expect you’ll put all the weight you lost back on and then some.
Eating continues to be an adventure with you. We’re never entirely sure from one day to the next what you’ll want to eat. You’ve recently started eating plain cooked chicken again, which you haven’t touched for ages, and you are currently absolutely obsessed with tuna, demanding tuna sandwiches for lunch nearly every day. There was even a point where I didn’t bother with the bread but would just give you a bowl of tuna salad and a spoon before sitting back to watch you devour it. You love eating Cheerios for breakfast and occasionally have been known to eat more than I do. You still love pasta and most fruit; your favourites this month were oranges and green grapes along with that trusty standby: apples. We had quite a funny encounter one morning when Daddy said he was going to make pancakes for breakfast and then he decided to make potato pancakes to use up a couple of cooked potatoes left over from dinner the night before. You were so excited to sit up in your chair since pancakes remain one of your all-time favourites. You speared a piece with your fork, stuck it in your mouth, started chewing, and then burst into tears and spat it out. It took us quite some time to figure out that you didn’t want anything else for breakfast, you wanted pancakes, but you didn’t want these weird pancakes. Eventually your Daddy made you your own normal pancake and you wolfed that down. We normally don’t cater to your whims- you just eat what we eat- but we both felt you believed you’d been blindsided by what had ended up on your plate, and we were so impressed that you had a firm idea about what “pancakes” meant and would taste like that we were happy to comply.
We have one fewer companion at the table these days because you’ve stopped sitting your bunny up on her own chair at every meal. You’ve also more or less stopped insisting on taking her with us when we leave the house (although she did come grocery shopping last week). She’s still very important to you though. I wouldn’t want to try to get you to go to sleep without her, and she still has many adventures every day. When we come downstairs in the morning you throw her down the stairs (or over the bannister) with a gleeful “Whee!”. Before breakfast she usually ends up taking a ride in the back of your big red ride-on fire/dump truck, sometimes with you climbing into the back as well. If we’re reading stories on the couch you always need to have her nearby and to be cuddling under a red blanket (luckily we have two so if the cats are using one there’s another one available for us). If we’re reading Richard Scarry your bunny loves to pretend to eat the carrot car whenever we see it. If we’re listening to music and I pick you up to dance with you, you’ll make sure to grab your bunny so you can make her dance (this consists of you holding on to her by her ears and then shaking her up and down). And if we’re all having a cuddle in the big bed on a weekend morning, you’ll hold your bunny up so we can give her a good morning kiss.
The cats still need some convincing, but they’re getting closer to agreeing that you’re an ok person to have around. They no longer made a mad dash for the door if you come into our bed for a cuddle on the weekends, and they’ve even been known to sit still and purr when you pet them. In the middle of the month the three of you had a lot of fun with a ribbon that came from my box of Valentine’s Day chocolates. You really got the idea of dangling the ribbon and dragging it around to entice them to play with you, and you giggled the whole time they were chasing you.
The days are getting longer, the temperature is getting warmer, and the snow is starting to melt. The snowmen that you built with your Daddy a couple of weeks ago (with the first truly sticky snow we’ve had all winter) are all looking rather bedraggled. Spring, I sincerely hope, is just around the corner. And that means it’s almost time for your birthday. This really does not seem possible. I’m glad we still have a couple of months before your third year begins. This month has been just fantastic. We’re really starting to have conversations now, and your Daddy and I love how chatty you’re becoming. It’s a wonderful age, and we look forward to each and every day (even if sometimes we wish you would sleep a little bit longer!).
Love you ever so much, my son.