Language Development


In the past two months Buddha has grown by leaps and bounds (literally sometimes) and I realized that his babyhood is slowly fading away and that I better freaking write all this down so I can remember later on. Plus, I have this secret fear that there’s something wrong with him (a result of his traumatic birth) and by documenting his milestones and development I’m thinking I can catch something if there actually is something to catch. Which there probably isn’t and I’m being paranoid, but whatever.

Anyway. His verbal skills are improving. Not so much the quantity of new words but the quality of them. Practically every day he surprises me by pronouncing something just a little bit better than he could the day before. He does, however, say two new very distinct words one of which is “cat” which surprisingly enough he pronounces perfectly. The other is “brahbeh” which is how he pronounces Barabas. (The fact that he’s Jewish just makes this even funnier.) One of the neighbors has a dog, whom she lovingly named Barabas (She’s Winifred’s boss otherwise I’d totally interrogate her about it.) and Buddha likes to chase the pup around calling out “Brahbeh! Brahbeh!.” Also, we have figured out that apparently all those times when we thought he was saying and signing “fish” he was actually saying “nurse.” Heh. Poor kid.

His musical inclinations are incredibly obvious. He is constantly singing. His baby babbles are almost always to a beat or rhythm and often times have a bit of a tune. It’s delightfully amusing to just sit and watch him eat his food whilst belting his heart out.

His problem solving and logic skills, while fascinating to observe, are unfortunately requiring us (me) to be super hard-core vigilant. Last week he figured out how to reach up and turn the knobs on the stove, so we had to take them off and put them in a drawer so he wouldn’t be able to turn on any of the burners. Well, just today he pulled a fast one on me. We have several baby gates set up so that when he’s in the living room, he’s sort of in an enclosed space and can’t venture into the laundry room, or any of the bedrooms or bathrooms. Unfortunately the kitchen and dining room aren’t separated from the living room by any doors or walls. Well, mister Buddha walked over to one of the baby gates and grabbed one of the step stools that we have set up for Bunny so he can get over them, and then proceeded to push it all the way across the room, into the kitchen and placed it directly in front of the stove. Before I knew it, he was standing on the stool and pushing the buttons that control the oven. Less than a half hour after I told him no and removed both him and the stool, I found him with a different stool in front of the stove. Well this time, in his glee he managed to fall off and ended up making a total face plant on the kitchen floor which split his lip. After he was sufficiently calmed down and contentedly sucking on a teething toy to soothe his lip, I again removed the stool and figured that maybe this incident would have taught him a lesson.
No such luck.
Apparently the logic of that is still a wee bit too advanced for him because later on in the afternoon I had to remove him, yet again, from his perch in front of the stove.*sigh*
Overall though, he’s not really a high maintenance kid. Most definitely not like Bunny, anyway. Yes, he enjoys pulling Bunny’s t-shirts from their hangers and taking all the socks out of his drawer but generally speaking, he’s not overly mischievous – just incredibly enthusiastic and insanely merry. He delights in the simplest things. From how a straw pops up from one of his cups to how he can open and close to drawers, to just running around and giving people hugs. He’s truly an extraordinarily cheerful little guy. On many occasions I’ll hear him giggling only to see that he’s simply cracking himself up.

What a kid.

Advertisements

rockingcradle.jpg

Buddha is an incredibly verbal child. He especially loves to sing. Not a waking hour goes by that he does not spontaneously burst into song. It’s one of my favorite things about him; his unabashed merriness. As far as widely recognizable words, though, he’s largely uninterested in those. Since his first birthday, however, he’s been making considerable progress in the area of communication.

Agua – “Oooah”
All Done – “Gah Gah” + sign
Baby – “Beh beeh”
Ball – “Baah”
Book “Buh”
Bunny – “Eeeoh”
Bye bye – “Buh bah” + wave
Car – “Cgah”
Daddy – “Dah dah”
More – sign
Shoe – Ssssh
Star – sign

So far he can say/sign half a dozen words, which just absolutely thrills me to no end.
You’ll notice, however, that neither “mama” or “turtle” are on that list of words he knows. This has perplexed me for quite some time since he’s been saying ‘Dah Dah’ now for about six months and has recently (within the last two months) begun referring to Bunny as ‘Eeeoh’. I found it to be rather odd that he wouldn’t even attempt to refer to either of us, ever.
Winifred, of course, is bent on teaching him to say ‘Mama.’ She refers to herself in third person when talking to him and repeats the sounds ‘mamamamama’ with him over and over again. Well, I, obviously, have been trying to get him to call me by my name. And recently this past week he began saying, but only with a lot of prodding, the first consonant in my name when referring to me. This was supremely exciting for me and I’m not ashamed to say, really the highlight of my entire month.

Except today he called me “Maahm” and then “Maah”

Twice.
Completely out of the blue and both times specifically reaching his arms out towards me so there really was no doubt as to whom he was referring to.
Thankfully, Winifred wasn’t home when this happened but it kind of unsettled me anyway. When she did get home, I specifically exclaimed “Look! It’s mom! Mama’s home!” in hopes that he would get the queue and use his brand new word on the correct recipient.

No such luck.

The thing is, I have made zero attempt to refer to myself as mom and in fact, have been somewhat overly zealous in trying to get him to say the real world equivalent of ‘Tortuguita’. I don’t really understand why or how he has suddenly decided to use the word on me, instead of Winifred.

The real problem is that part of me feels strangely pleased, as though, in his own Buddha way, he’s acknowledged my importance to him and has validated my role in his life.

Except the moment I’m done thinking this, that stupid, obnoxious voice that always interrupts the protagonists in cheesy movies kicks in and condescendingly exclaims –

“That is way creepy. As in totally ‘Hand that Rocks the Cradle‘ kind of creepy.” And I immediately feel incredibly evil but defend myself anyway with.

“No! I just love him, that’s all.”

“Right.”

“And besides, I spend just as many waking hours, if not more, with him than she does.”

“Creeper.”

“So why wouldn’t he think of me as his mother?”

“Yeah, okay, Peyton.”

“Shut up, that is so different. I’m not trying to sleep with Dr. Doormat or destroy Winifred out of revenge.”

“Maybe not but you wouldn’t exactly don a black veil if she croaked.”

“Just because I don’t like her very much doesn’t mean I want her to die so I can raise her kids.”

“Whatever you say, oh wicked one.”

“Go to hell.”

“After you, Empress of Evil.”

“Go away.”

“Sure thing, Corrupt Caretaker.”

“Stop.”

“Execrable employee.”

“Oh brother.”

“Sick Sinful Sitter.”

“Cut it out.”

“Malicious Mentor.”

*sigh*

“Baneful Babysitter.”

“Are you done yet?”

“One more. Nasty Nefarious Nanny.”

At which point I realize that despite her nauseating synonym savviness, my incredibly irksome alter ego has a bit of a point and I am left feeling altogether very unpleasant because not only is there a good possibility I am evil but I’m probably a little crazy too.

dancingbaby.jpg

Dance first. Think Later. It’s the natural order.
– Samuel Beckett

Bunny has the rhythm of a dead chicken; he absolutely cannot dance to save his life. At one point I made it my personal mission to try and teach him but even basic skills like keeping a beat ended in miserable failure. So, when Buddha was born I decided it was time to move on. Here was some new clay to molded. The fact that I have been singing to him daily since the day he was born has not been for naught. The kid loves music. He’s constantly singing – even while he nurses, which is hilarious and incredibly cute.

Dr. D listens to either Stevie Wonder or Air America, both of which are excellent, but they’re not exactly varied. And generally, Winifred doesn’t play music because it just adds to her sensory stress. So, the task of exposing him to diverse forms of music has been left up to me – one which I have been more than pleased to take on.

For the past month or so we’ve been listening to a lot of rock. I knew it was time for a change when it became apparent that Buddha’s favorite song was Novocaine by Greenday. So I worked on a new mix, this one focusing on some fast beat dance rhythms.

As is our custom after lunch, Buddha and I were having one of our dance-a-thons. I was having a blast, dancing away and I was busy shaking my badonkadonk to Sean Paul’s Temperature when I realized that Buddha was not enthusiastically participating. In fact, he was staring at me with a look of grim disdain and upon catching my eye, he shook his head, declared “goh goh” and signed “all done.”

Damn.

I just got baby burned.

pottyfeet.jpg

I was absently thinking about the word scrotum (okay, seriously, when will I ever get another chance to start a blog entry like that?) when this suddenly came back to me.
Bunny is an incredibly stubborn child. Moreso than your average kid. He is defiant and contrary and that’s just the way he is and nobody is gonna change him because they can’t because he’s the boss of himself, so there. When he was three, he was theoretically potty trained. As in, he was perfectly capable of knowing when he had to go, he would simply choose not to when he felt like it. When he did feel like going to the bathroom, he would insist on doing so in the most unique ways he could think of. For a while he would only go if he was straddling the toilet seat backwards. At one point, he insisted on peeing by laying across the toilet face down, so his penis was literally pointing straight down into the toilet bowl. And in moments when he was feeling particularly defiant, he would simply inform us that he was pooping or peeing in his pants, and then do exactly that.

Eventually, I learned to stop feeding the attention hoarding behavior of his and when he resorted to pooping as a control tactic, I would simply walk him to the bathroom, hand him a box of wipes and let him clean himself up. After he was through, I’d do a “heiner inspection” to make sure he was fully clean and we would go about our business, so to speak.
On one of these occasions, I was in the middle of something else when I realized that he was taking a rather long time in the bathroom. I poked my head in and asked what the hold up was, and he replied, altogether very chipperly “oh, nothing, I just have poop stuck under my scrotum.
Lovely.

kidskissing.jpg

 

One day when Princess was around 25 months old and Bunny was 38 months old, the three of us were having one of our tandem babysitting days. Their mothers are good friends, as are they so that wasn’t uncommon back then. Princess toddled over to us from her room and very haughtily announced that she was “not a baby anymore!” because she was “two.” Bunny solemnly agreed and nodding his head adamantly announced, “You’re absolutely right, Princess. You’re NOT a baby anymore; you’re a little kid. Little kids’ aren’t babies. Me and Turtle, we’re big kids and you’re a little kid.” Princess smiled, glad that someone agreed with her and the two of them then sat down and continued playing. I nearly choked, trying not to laugh. Oh, Bunny. In what universe are a three year old and an adult equal and a two and three year old on separate levels? In Bunny’s universe of course. His illogical logic continues to astound, infuriate and tickle me to this day. But that’s par for the course in toddlerland where I’m always “wrong” and they “know everything.”