Thursday, January 27, 2011

Twenty-Seven Months

Dear Peeper:
You are twenty-seven months old today. Two-and-a-quarter. Wow.

It has been an absolutely amazing month for you, on the language front. Before we left for Texas, I could count on one hand the number of times you'd put two words together in a meaningful way, and by the time we came home a week later, you were using two-word phrases more often than not.

Now, you're putting all kinds of words together, and can repeat just about anything we say, at least, after a fashion.

This also means that you do repeat anything and everything we say. This is not always a good thing.

I'm trying to make note of the funniest, cutest and most amazing things that you come up with, so I can record them here, and so I can tell Mommy about them when she gets home. Sometimes there are so many in a day that it's hard to remember them all.

I've been particularly struck at some of the "sentence" structures that you seem to be coming up with. It's probably just like every other kid, but I find it fascinating.

Often, you just repeat exactly what you hear, which can make things confusing when it comes to pronouns.

For example, one of your standard phrases, "Wiff me" means "I want to go with you" because you say it in response to me asking "Do you want to come with me."

You do that whole me/you reversal quite a bit. I've attempted to explain it to you, but I end up twisting myself up into a verbal pretzel.

"You see, honey, when you say me you mean you and when I say me I mean me and when you say you you mean me and . . . "

Yeah. I'm sure you'll figure it out on your own.
On the other hand, just today, I think I heard you say, "I finded it," which was doubley remarkable for the use of the word "I" (Again, I'm not 100% certain I heard that, but I'm pretty sure you said "I get" the other day, too, so I'm saying I did) and because you seem to have picked up on the "-ed" rule for making verbs past tense, even if you did overapply it in this situation.

I think that, at this point, using it when you shouldn't is actually more significant that using it when you should, because it means that you understand the rule, not just a few individual examples. The exceptions will come with time.

Speaking of rules, for a while now, you've been adding s to make words plural and 's to make them possessive.

(And, by God, if there's anything your Mommy and I are going to make sure you know, it will be which one is which!)

Dare I say it outloud, it seems like maybe the no no no-ohhs are coming a little less frequently lately (or perhaps we've just gotten used to it) and knock wood, you've actually been somewhat cooperative for diaper changes the past couple of days.

Aaaaand, now I've jinxed it. Sorry, Mommy.

I know that your verbal skills are still on the later side, compared to a lot of your peers, but they're really coming along now, and you'll be all caught up before we know it.

(And, I am told, before long, we'll be wishing you would "just shut up, already!")

Now that you've got all these new spoken words, you're not doing much signing any more. There are several signs that we've not seen in ages, but some that you still usually sign along with the word. "More" and "all done" come to mind, but there are others, as well.

What I find most interesting is that there are several words that you pronounce similarly, so we frequently have trouble understanding them. You usually give us a couple of tries, and if we still can't get it, you repeat it (usually with a bit of an exasperated tone) along with the sign, because you know we understand that.

I think that's pretty good thinking, but I was really impressed the other day when you visited Eena and Papa for a while, so Mommy and I could go out to dinner. When we picked you up, Eena mentioned that you'd eaten some cheese, and she signed it. I sort of wondered why, because you never sign "cheese" anymore.

Then I saw you signing "cheese" and "cookie" and something else, that you rarely sign at home.

You've not spent a lot of time with them since Christmas, and you didn't have all these words then. My guess is that they were having trouble understanding what you were saying, so you reverted to signing with them.

I thought that was very good thinking!

Of course, you do some great thinking all the time. And some great learning!

This week, we started a "letter of the week"-based "curriculum" (I use that term rather loosely, because the "curriculum" is pretty loose) to help us fill  up that long stretch of evening, between nap time and bedtime, and to keep me out of Target, and oh yeah, to teach you some stuff.

Other than the letters themselves, and some activities based on words starting with those letters, I'm still not quite sure what to cover. Most of the two-year-old "curricula" that I find are all about identifying letters, numbers, colors and shapes - and you've already mastered a lot of that.

You know all the basic colors (red, blue, yellow, green, purple, orange, white, black, pink, brown and sometimes gray) and shapes (circle, triangle, square, rectangle, oval, heart, star, moon), so I guess we need to start talking about mauve octagons and chartreuse dodecagons or something.

You can identify many (most?) of the letters, and a lot of their sounds. You know more uppercase than lowercase, but you're working on those in the bathtub every night.

For Christmas, I asked Grandma and Grandpa for some foamy stick-to-the-side-of-the-tub letters and numbers (and sea creatures!) for you, but I didn't realize until we opened them that they were lowercase.

My first thought was "Oh crap, she doesn't know her lowercase letters." Then I realized, "Oh, I guess she's about to learn her lowercase letters!"

And you have!

There are, of course, still some that give you trouble - b, d, p and q are all usually "P: Papa!" and probably will be for quite a while. (A lot of kindergarteners still struggle with those.)

At first, you called r, v and y all "y" - but I think we have that one straightened out now.

I've been asking you about those every night, and when you get them right, I say "Yay, Peeper! You got it! High five!" so last night, when I was more like "Yep, that's a v" because I knew you had it, you held up your hand and said "High five!"

You can also identify all the numerals, and you can count to ten, although it more often goes something like
"1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10!" You seem to have made your peace with old #7, but I swear you're leaving out 2, 4 and 8 - my favorites - just to spite me!

(Actually 4 is the right number, but 2 and 8 are acceptable. Much better than any odd numbers, of course. Ahem. Moving on.)
I've heard you count as high as thirteen, or perhaps fourteen, but you usually stop at ten. You do love your "18! 19! 20!!!" though.

When we get past ten, you usually stop and tell me about the "baby" on Sesame Street (John John) who counts to twenty with Grover.

In addition to all those other millions of times a day that we count things, we often "goody to ten" or "goody to twenty" when you want to nurse at times or locations that aren't very convenient. You often stop in the middle to say some of the numbers, and if I pause at nine, you'll say "ten!" and be done.

You're usually very agreeable about getting just a quick sip after you're buckled into your carseat and finishing up at home, or going "to ten" in the living room floor then moving to the chair, where Mama is more comfortable.

You have started to negotiate about it, a bit. At least once, I've suggested "goody to ten" and you replied "twenty!" Good job, kiddo.

You're also learning your manners, and are very good about saying "pease" "sank you" and "foof me," spontaneously all of which are just adorable, of course.

And, since that time that I sang the "Go, Mommy!" song when she was vacuuming, now when either of us cleans something up, you sing, "Go, Mama! Go, Mama!" and one time, you even inserted a line about what I was doing, ("Clean the counter!" or whatever it was).

You're very cooperative about picking up toys and putting your art supplies away when we're done with them.You say "away!" and sing the "Clean up, clean up!" song and cheer me on when I "help" you.

There are actually several songs that you like to "sing" these days - you can help me fill in the blanks on them, and do some parts on your own. Some of your favorites are "Twinkle Star," "A-Cs," "Baa Sheep," and "Wee Moon" (Wee Baby Moon) and this week, as part of our "A is for Apple" discussions, you learned "Appleseed" (the Johnny Appleseed song/blessing). You also sing along to the songs on your videos.

You're really enjoying doing arts and crafts these days, although of course, you need a lot of guidance to make the project come out looking anything like Mama's "vision." Mama's working on that.

You like coloring, painting, stickers, glue, and lately, Play-doh.

Play-doh usually involves ordering asking me or Mommy to make a purple snowman with an orange carrot nose and orange eyes and a white witch hat. You don't actually say all that, but that's how he's evolved and it's best not to deviate! Then, as soon as he's made, you take him apart and put each color back in its own can (sort of) and then put the right lids on each one.

You also love to help me cook. I've been letting you sit on the counter (with many warnings and cautions!) and help pour and stir and such. You are usually pretty good about being safe, although I do have to watch carefully for little fingers (and toes) when I'm chopping things, and you did reach for a hot pan once (I keep you farther from the stove now!) and a couple of times, I've splattered hottish (not dangerously hot - I keep those things far, far away - but not comfortable either) things on you.

One of those times, it went on your legs, and you were shaking and saying "Fix it! Fix it!" Oh, I felt just awful!

I'm much more careful about that now, too.

Of course, you are still as adorable and loving as ever, and you give some really great hugs. Lately, you like grab both me and Mommy (sometimes you say "bofe!") and hug us at the same time, and you've started saying "family hug!"

Of course, we said it first, but you've picked it up, and it's about the sweetest thing I've ever seen.

As are you.

As always.

I love you, Roodley-Toot.


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