Tuesday, November 11, 2008

licensed to drive...a Big Wheel

I'm sure I've said this before, but man, this month just flew by. I swear, I just started describing him as being "fifteen months old" and here he is, already sixteen.

This past month, we have worked a lot on developing Alex's speech, increasing his vocabulary, and improving his comprehension. It has become clear that, the better we can communicate with him, the easier it is to prevent frustration-induced hissyfits that result when he can't tell us what he wants. At this point, he seems to understand just about everything we say, will obey most of our commands, and will answer our questions as best he can with gestures or words.

I ran into an attorney at the Halloween party who said that her twenty-month old wasn't talking much, and that at his 18 month well-child checkup, their pediatrician wondered whether he had experienced some sort of traumatic event that resulted in his limited vocabulary. After a little Q&A, the doc determined that the Bar Exam was to blame; specifically, the fact that his mom had been spending more time away from home than usual to study at the library. I mean, seriously.

According to the doc, by 18 months, he should have been able to say 50 words and at least two two-word phrases. Of course, my immediate reaction was to start adding up all of the words that Alex can say, and then tried to analyze those numbers to predict how many he might be saying two months from now to determine whether he has been "traumatized" (and readers, that there is a whole lotta sarcasm, in case it doesn't translate).

I mean, such measures of verbal progress are incredibly subjective and some kids just plain ol' talk later than others. In fact, the folks at babycenter.com, say that an eighteen month old should be saying twelve words clearly, and at sixteen months, he should be able to say seven. Off the top of my head, I came up with about twenty words that Alex says regularly, so either way, he's in good shape.

He says a new word just about every day, usually imitating something his dad or I has said. Some new additions include, "no", "go", "push", "bzzzzz" (what a fly or a bee says), "uh-oh", "eye", "bock-bock" (what a chicken says), "boo", "down", "up", "cheese"...and some others that I've forgotten. I think we still have a while before he will be able to say, "Mother, the reason I'm sobbing uncontrollably is because I am feeling a little under the weather today, and I'd love some Tylenol and a spot of tea". But so far, he has made some good progress with his speech, and we look forward to hearing what else he has to say.

His attitude, however, could use a little work. When he doesn't get what he wants, he squeals and clings to my legs, which drives me nuts, especially when I'm trying to cook or do the dishes. If that doesn't work, head butting is usually his second approach, with either me or the floor being his target. These fits normally don't last more than a minute or two, until he gets what he wants or doesn't get what he wants but gets sick of whining about it. He responds pretty well to The Look and a firm "NO", and for that, I am thankful.

While he tends to be clingy at home, in public, he's certainly in that independent phase where he resents being strapped down in a stroller, a high chair, or a grocery cart when he could otherwise be free to roam. Shopping and dining out have become much more stressful than they used to be, and snacks and toys just don't keep him occupied when he'd rather be running around and wreaking havoc. Of course, he's always been so easy in that respect, so easily entertained and happy to be out and about, that he's probably not nearly as difficult as I make him out to be. From what I've been told, Alex's episodes hardly qualify as "real" hissyfits, and I suppose I may be taking for granted how great a kid he really is.

And he is a kid! My baby is growing like a weed, and every time I buy him clothes and say, "These should last through winter", I end up back at the mall the following month to get him the next size up. He's wearing 18-24 month pants now, 12-18 month shirts, and is between size 5 and 6 in shoes. He can pull things off of the counter tops, reach doorknobs, and climb on and off most of our furniture. He is a little daredevil, and his latest stunts are climbing from one piece of furniture to the other and dancing on top of the footstool.

He still loves to be read to, is intrigued by anything with buttons, and will spend up to a half hour inserting a small key into our locked file cabinet, opening it, closing it, then repeating the process over and over again. You know those little kits with the wooden dowel attached to a string that you thread beads onto, made for kids ages 3 and up? Alex can totally do it. And these days, one of his favorite things to do is remove the backs off of all the remote controls and try to pull the batteries out. If he can't get them out, he throws the remote on the floor, which usually does the trick.

Lately, when I put him to bed at naptime or at night, he doesn't lie down right away. Instead, he stands up, performs some acrobatics, jumps around, and when I tell him "I love you, night-night", he says, "bye-bye" and waves at me until I close the door. After a few more minutes of flopping around and chatting to himself, he'll just lie down and go to sleep. I get the impression that he wants me to know that he'll go to sleep when he's good and ready to, and there's something so "big boy" about the whole scenario that really wigs me out.

Despite his occasional beastly moments, he is still the sweetest, funniest, most spirited kid I know. He is more affectionate than ever, will give big kisses to anyone who asks, and often plants smooches out of the blue. Talk about heart-melting. There's not a day that goes by that I don't wonder if his face tastes as sweet as it looks, and I consider taking a bite out of it to find out. Creepy, huh? I guess those are the kind of weird things you think about when you love somebody so much...


Amy said...

Oh! What a wonderful blog! About talking...Unless there is some evidence of physical abnormality-they'll talk when their good and ready. Poor mommies that are made to feel guilty because let's say-an older sister does all the talking for you so you don't need to...
And just so you know- you taught me a very valuable lesson when it came to communicating wants and needs when you were just a baby. Just because a child can reason....does NOT make them REASONABLE!!
I love that you are keeping track of Alex's progress because as you know some day the kids will really want to know every detail. That will become A's favorite bedtime story. What he did when he was a little boy.
Tracy was in awe of how long Alex would very carefully put the little key into the little lock and try to turn it.
I can't wait to see what he invents! You can see those wheels a turnin' all the time.
Miss ya, wish I could kiss ya!
Granny B

leah said...

CUTE CUTE CUTE CUTE CUTE CUTE CUTE CUTE CUTE CUTE CUTE CUTE CUTE CUTE!!! I have the most adorable nephew...ever!!! Cant wait to see you guys in a few weeks! Quick question...whats he eating in the video where he is acting like a chicken???

Jennifer Legg (the mommy) said...

I'm right with ya Sara! I can't imagine loving anyone more than I love Will Franklin. I guess it's a mommy thing.