23 Months

The Beaner turned 23 months old on Monday, which means he's approaching the age I've been telling everyone he already is. I often refer to him as "my two year-old", and I find it easier to say "almost two" when people ask how old he is, rather than saying "22 and a half months" or "23 months". It saves them some mental calculations. Still, when I stop to think about it, it's darn hard to believe that eleven months have passed since his first birthday. Is it my imagination, or did the second year go by more quickly than the first?

What the 23rd month was most notable for was more language development. The Beaner tends to repeat whatever we say, and he files away words—and especially associations—for later use. All month long I was reminded of the story my mom tells of the day she registered me for Kindergarten. When my dad got home from work, he asked me what I'd done that day, and I replied, "Mom cashed me in." It took them a few minutes to figure out that I'd heard the term "cash register" and the phrase "cashed in", and I'd put the two together in exactly the wrong way when Mom told me I was being registered. It sometimes takes me and Al a few minutes (or even hours) to figure out some of the associations The Beaner's making.

A recent example (though it did not occur in the 23rd month, it's fresh in my mind) is when I asked him last night if he was interested in getting pizza. Al and I had King of Pizza in Cherry Hill, New Jersey in mind, but The Beaner had something else. "Mukskick," he said. Hannah was just on her way out the door, so I called to her, "hey, do you know what 'mukskick' means?" She didn't. Neither did Al. "We're going to have pizza for dinner," I repeated. "Mukskick!" The Beaner repeated right back. Then it clicked: Al had told me that he and The Beaner had ordered a pizza from Pete's while I was away at MAX, and they'd also ordered a milkshake (Pete's is one of those joints that has EVERYTHING on the menu). To The Beaner, pizza meant he was getting a milkshake. "Oh, no, Beaner," I said, "we're going to the place in New Jersey. I don't think they have milkshakes there... but there's a Friendly's across the street. We can have a milkshake after dinner." The Beaner smiled and repeated, more clearly this time, "mukshake!"

So, right, back to the things that actually *did* happen in the 23rd month. October was the month The Beaner repeated not just words, but whole phrases—mainly things I've been saying to him for weeks without any idea of whether he understood me or not. Example? One day he said to me, "no shoes on the bed!" That's right! No shoes on the bed! He tells me this periodically, just to let me know he knows, even when we're in the kitchen.

When he wants me to put him down now, instead of saying "down" or "put me down," he says, "uh oh, too heavy!" (It probably doesn't take much to guess where he got that from; obviously I say, "I need to put you down now, you're too heavy," when my arms get tired.) And he's now obsessed with where everyone and everything is: "what happened to Daddy? What happened to Hannah? What happened to Mommy? Where did Daddy go? What happened to Buick?" and on and on. Usually I say, "Daddy went to work" or "Hannah went home", but sometimes, when he's holding up his Saab and asking what happened, I say, "you tell me! What happened?"

October was the month The Beaner surprised me by saying "mommy play hockey!" He now knows what a hockey stick is, and he delights in identifying it whenever he spots it in the car or the garage. He also likes announcing at random times, "mommy play hockey!" What he doesn't seem to like so much is me *leaving* to play hockey. If he's allowed to come he's usually OK with it, but if I start dragging my bag to the car without inviting him, he starts to cry. He also melted down in the locker room in Lancaster, PA last weekend when I tried to get dressed for a game. He actually threw one of my skates away from me to keep me from putting it on. "Shoes back on!" he wailed. "Shoes back on!" I don't really understand what he was so worked up about, and why all the gear scared him so (he also tried to tug off my hockey pants); he's seen me on the ice in it several times, and he always smiles and waves. I ended up having to hand him out to Al, who soothed him by saying, "want to go to Home Depot?" "Home DE-PO!" squealed The Beaner. It's one of his favorite places, next to IKEA. (He sometimes announces, appropos of nothing, "bye bye, Mommy." "Where are you going?" I'll ask. "IKEA," he says.)

In October we also went apple picking twice more (I think we finally got our fill of apples for the year), and The Beaner couldn't stop raving about it. He probably announced, "went apple picking!" to friends and strangers alike last month more often even than "mommy play hockey!" He loves looking at the photos of his apple-picking adventures, and he can identify the two kids he picked with on separate occasions. "Ga-vwin! Mad-i-son!" He also perfected his picking technique; he'd apparently paid attention when the farmhands at Honey Pot Hill told him to "twist, twist, pull" because that's what he said when he grabbed his first Granny Smith at Terhune Orchards a few weeks later. Of course, he said it while yanking as hard as he could, but it's the thought that counts.

I'll add photos to this post tomorrow, time permitting; I need to get the darn thing submitted now, or I'll have totally failed in my NaBloPoMo mission only three days in.

Posted by Lori in parenthood at 11:52 PM on November 3, 2006