Two and a Half
I pretty much abandoned the Beaner updates around the time said Beaner turned two, and I've kinda regretted that. I've said it before, but this blog, in addition to being my place to rant about random political/news/media issues and rhapsodize about food, is our baby book. It's where most of the milestones have been recorded—with context that's often missing in an actual baby book. Partly I stopped with the updates because between work, hockey, and the actual raising of the kid, it was hard to keep up; and partly I stopped because the Beaner is much more a participant in events now rather than just a curiosity to be studied. Still, it makes me kinda sad not to have a (detailed) record of all the things he's learned and done over the past six months.
Yes, that's right: A half a year has passed since his second birthday. We've explained this to him, that he can say, "I'm TWO AND A HALF!" now instead of "I'm TWO!", though technically he is still two and not three, so "I'm TWO!" still works. (When we were in Vancouver he tried to convince me that he'd already turned three, but I wasn't buying it.) I often forget that he's only two and a half, actually, perhaps because the labels on his clothes tell me that he's 4. He's not particularly tall—in fact, he seems to be holding steady at between 36" and 37"—but on the morning of May 27th I found that I wasn't able to button any of his size 3T pants or shorts, and we had to make an emergency run to the Children's Place store at the Brentwood Mall in Burnaby. (Luckily Al had bought a mix of 3T and 4T shorts prior to our Hawaii trip in March "just in case", and we had a one of the 4T pairs with us.)
He still wears mostly 3T shirts, but the size XS (2-4) t-shirts that used to be huge on him now fit just right or even a little tightly. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, really, as he moved into 4T pajamas, which fit more snugly than regular clothes, a few months ago. I suspect it won't be long before the size S (4-6) t-shirt his new school sent him as a welcome gift will fit.
Speaking of the school, Al and I went to a parent orientation last week, where we learned about day-to-day operations, got to fondle a few Montessori materials, and learned about how much they expected us to participate as Parents. It's weird that I'm now a Parent with a capital P... I was saying to M's mom that school not only separates you from your child physically, but categorically. I am now part of a larger class called Parents. We briefly met other Parents of children who will be joining either the toddler or primary programs at the school, though we didn't really get to interact with them. We will over the course of the school year (which starts at the end of August), however, at a series of Parent Potlucks and by participating in various Parent-led committees. If I sound sad or cynical, I don't mean to be; I'm very excited for the Beaner to attend school, because I think he's going to LOVE it. I'm just realizing that he's not the only one who'll be thrown into a whole new world.
I'm sure there are milestones associated with two and a half, but I'm not really sure what they are. I suspect that most things are subjective from here on out, and we'll only really hear about official milestones if he lags behind far enough to raise eyebrows. Just to give a snapshot (more for my own later reference than to prove a point or even—gasp!—brag), these are the skills and interests I associate with the Beaner right now, in not particularly parallel bullet points:
- Still into identifying cars. He won't point out EVERY make and model anymore, but he'll say more about the ones he does point out. For example, tonight he pointed at a Toyota Highlander and said, "hey, that's just like OUR car that we had last week! In Vancouver!" Or, "there's a Saab 9-5 wagon, just like grandma's! Except grandma's is white, and that one is silver! But grandma's has silver wheels, though."
- LOVES other kids, and introducing himself to them. "Look! There are some KIDS!" he'll say, if he spots some within a block of wherever we are. He now pronounces his name very clearly, and he asks other kids what their names and ages are. He knows that he's going to school this fall, and he can't wait because that's where the KIDS go.
- Favorite phrase of the moment: "Because I'm not a baby anymore. I'm a big boy now." Alternatively, "I used to do that/like that when I was a baby, but I'm not a baby anymore." When I say, "that's right, you're a little boy now," he always corrects me: He's a BIG boy.
- Totally into Dora and Diego. Vámanos! He surprised me the other day by counting to 10 in Spanish, but I recovered quickly and taught him 11-20. We now count to 20 together in both English and Spanish. I'm sure my mother-in-law would love it if he'd learn some Korean—and honestly, I would too—but since I already know quite a bit of Spanish (more than I realized—Dora has jogged my memory, and all kinds of phrases and verb conjugations keep popping into my head), it's fun that the Beaner's learning some, too. Our only concern at this point is that he wants to watch Dora and Diego ALL THE TIME. Are we bad parents for letting him watch up to three episodes at a time?
- Asks all the time, "what's that say? What's that say?" It reminds me of when he was learning the car models, and he'd say "adjuwah?" whenever he came across one he didn't know. Now he's pointing to practically every word he sees and asking what it says. At the moment he doesn't have the tools he needs for reading, but he's memorizing the shapes of words, how certain combinations of words appear on labels, and what story words go with which pictures in books, and reading them back to us. "That says 'RICE'. That says 'CRACKERS'. That says 'PHILADELPHIA'." I used to find it kinda hard to read to him when he was littler, but now that he understands the stories and has begun to memorize them and ask questions about them, I find I want to read to him more often. It's nice.
- Favorite foods: watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, blueberries, strawberries, mango... basically any kind of fruit. Carr's whole wheat crackers, Sesame Street crackers, blueberry bagels, chocolate chip pancakes (and chocolate in general—oy!), avocado maki, veggie corn dogs, vanilla rice milk, miso soup, fish... ok, I guess the list of what he doesn't like would be a lot shorter. Actually, I can't think of much he doesn't like, except for really spicy and really sour foods. We're still on a no-milk-and-no-ice-cream diet because of the hives, but he seems to tolerate cheese without any trouble. Pizza and quesadillas are fine by him.
- He's pretending up a storm. Really, it's gone to a whole new level now. I catch him making up whole pretend scenarios, complete with two- or three-way dialog, when he's in the bathtub or just playing quietly by himself. He'll also rope us into his pretending, too. Sometimes he'll create an adventure based on something he saw on Dora ("check my backpack and see if there's anything in there we can use!")—which threw my Mom for a loop when she was here because she hadn't seen Dora yet—and other times he'll come up with something on his own. Aura told me that today at the park he parked himself behind one of the cut-outs on the climbing structure and said, "I have a store. What do you want?" She asked for ice cream, and he said he was out. "But I can make some in my kitchen, which is over there!" he said, pointing to the toddler climbing structure. They raced over there, and he made pretend strawberry ice cream.
- He's extremely nosy. He wants to know everything we mutter to each other ("what'd you say?"), what the people in the next booth are eating, whether that man who just got up from the table went home or just to the bathroom, who that woman is, what she's doing, what he's doing, what they're saying, and where they're going. Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? He sounds like a pushy tabloid reporter most of the time. (It occurs to me now that if I put a toy camera in his hands, as I've been thinking about doing, he may join the paparazzi.) He also likes to repeat what we say to each other, as if I didn't hear Al or he didn't hear me. "Honey, what do you want for dinner?" / "I was thinking pizza." / "He say, 'I was thinking pizza.'" Yeah, thanks Beaner, I heard. Because he was talking to me.
- He's singing a lot—and even starting to sing in tune. Even *Al* is starting to sing in tune, I think thanks to the many family sing-a-longs initiated by the Beaner. He's just completed what I think will be his last Music Class, but we now have several Music Class CDs in rotation, plus the Cars soundtrack (though he pretty much only wants to listen to Real Gone by Sheryl Crow—"The Race Song" because it plays during the opening race in the movie—and Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts). We've got lots of material to keep him on his singing kick, I think.
- Oh, speaking of music, we took him to the Experience Music Project when we were in Seattle, and he LOVED playing with all the instruments—especially the drums. We waited for a booth with a full drumset, a bass, and a guitar in it, and we ended up having an impromptu—and REALLY FUN—family jam. He was such a natural with the sticks that Al's started looking for a scaled-down drumset for him, and Al's also gotten out his accoustic guitar and replaced all the broken strings. (I can hear him strumming on it downstairs now.) Coincidentally, I'd been itching to play my bass before we went to Seattle; the only thing that's stopping me is that it's currently buried under a mound of stuff in the guest bedroom closet. I'm going to have Al help me dig it out this weekend, and we'll continue the search for the kid drumset then, too. Hopefully there are some more family jams in our future.
- After a couple months of taking showers, we're back to bathtime. The Beaner now cries when we pull the plug and try to take him out. We pretty much leave him in there to play with the cups and boats, and just poke our heads in now and then to make sure he's playing and swimming and not drowning.
- I'm still snuggling him to sleep. He'll *sometimes* consent to let Al do it if I'm not here (and I'll be going to Germany for a little over a week at the end of June, so hopefully he'll accept Daddy as a substitute fairly quickly, or it will be a rough 9 nights), and he'll readily vote for Grandma to do it if she's available, but the nighttime snuggle routine is seemingly entrenched. I waffle about whether we should try to break him of it; mostly I don't see any harm in it, and I value the time as much as he does (most of the time). Sometimes I don't have the patience for it or just really need to work, and those nights, while rare, can be torture. One night I was in total windmill mode (as in "if you don't step away, I'M GOING TO WINDMILL!"), and I just laid there with tears rolling down my face as he rubbed his hot, sticky arms against my neck. I finally said, "Beaner, Mommy *really* needs you to go to sleep as fast as you possibly can," and I held his hand to keep it away from my throat. He was asleep in five minutes, and I fervently (but silently) thanked him for it.
Ugh, there are about a million other things that I'm not thinking of right now, but it's late, and I vowed that tonight I would go to bed EARLY. (It's 11:35pm, which I guess still qualifies as early because it's before midnight. <sigh>) Instead of trying to come up with more bullet points, I'll just include another video, which I think demonstrates his personality better than anything half-coherent I could write right now.