It’s hard to express how exciting life has been with Mr. T. His development has suddenly shifted into a gear that makes it hard to keep up. It is at times a little….breathtaking. While he has been a little butt-head lately (spitting problems, back talking and general obstinacy), his physical and verbal abilities are exploding all over everything. After spending a week-long vacation with family in Seattle we both witnessed such dramatic changes in this little boy.He continues to become this little chatterbox. I think it really took off about a week before we took off on our trip. He starts to say a phrase and then repeats it over and over and over. Sometimes it take us a while to chew on what he has said before the lights come on—ooooooh, that’s what he was saying. One time he got so frustrated trying to make me understand that he actually lowered his voice, looked at me square in the eye and repeated the phrase slowly emphasizing the phonetic sounds. It was funny and remarkable. I finally got it.
This is about the time he also started to give us a lotta lip. We constantly get that infernal no; no—because I don’t want to; no—because I think it’s funny; no—because I mean yes but can’t quite bring myself to say anything else. More importantly though, his obstinacy has been fueling his language skills. He began talking in more complicated sentence structures that included not only negative commands stating what not to do, but also how not to do it.
“Don’t you talk to me like that Poppa.”
“Don’t you say that to me Poppa.”
“Don’t you put my truck over there like that Poppa.”
Though not particularly endearing, it is clear that this explosion of development happens whether he is being charming or inquisitive or positively ghastly. He doesn’t seem to discriminate. This was the same time he also began using declarative sentences as if he had been practicing or something.
“Ty, would you like some grapes?” I would ask.
“No, Poppa, I don’t want to have grapes,” he would respond.
He’s also begun to talk about the past. One day out of the blue he just started talking about how we had taken one of my best friends (Uncle Russell) to the airport the week before. He spoke about the train (subway) and being at the airport and getting to see Uncle Russell again. I think it was his ability to recount the event including details that he was able to articulate—as a two-year old of course—that made me start to realize that we were embarking on a new development phase.
We used that opportunity to begin preparing him for our trip to Seattle. We realized that he had some notion of past events and thought that maybe we could begin to discuss what would happen in the future. I described how the three of us were going to go to the airport and then using my hand I demonstrated how the plane was going to take off, fly high up in the air and land in Seattle. “We see Uncle Russell,” he said. “Yes, we’ll see Uncle Russell, and Uncle Bill, and Uncle George, and Auntie Pam, and Grandma Pat, and…….………” Eventually he started to talk about what he thought was going to happen. We have also used other opportunities to talk about the future.
Saturday is usually movie night—Thomas the Tank Engine or some other animated shorts. He actually made it through more than an hour of Finding Nemo—though it was a stretch for him. On movie night we also have popcorn. So during the week, Daddy Darrow pulled out the calendar trying to explain the notion of the future. Today is Wednesday then comes Thursday, Friday and then Saturday. Saturday is when we watch movies! “And have popcorns?” he says. “Exactly!” But we didn’t think he was actually getting the idea because when we asked him later about the days of the week, he thought everyday was Thursday. Then out of the blue, out of context, he threw us a curve ball.
After returning home from our trip, his sleeping schedule got all out of whack. He was falling asleep with us every night; he was having odd naps times; he was staying up late; he was on Pacific Standard Time. It was probably a real shock to return to his toddler bed alone to the darkness of his room. The first night after we got back, we let him fall asleep in our bed and then transferred him to his room. Since we don’t co-sleep for reasons I expound on in another post, we were anxious to get him back to the routine, so night number two we put him back in his bed. But it didn’t go down very well. He kept getting up, often crying. You couldn’t help but feel for the little guy. It was actually a little gut-wrenching. All he really wanted was one or preferably both of us to be there when he went to sleep. At one point I was guiding him back to his bed for the seventeenth time (we took turns, so it was more like the thirty-fourth time) when he turned to me and said very earnestly, “Poppa, is it Saturday?” In addition to it being movie night and popcorn night, Saturday is also the day when Poppa and Daddy stay home and we are all together. I found it amazing that he was able to put all of that together—that what he wanted was for it to be like it was when we were on vacation—all three of us together all of the time.
This is probably the most interesting time of his development. Sure it was amazing to see him sit up for the first time and to take that first step, but his communication and thought processes are more amazing than any of those early milestones.