Yesterday you turned 25 months old. This letter is a day late because I was planning to write about how the last month has been nothing but sunshine and honey with you, and after that I sort of ran out of material. Over the last two days, however, we've swung back to the dark side of toddlerhood. You've been whining a lot and getting very upset at the drop of a hat. I hesitate to call them tantrums, because I'm not seeing anger so much as frustration tinged with hurt, some form of disillusionment.
I can't help but wonder if these outbursts have anything to do with your speech, and the difficulties people have understanding what you're saying. Shortly after I last wrote, your daycare centre suggested that you might benefit from speech therapy. I've filled out all the forms but nothing's happened yet. I suspect these things can be slow to start. Since then, you've started pronouncing the "s" sound at the ends of words to indicate both possesion and plural, as well as just words that end with s like bus. I found your breakthrough initially quite encourging. But then I discovered that it actually became harder to understand you, because you also use the sound of s to indicate f and soft g's. So, for example, where once move was "moo" now it sounds something like "moosh" or "mooce," off is "oss," and garbage is "babooce." I'm sure you can appreciate how confusing this could be. It seems like the concepts you are trying to express and the sentence structures you use just keept getting more complex, but your mouth and our ears can't keep up. (I mean, you're saying things like "Cat in the Hat" but it sounds like daadadadaa.)
And so I've found myself helplessly and apologetically telling you, "I'm sorry, I don't understand what you're trying to say," over and over again in the last week or two. I can't imagine how frustrating that must be. I suppose it shouldn't really be surprising that you're suddenly prone to bursting into tears, absolutely inconsolable. Hopefully our ears will catch up with your new ways of speaking, and the tears will peter out.
Last weekend we went to our favourite Latin restaurant, the one that has a shelf full of toys and books for kids. On Saturday nights they have a musician play, and that night it was a man playing his guitar and singing classic rock. You enjoyed the show, and every time he finished a song you would clap your hands and cheer, "Yaaaaay!" The singer loved your attention and I think the other diners and staff were also pretty entertained. You were an absolute pleasure to dine with, relaxed and quiet apart from your friendly cheers, and eating your favourite noonoos with gusto when you could tear your attention away from the singer. It was a really lovely evening, and as we left, one of the servers said you must be an old soul, you must have been two before. It was funny, because just that day or the day before, I'd been studying the palms of your hands and remarking upon how lined they are, how lined they'd been since you were born. I once knew another child with hands like that, and I've always believed it to be the mark of an old soul.
You were sick a few weeks ago. It was the first time you've ever cuddled up on the couch with a blanket, and you sat very still and watched Big Bird, your eyelids heavy.
We've really enjoyed a lot of laughter this month. You've started undressing yourself and every night the three of us go upstairs to your bedroom and sit on your big bed while you take your clothes off with a little assistance, always in the same order. You start with your socks, pull each one off by the toe, then get off the bed to put them in your laundry hamper, stopping to check yourself out in the window reflection. Next comes your shirt, and you tell us which one of us you want to help; usually it's me who pulls your sleeves off your arms and the shirt over your head. Then you toddle over to the hamper, stopping to admire yourself in the mirror, pat your chest or your belly, and exclaim that you have No Shirt On! ("no do dah"). Next we undo the fastener on your pants, and you pull them down and step out or shake them off each foot in turn, followed by the trip to the hamper and the exclamation of "No Pants On!" Then we take your diaper off and your gallop into the bathroom and your bare butt disappearing from view at speed is just about the cutest thing ever.
You've also gotten a lot more sophisticated in your peekaboo play. I'll come out of the kitchen, and not be able to see you anywhere. Then I'll hear a giggle or squeal of delight from behind the couch or the kitchen door and I'll look over and there you are! You never seem to tire of this hilarity, and frankly neither do I. Last night I tucked you in and came downstairs and 10 minutes or so later, you started calling for me. Usually you fall asleep quickly once I leave, so I didn't mind going back upstairs for another brief cuddle. When I looked into your room, I couldn't see you. You'd pulled the covers over your face and hands to completely hide yourself, and when you heard me ask, "Where's Swee'pea?" you threw them back and squealed again. I thought it showed remarkable planning skills on your part.
The other day you had a check-up with the doctor. You weren't keen to stay on the scale while she measured your height, but after the appointment I couldn't get you off it. You are 34.5 inches tall (50th percentile) and you weigh 30 pounds 10 ounces (just over the 75th percentile). You still have a hearty appetite and it's showing. The doctor was most impressed to hear how much you like to eat curried cauliflower and potatoes. Later in the day I decided to take you to get a potty. You've been expressing interest in peeing and the toilet, so I figured we'd get one for when you were ready to try sitting on it.
Never before have I regretted a purchase so intensely and so immediately as I did that day. You picked out the potty yourself, a yellow one, after sorting through the pink, blue and red ones, and I figured it was good that you were keen. It was nearly dinnertime when we got home, but immediately you wanted to sit on your potty. "Pee!" you kept demanding, so fine. I put on Big Bird Goes to China, your favourite (and just about only) movie and plunked the potty down in front of it, figuring I'd make dinner while you "peed." Pleased as punch, you sat. And sat. And sat. Until you stood up and peed on the floor.
Then I thought I'd better put a diaper and pants on you, because I couldn't keep a close eye on you AND cook dinner, but no. "NO Diaper!" ("No baba") you said and chucked the diaper across the room. You wanted to eat but I (horrible, unjust mother than I am) wouldn't let you eat on the potty. I wanted you to sit in either your high chair or the 50s telephone table that you call your big tractor ("bee dada"), and for that I required that you have pants AND a diaper on. Oh, the injustice. Eventually I got you to permit the diaper and pants and even socks, and set some food in front of you on the big tractor. I went into the kitchen to start dinner, and came back out a few minutes later for some reason or other, and you'd put the potty on the chair of the telephone table and put yourself in the potty! So I did what I any safety-concerned mother would do and got the camera and took pictures before telling you that you absolutely must not sit on the potty on the telephone table, the potty must stay on the floor.
To make a long story short, the potty ended up in the bathroom upstairs, you cried for nearly an hour and I postponed dinner trying to console you and use logic to explain why I'd so unfairly put the potty next to mama and dada's potty. By the time your dad got home, slightly later than expected, we were both drained.
Your attention to detail and fastidiousness has also become more obvious this month. Now, you accompany me to the bathroom most mornings, and while I pee on the toilet you close the lid on the toothpaste and shampoo and moisturizer bottles that your dad and I have left open because we're lazy slobs like that. When we get down to the kitchen, you spend your first few minutes closing the cupboard doors and drawers that your dad and I left partly open after you went to bed. I also have an eye for detail, so I'm not surprised you have it too. I mean, I notice that the drawers and cupboards and toothpaste tubes are open, but I'm too lazy to DO anything about it. But where you got the urge to actually address these transgressions??? I have no idea!
I keep saying this, but soon we are really going to have to do something about soother addiction. You want your "doodoo" all the time, and I feel guilty when I wonder if that's why you're having difficulty with your speech. Every time I pluck the damn thing out of the your mouth - pop! - within minutes to you're whining and crying for it and I think, I just don't have strength for this battle today, maybe tomorrow. But one of these days we're just going to have to hunker down in the trenches and tough it out.
Overall, I'm loving this stage of your childhood. We're all sleeping much better, you can tell me when you're hungry or thirsty - heck you even take what you want out of the fridge - you pick out your own books for us to read, you make us laugh all the time. Of course the whining and crying are not so fun, but the giggles and tickles far outweigh the bad times. You are a treat.
Love Always and Forever,
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