brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Until he started school, we’d never taken Niko to the doctor for anything other than scheduled check ups. He had no big illnesses, no big accidents, nothing. I mean, he whacked his head HARD once and I debated taking him in, but there was no urgent YES MUST GO IN NOW moment. Then he started school and started getting sick all the time. We’ve taken him in twice for illness since August and I expect that we’ll take him in a few more times. A very nice and helpful nurse assured me at our last visit that after the first year’s exposure to germs he’ll be back to hardly getting sick at all. Which is lovely to think about, considering that Winter Vomiting Sickness is apparently sweeping through Niko’s school right now, and there’s a lice outbreak in his classroom even as we speak.

That’s not the worst thing about starting school, though. It’s irritating and sometimes a little bit scary, but it’s not the worst.

The worst thing is that Niko is now exposed to 17 other kids on a daily basis– kids with a variety of backgrounds and behaviors and lifestyles. And while it’s great to think that kids can get together and teach other things good habits and behaviors and ways of being, the truth of the matter is that kids are jerks and they only pick up negative things from each other.

We’ve seen all KINDS of negative behavior that’s totally new and frankly some of it utterly baffling. Also making an appearance: whining. He flirted with whining briefly about a year ago but we were able to nip it in the bud. Now it’s a daily thing, nasal and drawn out and as irritating as fingernails on a blackboard is to most people. And I know EXACTLY the kid he’s picked that up from. He’s picked up some very bossy turns of phrase, and has started demanding things instead of asking for them. It’s like my kid is channeling someone else, some other personality; acting as a medium to the most irritating ghost in existence. I hate it so much.

And, you know, my kid is far from perfect and I cringe at the thought of the other kids bringing home his less than sterling habits (which include screaming fits, I’m sorry to say, and also licking snot off his upper lip. I’m not sure which is worse.)

It’s really frustrating to see certain behaviors that we’ve worked hard on establishing go completely out the window the first time he interacts with other kids.

Any suggestions on how to deal with this?

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A Bloggy Sandwich

Thursday, 1 August 2013 11:11
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

When I was still taking art classes, I had a session on how to construct a portfolio. One of the tips was, of course, make sure EVERY PIECE is good. And if you’re doing sequential art, show that you actually can DO sequential art, can tell a story through art, not just have a bunch of splash pages and pin ups. But specifically, we were told to have your strongest piece as the very first one, and your second strongest one as the last one. That way, you set the tone with the first piece and then you end on a high note, so people viewing your portfolio are impressed right away and also leave with a good impression.

Then Nesko and I watched a pop sci show about how the brain works, and they just said lead with positive stuff and people gloss over the negative. First impressions super matter, apparently.

But I’m going to stick with what I was originally taught, and I’m going to sandwich some grossness between cute stories.

THE FIRST CUTE STORY

Niko no longer says “yes.”

When I say that, I don’t mean that he’s become suddenly and overwhelmingly negative. I mean that while he agrees to things, the word “yes” no longer passes his lips. Nor does yeah, or as he says it, “yay-uh.” No, it’s suddenly all “Sure” and “Of course.” As in, “Niko, would you like some milk?” “Oh, of course I would!” “Niko, would you please pick up your blocks?” “Oh, sure!” “Niko, would you like a hug?” “Oh, of course I do!”

WHAT EVEN IS THIS.

It’s like he has a secret handbook on being cute.

The other day, I asked him if he would like some applesauce and he said “Of course.” And then he said “Actually, I would really appreciate it if I would have some pudding instead, please.”

Actually.

I would really appreciate.

OH MY GOD.

Can I have another kid who’s just, like, a copy of him? Because he’s basically perfect. Except not as the next story will reveal.

THE GROSS STORY

At the age of four years and 5 months, Niko has decided that it is HIGH TIME he learns to wipe his own butt. He’s been using up flushable wipes at an alarming rate and we’ve been dealing with random poo fingers here and there. But then yesterday he apparently decided it was TIME TO STOP FUCKING AROUND. He approached wiping his own butt with a grim seriousness. LET’S DO THIS THING, he resolved.

And he started going in the bathroom every half hour to squeeze out some pathetic tiny turd nugget.

He’s kind of obsessed.

And suddenly, we’re back to having pants accidents.

“Mama,” he says sternly. “I had a little bit of a poop accident.”

He is not proud of these.

So I’ve been picking up flecks of feces from the bathroom floor, doing a lot of hand washing, reminding him that he can’t use an entire package of flushable wipes in one go, etc.

And then, just after Nesko got home, I was in the dining room when I saw what looked to my weak eyes to be a a brand new knot hole in the wooden floor. Wait. There was no knothole there before… was there? I prodded it with my toe. It went squish.

Look.

I don’t have a lot of expectations out of life.

But one that I cling to is the expectation that I can walk through my house without stepping in shit.

Nesko launched into a long story about how HE was working at a house with DOGS and they had to RUN A LINE and the yard was FULL OF POOP and I’m like, ok. That’s horrible and gross. But that, at least, is outside. In nature. Nature, you know, that thing that is a toilet for wild animals. THE GREAT OUT DOORS IS ONE HUGE TOILET. My house? Not so much. My dining room floor? NOPE.

nope_001

nope_002

nope_003

I just… no.

So then I patrolled the rest of the house, squinting at every smudge and speck, armed with a bottle of disinfectant and paper towels.

And then Nesko gathered Niko into his lap for cuddles and finger nail trimmings, and we discovered a motherlode of poo on Niko’s heel.

ugh_001

THE SECOND CUTE STORY

Niko has a baby.

His baby is named Baby.

Baby is a girl (a DWIR-OLE) except for when she’s a boy.

Baby currently lives in the bouncy seat that he used when he was an infant, that we’re holding on to until Nesko’s sister who just had a baby returns from Europe. At this point, we will have to evict Baby from her perch, her soft and cradling throne.

Niko sometimes carries Baby around, and feeds her cookies (wooden blocks, string, etc) or shares things he’s eating with her. “One little nut for me, and one for Baby. And one little nut for me, and one for Baby.” He invariably eats Baby’s portion, of course. He also brings her small toys, books, and shoes (?) for her to snuggle with so she doesn’t get lonely. And from time to time he decides that baby is taking a nap so he walks around and shushes us all because Baby is sleeping. Then he decides that Baby is fully asleep so we can be loud again. “Baby sure is sleeping hard! She’s a hard sleeper.”

Sometimes Baby needs a diaper change, or Niko decides it’s time to potty train her. He’s very encouraging. He cleans her up and cuddles her and says kind things.

It is the most adorable thing.

It almost makes me forget that I stepped in poop in the dining room.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Niko has seriously levelled up in some aspects of his problem solving/helpfulness skills and it’s both adorable and ARGH NO STOP PLEASE NO at the same time. For instance, pouring his own drinks leads to massive spills, wiping his own pooey bum leads to poo everywhere, and jumping up and using a tool to turn on a light switch is an awesome idea but when that tool is a crayon it leads to crayon on the lightswitch/walls. There’s also the frustrating fact that he is ABLE to fully dress himself but still insists on us “helping” him where “helping” is “doing almost everything.” However, I think that’s primarily him being a bit clingy because a lot of stuff is changing and changing fast (Nesko has a new job and isn’t home as much, school is starting soon, we’re talking about moving albeit not for at least a year, etc). But I look at my little baby who came into this world as a helpless squalling grub, and every day I get closer to seeing the adult who’s going to leave my house.

He spent most of Saturday with his Tetka (aunt), and didn’t get home until pretty late. He had a super great time with her (he always does, she’s great) and before he left she told him that LATER ON as in IN THE FUTURE he could come over again and “swim” in the pool (a little wading pool, nothing big/fancy… if it was a real pool you know I’d rudely move in and never leave). He interpreted this, as little kids do, as TOMORROW.

So instead of sleeping in on Sunday he bounded into our bedroom, bright and alert, at 5:00 a. m.

I’M AWAKE NOW! IT’S TIME TO BE AWAKE! HEY WHY ARE YOU GUYS STILL SLEEPING?!? IT’S TIME TO BE AWAKE NOW! I NEED YOU TO HELP ME PUT ON MY SWIMMING CLOTHES! I’M GOING SWIMMING WITH TETKA NAMEREDACTED! I NEED TO PUT ON MY SWIMMING PANTS! WHERE IS MY WATER SHIRT? I’M GOING TO GO PACK MY BAG!

Then he scampered off.

He came back a few minutes later wearing swim trunks (over underpants).

I’M ALL PACKED NOW! WHERE IS MY WATER SHIRT? WHEW IT’S GOING TO BE A HOT AND SUNNY DAY, I NEED MY SUNSCREEM. WHERE IS MY SUNSCREEM? WE CAN ALL PUT ON SUNSCREEM AND GO SWIMMING IN MY LITTLE POOL. IT’S SOOOOOO HUGE IT’S ENORMOUS! I PACKED MY BAG! HEY, WHY AREN’T YOU UP? I NEED TO EAT SOME CEREAL YOU GUYS! I HAVE TO EAT A GOOD BREAKFAST BEFORE I GO SWIMMING!

I dragged myself out of bed and helped him get a bowl of cereal (WITH MILK OK MAMA) and told him he had to not wear underpants with his swim suit, so he stripped down and redressed in just the trunks. He scarfed down two bowls of cereal and I checked his bag. He’d packed:

  • a full change of clothing including underpants and socks
  • a hat
  • sunglasses
  • his water bottle
  • appropriate snacks in little containers

This child does not need me anymore, except to get things off of high shelves. OBVIOUSLY.

Nesko called his sister who was all yeah no, I’m busy all day, I meant LATER and we broke the news gently to Niko. But not until he’d told me just how BIG and HUGE and ENORMOUS his swimming pool is. Internets, his swimming pool is SO BIG it is the size of my butt.

Apparently my bottom is now a unit of measure.

I told him that my butt is pretty small for a swimming pool and he said OH HM WAIT NO. MY SWIMMING POOL, he said, IS THE SIZE OF THAT THING YOU GOT UP THERE and he pointed at my shoulder which, I mean, that’s even smaller than my butt. Whaaat?

He’s decided that today is a good day to have a picnic so he’s spread a little blanket on the floor and consuming all food (breakfast, snack, lunch) right there. I can dig it.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

When Niko and I went and enrolled him in pre-k, the teachers asked a few questions about his skills and if we read to him at home etc. They mentioned that it would be helpful if we could work on him writing his name. I think I’ve mentioned before that we have been working on teaching him to write, and I figured I’d tell you some of the stuff that worked for us.

Pencil Holding

I thought about getting some of those triangular finger positioners that you can slide onto pencils, but decided to skip it. Like a lot of really little kids, Niko has a hard time physically holding a writing utensil. One of the things that helps him hold his fingers the correct way is to put a little something in the palm of his hand for his smaller fingers to curl around. We initially used a bit of wadded up tissue, which he objected to. I picked up a little baggie of pom poms from the Target dollar bin and he likes those a lot better. We don’t have to remind him as often to hold his writing utensil the correct way, it’s becoming a habit with him.

Making Lines

There’s a few things we’re doing to teach him how to make straight, slanted, and curved lines (IE, letter components). One of the earliest things I did was draw dots on a piece of paper and have him draw a line from dot to dot. It was a fun thing that we did together, and we’d take turns making the lines. You could also use stickers or something for the “dots.” This ties in to later activities like connect-the-dots and draw-a-line-to-match games.

There are worksheets you can buy from stores or print from the internet that have dotted lines to trace, making up straight, diagonal, curved, etc lines.

brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

I tell people my kid is weird and they either look at me funny and TOTALLY JUDGE ME or they laugh and mentally high five me. Really, pretty much ALL three year olds are weird, but mine is gloriously so. And I enjoy it! I enjoy weirdos and am one myself so, whatever.

One of Niko’s tetkas (aunts) traveled to Canada a while ago and brought him back a little stuffed moose with a red knit sweater that says “Canada” on it. Niko, cleverboots that he is, named the moose Canada. Canada the moose. Canadians, if it makes you feel any better, every single elephant he has is named Carl. ANYWAY, he recently discovered that Canada’s sweater is removable and it’s sized to fit beanie babies.

So his beanie babies (kissy bear, baba bear, tata kitty, mama otter, and EW SKUNK EW GROSSSSSSSSSS; CJ the dog, C the dog, J the dog, and Delilah the dog (he’s named them after dogs he knows, CJ and Delilah); Falcon Bernouli the goat and Edward Thomas the groundhog; they all get into fights over who is going to wear the sweater and who is going to be naked.

It’s like someone ate the forbidden fruit and now they know nakedness. And sin. And there is only one sweater to go around and cover their shame! So he sets them up and he has these little voices for them, and they argue over who is going to wear the sweater (only he calls it a shirt and he can’t say “sh” well so it’s a sirt) and why. They have VOCAL TICS, for crying out loud (albeit not very subtle ones: Canada brackets his statements with a sing-songy “I’m a moose, I’m a moose, I’m a moose, I’m a moose!”) At one point, Canada was saying “Kissy Bear you have my sirt and my pants! Oh no wait nobody has pants. You have my sirt! I am naked without my sirt. I’m a moose I’m a moose I’m a moose I’m a moose!” You have to admire his commitment. Canada breaks into identity-related song and dance constantly.

His stuffed animals tell jokes and they have specialty jokes. He sets them up and has them tell jokes. And laugh. And they fall over laughing.

I just… ok.

He’s three, right? And three year olds can be huge assholes. I think we’re all in agreement there. But they can also be FUCKING HILARIOUS and oh my GOD this is such a great age. And if I didn’t have carpal tunnel and arthritis and a complete inability to follow directions I would knit a bunch of tiny beanie baby sized sweaters so everyone could be clothed and the falsetto plush bickering could stop.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

I grew up in a kitchen with a parent who was a professional cook for many years, which means that a lot of very basic knife (and general kitchen) safety was burned into my brain from a young age. Never put knives in the sink. Never run with a knife. Always pass a knife to someone handle first. Never touch a knife blade. Dull knives are more dangerous than sharp knives. Don’t use a too-small knife. I even know how to hone a knife on a whetstone. As I’ve said earlier, some of my earliest memories are helping my mom in the kitchen and I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t actively helping.

Our current kitchen isn’t very usable, for a number of reasons, so I’ve been doing the bulk of my cooking solo. Even though Niko is at that magical age where he wants to help and is capable of helping in some ways, I’ve been curtailing that because it’s just so inconvenient for me. And that’s a wrong headed attitude to have, frankly. So lately I’ve been asking him to help me load and unload the dishwasher, put his dishes in the sink, measure coffee into the coffee maker… and cut red peppers.

Yes, I’ve given my baby a knife.

"A toddler stands on the Learning Tower, image taking from the Learning Tower website"

A toddler stands on a wooden scaffolding called “The Learning Tower,” which raises her height to be safely able to work at a kitchen counter. Image taken from the Learning Tower website.

Several people have mentioned using things like the “Learning Tower,” which is a wooden scaffolding that costs quite a bit of money. If we had the money and the space for it I’d totally consider it, but as it is, Niko is very happy on his 2-step stepladder. We pull it right up to the counter and we practice handing a knife back and forth handle first, and then I give him strips of red pepper to slice in half.

We work on paying attention to what he’s doing, to the cutting board and the peppers. We work on how to hold the knife in his hand. We work on remembering that the blade is sharp. We work on how to hold the food steady. We work on not going too fast. And then he hands the knife carefully back to me and we put the peppers in a bowl, and he eats them all because red peppers are basically the bomb.

I know there are dull knives that people use for toddlers. There’s some plastic lettuce specialty knife that a lot of people laud for its dull blade and inability to puncture skin. I considered getting one of those, but in the end decided that with close supervision using a real knife was the better choice. Knives are sharp. I want my child very aware of that, at all times. I want him to know knife safety, and I want him to develop cooking skills that will last him through his life. If you have young children in your life you may very well make a different choice, and I’d love to hear what you have chosen or will chose. But Niko’s enjoying cutting up his own peppers, and he’s enjoying helping me, and he’s learning a lot while doing so.

How old were you when you started using a sharp knife?

Would you let a 3 year old use a knife?

What would you do?

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Questions

Monday, 24 October 2011 15:47
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Niko has a bedding set with a licensed character set, Thomas And Friends. They were part of the “please please please sleep in your own bed FOR THE LOVE OF GOD stop kicking me all night” incentive when we got his twin bed set up in his room. And he’d refer to it as his “new bed” and his “little bed” and talk excitedly about his “Thomas sheets” but until recently he showed no interest in SLEEPING in that bed. He’d sit on it, he’d play in it, he’d drag the comforter off and roll around on the floor in it, but sleeping? Not so much.

Well, that has all changed (knock on wood)! Which means nobody kicks me all night, or pulls my hair, or scrapes their toenails all over my stomach/thighs while trying to warm their feet under my body. It also means I now have two beds to make every day.

When I make his bed, I put the top sheet on the bed upside down, then the comforter. Then I turn both back, so that the front side of the sheet, the “right” side of the sheet, is facing out. I do this when I make our bed, too. Years ago, when I was a little kid, a babysitter did that and I liked it and have been doing it ever since. But the other day I remembered more about the circumstances surrounding that little lesson, in a very visceral way.

Said babysitter lived down the street from us, and my mom paid her to babysit me and my brothers. She had two kids of her own, both younger than us. Even though she was getting paid to watch (and feed) us, she expected me to do housework for her, including dishes and picking up after her kids and making beds. When she provided us with food we didn’t like, she would literally shove food into our mouths, pinch our noses shut, and hold our jaws closed while we chewed and swallowed. She wouldn’t let go until we did so, which meant we couldn’t BREATHE until we did so. Which might just explain some of my issues with food, IDK. She was a screamer, and a slapper.

She took me to task for making the beds “wrong” once, and when I asked WHY she put the flat sheets on upside down she dressed me down for my stupidity in not knowing the “right” way to make a bed. Our sheets at home were cheap solid colored cotton, there was no right or wrong face to them unless you scrutinized the hem or something. Her sheets, even the plain ones, were far more upscale, with fancy hemming and binding. She came from money, you see, and married a poor dude out of love (he worked construction, he wasn’t what most people would consider poor; her wealthy parents gave her shit for marrying “beneath” her and both talked down to her all the time but also gave her gifts of money and jewelry), so there was a definite element of class to her dressing-down of me. But the biggest thing, and this was actually a theme amongst adults in positions of caregiving and teaching in my life, is that she went out of her way to make me feel stupid and wrong for asking a question.

I quickly learned not to ask questions because if I did, I would be shamed and ridiculed in public for not KNOWING. Don’t know where my seat is? Or the bathroom? Or how to do a math problem the class learned the year before, when I was in a different school? Don’t know the words to a song everyone else learned when I was absent? Don’t know someone’s name, or title, or how to get someplace? Don’t know what a food is called? Try to pick it up from context, and fake it, because otherwise? Someone will call. you. out. in the most mortifying way possible and that person? Will be an authority figure setting the tone for everyone else, every peer, in their interactions with you.

My childhood was incredibly stressful (and FUCKED UP), in so many different ways.

I so don’t want that for Niko. He asks questions and I try to answer them as fully as possible. He isn’t in the chain-of-whys phase, but he is interested in his world and what he sees and hears and experiences. And we ask HIM questions as well (do cows eat grass? do chickens? do cats? do goats?) and talk about the answers. I want him to be comfortable questioning his world, his adults, his peers, his assumptions. I know too many people who had that beaten out of them early.

 

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Niko’s had a minor vocab explosion lately, both spoken and signed.

One of the things he’s picked up has been the sign for crying.

He still narrates long stories about how the ball of yarn I have freaked his shit out, including fake screaming and then a Very Sad Face with the sign for crying. He also signs crying when I sing “3 Little Kittens” to him. “…and they began to cry” I sing, and he draws tears on his face.

DAWWWWW.

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brigid: Two adults and a child, wearing gas masks, peer into a pram. (parenting)

Oh yeah, I was going to do this every Monday, right? Ha ha!

What I’ve made this weekend includes:

  • A foot and a half of crocheted scarf
  • A pot of chicken stock
  • Barbecued pulled chicken
  • 2 half-sized lasagnas, in the freezer
  • 3 dishes of breaded chicken tenders, in the freezer
  • A huge mess in the kitchen
  • A lot of clean dishes
  • A clean bathroom

I still need to strain the stock, then let it sit in the fridge and have the fat solidify, and then tomorrow or the next day I’ll turn it into soup. Or start turning it into soup. I’m not sure which yet.

I have a recipe for sugar cookies I’m sitting on (just didn’t have the time today) and I need to actually post stuff to my recipe blog. It’s pretty time consuming to do that, though. And I have cold feet for some freakish reason. I DON’T EVEN KNOW.

We went to a fish release/easter egg coloring party on Saturday but left before the egg coloring because we had to get up waaaaay too early to get to the fish release (it was about an hour away) and Niko was crashing from lack of nap. He’s at that awkward stage where he no longer just sacks out wherever, whenever but he still needs a nap or we all suffer. On the plus side, he interacted with a BUNCH of babies and toddlers and walked the full length of a trail circuiting a soccer field. Well, he RAN RAN RAN until he ran out of steam and then he jogged, and then he walked. He’s so hilarious: he yells “RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN” while running.

Speaking of crochet and running, Niko is getting used to the ball of yarn. He calls it “mama ball” and pats it gingerly, and also fiddles with the length of yarn leading to my active crochet work, and tugs on what I’m working on. HELPFUL LIKE A CAT. He also calls it “not tootoot” and reminds me of when it USED to be a train (when it was in skein form) and tells me The Very Sad Story Of The Ball Of Yarn That Used To Be A Train. It goes like this:

Oh yeah! Tootoot! Mwah! Tootoot! TOOOOOTOOOOOT! Oh no! Not tootoot! BALL! Mama ball! AHHHH AHHH AHHH AHHH AHHH!

Yes, he includes screaming in the story. And signs tears coming out of his eyes/down his face. Because the transformation into ball of yarn SCARED HIM and made him cry.

This morning, Nesko wouldn’t let him have a second dose of (chewable, gummy) vitamins. Niko had a full on tantrum. This is, in general, rare for him. He’s stubborn, but he bounces back from being denied stuff. No, this was just TERRIBLE. The worst thing EVER. No vitamins? HOW CRUEL. Nesko told Niko that if he ate more vitamins, his tummy would hurt. Bleah! Bah! Bad!

I cuddled Niko in the living room until he calmed down and drank some milk and ate something. And then he told me what had just happened. “No myomyom. No! Nenene! Tata myomyom NO. NOOOOOOOO. Bah. Bleeeeeeyeh. No myom myom!” And then he made the sign for crying again. Because he cried.

Have I shared my latest terrible parenting? Nesko and I watch “The Venture Bros” with Niko in the room. He doesn’t pay attention to most non-train-having TV, but he likes this show and asks for more at the end. He dances to the theme music and beats out percussion on his little pink plastic chair.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

We picked up a book on baby sign language when I was still pregnant because OMG of COURSE we were going to sign with our baby! And he’d be communicating by the time he was 5 months old and potty trained by 9 months and we would totally win all the parenting awards! On further inspection, a lot of the signs were not ASL but were kind of random (proprietary?) and we both lost interest. And then! I got Baby Signing Time and started watching it with Niko.

He loves this show. He calls babies (photos of babies, other small children, baby dolls) “beebee” or “beebees.” He refers to the show as “beebeesh” and makes the sign for baby when requesting it. So there was that going on, but for weeks and weeks that was the only sign he made (other than pointing) and honestly, he did that before starting the videos. Nesko demonstrated it to him while holding Niko’s baby doll and he just picked it up. So other than that, Niko made no signs. He watched the videos, he requested them, but he didn’t interact with them or try to make the signs.

Until he did start making the signs.

He’s got the “baby” sign down, and also makes the sign for “eat,” “airplane,” “more,” “please,” and “cheese.” He spent a large part of today signing “more cheese please” and receiving the asked for cheese, which was pretty nice because he’s been on a cheese/dairy strike lately. Of those signs, he has verbal words for “baby,” “more,” and “please.” And I guess for “eat.” He makes “myom nyom mnyom” noises and smacks his lips WHICH YES IS ADORABLE. He also made a sign that looked like the sign for milk but when I asked him if he wanted milk he said no.

Sometimes he just likes saying no, though.

Do you sign with your kids?

Niko is 21 months old, not Deaf or hearing impaired, seemingly neurotypical, and with a pretty large verbal vocabulary. We’ve only been doing this a few weeks (accompanied by me signing whenever I remember to sign and also remember the sign) but the results have been pretty cool so far. I wish we’d started earlier.

The only thing Niko likes more than beebeesh is trains, which maybe gives you a clue about just how much he likes the signing videos.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Niko sacked out really quickly last night which was an absolute blessing because I’m 1) lactose intolerant and 2) an idiot. This is a very bad combination which resulted, last night, in me snuggling in with my baby and two minutes later my stomach making sure I knew I’d made a very bad decision earlier when I drank a big glass of eggnog without taking a lactaid or five. There was a rumbly, if you will, in my tumbly. I managed to hold on a while longer, about five minutes or so, and when I slipped out of bed to dash to the bathroom Niko stayed asleep. Which is a relief because it’s not fun having desperate potty time with a toddler on the other side of the door screaming to be let in, scratching at the door, generally acting like zombies are after him. It’s also no fun when he’s IN the bathroom throwing stuff around, trying to play with razorblades, and flushing the toilet.

After finishing putting my poop in the potty LIKE A BIG GIRL I slipped into the office to work on my computer a bit. It’s been having problems for awhile now (it’s over five years old) but I think I found the solution. I waited up for Nesko to get home and then we went to bed together. Niko was sprawled across the bed so I reached down to shift him. “Vrrr,” he said. At first I thought he was saying that because he was very warm and my hands were cold. But he followed that up with “Car. Car!” and then he shook his head and sobbed “Oh no! CAAAAAAAAAAAAR! vrr vrrr. Caaaaaaaaar.” I mean, he sounded really broken up. Nesko shook him a little and soothed him (shoved a pacifier in his mouth) and we all settled in for a good night’s sleep.

Niko talks in his sleep.

He has for months now.

Usually it’s just an adorably muttered “too…. TOOOO” as he dreams about trains (too toos). This is the first time that I’m aware of that he’s talked about cars in his sleep.

Basically, if it has wheels he loves it. He has other loves, of course. The slide (or the “updown” as he calls it, because you go up and then you go down. He also calls step stools and ladders Updowns.), cats, babies, blocks, empty boxes. But cars and trains are where its at, to the point that he’ll push empty boxes, blocks, and his baby doll around on the floor/table while making car and/or train noises. Is there anything cuter than a toddler grasping a baby doll by the head and shoving it around on the floor while saying “vrrrrr VRRRR eeeee! ah nah! CAR! ha ha ha! vrrrrrrrrrrrrrr”? Well… yes. There is, actually. But he’s pretty cute while he does it.

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