Archive of October 2002-April
13 October 2002
Forgive me readers for I have sinned. It has
been two weeks since my last update. My son is now thirteen months old.
The snot is subsiding, everyone is feeling better. Even the
baby drool is less.
We went to Costco one day, which is a
pretty long car trip from here. He wanted to touch everything, but was
quite well-behaved, only getting cranky at the end when the payment card
machine had a hissy fit and refused to talk to anyone but a supervisor.
Swimming two weeks ago was good, as usual. I just love that smile when
he first hits the water. Pure baby ecstacy. We did a lot of the same
things we do every week, but this time he was really into the falling in
part. We're doing the session with fewer people in it these days
because if Dave can make it to either one, it's going to be the later
one (although he didn't happen to make it to this particular one). The
other mothers were deeply impressed with Christopher though, and each
one took a moment to tell me. He repeatedly went under the water on his
own, and was perfectly fine when I pulled him out again. He was the
youngest baby there, so it was more remarkable. He's starting to
venture out further from me, which is slightly worrying. He does trust
that I'll be there to save him, and I am. And I will be every time he's
in water until he's old enough to understand safety for himself. I'm
just not sure how to raise my vigilence to over 100 percent. That's my
problem, though. Christopher is having a great time in an ever-larger
world. He will hold onto the side rail, and turn and lunge at me if I'm
a step away. He learned that he can sometimes find my leg under the
water with his feet, and he uses it for his maneuvers. He'll be
swishing off to the left, come back to center, find my leg, pivot, and
swish off to the right again. When he was tiny I swished him around,
but now he does it with me just as safety.
We stayed close to
home for most of the last week, but had lots of good play time with just
us. He does like to get out to meet and greet his public, so he was
thrilled to go to his baby group on Thursday. There were only two other
babies there, but he got into a rumble with the other little boy over
some cake, and later over some cheese baps. Just like little dogs!
They didn't hurt each other, but the other little boy kept trying to get
Christopher's food, and Christopher was not shy about shoving him away.
Mostly they just had fun playing. That house happens to have a nice
long staircase, conveniently carpeted. At one point we all got to go
up, and the other little boy (who lived there) crawled straight up.
Christopher lives in a bungalow, and has never had access to stairs
before. He watched, then followed. His style is a little different.
He was trying to do hands and feet more than hands and knees, although
there were several knees thrown in. He was fascinated. And yes, I was
right behind him, ready to catch him if need be.
After that we did a few errands in town, then went to see Dave
at work. Christopher has a small fan club at Dave's current workplace,
and since they plan to close the doors and give everyone a big goodbye
kiss next week, we decided that Kit should make what might be his final
appearance there. He toddled all around the lobby, inspected all the
rocks in the plant pots (rearranging many of them), and generally gave
everyone a big eyefull of cuteness.
Thursday night was a bit
rough because it was getting cold, and he couldn't manage to sleep in
it. He'd needed warm body visits in the few nights before, but that
night was way past what he could handle. Because the heating controls
are all outside, we let him sleep in the big bed with two big people.
He was reasonably well behaved, but did toss and turn a bit. This kept
me up most of the night, but at least I had a very cute boy to gaze at.
Friday we swam again. Quite a few more people turned up for
class, including some we'd never seen before. He was his usual bold
self, jumping in off the side, tumbling deliberately off the floaty
things, chasing toys around the pool, and babbling at the other babies
and children happily. I was impressed with his toy chasing this week
because as I propel him through the water, he's very good at turning
with his arms and legs so that all the forward motion has no choice but
to be sideways motion.
Saturday we went out to a local village
event, where he showed off his master toddling and padlock chewing
skills. Dave had a great time doing thr proud father thing while I
supported the local economy.
Saturday night he was getting
crabby, so I ran him a nice warm bath. Big grin. Instant grin. He
played extensively with one of the wind up fishies we have, and with
several other of the toys. He spent about five minutes studying
buoyancy and currents by repeatedly swishing his plastic shovel around
in the water and letting it go on the surface, then a little under
water, then further under the water, each time stopping to observe the
speed and path of its ascent to the surface. When he'd learned all he
could from that, he conducted wave expeiments. He splashed wildly, but
this time not just for the job of splashing. He was very deliberately
observing the effect of his splashes on the toys at the far end of the
tub. He tried a few different things, then moved on to learn a skill
that had previously eluded him. He has a set of bath toys in animal
shapes. These toys can be filled with water by squeezing the air out
then letting them ever so slowly reinflate under water. Recently he has
been enjoying having these filled for him, then he squirts himself by
squeezing them, or sometimes squirts other people or just the room in
general. At the very end of his bath tonight, I caught him squeezing
one under water and holding it there until some water had found its way
He's spending more time with his shape sorting toys, and
ever more frequently getting the shape in the appropriate opening. He
can get the triangles into the triangle hole, but seems to prefer to put
them in the round and square holes, where they stay on top. I have to
admit, it does look very pleasing that way. When all the toys are in,
he is able to get them out by himself and do it all again.
top tooth is coming in quickly, and he knows just what to do with it.
He bites down hard and leaves upper and lower tooth marks in his food.
Nursing is a bit of a challenge, but he no longer needs to be removed if
he gets a little toothy. I can just tell him to be careful and not use
his teeth, and he tries to adjust.
He doesn't really say words
yet, but he talks a lot. The last week or two he has been channelling
German and French babies. Close your mouth tight and say "cracking
corn" and you'll have an idea of what he sounds like. He's also been
experimenting with the spitty "hxxxxwa" sound in French, and has
mastered his close-mouthed G sounds. Close your lips and say "gaggy
gum." Welcome to my world.
He had his first cup of cow milk this week and wonders where
I've been hiding it all this time. He's only had the one so far, most
of it still remaining hidden. I'm very conflicted about letting a cow
do my job. Food is one thing, but milk is clearly MY domain. I'm
trying to work through it.
Another food achievement is that he
learned to use a straw. I'd been trying to get him to learn it a few
days ago and it was just too frustrating for him. Saturday night he was
very very thirsty, and I happened to have a juice box handy, so I popped
the straw in and let him have a try. He drank almost the whole thing in
The heat is now on, and nights are once again time for sleep.
Dave not only turned on the burner Friday night, but installed an indoor
controller for it Saturday afternoon. Such a handy daddy!
Desipite the warm house to sleep in, Christopher had a very fretful
night on Saturday. It was probably Sunday morning by then. He cried,
and Dave went in to snuggle him. Christopher liked that a lot, and
insisted that Dave stay. He cried and screamed every time Dave tried to
put him back in his own bed. It's not the cold this time. Maybe
29 October 2002
Christopher had a good time going to his girlfriend Alice's house for
baby group a few weeks back. She met him at a baby picnic and gave him
a big snog. She was about 8 or 9 months old at the time, Christopher
just a few weeks older. They sort of ignored each other this time, but
he and Zachary (Vincent) went exploring in their hallway, and
Christopher made time to thoroughly inspect the handles on their cabinet
doors and drawers.
The next day we went swimming, but the usual
instructor for the new group we go to wasn't there. There was a man who
said he'd had to give her a warning and some time off to consider her
transgressions, but he hoped to get her back. Seems she'd called in
sick or unavailable 13 times in three months. He said it didn't matter
if she was good if she wasn't there. I actually thought he was better
than she was, and hope we get to keep him. He included more mummy
swimming and gave us more challenges.
The next Monday he saw
his old pals Maya and Mary. They were fetuses together, along with
Austin who couldn't make it to that particular meeting. Jacqui gave the
adults all biscuits and beverages, then gave the babies breadsticks.
One for Mary... and Christopher took it from her. And one for Mary...
and Christopher took it from her. Once both hands were full, Mary
finally got hers, but she only ate half of hers while Christopher ate
one and a half of his. I guess he knew the score. He opened and closed
all the doors he could get access to at their house.
had his first excursion into the land of meat-eaters this week. He has
always been a big fan of playing in the dog's water dish, but has left
the food alone... until now. He got a handful, put one in his mouth,
spat it out, put the next one in, spat it out... I think he's convinced
now that dog food isn't as good for eating as it might seem to be. The
dog has a million allergies, and has to eat a very expensive food made
of fish and potatoes, so it's just as well he doesn't like it.
We had a load of babies over here Thursday for a play date. Christopher
seems to enjoy being the host. They all ate baby muffins and got doggy
kisses, and had a good time playing with the drum and tambourines.
Friday we failed to swim because it was half-term and the
school where it's held was closed.
On Saturday I decided we
were going to a Halloween party we'd been invited to so we could leave
Dave to get over his tummy bug in peace. The party was being thrown by a
Yank who wanted to show off what Halloween ought to be like because
Brits don't have much to do with it. It turned out to be attended mostly
by other Yanks and some Aussies, but never mind that. It was all put
together quite well.
So the first thing I had to do was get
dressed for it, and get the baby dressed for it. This took 35 minutes.
That's 31 minutes longer than we usually need. Those 31 minutes were
used up by the baby who became a screaming, shrieking, snot blowing lump
of kicking toddler. I finally got him in the car and he instantly fell
I wore all black, and topped it off with a grim reaper
hood with black material over the face so I could see out but no one
could see in. The baby wore black jammies with a glow in the dark
skeleton printed on them.
Anyway, my little bag of bones
refused to be set down for a full hour. He's over 25 pounds now, so this
can be a bit wearing. He cried a lot when I tried to expand his world by
introducing pumpkin muffins into it, or other such heinous violations.
There was another baby there in the same costume, and someone took a
picture, one smiling, one crying. Guess which was mine. Then suddenly he
was fine, went tromping all over their house, turned off their TV,
opened and closed every cabinet door no fewer than 50 times (but
probably way more).
Christopher has been enjoying roaming our
house more. Cabinet locks installed in the kitchen now, so he gets a
little more freedom. For some reason whenever I tell him to go find
Daddy, he goes into the bathroom and plays with the toilet seat.
Eventually the reasons for this will become clear.
got hold of a single serving box of strawberry soy milk, and spent ages
placing it inside the cabinet with the pots and pans. He'd carry it
over, open the door, wedge the box in between two stacks of pans, close
the door, wander away, come back a few minutes later, take it out,
inspect it, walk around, return it to the cabinet between the pots and
pans, close the door, walk around... you get the idea. He must have
spent 30-45 minutes doing that along with the activities he found to do
on the walks.
He's learning what things not to do. After
several stern comments about not touching a stack of pots on a stand in
the dining room, he's stayed mostly away from them. He has always had
wanted to play in the dog's water dish, but after being directed away
from it several times with comments about not playing in them, now it
just takes a little gasp sound to make him turn away from it, if he even
bothers to approach it.
He's getting to be quite clingy,
wanting to be held and rocked more than he has in recent months. I
think the world must be getting so big so fast that he wants a bit more
reassurance that his people are there.
His opening and
shutting, and his putting things into other things dominates every
activity. You're just been provided with several examples, but it goes
deeper. When he has his fromage frais at the end of his evening meal,
he likes it when Dave leaves the paper lids not entirely torn off.
Christopher then pushed the covers closed again between bites, and
expects Dave to open it again for each spoonful. He does it with me
too, but the guys seem to have more of a ritual with it.
making more of an effort to feed himself in general. I feed him until I
think there is probably enough in him to keep him growing and healthy,
then he takes over. The carpet gets most of it, but he's making real
progress in the study of spoons and forks and their use for food
reorganisation. The dog appreciates his learning curve, and does any
cleaning up he can.
He enjoys peekaboo, and knows just what to
do. If he has access to a towel or bit of cloth, he'll pull it over his
face and drop it down when asked "Where's Christopher?" He laughs and
He's had a bit more cow milk and thinks of it as the
good stuff. He drinks as much as he can before stopping to catch his
breath, panting, then again drinking as much as that breath will allow
Kit is tremendously skilled at sliding off of laps and
chairs and landing on his feet. He never seems to get it wrong.
We are once again battling the dreaded nappy thrush. It hurts so much
that he cries until he shakes when I change his nappy. We got the
medication for it much earlier this time, so I'm hoping he's out of pain
After a nice long nap, he was in a pretty good mood this
afternoon. We were rolling around, and I put my finger in his mouth.
He said AAAAAAAH as I bounced it up and down between his lips, making it
a ba-buh-ba-buh sort of sound. He sometimes gets frustrated with that,
but today he kept opening his mouth over and over and starting it off
with an AAAAAAAH. At the end of that I noticed that tooth number FOUR
has finally broken through the gum. That's two up and two down. Just
call him Christopher Four Teeth!
Today, Tuesday 29 October 2002
is a red letter day. Today my son became a toddler. He has been
walking well for weeks, but today he threw his very first (and second)
temper tantrum. He was frustrated with breakfast so he took a few steps
away from me, found a nice open bit of floor, threw himself down on it
and started screaming and kicking his feet. I very deliberately looked
at something else. Somewhere between 10-15 seconds of that and he was
back with me negotiating for food again, calm and reasonable. Tonight
he tried the same deal on Dave, who did the same thing. Also an
abruptly ended scene as he realised he'd rather have the fromage frais
than the victory.
10 December 2002
Christopher went to a birthday party on Halloween. His buddy Geoffrey
turned one that day. Christopher decided that it would be a good time
to investigate the contents of their cupboards. I went to stop him, but
the hosts were insistent that he be allowed to do it, and that there
were no baby-unfriendly things in them. I don't think they'll be
insisting anything of the kind again soon. Ringleader Kit taught all
the other babies how to do it. Mummy did help with the cleanup, but I
think it was a bit more than they were expecting. Next time I'll keep
him from doing it even if they do say it's okay. He's getting a lot
more logical now than he was then, and would understand instructions
We continue with our swimming. We started going to the later class
because it was the one Dave had a chance of getting to. He only made it
to one before his work demands changed and made it impossible. We stuck
with the later class anyway. It has a lot fewer people in it. One week
we were even the only ones, but there are usually a few others.
Christopher continues to love the water, and I plan to keep him in
swimming for as long as he enjoys it. He impressed the swimming
instructor recently by traveling along the rail from the middle of the
long side of the pool all the way to the ladder by sliding one hand then
the other. She said she'd never seen a baby so young do that before.
She thinks it's something she would expect from a two year old.
After swimming one day I decided to push my luck and take him to get
some bigger shoes. They quizzed me about his walking, since different
stages have different shoe needs. I let him run around in his stocking
feet to show them what he could do. Of course he stopped in front of
the little shoe mirror and admired himself. He's still little enough
that he could see most of himself in it. He knows he's a pretty boy and
likes to have a look. They measured his feet, which are 4H -- the
widest shoe they carry. The saleswomen went in back to see what they
had in his size and left the door open. The door happened to be a full
door size mirror. Christopher decided to see where they had gone and
what they were doing, and RAN to find them. BAM! He brained himself by
running full force into the mirror. He only cried for 5 seconds or so,
most of which was in my arms, me commenting that he probably hadn't been
expecting that. The noteable part of this to me is that he then
approached every other full length mirror door and patted it with both
hands. He completely understood what had happened, why it happened, and
how to not have it happen again. He tried on a few pairs of shoes,
which turned out to be very expensive, and I decided to restrict him to
the softer, more affordable shoes. With new shoes every six weeks, I'm
not interested in blowing my inheritance on them.
Dave had a
taste of my life as he did the solo parent with baby thing in town one
Saturday. There are a lot more stairs around than you realize when you
don't have a pushchair, and the aisles are a lot narrower than they
otherwise seem. Everyone seems to have survived the ordeal, but I
thought it was very brave of Dave to attempt it when he hates going into
town at the best of times, avoids Saturdays, and rarely takes the baby
out on his own.
We had a few days in Bristol in early November.
Dave's work had a client there that they wanted him to go see, and as
it happens, Dave's family lives there. We all went along. Grandad took
the Friday off and spent it with Christopher, who demonstrated all his
favorite games and interests for him. Kit opened and closed the washer
and tumble dryer doors many hundreds of times. When he was done, closer
inspection revealed that several of Grandad's shoes had mysteriously
migrated into the tumble dryer. He also spent a lot of time on
"open/shut." This involves Christopher going up to a person who is
sitting in a chair or on a couch, grabbing one of their knees in each of
his hands, pulling them apart and waiting for the person to say "OPEN!"
He then dives between the legs, buries his face on a thigh, then backs
out and closes the knees again. The knee owner is then to say "CLOSED!"
Then he opens them again... I think you can see where this is going.
Grandad's knees has a good workout that weekend, as did his cousin's.
He got quite a bit of nice attention from Dave's sister and her kids.
He loves going to Grandad's house.
We all had a very bad cold
in November which none of us is quite over yet. He loves his medicine,
and spits his pacifier out to have it, then sucks it out of the syringe.
We tried swimming at a larger public pool once in November. It was a
little colder than the pool he's used to, and the locker rooms are
smellier, but it's still something we might do again someday. He was
very clingy at first, not wanting to do any of his usual swimming games,
but he eventually warmed up to the new venue. The pool also has an
attached "soft play" room he's been to a few times. It has a ball pit
and all soft equipment to climb on, around, and under. He's starting to
like that more and more, but his main interest is trying to chew or
rearrange the ball pit balls. Not in the pit though.
Christopher now has five teeth. He has the bottom middle two, the top
middle two, and the top one just to the right. Considering his
power-drooling the last few days, the return of nappy rash, and the weay
teething gel makes him stop crying (although he hates the stuff), I
think toothie number six might make an appearance soon.
Speaking of teeth, I have so far failed to report that he LOVES brushing
his teeth. In the early days we'd get the brush ready with a little
paste, and he'd open his mouth for cleaning. He never objected to this
in any way. More recently, he makes a grab for the brush in the moments
after it enters his mouth, and brushes his own teeth. He does a good
job of it too. He does the fronts and the backs and rubs them up and
down and back and forth, and in and out over the tops.
old days, he could only cry if he wanted things. Now he's developing a
whole new range of ways to ask for things. One day he reached into the
trash bin and pulled out an empty fruit bar wrapper and handed it to me.
I asked if he wanted a fruit bar, and he made his yes sound. He was
very happy when I got a full packet and opened it for him. He'll also
grab bananas and bring them to us for opening. His milk sippy cup has a
top that closes. Sometimes he can open it, but sometimes it's too hard,
so he brings it over for me to open for him. Just recently he's started
asking for more of something by holding his open hand out. He had an
unsalted chip, and when done reached toward the plate until I handed him
another, over and over again until he was full.
not safe in this house. Christopher has collected them all up and put
them somewhere. We're looking for the ones that go over the tops of the
doors, but no luck so far.
He's learning to climb up things.
He's always been good with his feet, and from the first attempts at
walking he's understood what to do about steppping around toys on the
floor, and even how to recover if he steps on a toy he wasn't expecting.
Now his feet are taking him up. Up the bodies of his parents, up onto
low chairs, up onto toys pushed near tables so he can reach things
formerly safe there, etc.
I've started taking him to Gymboree
to channel some of the climbing energy, but so far what he likes there
is the balls. He was a little freaked out the first time we went, but
the second time he remembered the balls and went over to their bin as
soon as I set him down. He likes them in all sizes. He kicks them
around the room with his feet, showing some pretty impressive football
skills, like standing one foot, putting his free toes on the ball and
bending his knee back to make it spin backward, then going to get it in
its new direction. He also picks up balls and spikes them with two
hands down to the ground. He thinks that's a wonderful thing to do. He
can't catch them yet, but there is plenty of time for that. He loves
the ball game where you put him sitting in a big comfy chair, then throw
the ball into his lap. You've never heard such laughing! He pushes it
back to you, then you throw it back and he tries to grab it with his
hands. Usually it gets corraled in a basket of arms and legs.
He's had Megabloks for a while now. They're sort of like Duplo blocks,
but another brand. The game used to be that mummy or daddy would build
something, and he would come along and take it apart. Now he's gotten
to the point of putting them together himself. The other day, presented
with three blocks, he had one in each hand and had to figure out what to
do about the third. He thought for a moment then attached the one in
his right hand to the one in his left hand, then grabbed the third one
with his right hand. Pretty good for 15 months, I think!
We were grocery shopping recently. He's usually very good for it, and I
try to explain to him what I'm doing and why. Last week we were in the
freezer section, and one of the young men working there stopped to say
hello to him and ask him about his shopping and all. You don't usually
get that from guys so close to 20 (probably younger), so it impressed
me. As he left to go back to work, the guy waved and called "Bye!" to
Christopher. Christopher waved and called back "BYE!" I was very
impressed because he hasn't shown much interest in speaking English yet.
I called the guy back and told him he just got the baby's first bye,
which sent them into another conversation, and another bye at the end of
that. Not seen it since, though.
I usually give him something
to play with in the store if he's getting upset. Sometimes it's a
packet of mushrooms, or a tin of beans, or anything crinkley. The other
day it was a tube of apple-cinnamon rice cakes. He loved it, and was
not letting go for anything. I didn't notice right away, but he
actually chewed through the wrapping and was trying to eat them right
there in the store. I don't let him eat in the store, at least not
until things are paid for, but there was no stopping him that time. It
remains one of his current favorite snacks.
He's gotten very
fussy about meal times. We've been feeding him out of blue plastic
bowls so that he can try feeding himself and not break our regular
dishes. Over the past few weeks, he cries at the very sight of food
dishes, throwing tantrums before even knowing what's inside. I think
milk and bread would be a perfect diet in his mind. Noting that he
likes fingerfood, we've been trying to come up with things he can feed
himself until his spoon and fork skills are fully online. I'm pleased
that we've eased him back in the direction of a varied and balanced
diet, and he no longer panics at the blue dish. He'll even accept sweet
potatoes and corn from it now.
Christopher was playing nicely
in the living room one day. I stepped out for a minute, and came back to
see that the glass lid to a cooking pot had been smashed. I asked him if
he was okay, and he just walked away and started playing with something
else, so I assumed all was well. Cleaned up the glass, then sat down to
give him him a snack, and noticed his shirt and trousers and legs and
arms and face all covered in little dabs of blood. Ooops. He was just
fine with it, but started screaming bloody murder (instead of just
looking like it) when I went to clean him up. He got the first bandage
of his life, which he HATED. Hated. Loathed. It was on his right pinkie,
which had the tiniest of cuts on the tip. He spent the next several
hours crying and poking at the bandage, calming down, seeing his finger
and crying again. Blood, snot, and tears. I tried the old trick of
handing him two biscuits, but he refused to take one with the offended
hand. He meant business. So did I, and the bandage stayed on for 3
hours. I'm a bad, bad mother.
He's got a bad habit with his milk cup. He'll drink as much as
he wants, then shake the mug until there are little drops of milk all
over the carpet. Not wanting to live in a sour milk house, I yelp, grab
the cup from him, and get a towel to clean up the floor before it can
really soak in. Just in the past few days, when I do the little yelp,
he looks at me, leans over, and wipes the floor with his hand. Too
He's been very much into removing his shoes over the past month
or so, but this week he changed his mind. It probably helps that it's
getting colder. Just in the past few days, he's begun to pick up his
shoe from the floor, stand on one foot, and hold the shoe up to the
elevated foot. He also understands a lot more about getting dressed and
undressed, and finds the whole concept a whole lot less offensive.
He'll hold his arm up to be put at the inside opening of the sleeve,
then will push his arm down when it's in position. He's done that on
request for a few months, but now he initiates the steps of getting
dressed. Even socks, which used to be torture for him, go on easily.
"Christopher, I can't reach your foot to put your sock on." And he
moves it closer. What a boy!
He's getting a lot more hair. I
don't know if you can see it on the recent photos (are there any recent
photos?), but he has a load of yellow ducky fuzz on the back of his
head. Less on top, but he has a definite hairline with definite hair.
It's almost long enough to brush. I wonder what he'll think of that.
Christopher had his first baby sitter experience on the 4th.
Actually he had a sitter back in January, but that wasn't at his own
home, and it was most of his life ago. Kate came over and we all spent
about an hour showing her around and telling her his routines, then the
parents disappeared. By all accounts he was good for her, but he would
not go to sleep until we got home. He was just lying in his cot
waiting. Once we got home, he was out like a light.
night I was out on my own, and Dave had a meeting to go to in the
village. He ended up taking Christopher along with him. I hear he was
good for it, wanting to be picked up near the end, but remaining quiet
and letting them get on with their business.
Dave's father came to visit. He arrived just as I was heading out to
take the cat to the vet for a test, which saved me from having to wake
Christopher from his nap to take him along. When I got back, my little
boy was snuggled happily in his grandfather's arms. He didn't fret at
all when he woke up and found a different adult in charge. He's always
remembered Grandad between trips, and takes right up where they left off
whenever they meet up again.
He got to spend most of Saturday
with Grandad, including another bit of time with no parents as we took
our cat Lacey to the vet for her last visit. She was in kidney failure
and let us know Saturday morning that it was time for her to go. After
that I caught them engaging in one of Christopher's new favorite games,
being chased. He loves to run away, giggle and look back, then squeal
with delight if he sees someone is coming after him.
Christopher have a solid relationship. It involves Chrono pushing past
the boy to get where he wants to go, often knocking him over, and
Christopher shoving the dog out of his way to get where he wants to go.
Neither one seems to see anything wrong with this system.
Putting things in other things continues. I discovered a shape-sorter
toy of his had indeed had shapes sorted into it -- including the shapes
of a water bottle, a biscuit, and half a dozen MegaBloks. There were
probably a few of the circles and triangles that came with the container
in there as well.
18 December 2002
The toddler boy is emerging
from the baby package a little more every day. He looks older and is
getting more complex skills and emotions.
We had a little time
to kill before turning up to a playgroup meeting when the grocery
shopping went faster than anticipated last week. Christopher was
getting a little edgy sitting in the trolley, so we went to the toy
aisle to try a few things out. He had a good time pushing the buttons
on the big expensive learning to spell toys before we moved on to the
little inexpensive toys. I found a Bob the Builder toy that was
interesting. A hard plastic Bob has a magnetic writing screen over his
stomach, and a small hammer shaped stylus allows drawing or writing to
happen, but only if held the correct way. It was marked half price to
clear, and after a quick demonstration he was very anxious to try it
himself. Amazingly (to me) he managed to work out very quickly that the
stylus only works one way, which way that is, and how to fix it if he
picks it up the wrong way. He can manipulate it with the fingers of the
hand its in with no help from the other hand, which is busy holding the
Bob portion of the toy. He scribbles and scribbles, and won't let
anyone take the toy to erase the screen. The toy is marked for over 3
kids, but if he only gets it under supervision it should be fine. The
first day he had it, he refused to let go during nappy change and
bedtime rituals, and was distinctly unhappy when Dave pried it from his
fingers. Quite a strong grip for a 15 month old.
He is getting
very good at anticipating things. When it's time to get out of the car
seat, he tries to push the release button (but can't make it pop, thank
Dog), then threads his arms out of the restraints before holding his
arms up to be picked up.
We went to a toddler Christmas party today. Christopher
demonstrated some new and unsavory skills. Geoff was there, and I was
asking his mother about his tickle spots. I asked about one of Kit's
best tickle spots, and she had never tried it, so I did. Geoff laughed
himself silly and wanted more. Christopher walked up to Geoff, face to
face, and gave him a hard and deliberate shove. Baby jealousy! Later
Rebecca wanted one of his blocks, so he beaned her with it. She cried,
so I told him he had to be gentle with other people and went to fuss her
instead. Not sure how many times he'll have to try it to learn it's not
the kind of attention he wants.
He can now reliably be counted
on to eat chips (fries). Not the most nutritious thing in the world,
but it can take the edge off when we're out. Other foods are subject to
daily negotiation. He likes flapjacks (oats and sugar) and mince pies
(raisins are good for him, right?), along with his beloved fromage
frais. He mostly wants whatever the big people are eating, which is
unfortunate because his kidneys are not ready for most of it. The most
irresistable food is that which is not offered to him.
other new interests are a challenge for me. He desperately wants to
pull all the books off the bookshelves. He can't get to most of them at
the moment, but we can't live like that forever. Trying to think of a
good solution for that. The other new thing he loves to do is a
variation on a theme. He has always adored playing in the dog's water
dish, but now it's not just his hands. He's good enough on his feet to
be able to stand on one foot and put the other into the water bowl. We
whip him into his playpen, where he cries for a minute before being
ready to come out again, but his love of this pastime is stronger than
the fear of any possible consequences. Looking for solutions for that
Still no progress on the speaking English thing, but
he generally is able to get his point across. He also talks a lot, but
in BabyLanguage. He seems to be using complete sentences, and even
paragraphs, but so far the deeper meanings elude me. All in good time,
all in good time. He understands what people say to him, so there is a
pretty good system in place for most things.
20 December 2002
Christopher's milk sippy cup shaking days were put to an end when I got
him a new cup which doesn't let any milk out when shaken. Mildly
frustrating for him, but he seemed to have gotten on with his life.
Tonight he introduced the next level of the game. He extracted a
mouthful of milk in the approved manner then spat it out on the floor.
Dave told him to clean it up and gave him a tissue. Much to our delight
and amusement, he DID clean it up. He spent many minutes wiping at the
floor, mostly missing the milky bits, but eventually getting a lot of it
He discovered the power of surnames today as he approached
the dog's water bowl for illicit purposes. I saw him and said in a
stern voice "CHRISTOPHER HOUGH!" He stopped what he was doing and tried
to look innocent.
We went to the village hall for open chat yesterday, and they
turned out to be having a christmas play made up of the people who
turned up. I got out of singing because the songs here are all
different from the ones I know. Christopher ran around screaming and
having a great time with the other kids. It's nice that the other
villagers are getting to know who he is.
21 December 2002
I don't like mince pies, but
both Kit and Dave do. I bought some little ones for them, and just made
Dave aware of them. Christopher was on my lap and had one, but then
wanted MORE. I told him that Daddy has them and he should go ask Daddy
if he wanted another one (I didn't feel like being further covered with
the crumbs of food I don't like). He immediately slid off my lap,
walked over to Dave, and started his "heh heh heh" of yearning, his
hands outstretched. It always amazes me how much he understands. And
yes, he got a second mince pie.
Christopher has a new passion. He loves to draw. Granted, at 15 months
all he can do is scribble back and forth, but he loves to do it.
Inspired by the previously mentioned Bob the Builder drawing toy, Dave
gave him a pencil and some sheets of paper. He sat and drew for at
least 30 minutes. That's a pretty good attention span for someone his
age. He cried bitterly when I took the pencil away, but he had started
to wander around the room a little, and I didn't want anyone getting an
eye put out. I think that's in the mother instruction manual. We'll
have to look into getting him some big crayons or something less
dangerous. He does appear to be right handed, in case anyone was
wondering. I'm not sure if that's fixed or something that could still
Oh yes, I forgot to mention that he is making more effort to sing along
when singing is going on. He also dances when it is clear that dancing
The last few nights at bedtime, we've been having him stand on
a stool in front of the sink for his tooth brushing and face wash.
Tonight I called him into the bathroom and he grabbed on to the edge of
the sink with his finger tips and got himself up on that step. He's
very excited at the prospect of being able to splash in the water and
brush his teeth.
Christopher sometimes watches me tidy up the
toys, so now that seems to be one of his games. Periodically he'll stop
and put several of the toys away. He usually takes them right back out
again. We can work on that as he gets older.
The shoes were coming off just a little too often for my taste.
It's not just the thrill of ripping velcro and kicking his shoes off in
stores (although I somehow always noticed and retrieved them), but his
most recent pair was starting to open themselves. Those baby hoofies
are just too big for size 4 velcro closing shoes now. He's now made the
move into size 5 lace-up ankle boots. He wore them with his jeans and a
T-shirt and looked just like a construction worker. He's also wearing
new cloth nappies which are just a little too big for him. As a result,
we got treated to a rare and amusing sight -- Baby Butt Cleavage. It's
so tempting to get him a little tool belt and hard hat.
25 December 2002
We slept a bit late, knowing that this might be the last Christmas we
can do that for 16 years or so. We let Christopher stay in his purple
footie sleeper for presents. He got a corn cob shaped harmonica, a
ride-on tractor with a pull along roller behind it, an inflatable ball
pit, Do-re-mi Dolphins, two videos, two "My first Thomas" engines and
some track, a really nice outfit, a learn-to-play Megabloks piano, a
video, a Blue cuddly toy (from Blue's Clues), and some Baby Einstein
books. Did I leave anything out? So many fun presents! He played and
played and played, then got all tired out and had a short nap.
When Christopher woke up, he
discovered that I was having some chocolate orange, and he wanted to be
having some too. He used his piano as a step to get up to where I was
reading on the couch, and curled up right in the line of chocolate. It
might have been a mistake, but I gave him a segment. We got a big
chocolatey grin as it disappeared bit by bit into his mouth, along with
copious amounts of brown drool coming out. He had climbed up on me to
use me for his chocolate station, but when things got too wet and sticky
for my liking, I rolled him off. He landed on his feet, and we noticed
he had two more pieces of chocolate orange in his non-feeding hand. We
didn't see him take it, and based on where it had been, it took him a
fraction of a second to see it and grab it on his way down. Dave had a
hard time getting it away from him again. Later he got another piece,
and we saw those lovely chocolate smiles again.
We went for a walk to the local
playground. It's fairly limited in what it offers, but Christopher is a
pretty little guy, and doesn't need much more than it has at the moment.
He explored the merry-go-round/roundabout, getting slightly more
confident with every try. He's not entirely comfortable with how it
moves, but is willing to learn. He really enjoyed riding it with Dave
near the end of our time there.
26 December 2002
Christopher loves mince pies. Loves. We
decided he could have some today, which pleased him to no end. When
he'd finished his first one, he took the empty foil container to Dave
for another. Then again for a third. He did very well, providing
minimal floor-findings for the dog.
Many hours later, I turned
up with dinner. He's got real anxiety around evening meals these days,
so we mainly try to be sure that he gets lots of nutrition early in the
day, then make food available at dinner time, but not force the issue.
Sometimes we do make him take one bite, and three times out of four
he'll want more once he's had a taste, but starting the meal is so
stressful for him that sometimes we just let him play with the food
rather than eat it. Tonight he was very interested in playing with the
food, but was crystal clear about his intention to have none of it in
him. I opened my mouth, and he got one of the most delighted
expressions I've seen on him, right up there with the chocolate eating
expression. He fed me about 75 bites of his dinner (no, not
exaggerating. That's low if anything.) with his spoon. Most of these
bites had no food on them, or maybe just a little essence of food, but a
few of them had a morsel or two. He's not very skilled at getting food
onto utensils yet. He was really into Mummy feeding, even opening his
mouth as he guided the spoon into mine, as countless adults have done
with him. Priceless.
Somewhere in there he became aware that
the mince pie foils from his earlier frenzy with Dave were on the floor
and under foot. He wasn't pleased with that, so I picked up the five
right in his vicinity and threw them away. He got excited because he'd
spotted the sixth one a few feet away. He went over and got it, and
handed it to me to dispose of along with the others.
2 January 2003
On the Saturday after Christmas, we had some people over for most of the
day. Christopher seemed to enjoy the attention he got, and was relaxed
enough to have a nap right in the middle of the festivities when he got
worn out. He got to swap trade secrets with another baby, who was five
months old. We spent time trying to reenforce the elusive concept of
The next day, we went to see Dave's Aunt Chris, who
is actually just a year and 9 days older than I am. We won't be calling
her "Great Aunt." Chris said he looks just like Dave did at that age,
and that Dave was one of the cutest babies around. Dave took exception
to the use of past tense in reference to his cuteness. Chris pointed
out that there are no photos of him at that age because he was still in
the hospital with the meningitis he'd contracted at 9 months of age.
She used to go visit him when she was a tiny girl and tap on the glass.
Christopher got to meet her kids, and seemed to be quite
impressed with her holiday decorations and food. He went around
mooching bread off various people and eating it messily on the floor.
Chris was very gracious about the consequences to her carpet. At one
point he went over to Dave and took the end of his bread, which happened
to contain some sliced ham. Other than dog food, Christopher has never
had meat before. He actually ate most of the bread before realizing
there was something else inside. He sat on my lap very thoughtfully
chewing and considering before spitting out the parts that required
molars. He later tasted and rejected a small sausage.
back I bought a rocking chair which has quite a low seat and a high,
wide back. Christopher is spending some time every day mastering this
chair. He has experimented with many of getting himself onto it, and is
refining a short list of them. Sometimes he tries standing on it and
rocking, which has worked out fine so far. It's not much of a drop, so
I am not terribly worried about his falling because he seems to
understand the consequences and holds onto the arms. He has a strong
interest in avoiding it.
One of the presents his grandfather got him for Christmas was a
small inflatable ball pit. We haven't set up the pit yet, but he hasn't
missed it. He cannot get enough of those balls. With 100 of them, he
hardly has a chance to be without them. He delights in removing them
from the box, having them thrown at him, kicking them around the room,
putting them into any handy container, handing them one by one to a
parent, then taking them back one by one and spiking them into the
floor. No end of fun! When his excitement over the loose balls wanes,
we can set up the pit for new levels of joy.
There was a time
when we ate dinner at the table every night with the baby in his high
chair. He got to a point where being put in the chair was good for an
instant tantrum, so we started eating in other places around the house.
He got fed on laps a lot, or even standing up in front of the person
with the food. He didn't mind occasional visits to the little seat that
hooks onto the kitchen counter. We decided to try the dining room table
for meals again, so he got put into the high chair once again. Instant
tantrum. No idea why he hates that thing so much. We finally hit on
the idea of taking the tray off and pushing him right up to the table.
Bingo. He wants what the big people have and if the big people have no
tray, he wants no tray. We moved his chair to the end of the table so
he has a parent on either side at dinner, and he really likes that a
lot. He watches Dave take bites of food. He sometimes gets bites of
Dave's or my food. He's currently using the three-spoon method of
self-feeding. The first spoon goes into his right hand. He digs the
food, lifts the spoon to his mouth, flips the spoon over, and gets the
food down the front of his shirt. Then the second spoon comes in. That
goes into his left hand. He uses the spoons like tongs to get the food
onto either spoon, then lifts one to his mouth. The third spoon comes
in when Dave or I decide he actually needs to get some food in him.
That one starts out in one of our hands and a bite of food gets popped
in his mouth. Sadly, this is usually against his will, but once he's
had a taste, he's good for more 9 times out of 10.
6 January 2003
The past few days have been
really wonderful with Christopher. He's had a few lightbulbs go on over
his head, and it makes a big difference.
On the evening of the
3rd of January, Dave and I had stuffed peppers, which are red with rice
and rice-sized veggies in them. Christopher was having some pasta with
red sauce and veggies in, chopped up small. It was just a coincidence,
but the two food items looked quite similar. We were getting everything
ready, taking it to the table, him in his chair waiting for us... but he
didn't wait. He picked up his spoon and started eating his food. And
he ate it all, all by himself. Then he had a mince pie all by himself.
No crying or fussing about anything. He was happy.
three days have been similarly successful. The more his food looks like
ours, the more likely he is to eat it. We've been trying to have foods
he can eat, or that look like foods he can eat. He's still on a salt
restriction because he has baby kidneys. That we all have similar
plastic placemats (San Francisco or Gibraltar) is not lost on him. He's
been feeding himself yogurt, and because he loves it so much, he's
learned to take the spoon to his mouth without flipping it over. His
success is giving us all a lot of joy.
He still enjoys feeding the big people. He likes to put drink
bottles to our mouths, or feed us with his spoon. He loves the power!
He also knows his bedtime routine quite well. I walk to the
bathroom, he walks to the bathroom. I turn the water on in the handsink
and let the temperature run to warm while he climbs up on the stool. I
relieve him of his pacifier if he has one. With warm water in the sink,
I wash his hands and face in turn and rinse the soap off again. Then he
points at his toothbrush, which I load up with paste. I give him a
quick brushing to make sure everything gets a bit of a clean, then I let
him do the rest. He used to really brush his teeth himself, but he's
getting more into biting the brush now. When the teeth are done, he
reaches for his pacifier and climbs down and goes to his room for a new
nappy and a sleeper, then gets tucked into bed with his Mozart CD
playing. He's good with it all.
If anyone is wondering, he is
almost definitely right handed. He picks up pencils, toothbrush, and
spoons with his right hand almost every time. He still uses the left
for second-spooning when he needs to, or he'll try his left hand if the
right isn't working for something he wants to do.
to Gymboree today, which was hard for him. After being away for a few
weeks, all those colors were overwhelming, and he started Mandraking
out. After ten minutes or so of mummy hugs, he decided it might be fun
to play with the toys there. By the end of class he owned the place,
and we stayed for a bit of open gym after.
I'd arrived a few
minutes late because there was ice on my car, and in my haste I had
forgotten to put his stroller in the car. That meant carrying him.
He's good at walking, but not at walking where I want him to. After
Gymboree, we went to Mothercare and got him a harness. We then tried it
out by walking around the mall a little. He is easy to steer in it, and
seems to enjoy the freedom of his own feet.
A few days ago we
took him outside on the gravel to get his photo in the sunlight. For
the first time, he realized he could walk on that stuff. He's been on
the gravel before but for some reason thought he had to stand very still
when on it. It was the first sunny day (or portion of a day) we'd had
in a while, and he cast a long shadow. He thought that was pretty funny
and started trying to chase it. He realized the futility quickly, but
it was a happy experience for him.
We've been experiencing
fewer tantrums as more things suddenly make sense to him. He doesn't
seem interested in speaking English, but what he understands never
ceases to amaze me. Life is good.
7 January 2003
Several cuteness attacks today.
He's very fond of a cartoon dog called Kipper, who made an
appearance on the television today. He climbed into the rocking chair
all by himself and watched it from there, turning to smile broadly at me
when he thought some part of the show was really good.
grocery shopping, and went through the whole store with me trying to
kiss Christopher and him laughing and trying to push me away. I
explained to him what I was buying and why, and he seemed most
interested. At the checkout, someone recognised him and greeted him by
name. He turned his head sideways, seeming to want to see if she was
more familiar upside-down.
Back at home, I asked him if he
wanted a new nappy. He said "a-yeah." And he did!
around the room as I sat reading in a chair, he came over and
chest-butted my knees, which were together. He did it several times
before I said "closed." He was SO proud of me for passing the test, his
star pupil. He then pushed them apart, I said "open," and he climbed up
to give me a big hug.
He spent some time playing with his
Megablok piano. He took the blocks (bloks?) out, put them together,
took them apart, put them back in the piano, pulled them out again, put
them together, took them apart... I think you can guess the rest, and
add several more cycles at the end. He really concentrates on this
As is becoming quite usual, he is happy and excited when Dave gets home.
He runs to the door and puts his arms up and collects a big hug. They
cuddled and played and rolled around, then Christopher did something
that everyone hopes will NOT become usual. He bit Dave on the chest,
right through his shirt, hard enough to leave a mark. After being told
what he'd done wrong, he got put in his playpen for a timeout, but the
effectiveness of it seemed slim because he immediately fell asleep.
We woke him up for dinner, and learned that no matter what's on
offer, he's probably not going to let anyone else have his spoon ever
again. He is clearly proud of himself, as well he should be.
21 January 2003
Christopher now has two swimming sessions a week. It might be too much
for him, but it should be easy to stop one of them if it's not fun
enough. We started him on lessons with a particular group when he was a
newborn, then stopped in August, making the move to another group. The
new group costs less and has longer session, but offers little or no
instruction. We have fun with the other babies there, but I thought
perhaps his skills and ability to learn in the water were waning, so we
went back to the teaching class. The first day back, he cried. He
screamed. He wailed. He didn't like challenges. I think I was right
to take him back though, because now he's getting more comfortable with
the unfamiliar again. I'm not pushing him as hard as the lessons
dictate yet because I want him to enjoy it as much as he can.
On Friday, after the slacker lesson, we went to buy some tofu and bum
wipes at the local crunchy store. He was so exhausted from swimming
that he fell asleep right in the trolley. He just put his head down on
the push-bar and checked out. I ran into someone I know, so we sat to
have a beverage and chat for a while. He stayed head down for almost
the whole time. People kept coming up and leaning waaaay down to see
his sleeping face.
He's got a new tooth coming in. Just left
of the center two on the lower row. This brings his lifetime total up
to seven teeth.
His current interests include walking backward
or sideways. Sometimes it looks like he might break into a moonwalk,
but he never quite does. He can cover quite a bit of distance in
reverse. He's also developed a new interest in textiles. One day he
found a basket of clean laundry and spent quite a bit of time
methodicallly moving each item to his left until everything was there,
then to his right, then back, repeat several dozen times. He repeated
this another day when I put him in his little chair and put a blanket
over his legs while he had a snack. Once the snack was eaten, the
blanket went hand by hand yo his left, then right... you get the idea.
He is also deeply committed to putting objects in the dog's water dish.
These include but are not limited to his hands, his feet, toys, dog
food, and papers. If the house is quiet and you can't see the boy, you
had better go save the dog water from his efforts. Also in the kitchen,
he loves to take the tea towels out of the drawer and, when caught, put
them all back in again.
One night we broke from the custom of
eating at the table, and had burritos in the computer room. Christopher
ate a bit of his, then decided that it would be much more fun to feed it
bit by bit to the dog through the baby gate bars. Dave got some cute
photos of that. The dog was very gentle in accepting the hundred tiny
bits of tortilla.
Doors in the house are not safe. He can now
open any one of them except the doors to the outside world. He has to
stand on his tippiest of toes to get some of them, but he likes to
demonstrate his domination of the door by opening any door we decide to
close, even if he has no interest in going through it. At certain times
of day, strategic doors are blocked with chairs.
frustration levels are high, but come in shorter bursts. He has a lot
of success in the things he tries to do, but he's trying a whole lot
more than he used to be able to, so while the number of frustrating
events is going up, the percentage of efforts ending in frustration is
falling. He sometimes responds well to suggestions like "take your
time" or "slow down" or even more specific suggestions as to where to
put his hands, feet, etc.
As a wee little baby, Kit always
turned to watch the adverts on television which were asking for
donations to end suffering. Animal welfare, starving children, foreign
aid, domestic violence, he wanted to end it all. And now that he's a
big boy, what kind of adverts do you think he's interested in? Debt
consolidation loans for homeowners. He can't get enough of them. I
have no idea what this means.
I spent one Saturday away from
home, leaving the boys to look after each other. Whenever I'm away, Kit
wants a good cuddle session with me before he goes to bed. If it
doesn't happen, he'll wake up a few hours later and demand it. I
happened to be home in plenty of time, and was still holding him when it
was bedtime. Dave was getting his sleeper ready for him, and I asked
him if he'd had a good time with Daddy today. He said "uh-huh."
I spoke with my friend, Kitty, on the telephone today.
Christopher wandered up and started babbling at me, and Kitty really
seemed to enjoy hearing him. She told me that he was saying "daddy" in
Chinese. She's originally from China, so I accept her as an authority
on the matter.
1 February 2003
We've missed quite a few of our
regular classes in the last few weeks. Some were weather related, some
were scheduling problems, and one swimming class was because of a
problem with the pool.
Christopher has kept himself busy with
rearranging things, as always. He likes it when we count the things
aloud for him.
A few days ago he got the first black eye of his
life. He stumbled and clipped his cheekbone on a round-cornered metal
box. He wailed at the time, but hasn't complained about it since.
We had to break down and get a couple more baby gates. He
can't resist opening closed doors. He finds them frustrating, but seems
to have accepted their presence in his life. We now have eight internal
doors with five installed gates and one portable gate.
enjoys throwing things out of the shopping trolley. This week it was
crisps. Beats eggs! I managed to catch the bags, say thank you, and
put them out of reach.
Oddest new behavior is head-butting the
dog right over his tail. He walks up behind the dog, makes sure I'm
watching, and does a crisp bow at the waist, bumping his forehead on the
dog's lower back. If I tell him to be gentle with the dog, or to leave
the dog alone, he instantly tries to do it again. If I praise him for
being gentle (whether he was or not), he gets bored and wanders away.
He does so want to be naughty. Mostly the dog doesn't even notice he's
doing it, but that's not the point. We're working on establishing some
limits and what words actually mean.
The biggest event of the
last two weeks is probably the blizzardy type thing we had. Although it
only came to about five inches of snow, it was fiercely delivered. Dave
was lucky to get home to us on Thursday night. He was only two hours
late. We heard the next morning that there were still some people stuck
from the night before on the roads he travels.
What this meant
is that Christopher got extra Daddy time on Friday since he couldn't get
in to work. We took advantage of this by introducing him to snow. At
first he didn't like it. At first he cried. We took turns holding his
hand and leading him around in the back garden. We let go of his hand
and took a few steps away. He walked over to us. He got more and more
comfortable, and started walking around on his own a little. Eventually
it was time to go in, but he didn't want to. He's still not convinced
that holding it in his hand is a good idea, but he seems to have a
guarded love of snow. At least this week.
6 February 2003
Oh yeah, he likes "Bubble and
Squeak." It's a British food made of potatoes and cabbage, shaped like
a hockey puck.
"Christopher Heaven" consists of two pacifiers:
One in mouth, one in hand. Remove one from mouth, regard it, place
other one in mouth, remove and regard that one, place other one in
mouth, repeat 16,000 times.
One day Christopher learned to
climb onto the dining room chairs. There were some dishes left on the
table, and he was drumming on the plates with the knives and forks. Not
good. He could get onto lower chairs before, but this was a big step
for him. It also gave him access to the books behind the chairs, so I
thought I should discourage this, and removed him. I made the chairs
into a different sort of barricade after I found him behind the one I'd
already constructed. I removed the plates and took them to the kitchen.
Mistake. He was ON the table in the newly vacated spot, sitting on his
heels and looking mighty smug. More rearranging. A few days later I
found him proudly sitting on one of the armchairs, a previously
So the baby-proofing line is raised. He can get his hands on
anything on a desk or table.
Finally made it back to a Gymboree
class this week. He had no desire at the beginning to do what the rest
of the class was doing, but he wasn't idle. As the other babies learned
to walk up ramps and go down slides, Christopher learned to climb the
rungs of a ladder and play with the rattles on the platform on top.
They're little rectangular ones in bright colors. He arranged them in
several different configurations, seemed fascinated when I counted them
for him, and even built a tower with them. Other babies could see he
had the best game in the room, and kept coming over to steal his rattle
blocks, but he didn't get upset, and their mothers usually extracted and
returned them. When free time came around, he did all the things they
had been doing. I like to let him do things in his own time, but
eventually he's going to have to learn to do group things. For now, I'd
rather not have him associate the place with torture.
making it easy though. Today he went to play with the locks on the
stock cabinet, but the locks were off. He managed to fit his thumb
through the hole the lock would have gone through, and was unable to get
it out again. After I extracted it for him, we explored the therapeutic
properties of Mummy kisses. Potent things indeed, it seems.
Afterwards, we went to pick up a few things, including a pair of wellies
for him. I've tried to get him into wellies before, and they always
make him burst right into tears. Like half a dozen times. He was
pretty tired this time, so that may have been all he needed to get past
the initial shock. Or so I thought. Once he had to stand up in them,
he went into full Mandrake mode, right in the ear of the shop assistant
who was feeling his toes. She had been warned, but didn't take notice.
Anyway, he now has the royal blue wellies of eternal doom and suffering.
Thomas and Friends adorn the sides as agents of darkness. He did much
better with them when we got home, although he's just a little too good
at getting them off. Once he learns how useful they are for jumping in
puddles, I hope he can accept their evil influence in his life.
When we got home, I decided to give him a Jaffa Cake. He sat on a chair
and ate it, displaying that special smile he reserves for occasions when
he suddenly discovers that life is better than he thought it was. I'd
avoided giving them to him before because the jelly bit is too chewy on
some of them, but these were very soft.
8 March 2003
We went to Amsterdam in early February. Christopher got to get up at 4
in the morning and go to the airport in his jammies. He was very good
on the trip because we walked and walked, pushing him in his stroller.
He loves that, and will sit there enjoying the ride and taking in the
sights all day. He only objected when we stopped moving, which we
didn't actually do very often. Mainly for meals.
Christopher news from Amsterdam was his bedtime issues. He is very good
about sleeping at home, fussing very little if any when he gets put in
his bed, almost always sleeping through until 6 or 7 in the morning.
The first night in Amsterdam he refused to sleep in the crib they
provided. Refused. We let him snuggle up in his favorite H position
between us with him as the cross-bar and an adult as each vertical of
the H. The second night we decided to really try to get him to sleep in
his crib, but he flat out refused. He cried. He screamed. He fussed.
He nearly fell asleep standing up with his chin hooked over the top
edge. We finally gave in out of consideration to the other people
staying at the Botel, but it was quite instructive of just how stubborn
he can be when he has strong feelings about something.
He didn't really get a cold, but there was a week of a runny nose
without any indication of not feeling well. He did not want his nose
cleaned, even though it was fairly crusty and gross. Being the evil
mother that I am, I cleaned it many times a day anyway. One night he
was on his changing table getting his bedtime nappy, and I decided to go
for a nose clean one more time. He saw it coming and put his upper lip
all the way up against his nose, blocking his nostrils from the tissue
of doom. Of all times not to have a camera! Tissue of doom prevailed,
alas, and he went to sleep with a clean nose.
Swimming continues, but with variable enthusiasm. He loves to play with
the toys in the pool, and will grunt and point if he wants me to help
him get one. he is tall enough to touch the bottom of the pool with his
toes in the shallow end now, and will make small attempts to move
himself in the water in pursuit of toys. He still jumps in from the
side even though he knows he'll go under water before I catch him, but
now takes the time to splash his toes for a bit first. He does some
stunningly brave and daring maneuvers in the water, but also freaks out
sometimes when new things are introduced. I know I ask a lot of him,
and if it's causing more than a moment of distress, I'll take him out of
the group and do things he likes for a bit. It's a fine line between
letting him quit and pushing him too hard. We try to find a healthy
balance for a 17 month old. I hope he starts enjoying it more soon.
The swimming instructor says kids often go through slumps, but they
always snap back to loving it. We shall see.
At Gymboree he's
a happy maniac. He can climb almost anything. He climbs up things and
slides down them again without any adult guidance or assistance. He
loves it. He walks around fearlessly on platforms. He's receptive to
new ideas. He's always doing things that make adults want to rush and
catch him, but he never falls. He knows how to balance, he knows how to
get down. He's going to have to move the next class up soon because
he's topping out on the age range for the one he's in. The teacher
thinks he'll be great at the new level. He has the physical skills, and
she says none of the kids really pay attention in the group activities
Our bedtime ritual for Christopher involves a step
stool and a sink with warm water in it. He has to have his hands and
face washed, and his teeth brushed. He isn't all that keen on the soap
part, mainly because he seems to have a reflex which makes him put his
soapy hands into his eyes. He either cries that the soap is in his eyes
or that we're keeping his hands away from his eyes. Lately I've been
teaching him about getting soap on his hands and rubbing them together,
then rinsing them. He's starting to get the hang of that now, and helps
rather than hinders the process. He still complains about face washes,
but I try to go fast. Tooth brushing comes next. If I'm too slow, he
points at his toothbrush and makes emphatic grunts at it. He watches
with a smile while I put on the paste, and works with me as I gently tip
his head back and brush all around his mouth. When I'm satisfied that
the teethies are all clean, I hand him the brush, and he finshes the
job. That can take anywhere from 10 seconds to a minute depending on
his mood. Then he hands the brush back for rinsing, and gets his face
wiped clean of froth.
The stool is positioned in such a way
that he can't reach the taps, nor his toothbrush. One night he really
really wanted to be able to reach his toothbrush, but couldn't. The
next night as he approached the step stool, he stopped, leaned over,
moved it five inches to the left, then got on it. He'd figured out how
to get what he wanted the night before.
Of course being a
toddler is all about testing limits, and Christopher is a fully
qualified toddler. We try to present him with choices and consequences,
and always follow through, but he's not a very gracious loser. He gets
frustrated and has tantrums, even though he knows they don't work around
here. He's started actually doing some of the things we tell him to do,
but mostly the struggles continue.
He'll do some distance on his own two feet now. I took him to the
grocery store one day and made him walk from the car park to the store.
It was really pretty far, and he did it with no trouble (although I was
holding his hand and providing balance over the strange terrain). He
wanted to be picked up shortly before we got to the store entrance. He
communicated it very clearly, and enjoyed his shopping. Encouraged by
this, I took him to the village hall the next day for tea and biscuits
(no tea for him though). Rather than going in his stroller as usual, I
held his hand and walked him over there. He wanted to be picked up
twice on the way there and twice on the way back. The day after that,
we walked to see the new village sign with Dave. I think he's starting
to learn that walking is a good way to get places.
week, we went to see a hugely pregnant friend and her little girl. He
and the girl, who is almost four, played and played. She was very
attentive to him, and they had a great time together, even though they
weren't always playing the same games as each other. He seemed very
interested in the older woman, and made a careful study of everything
she did. Later, we went to the village hall tea and biscuits afternoon
again, where another older woman (almost 2 years old) started taking any
toy Christopher showed an interest in. Finally she got him up on the
stage and announced that she needed to "cuddle" him. Which she did
repeatedly, usually wrestling him to the floor in the process. He
seemed unconcerned and vaguely pleased to be admired in this way.
We've taken his football to the village hall several times now.
He continually amazes the older villagers with his ability and interest
in kicking the ball all around the room. "The next Beckham" is
something I hear several times a week now, as he also kicks the balls
around at Gymboree.
He has a lot of ideas about meal time. He
doesn't always want to eat, but he knows how things go and what to do.
He knows that a bib goes around his neck. He can reach where the clean
ones are kept, and if he's feeling hungry, sometimes he'll go get a bib
and put it on. He knows that Mummy sits in a big chair for meals, and
he really wants to have a big chair of his own. Actually, he wants MY
chair for his own. He'll quite often go sit on my chair and pretend to
eat during the day. Just today he was offered a yogurt, and he refused
(tantrum style) to consider eating it unless he could be in Mummy's
chair, which he was allowed to do after he'd been calm for a while. At
dinner time he still sits in his high chair and feeds himself as much as
he can. He still prefers food that looks like ours, unless he doesn't
like the look of ours. He'll eat a stuffed pepper any day of the week,
even though they're a little spicey.
He likes to feed other
people. Being around most of the time, I get a lot of it (which is why
he doesn't get fed much that I don't like). Several times in the past
few weeks I've had the experience of him holding a rice cake up to my
mouth, him opening his mouth. He puts it in my mouth, I bite down, he
breaks off the main bit leaving me with a small chunk in my mouth. If
there is any part of it sticking out from between my lips, he gently
pushes it into my mouth with one finger. Then he smiles and starts
smacking his lips with his tongue out. It's so sweet. I just love it.
In late February Grandad came for a visit. He rang the
doorbell, and I took Christopher along to answer the door with me. I
opened the door, he stepped to the threshold, looked at his grandfather,
and put his arms up to be collected for a hug. Christopher does NOT do
this with everyone. I was impressed that he remembered him so well
after not seeing him for a few months, but he always does seem to know
who Grandad is. They spent a lot of time together over the next few
days, and enjoyed playing together with the outgrown cousin toys Grandad
brought along with him. Plenty of snuggles too.
Last night in his bath (instead of the sink ritual, he
sometimes has a tub bath) he was having a great time playing with his
toys and splashing around. Dave washed his hair, then went to rinse it.
He's not always a fan of having his head rinsed, but last night it was
all he wanted. Dave poured a little cup of water over him. He wriggled
then burst into a huge smile. Another cup of water, another wriggle and
smile. A dozen rinses later, Dave stopped. Christopher got the cup and
handed it back to him for more. A few dozen more times, including some
with timing variations to play on his anticipation, and Dave stopped
again. Christopher handed the cup back to him. I have no idea how long
they went on like that, but I know bedtime was at least 15 minutes late
when the start time of the bath actually had him destined to be under
the covers a bit early that night.
Christopher has been allowed
to drink from my water bottle for about a year now. He has his own
drinks too, but water is for sharing, especially if we're out. He knows
I sometimes have other drinks in similar bottles to the water bottle,
and makes grabs for them now and then. I take this as a sign he's
thristy, ask him if he is thirsty, and give him something else. Today
he was not going to be put off of my drink with his own drink. He threw
his on the floor and went for mine again. It was diet cola. Fizzy.
Aspartame. Not for little boys. I made an impulsive decision to let
him try a tiny amount. He lifted the bottle to his lips and raised the
bottom. Talk about shocked! His eyes bugged out. His tongue shot out,
along with all (a few millilitres) of the soda. A look of utter
betrayal, horror, and just plain amazement that such a thing could come
out of a drink bottle. I held it out to him again, and he suddenly went
forraging for his previously discarded baby drink container.
Earlier today, Dave was elsewhere in the house, and Christopher and I
were in the living room with the baby gated closed. Nothing odd there,
but Christopher decided that he wanted to be with his father. He
grabbed my hand (actually just a death grip on one finger) and pulled me
over to the baby gate, then carefully placed my hand on the part that
needs to be squeezed to open it. I let him out, and we went to find
15 March 2003
On Sunday morning we went to a strip mall to take care of an errand, but
Dave wasn't interested in staying for the final details, so he and
Christopher rolled off to look for a football. They selected a lovely
yellow one. Not a toy with football markings printed on it, but a real
football. Woo hoo!
On Sunday afternoon I was having a lovely nap, deep in sleep, and Dave
was looking after Christopher. Crying. Screaming. Combination crying
and screaming. Someone didn't want me to sleep. Dave appeared at the
bedroom door and asked if I could help. Not one to give up on a nice
nap when there is another qualified parent in charge, I asked, "Is he
bleeding?" I was so sure that would get me more sleep time, but the
answer was "a bit." It turns out that Dave and Christopher were going
to have a walk in the garden, as they sometimes do. Dave took him to
the sliding glass door, unlocked it, opened it, pulled back the curtain
and went to help him through, but it was too late. Christopher KNEW
there was glass there and decided to drum on it. But there wasn't glass
there, and he went hands and face first onto the pavement below. He had
a big purple bump and a small abrasion on his forehead, and scratches
down his nose. It was a painful lesson (for parents and boy alike), but
Kit is one to learn from his mistakes, and I doubt he'll be doing that
Gymboree class on Monday was devoted to social time. Christopher wanted
no part of that. He got a ball and went off to play on his own. He did
stop and watch them now and then. When the maracas came out, he refused
to accept any, but then decided he quite liked the maraca song, and did
a dance instead. He was clearly pleased that the other parents were
enjoying his show. He tried some hard tasks and fell once,
re-scratching his nose, but got right back on and tried it again. He's
getting too big for the class he's in, so next week he'll be in the one
with the bigger kids.
Tuesday we did water torture, otherwise
known as swimming lessons. We picked up a few good tips, such as a new
way to get him into the water, and diving in face first instead of feet
first. Less water up the nose. The rest of the lesson was tear
inducing torture. He hated all the flotation devices. He hated going
under water. When the time finally came, he hated getting out of the
pool, then he hated being in the dressing room. The only thing he liked
was playing with the toys in the water, which we did as much as
possible, easing into tasks now and then, and again when the screams
came. I can't tell how much of it was just the mood of the day, so
we'll keep going at least for the rest of the lessons we've paid for.
Wednesday we went to London Costco for a few household staples.
Laundry supplies, tortillas, batteries, etc. Almost no food this time,
oddly enough. Christopher was very good for the drive there and all of
the shopping until we got to the checkout (he has a hatred of checkouts
-- I have my own theories). By then he was out of milk in his sippy
cup, so we got more at the cafe and got back in the car. I needed a pit
stop, but didn't want to go back to Costco, so we went to the roadside
services. Christopher held my hand and walked a lot of the way there,
then to the shop to get him a snack, and all the way back to the car.
He slept a lot of the way back, but we stopped off for a little side
trip about half way home. We went to where Dave works to visit him.
Dave got to show his little boy off to his coworkers, and Christopher
got a little chance to run around, and to get a new nappy. One of the
people who works there has a daughter just a bit older than Christopher
and spent a while comparing and contrasting the two kids. He was
impressed with how well Kit not only walks but runs, and by how big he
I got sick, so we missed going to the village hall on Thursday, and
swimming on Friday.
Christopher is now 18 months old, and has
begun to use toys in their intended manner. Megabloks are actually used
to construct things, mostly towers. He'll sit on the tractor and ride
it a short distance. He plays his musical toys (sort of) as they are
meant to be played.
Thursday, when I had to do most of my child
care from under a blanket on the couch, I watched him play with his
megabloks, building, rebuilding, and completely absorbed for a full
hour. We did have one intermission for a nappy change, but that was my
idea, then he was back to work. He mostly wants to build towers out of
the single cell blocks, but he will dabble in other sizes, especially
when encouraged to do so. Today he decided that he was going to make a
tower entirely out of orange single blocks. We were pleased that he
could distinguish the colors so well. He found most of them on his own,
but then we turned up a few more, which we presented in groups with
other colors of blocks. He refused all but the orange ones until he had
them all on his tower, then he moved to red and black. Later on in the
day, he moved all the small orange blocks to a coffee table and moved
them around, babbling to himself as if he was telling a story and they
were the actors. Eventually he made them all into a horizontal tower, a
train of storts, and then reorganized them several times.
honor of his turning 18 months old, he's been offered a few salty items
of food. He showed me up by refusing all offers on his actual 18 month
day, but the next day he accepted two extra marmite rice cakes before
getting into a salty snack food (Shocks onion flavor) and extracting a
handful. He seemed surprised that we didn't take them away, and ate
one. The he ate another. Then he fed all the rest, one by one, to
Dave. Dave does not appear to have suffered any damage.
there isn't a magic switch that suddenly makes salt not okay on one day
and okay the next, but a small indulgence to mark his passage into the
land of developed kidneys seemed to be in order. It's nice not to have
to worry quite so much about what he gets into his mouth.
holding steady at 30 pounds, but he does seem to be getting taller
within that weight. No recent height measurements because he's just too
wiggly. I'll post it when I can. His legs are longer, if his trousers
can be believed. He's moved from size 5 shoes to size 6. They're big
on him, but the 5s were not going on any more. He knows what shoes are
for and tries to put them on his feet for himself, or stands in grownup
shoes. He has at least ten teeth, but he's not into letting us check
inside his mouth very often. He definitely has front four up and down,
and a first molar on each side of the top. Lower right first molar is
threatening to pop through. Real chewing is imminent. Fire engine red
Dave suggested another walk in the garden today.
Caution caused Christopher to ask for a ride over the dangerous step,
but then he ran around the garden playing football and frisbee with
Dave. I took some photos, which you might get to see someday. Chrono
ran around and played ball and chase with them. It was still a little
cold, so the excursion was short.
I spent some time copying him
today, which he thought was great. He clapped twice, I clapped twice.
He clapped three times, I clapped three times. He kicked his feet, I
kicked my feet. He thinks I am a great student, and will go far.
He's needed to have some verbal corrections lately, and he
hates them. He cries like he's been hurt when he's told he can't play
with electrical outlets. First he gets told, then he gets a more
serious voice. If need be, he's removed physically. Sometimes he
manages to comply with the nice request, and gets praised mightily. He
At dinner time, I made him a bowl of white and sweet potatoes with
cheese, a dish he generally adores. Not today. He refused it many
times over the course of 30 minutes. He'd refused the breakfast offered
too, and dinner last night, so we decided to dig our heels in and make a
point. This or nothing. Tears, trauma, no eating. He was really
hungry, but not for that. Eventually, he went and found a box of Jaffa
Cakes and presented it to Dave, the clear message being that this would
be a much more appropriate food for dinner. Nope! So he's in bed,
possibly (probably) hungry. He'll get his potatoes and cheese again
tomorrow, and the Jaffa Cakes are going into hiding.
30 April 2003
We have a very outdoorsy baby, as
it turns out. Dave has been taking Christopher out to play in the
garden almost every day. Dave asks, "Do you want to go out in the
garden?" That makes Christopher make his yes noises, go find his
football, and take it to the back door. He also knows that he needs
socks and shoes on his feet before he can go out, and accepts them much
more willingly than he does at other times.
We had a bit of a
scare one night when we heard a sea lion barking in Christopher's room.
It was the wee hours and he was meant to be sleeping, not playing with
sea mammals. I went to get him and evict his guest, but it turns out he
had croup. We were pretty scared by it and called the night doctor, who
told us to give him baby paractamol, sit in a steamy bathroom with him,
and call again if anything got worse. Christopher was trying to cry,
but the sounds were not coming out the right way, which scared him and
made him cry even harder with even fewer of the right sounds.
Eventually everything calmed down and he got to sleep. We skipped
swimming the next day, just in case, but he was fine and hasn't had it
He's getting taller, but his weight hasn't changed for
about two months. He'd been at the high end of normal, so that's fine.
He's also a very muscular little guy. As he gets taller, his rib cage
seems much harder -- more like a little boy than a baby. He still has
his baby belly, but he needs that because it's where he keeps a lot of
his internal organs. Anyway, his height is now about 50th percentile
and weight about 89th, which is a change from 25th and 91st a few months
I don't know how strong other babies are, but this one
surprises me often with his strength. He can now lift a 3 kg hand
weight and carry it away.
Peek-a-boo is a big favorite around
here. He plays it at bedtime when we put the covers on him. He pulls
the blankets over his face while we ask where Christopher has gone, then
he reveals himself and giggles. We have to do this between two and
twenty times every night, but he just loves it. He also loves to close
doors then pop out and say BOO! He's even played it in the swimming
Another bedtime ritual has been added. After he's all
changed and ready, we carry him to the light switch and let him turn off
the light for himself. He's very proud of this skill, and sometimes
reminds us to let him do it if we forget.
He's reached that age
where he eats less. He's also reached (one of) the ages where his
ability to say no (well, shake his head no) is more important to him
than eating food he likes. This means that dinner has gone uneaten
quite a bit lately. He's always offered something nice, but usually
goes to bed without. He'll always eat fromage frais, so we can give him
that if we have any worries about his intake. He has good energy and
isn't wasting away, and we don't want stress or games around meals, so
hunger it is. Still, it would be nice if he would learn to talk enough
to tell me if he would rather not have banana in his oatmeal today
BEFORE I mix it in.
We're trying to impress upon him that he
does get a bit of say over what happens to him. He's offered choices,
and he seems to like that. We let him pick which flavor of fromage
frais he'll eat first. Sometimes I ask him which nappy cover or shirt
he'd like to wear today. One day we were shopping and saw a new print
available on the nappy covers we use. I showed it to him and asked him
what he thought of it, and he took it from me and put it in the trolley.
I took it out to look at it more closely, and he took it from me again
and put it in the trolley again. He still likes that one a lot.
He's very interested in the toilet and what happens there. He
has no interest in sitting on it or doing the things other people do
with it. Be forewarned, if you come to our house, he'll probably try to
follow you in there to see what you do. He follows me in and trys to
peer at what I might be doing when I sit down. He knows his poops go in
there after a nappy change, and will tell me when to flush. No desire
to help flush, he just wants me to know when to do it. He's
particularly interested in watching Dave standing up to pee. For a
while he was getting very close and grabbing the toilet rim, but he
quickly learned that toilet grabbing is always followed by hand washing,
and he decided he watch from a few inches away. A three year old
visitor went to the loo without any adults, but Kit went along, clearly
fascinated that someone just a bit bigger than him could do that. I
think we still have a lot of nappies to change, but he's storing up the
information he needs for when he needs it.
He really really
likes to have his hair brushed. He went so long without any hair that I
was worried he might not welcome the new sensation, but my fears were
unfounded. He's got access to a variety of hairbrushes and a few
(clean) dish scrubbing brushes. He'll brush his own or let us do it.
Christopher went through a long period of time where he loved
his books but did not want anyone to try to read them to him. He's over
that now. He wants them read and read and read. One day we read "Put
me in the Zoo" somewhere between 15-20 times. He's got a few other
books about colors that he is very interested in right now.
doesn't know the names of the colors yet, even though it's what he wants
to read about most often, but he does know something about colors. The
other day at Soft Play he brought me about 30 balls, one at a time, and
they were all blue. Sometimes at home he hands me a dozen green ones,
one at a time. He picks them out from a large quantity of mixed colors.
He's had several animal encounters recently. He got to meet an
owl at the Saturday market one week, but didn't actually touch it. He
watched while I did though. A few weeks back we took him to Wimpole
Hall and Home Farm, where farm animals from very old breeds are raised
and slaughtered as they were in the old days. He got to pet a sheep,
see pigs and cows, and run around some chickens. There were horses,
goats, rabbits, and a bunch of other animals too. He's seen a few ducks
lurking around local waterways, and is taking more and more notice. He
has started to point out birds when we're outside.
points out cats when we're out. One day he spotted a cat in a
neighbor's yard. It was just about as far away as it could be and still
be seen, but he saw it. He's got a lot of enthusiasm for the cats at
our house as well. He would really like to pet them, but he's not
gentle enough yet and they don't give him a lot of opportunities. Once
in a while he'll find Zizi napping within his reach, and she'll endure a
few dozen strokes from him before deciding to sleep elsewhere.
He's big on building things. He's made a lot of incredible structures
with his Megabloks. Sometimes Dave will put him in his playpen with a
few dozen blocks at nap time, and when we return to see if he's ready to
get up, there will be a whole city built up.
One day at the
village hall, he was the only child present, so rather than run around
and play he decided to so what everyone else was doing, which was to sit
on chairs around tables, eat cookies, and have a beverage. One of the
organizers brought over a few wooden blocks for him to play with, and he
spend half an hour arranging them into different structures. He's got a
good reputation for being sweet and clever over there. People seem very
interested in all his accomplishments.
He understands that
telephones go against the head, so if he can get his hands on one, he
holds it up to his head about three inches over his ear. Don't expect
much if you call him up.
He likes to pull tissues out of the
box, but has slowed down with this since we started wiping his nose with
each and every one he removes. One day he had a wad of tissues, and
took them over to the trash bin and threw them away. He really does
notice everything we do!
He's noticed that keys go into locks.
He got hold of a key one day and spent a long time trying to get it into
a lock. Fortunately, he did not succeed. It was a door to the outside
world. The key was to a padlock. Still needs a little refinement on
He hasn't nursed for several months now, but I was
wondering if that was really his final decision. I offered him a
nipple. He laughed and laughed. He acted like it was the funniest
thing he'd ever seen. Gee, thanks!
Christopher loves to play
catch, but there is a small problem. He can throw but not catch. He
gets close now and then, but is missing a lot of the needed skills. One
day we decided to give him a hand with it. I sat on the coush with him
right in front of me, my arms around to hold his hands. Dave sat on the
floor several feet away and threw a ball at us. I moved his hands so he
caught the ball. He LOVED it! After several times, I just started
nudging his hands closed at the right time rather than pushing them all
the way. He was so satisfied.
Dave noticed that he really
likes to "post" things. He's got a small bank that he loves to fill
with coins. He'll save as many as he can get. Dave got a small box
that some computer bit had come in and cut nine slots in the top. Then
he gave Christopher eight ice lolly sticks. Hours of fun. Days. He
never gets tired of it.
Some time ago I dragged home a tiny
table. It's just big enough to set a magazine on, or maybe a few
beverages. It's in bad shape, but I had thoughts of playing around with
decorating it. Fifty pence was a good price. A few weeks ago I was out
at the Saturday market again and found a small plastic lawn chair.
Bright orange and also fifty pence. It turns out that the table and
chair fit together just right. He's been eating some of his meals at
it, and uses it as a place to do his drawings.
For most of
April, his hair had a little whisp sticking up at the back of his head.
He looked like Alfalfa from the Little Rascals, except for the hair
grease and the hair color. His hair finally got long enough for it to
lie down again, but it's something to keep in mind for future haircuts.
I guess we can consider it a little antenna or something.
getting into lip kissing big time now. He hasn't entirely got the hang
of it, but he wants it anyway. Soft wet baby mouth being mashed into
your lips is what's on offer. Come and get it while you can!
He's thinking about talking, and certainly understands a lot more of
what's said to him than ever before. I asked him where his milk (sippy
cup) was after not seeing it for a while. He took me to it, through a
baby gate and down the hall. He also remembers where everything is put,
so you can't just remove things from his line of vision. You have to
hide them when he can't see. Otherwise he'll point and beg or simply
retrieve them himself when you least expect it.
He does point
to thing for identification though. He wants to know what things are
called. He'll point to all the people in a room and want to know their
names. He points to things around town and around the house. He's not
satisfied with my not knowing. The other day a little girl was looking
through the window at Gymboree, and he was quite insistent that I tell
him her name. Oh well.
Christopher was trying to talk in
mid-April. He was walking from the living room to his room for a new
nappy, and Chrono was in his way, so he was pushing to get past and
saying loudly. "GOD! GOD! GOD!" Then he saw Spider (the cat) and started
chasing him and calling HIM GODGODGOD. The animals clearly have him
well trained. Still, I think he was trying to say dog.
swimming continues to improve. He does a lot more with his arms and
legs than he ever did before. He does some serious kicking, using good
form. He loves to "monkey walk" around the pool with his hands on the
rail and his feet on the side of the pool. When he gets to the shallow
end I tell him his feet will touch here if he wants to put them down.
He usually does, and walks around holding the rail with one or both
hands, but sometimes letting go. He's subject to currents that way, and
usually needs a rescue after not too long, but that doesn't stop him
from trying again. He loves to play with toys in water, and during one
class spent some time rolling balls at the instructor, who was standing
on the edge. When it's time to jump into the water from a sitting
position on the edge, he's learning to put his hands up and his head
down, just like a mini dive. He still hates anything he could use to
float on, except me.
He still loves his Gymboree classes, and
regularly freaks out the group leader by climbing up to dangerous
locations. She's the one who built them, so it really shouldn't be such
a surprise to her. He's a big fan of bubble time, but still hates the
parachute and air log.
Not to say that he needs to be firmly on
the ground all the time. He's started diving off things and onto things
around the house. We have a small exercise trampoline. He'll jump on
it for a while, then want to jump into someone's arms. He generally
won't jump until he puts his arms out at a person and the person puts
their arms out at him. Then he'll launch himself off to be caught. I
was just telling his visiting grandfather about the arms out thing when
Christopher invented a new game just for Grandad. It involved standing
on the firm edge of the trampoline with his arms at his sides and
tipping over at Grandad like a felled tree. He was caught every time.
He just likes it when he can do things to make people say "Umm... you
were saying...?" to mummy.
We had a nice visit from Grandad and cousin Stanley. Christopher and
Stanley had a lot to say to each other, mainly in grunts and grins.
Christopher decided that he needed to help Stanley play his video games.
He enjoyed pushing all the buttons on the controller. Eventually a
second controller was produced, and harmony was restored. Stanley takes
it all in stride and with good humor.
They spent a lot of time
talking about what things were and the names of all the people in the
room, along with the kisses and cuddles they always seem to share. At
bedtime one night, we told Christopher it was time to go to bed. He ran
to Grandad and curled up in his lap with a sheepish grin. We decided to
let him have an extra half hour in honor of visiting relatives. He
did seem to really enjoy having more family around him.
I bought a harmonica before I left San Francisco, but early
exposures to it did not go well for Christopher. No one had touched it
for about a year, but the other day I got it out. He was fascinated!
And he figured out how to blow into it to make a sound. On his second
try he learned how to make sounds inhaling as well as exhaling. He's
got great breath control, and understands the value of a big finish to
his performances. He's not much on using more than one section of the
harmonica per performance, but these are early days. He is clearly very
proud of his musical accomplishments. So am I!
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Comments? Sign Christopher's GUEST BOOK
since 1 July 2003
Susan Van Valkenburg