Sometime in the last few weeks, the Little Man crossed a threshold from rough sentences to compete sentences, including some clear abstractions. It’s fascinating to watch his development. Sometimes, when he is laying next to me at night1 I look at him amazed, not so much that he is a person, but that he is my son. It’s an odd feeling, a good one, but an odd one that I cannot adequately express.
He speaks in full sentences now, although we sometimes have to slow him down to understand exactly what he is saying. He uses hand gestures to compliment his words. “Where it went, Daddy?” he’ll say (okay, so he’s still working on tenses). And in speaking, he’ll shrug his shoulders and turn his hands palms up.
“Are you ready to head upstairs, pal?” I’ll ask.
“Almost, Daddy,” he’ll respond. “Almost” is a new word for him. I’ve only heard him use it in the last week. Clearly an abstraction, but he also knows that by saying it, he can delay the inevitable for a period of time. To be honest, it sounds remarkably grown up, perhaps because I find myself saying this to Kelly quite often. (“Are you ready to go?” she asks. “Almost,” I respond, “I’m just finishing up this last email…”)
We were a little worried that he wasn’t picking up colors, but that too has changed. He still defaults to “blue” but it is clear that he knows what orange and red are as well. (At this point, he will call something that is yellow orange, but I’m not going to quibble with him.)
He’s developing a sense of humor that is all his own, which is absolutely wonderful to see. Out of the blue the other day, I asked him if he had a dirty diaper.
“No, Daddy, no dirty diaper.”
I didn’t believe him so I bent down to check for smells.
And without missing a beat, the kid said, “That’s gross, Daddy!”
He picks up song lyrics amazingly fast, and what’s more, he remembers my alterations to the lyrics. (There is almost no song that I don’t alter in some way to improve it. Whether it’s adding one of the kids names or changing the lyrics to something that make them funnier or more absurd, I am constantly altering the lyrics to just about any time of song that’s out there: pop, rock, metal, jazz, blues, jingles, theme songs, you name it.) So yesterday while I was getting the Little Man into his PJs, I starting singing the theme to “Chugginton.” The Little Man stopped me at once. “No, Daddy, not ‘Chuggington’–” and he proceeded to substitute his name, followed by an “-ington” because that is exactly how I usually sing that song to him.
Not everything is rosy. He gets whiny very easily. The slightest hint of not getting his way can set him off and that annoys me to no end, but I’m told that’s just part of this phase and he’ll grow out of it. Well, he will grow out of it–one way or another.
He is about ready to be potty-trained. His school gets things started and gives us a list of what to do at home. As it is, he requires more and more privacy when doing his business. He’ll go off into a corner and get quiet. If you try to talk to him, he’ll say, “No, Daddy, you go over there!” Yesterday, we were both outside and the Little Man was helping me with the yard work. I was tilling the soil and he had his own shovel. I went to get the other shovel next to him and saw that expression on his face–he was busily working on something. He pointed to where I was working: “Go dig, Daddy!” I don’t know why, but I think that’s hilarious.
And he can also be so adorable. I was tossing and turning a bit last night. (He was, too.) But after a little while he put his hand on my shoulder and rubbed it, just as I might do to him, as if to say, I’m here, Daddy, it’s okay. Then, too, I woke up with his head2 nestled in the crook of my arm this morning. I had to wiggle out, not an easy task when (a) his head is hot to the touch and (b) my arm is completely asleep.
Perhaps sweetest of all is when I take him upstairs at night to get ready for bed. “Goodnight, Little Man,” Kelly says.
“Good night, Mommy. Good night, Little Miss. I love you.” He says this with such volubility that in that moment, if he wanted to, the Little Man could get away with just about anything.
Very, very dangerous child this one is.
- A long story, worthy of its own post. ↩
- His head produces enough heat to power the house. We are off the grid. We have no need to pay for electricity. Indeed, we have power to spare and we sell that back to the utility company at a premium. The only problem is that I wake up in the morning with burns on my skin wherever his head has touched me. ↩
Regarding children learning color names, a friend linked me to this article from Scientific American that I found fascinating:
So the Little Man is not alone in his color confusion (Muffin and Squeaker were stuck on “pink” or “purple” in the way Little Man is/was stuck on “blue” but have since gotten over it).
Thanks for the article, Nomi. When it first started happened we would jokingly wonder if the Little Man was color blind, but we’ve learned better since. This article and the experiments conducted make it even more clear.