Saturday, May 03, 2003

Language and growth

Quincy is having major language spurts – the beginning of many fun months I am sure. Quite different words than Aidan’s were. Mama was just about first. Ball was also early and Balloon. Daddy has been surprisingly a bit late. Doggie was earlier – and now Doggie and Daddy are often rather hard to tell apart – need to use context! Aidan joined the word stable a couple weeks ago – he says it very well. Quincy likes to point to various objects and label them as belonging to Aidan or Daddy. He especially likes to point out Daddy coat in the dining room hanging on closet knob, and Aidan cup (as opposed to his cup at the table). He says Moo, Woof, Whoo (owl sound), Tick Tock (Clock – early word), Duck (an early word), Baby (he signs this concurrently), Home, Phone (sounds a lot like his Home), Bus, Cheese (he doesn’t really eat cheese so don’t know why he bothers with this one!). He has been signing Where, Help, and More for some time now. He just added Book a few days ago – interesting to me as I showed him the sign along time ago and he has just started using it himself (no prompting or recent showing by me) – ditto with Baby. He also does Fish (a lot like his Baby). He also signs Hear. There are other words as well and he is acquiring them pretty fast. Apple has been one he has had for a while – I noticed today that he was designating something (perhaps all things) red as Apple and then later a plum (which he used to correctly say in the book) as an apple. He can also sign this one. He can nicely say two syllable words like Raisin and Shovel, repeating after you, and is willing to attempt Butterfly and Strawberry. He likes to say Elbow – it cracks him up as it is then usually followed by him pretending to eat my elbow. He also correctly identifies face parts and says Eye and tries Nose and Ear.

Quincy is also enjoying reading – and is more emphatic about which books he is interested in than Aidan ever was, and is also wanting them multiple times (that More sign gets a work out). Aidan was quite happy to have us pick out 5 or 6 books and run right through them. Quincy is also more of a self or active reader – even compared to Aidan of today. I think some of this comes from being kid #2 and having to entertain himself to a much greater degree – and he is very good at it!

Aidan continues to have excellent language skills for his age. He still hasn’t mastered all the exceptions in our language (something is Broken not Braked, there are Men not Mans etc). We took the kids down to the Main Library today. I saw him engage at least 5 adults when we were out and about in conversations. He is always asking Why (to my chagrin sometimes after 150 times or so in a day!). So he asked a man on the train if the paper next to him was his. (No) Why not… Later got in quite a conversation with someone about his earphones. He tries hard to get kids to talk to him, but they more often than not ignore him or can’t really talk themselves. Amanda reports that he then will usually turn to the adult with them at a playground and get them into a conversation. I’m meanwhile usually dashing after Quincy…

I took them both to Mervyns a week or so ago – and swore not to do any shopping with 2 again for a while! Aidan was busy trying to chat up people and Quincy felt it his mission to dash around the end of aisle and play hide and seek with us. At one point I asked Aidan to stay with him (figuring I could always find Aidan if I called), Aidan would go a few steps and then stop and finger some item of clothing “wouldn’t this look good on me (or Quincy)?” Argh!

Aidan could never be described as modest. He cracks me up with his “don’t I look cute in this picture” or “doesn’t this shirt and pants look beautiful on me?” (when they often clash). He is quite deliberate in his dressing these days and has interesting rationales for why things look good together. The blue camouflage pants look animal like therefore they will go nicely with the zebra socks and this orange shirt with an animal picture on it… Usually there is some color tie-in – here is a tiny red stripe in the shirt print so the red pants will work nicely. So he actually does OK a lot of the time. I also love when Aidan asks me “What did I just say”. You’d think he could listen to himself – he expects me to! And often when he asks Why I will ask him back “Well why do You think?” and he will launch into an explanation. So if he already thinks he knows, why ask?! Altho perhaps this could really be a case of wanting to confirm his theories. Pete gets a bit, well annoyed is the wrong term, perhaps amused, when Aidan asks Pete something, gets an answer, and then immediately turns to me to confirm the validity of that answer. I will enjoy my position as all knowing – as I know only too soon I will be relegated to knowing nothing… Aidan has formulated some framework in his mind where The Builders are responsible for all the world. I think they are somehow a combination of Bob The Builder and God. He will reference The Builders making Trees for instance. I don’t really understand what he thinks happens. But I have fallen into this scheme of the world as an easy way to answer some of those Why questions. Why is the straw that shape? The builders made it that way. Why? Because they did. Doesn’t always satisfy him, but sometimes it does.

Quincy seems to have physical skills similar to what I remember Aidan having – very self-aware of his body in space. I tend to be on the complacent side when watching him tackle a challenging climbing apparatus – other moms get very worried for me! He can shimmy up high ladders and complex things and takes care to make sure his feet are correctly positioned etc. I also don’t expect him to ever dash off a ledge (although off a sidewalk is another matter). He likes to Walk up stairs instead of crawl – and can even sometimes do it himself if they aren’t too steep and he can put a hand against a wall – or else he is very happy to hold my hand and hike up (and even down which is harder). He really wants to jump up and down like big brother does – but can’t yet. Aidan was about 22+ months when he mastered the 2 footed jump. Quincy just does the ankle thing like Aidan used to so doesn’t get any air. Quincy does a very good seated jump though – gets a lot of bounce off his bottom there! Aidan has good skills still I think for his age although I have seen some kids with amazing ball handling skills that he doesn’t have – I would bet practice makes a difference here. Aidan is catching big balls quite well. Quincy even manages sometimes. Quincy throws better than little Aidan did – his balls actually go FORWARD! Aidan does a nice forward roll. He also does great Donkey Kicks – puts hands on object say 1 or 2 feet off the ground and then kicks up back legs (often with aid of trampoline) – he can get his legs almost completely over his head – it will be interesting to see the day that he goes over! He does a good job on the balance beam at Acrosports too. He runs pretty fast – like a big boy now. Quincy now enjoys being thrown around in the air as much as Aidan has/does. And since he can make those More signs… Aidan gets a bit jealous sometimes of the things I do with Quincy and wants similar treatment – one move I have is to take Quincy by the waist and swing him up and over until he lands with his bottom on my shoulder facing backward – and then back down again. I have to explain that there is no way I can do that with big boy Aidan – nor swing him from the ankles between my legs. There still are plenty of tricks I can do with Aidan including balancing him on my feet up in the air and swinging him around in “airplane” rides.

The kids continue to enjoy each other and sometimes there are real gigglefests in the backseat of the car as they egg each other on with silliness. Jealousy also continues mostly from Aidan but also from Quincy. I can see both aspects continuing on for a couple of decades to come just in different guises. There are mornings Aidan can’t keep his hands off Quincy. Fortunately Quincy is a pretty tough little guy. Yesterday he bit through his lip pretty severely falling off a (very low) footstool – he cried a bit and I got some really big hugs (he is VERY good at the big hugs) and then off to playing as normal – the bleeding hadn’t even stopped before he wanted me to let him go on his way!

Quincy continues to have much more stranger and separation anxiety than Aidan. I was fine dropping off Aidan with Ginette and Lucien while we headed to a play – I don’t think I would do that at present with Quincy. He enjoys his babysitters, but I get the huge trembling lips and crying and big tears whenever I leave – and the long pauses for air between sobs. Really sad. Aidan was also a natural flirt pretty much since birth. Quincy is much more reticent about even smiling at a stranger – he has to be really comfortable. Quincy hates me to leave him, but he is quite fine about leaving me – like today when he was running laps around bookshelves playing hide and seek with Aidan. But if he isn’t sure where I am or if a stranger were to try to talk to him then the tears would immediately come out. Quincy has continued to cry fairly constantly through the whole visit in the gym childcare – even when Aidan goes too.

Quincy has had haircut #2. It looks OK despite the lack of cooperation. I continue to trim Pete and Aidan regularly. This latest time I even used the razor on Aidan – he was pretty into it. I also make both my big boys strip down and sit on a little chair in the tub to contain the cleanup mess. Pete grumbles a bit… Quincy gets a lot of oohs and ahhs over his white blond hair – and of course the requisite “where does he get it from?”.

Pete continues to enjoy a scant 40 hours a week job working out of downtown (using MUNI to commute). He makes it home near the end of dinner usually – but it is great to see him in the evenings in addition to the late morning starts (9ish usually but often a bit later). Quincy has just started being willing to go back to sleep even if he sees daylight in the morning. Phew! So now we sometimes get to sleep into 8 – or 7.30 instead of 6 or 6.30. His nap has also moved (due to sleeping in I think) to just after lunch from morning. He was the only kid his age I knew who napped in the a.m. – occasionally as early as 9.30!! Today he went down at 11.30 but he also woke at 6.30.

So what have we been up to in the many many weeks since a last update?? My high school friend Becky was here in early April with her 3 yr old son and her husband. We got together 3 times or so which was fun for me. We have been to the Exploritorium a few times. We checked out a playground a bit south down the coast last weekend. We have been to Crissy field many times as you may have noticed from photos – including while Nanma visited and when Becky visited. Nanma trecked around with us for a week. Both boys enjoyed her company but especially Aidan I think. I always enjoy having another adult around – it really mitigates the jealously thing as there are enough adults for everyone to have one… We had a very busy Easter weekend – first with a birthday party for baby of Pete’s college roommate Greg (our 1st meeting with her) – complete with egg hunt. On Easter we had a mini-egg hunt here (Quincy was remarkably good at it) followed by brunch and more eggs and baskets at Thomas’ new pad down south 35 minutes. Then a stop off at the train in Tilden Park followed by Dinner at the Eggerths with the usual family gathering of 15 or so. I took a key-lime pie that was great. Too bad it was sort of for Pete’s birthday but was mostly scarfed before he got back to the dinner table. I let him have half of my piece… Pete took his birthday off work for a little more time with kids and a rare day golfing with highschool buddy Rick. We had a snow weekend in Tahoe a while back (late March I think) with Zoe & Thomas that worked out well. Now Pete & I are trying to figure out our summer travel plans. I continue to keep busy with preschool stuff especially pertaining to my Board position but also a bunch of other things. I seem to have become the email voice of our afternoon Director as she isn’t on-line. Still enjoying my Friday afternoon teaching days. Aidan has a very best friend Theo at school. They are very very cute together. At his parent teacher conference I was told that he is very good at inserting himself into others’ group play without any disruption – a skill I still haven’t mastered – he must get that one from his daddy. I was also a bit appalled to learn that he sometimes (especially if he thinks he is unobserved) will get a bit bully like especially if another kid isn’t “listening to his words”. He will also feel compelled at times at clean up time to insist that something be done exactly right (at least as he views it). At least both my boys are actually pretty reasonable about doing clean-up – even Quincy. Quincy sometimes will clean up only to dump everything out again – but he’s moving in the right direction. I do notice that he is aware that certain things belong in certain places – if you give him a small bowl of snack food he will immediately take it off to the little table and usually even climb into his chair to eat it.

Well, enough from me for tonight! I need to do some Co-op Board stuff and Pete’s pushing to get out another edition of the CVH (Cole Valley Herald). Fortunately he is the main contributor, but I am on the hook for at least one article and of course all the graphics.

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