Sam has started to speak in small phrases, but the idea of the proper designation of pronouns is still a mystery to him. He reaches for me and asks, "Carry you?" or points to my food at dinner and says, "Eat mine?" THis makes perfect sense if you think about the questions I ask him - "Oh, would you like me to carry you?" "Do you want my food?" It'll be interesting to see when it clicks that the pronouns I use are different for him.
We actually get to go out tonight! A (very nice) co-worker of Mark's offered to babysit for us for FREE. She came over for dinner with her boyfriend, and Sam and she got along smashingly - he even wanted to kiss and hug her. It probably helped that she brought him a Superman car. We're going to let Sam just stay up unless he falls asleep, since I know he'll just motor around anyway until he absolutely has to go to bed, and I don't want her to deal with needing to get him to sleep. We're going to rent "Cars" for them to watch together, and if he falls asleep, great. If not, we'll have a very wired and tired toddler on our hands when we get home around 10. Yeah, I know, party on.
This morning, Sam actually slept in without me! There are two amazing things about this. First, it means that I was well-rested enough to get out of bed before I had to. Second, it means that Sam nursed this morning, turned over, and went back to sleep without me! I didn't have the guts to get in the shower, but I did leisurely go about other morning routine things, threw some laundry in the machine, tidied up...heaven.
And when Sam did wake up, he was delightfully fun. He sat up with his sleepy stick-up hair, and started telling me about the room. Everything he says right now ends in a question mark. (Pointing to the closet)"Clothes?" (Pointing at toy chest) "Animals?" We chat about the room, then, "Mama new glasses?" Pointing at my face. "Why yes, I did pick up my new glasses yesterday, Sam, thank you for noticing!" "Daddy truck work?" "Yeah, Sam, it's Monday so Daddy went to work in the truck." We look out the window to confirm, and the sun is shining brightly on the frosty ground - looks like it will be a beautiful day.
Then, we had a shower experience that was pretty much the opposite of my previous post, with Sam peacefully playing with his truck on the landing while I stood in the scalding water much longer than usual.
After we got dressed, Sam zeroed in on a recent favorite activity. He has this big cube toy that has something like a turntable on the top that goes aroud when you press a button, and it comes with about 6 plastic blocks. He tries to stack the blocks as high as he can before they fall, and if he makes it, he presses the button to see if the stack will go around on the turntable without tumbling. This usually has resulted in fits of frustration, but this morning he got it up to five, and it stayed steady! He was so proud that he came over and got my attention, and pointed to it, and I duly applauded and cheered. He looked so pleased with himself!
However...he's been sticking his hand into the back of his mouth, and a friend suggested that it might be the onset of new molars. This peace may be short-lived.
Sam has gotten more and more particular about how things are done around here - namely, that he do them. If I'm sitting in the wrong place to nurse, standing in his way, or (God forbid) pushing something with wheels for him, I am told in no uncertain terms to "Move!" This streak developed in a whole new and surprising direction yesterday.
Nap time arrived, and Sam was having none of it. I was holding him in his bed hoping that he's stop moving long enough to realize that he was tired when it happened.
"Go 'way, mommy! Go 'way!" he cried, pushing at my chest. I was kind of tired of him, too, at this point, so I thought, "Fine! We'll just see how he likes THIS." And I got up and left the room.
Not quite the result I thought. I left the door open a crack so I could spy on him, and he happily sat on his bed and looked at a few books, climbed up on our bed, found a few cars to look at...no crying, no tantrum, no nothing! I couldn't believe it. I pushed the door open a bit more, and rather than the tears and arm reaching upon my appearance, Sam smiled and called to me like it was time to come in for dinner: "MOOOO-meeee!" Still a little dumbstruck, I didn't come running. So he tried something else: "KAAA-ate!" Where did he learn that??
I told Mark the story later (mostly to get him to laugh at Sam calling me Kate), and I got as far as the "Go 'way, Mommy" when Mark said, "Wow, that must have been really hard for you." At which point I welled up. Yeah, yeah it was.
Sam, Mark and I went to the 6th Avenue Bar and Grill before my performance last night to meet and greet a few other McCain supporters. We got this cute pictureof the president of Babies for McCain with his mother.
Sam finally lets me read to him! We can lay on his bed after a nap with both of our heads on the pillow, touching slightly. I hold the book up above us and read, he turns the pages. I ask him to point ot the cat, the train, the car. "Read a book," he begs when I stop. "Gus and Sam. Read Ham. Read Oops," he requests when I ask which one. Such a sweet time.
He also reads on his own, which kills me with cuteness. He climbs up on the couch or bed and says "Blanket? Animal?" and I tuck him under a blanket and put his stuffed bear next to him, then supply him with a pile of books. He'll sit there for as long as 15 minutes turning pages and "reading" to himself. I've asked him to read to me and he'll point ot things on the page and tell me what they are. "Car. Boat. Baby." I love that for him, reading means describing what he sees. Some day, the words will tell him what to see in his imagination.
We just recently ended a year-long phase in which I was not allowed to shower. Well, not really, I just couldn't shower when it was just Sam and me at home. We tried it a few times and it basically consistedof Sam getting more and more frantic and eventually trying to crawl into the shower with me. We tried having him in there, too, but we have a tub-shower and it got awkward with one and a half bodies in there and one person was always cold or trying to not slip orgetting stuck in the curtain. Showers were furtively taken a night in the downstairs bathroom,or on weekends while Sam and Dad had tome together. Within the last month, though, we've figured out a system in the morning where Sam can manage to not kill himself in the bathroom or attached hallway while I bathe. The tradeoff is a less luxurious shower, though. Here's a rough example.
"Sam, mommy's going to take a shower now." (Cling) "No, no, no!" "Let's go see if your truck is in the bathroom" (Happily lets go of my leg and trots through the landing into the bathroom, while I close the door to the bedroom) "Truck! Truck!" I get undressed and turn on the water. Sam grabs my towel and drags in onto the landing, I give chase. "Mommy needs that, Sam." Tug. "How about we see if your bus is in the bathroom?" I'm running out of toys in the bathroom, but he lets go and I hop in, speedily wash my face and lather my hair while peeking out from behind the curtain about every 10 seconds. "(Something) broken! (Something) broken!" "What, honey?" He sticks the bus into the shower for my observation. Soap is getting in my eyes, but at last I understand that the wipers on the bus are broken. Actually, there are no wipers. I think that's the issue, and that brings up another thought in his toddler mind. "Do you want to sing Wheels on the Bus?" "Wheel? Wipers? Beep-beep?" (Verses of Wheels on the bus are sung while I rinse off and soap up. I get through about 4 verses before I hear the door closing. "Bye, bye, mommy!" I really need to rig that door so it can't be shut. I hop out of the shower and open the door again. Sam is sitting in the corner of the landing looking at the bus. "Honey, the rule is that the door stays open while mommy is in the shower." Blank look from Sam. This beats the alternative that occurs the other half of the time, which is to come over and pig-headedly shut the door again. I race back to the shower to rinse off the conditioner. The hand comes through the gap in the curtain. "Wet! Wet! Bear wet?" Indeed he is. Bear has apparently needed to wash his hair too and is sticking his head through the curtain. So much for that long soak in hot water. I turn off the shower and pull the curtain aside. "Boo!" At least he's stopped trying to climb onto the top of the toilet tank.
So I get to take showers now, but the trade-off is that they aren't exactly relaxing.
I've been reading this great book called "Raising Your Spirited Child," which has totally opened my eyes about lots of toddler behaviors. One major thing that I've been talking to Mark about a lot is the idea of being an introvert or an extrovert. I was really surprised to learn that the labels have little to do with whether you like people or or shy. It has to do with how you recharge your battery - being around people, or being alone. I've thought for years that I am an extrovert because I'm reasonablyoutgoing, but the book made me think about the fact that in college and after I chose to live alone, and that when I was little my favorite thing to do was to play alone in my room. It also explains why I completely don't understand why my outgoing husband is on the phone all the time, drops in on co-workers to chat during breaks at work, and needs to tell me about his day before bed. That just sounds totally exhausting to me.
Anyway, I had decided that Sam was an extrovert, but I think I'm changing my mind. For the last week or so we've been going to coffee shops with playrooms and our exercise class, and I've been spying on him. The other kids would be clamoring for the attention of the caregiver, and Sam would be over in the corner playing by himself with a few little cars. At the coffee shop, he'd play happily with the other kids, then go sit on the couch in the corner and just sort of watch them for a while. I'm really proud that instead of throwing a tantrum or lashing out when he feels overwhelmed,he knows to just go off by himself and get some alone time. I know adults that can't do that.
I started aerobics last week at the awesome community center, childcare included! Sam plays in the toddler room with a few other kids while I torture myself and generally try to not embarass myself by stepping on myown toes or passing out. The instructor is a very nice, cheerful lady with nut-cracking ability in most muscle groups. There's also the obligatory student in spandex who positions herself in the front of theclass and does jumping jacks when the rest of us are struggling with the step-kick. Does resentment burn calories?
I "go out to check on Sam" a few times during the class, which involves me leaning panting against the window of the playroom trying to muster up the gumption to return to class. Sam is extremely cool with me leaving him, luckily. When I spy on him, he's cruising around in one of the cars looking at the other kids. I just hope he doesn't continue to do this as an adult. I'm a little ambivalent about the lady watching them. She's nice enough, but has rules like "don't bump the cars together" and "only go DOWN the slide." For Sam, rules like this were made to be broken.