June 2000 page 1 of 2
Thursday 1 June

Last night Damian woke up at three a.m. Usually he nurses himself back to sleep or makes it clear nursing isn't going to cut it. Last night he nursed but had restless hands that were wandering all over my skin. Drove me completely nuts. We tried rocking, we tried different things. Finally at five (yes, five) a.m. I gave him some juice and Dan got him a piece of bread. That did the trick, especially the juice. He then happily nursed himself back to sleep. I guess in the way wee hours, language is gone and nothing but crying (and restless hands) remains.

Damian started spinning in place this afternoon. Spinning left and spinning right and letting himself spin out in a spiral. I said, "you're spinning" and he pointed at the window fan. Spinning like the fan, I got it.

Friday 2 June

At the playground this morning, Damian spotted an interesting toy, went to play with it. And the kid it belonged to descended like an avenging angel to snatch the toy back. Not to play with it, of course, just to claim and then discard it. This happened not once but five times. Five different kids. I dubbed today "possessive child day" also known as "mine!" Damian looks a little bewildered when this happens but moves on to something else. I felt bad for him. For some reason he has never gotten possessive with either his toys or toys he's playing with. I wonder if it'll kick in at some point.

This afternoon Dan was playing the piano and Damian started turning and swaying, spinning around and around. Dancing. I danced with him, held his hands and we both swayed. Until he wanted me to pick him up and dance that way. More work for Mom, more sway motion for Kid.

When he's sitting in his high chair, Damian likes taking his corn puffs and putting pressure on them in just the right way with his forefinger. They shoot across the room. He made one flip up and over his shoulder today. It was funny. Corn puffs flying every which way.

Saturday 3 June

Damian's getting into climbing on a dining chair and sitting at the table. Tonight he picked up the cordless phone and held it to his ear (reversed so the spine of the phone was facing out), said "hi" and then started punching numbers (dialing). I wonder who he was calling.

We went out for Thai food tonight. Damian ate rice with a ceramic soup spoon (this involved pushing the rice into the spoon so he could bring it to his mouth). He also pulverized an egg yolk and tried to reach out and stroke the shiny shirt of the woman sitting at the booth behind us. After dinner, Damian ran around outside -- raced around, really. Manic. Giggling. Burning off those carbs. Wild boy incarnate.

Sunday 4 June

Damian pushed Dan out of the bathroom this morning so he could close the door behind him. It's become very important to close all the doors in the house lately.

He brought a wheeled toy outside today, a tugboat meant for the bathtub but that really works a lot better as a boat-shaped car. When he's in the house, he can lie on the floor and push small cars back and forth or stand by the couch or windowseat and run them along the surface. Outside was a dilemma. Which he solved by sitting on his butt and scooting forward as the car in his hand moved ahead. Needless to say, his shorts got filthy.

Monday 5 June

At the playground this morning, a kid had brought a tot trike with a parent's handle (so you can push said tot). Damian grabbed this thing and pushed it and pushed it and pushed it. The handle was above his head, so he held his arms up and had his head bowed and leaned his whole body into the motion. Looked like hard work to me. I steered him around on the pathways: as in, "go left now so you won't end up in the sand" while helping him push in the proper direction -- mostly I was making sure he didn't stray too far from the trike's two year old owner, who was keeping an eagle eye on it. I could see Damian's learning curve happening before my eyes. At first he couldn't steer to save his life and rammed into walls and dead-ended at gravel beds. But within twenty minutes, he could steer with ease and assurance.

We drove to Malibu this evening for an impromptu walk on the beach. We thought Damian would see the wide expanse and run till he dropped. Not so. He saw the wide expanse, felt the uneven scalloped sand beneath his feet, and promptly sat down. Running sand through his hands and wiggling his toes in the sand. Then we walked along the water. He insisted on holding both our hands. It was lovely. He dropped our hands after about half an hour (longer?) to pick up a stone and toss it toward the water. Did that for a while and then clambered up to a higher spot. Where he, yes, ran free and got a big kick out of the whole experience.

Tuesday 6 June

Testing boundaries: Damian knows he's not supposed to grab dirt from the plants and toss it on the windowseat or on the floor. Three separate times today he did it anyway. It's very hard to be stern enough with him, but I think there's some degree of deliberation involved: will they say no again. So we have to say no again.

At dinner Damian's sitter Jami joined us. Which necessitated a recitation from Damian: "momEE" (pointing to me) "dadEE" (pointing to Dan) "JamEE" (pointing -- you get the idea). He doesn't say his own name but points at his chest when we say "where's Damian?" Mostly, I get a kick out of the singsong with the emphasis on the second syllable. It's a song. A Here Are My Favorite People song.

Tonight I was extruding some play-doh through a syringe with holes at the bottom. The play-doh was hard so I started grunting. I turned it into a game, "nnnggggh!" Damian loved it. He grabbed a syringe and started pushing and grunting too. So we were both sitting there going "nnnnggggh!"

Wednesday 7 June

He loves play-doh. Loves squishing it, rolling it out, squishing it some more. Lately, though, he's taken to picking it apart bit by bit, shedding little snippets of the stuff all over the place. This evening I caught him standing at the trash can in the kitchen, pinching off a bit of play-doh and throwing it away, then anther little bit and another little bit. Before now, I've only seen him throw away crumpled paper (even if he'd crumpled it himself) so this was new.

There's a little hole in the shower curtain where the cat tried climbing it. Damian and I played peek-a-boo through it during his bath. We also poked our fingers through it.

Damian's favorite way to drink is from my glass, through a straw. Until today. He started drinking that way but suddenly decided there was a better way to go. He tossed the straw out and drank (with my help) from the glass like a grownup.

Thursday 8 June

Yesterday's words of the day were ka-boing, ka-bam, and ker-plop.

He's into tossing things -- balls, yes, but also things you wouldn't necessarily peg as tossing toys. Typical toddler action, I think. But what's not typical is his latest trick: he tosses the toys over his shoulder behind him. Get thee behind me?

Friday 9 June

Today we went out to lunch with some friends. Damian got restless, so I let him down and followed as he raced from one end of the restaurant to the other. He was very happy and bubbly and made friends in all the booths. Two women spoke to him and garnered big smiles (and he kept coming back for more). They called him friendly and were delighted in him. My shy one year old is coming out of his shell.

We bought Damian some big toys this afternoon. He got excited by the picture on the box of the trike (the kind with a parent handle like the one he played with in the park on Monday). Couldn't wait till it was out of the box. When it was all assembled, he insisted on pushing it around the house. Got vexed with the obstacles. Cried. I told him that we would get ready to go outside but first he needed to calm down. He did. And when he started fussing again before I was ready to go, I reminded him he needed to stay calm. And he quieted. I felt really proud of him but also of myself.

He pushed the trike around the block with great pleasure after that. Until he saw Daddy on a bike going past. He stopped, enthralled, but got upset when Daddy rode away. So we all went home.

The other big toy was a standing basketball hoop. Much squealing and breathless exclamations. Oh, and some balls through the hoop too. He loves it. The cat's intrigued too.

Saturday 10 June

Today wasn't easy. Nobody got a good night's sleep and we were all grouchy. Damian had his first angry-screaming-wouldn't-stop tantrum. Tiredness, also boundary testing, also -- well, read the entry.

After his nap, things got better. In the evening we went to a small party at a friend's apartment. Damian loved the hallways on the way there but the moment we opened her door to go in, he changed his mind. There was a burst of laughter and a bunch of swiveled heads as everyone turned to look at the newcomers and Damian was spooked. He hasn't had this problem for months. So we followed him as he ran up and down the hallways for a while, burning energy. Then we brought him inside -- to the bathroom, a small familiar looking room away from the madding crowd. Dan brought him his pull-toy train, and Damian started pulling it around the apartment. Then he was fine. Friendly, even. He had a good time. He ate part of a fried drumstick and many many raspberries and played among the guests.

Sunday 11 June

I gave Damian a Matchbox fire truck in the morning on our way to the farmer's market. He held onto it all day, on and off. Ate strawberries around it. He might have let go as he was drifting off for a nap, but I can't swear to that.

We went to our friend Jan's house in the hills to see her bunnies. Five adults and a passel of half-grown babies. Damian was in heaven. He kept saying "bunny rabbit." He went right up to the bunnies to touch their ears and their fur. They mostly hopped away but enough stuck around that he got to cop his bunny feel. Then he went for their turds -- well, they look just like little pellets or pebbles, and tossing pebbles is his current favorite occupation. He wanted to toss them off the balcony. Instead he got his hands washed.

Monday 12 June

My inventive child: He has a set of stacking boxes, like stacking blocks except, well, boxes. I laid them out in a row in preparation to our stacking them together. He had a different idea: he ran off to get his little toy fire engine. Just the right size for running along the top of the row of boxes. What was fun about this for him was that he could make the truck go down a step and then another step and then another step, thus combining two of his favorite activities -- stairs and toy cars. When he got bored, he stacked the boxes perfectly one on top of the next larger, all the way up as tall as him. And then knocked it all down, of course. That's a crucial part of the fun of it.

Dinner: two adults and one two year old, all eating together. All eating corn on the cob, asparagus and mahi mahi. All of us, eating the same food. What a novelty. Asparagus seems to be Damian's first vegetable (if you don't count tomatoes, which are really fruit and, more important to him, red and tart).

This evening I read to Damian from his First Animals DK book, a picture book with labels for the animals. Of course he was pleased to see a photo of a "baby bunny." We went through the entire book. He repeated more animals than usual and even after the book was closed, he was saying "puma" and "porcupine."

Later he hovered by his toy box while Dan and I were occupied (practicing swing steps, if you must know). He started fussing. We looked. He had his telephone-on-a-string. I hate that toy. The string always gets caught on the wheel and the receiver always falls off the hook, which drives Damian nuts. So I said "oh, it's that stupid toy" as I knelt to fix it. Damian said "stupid" as he ran off with it and then he said "I mad." Dan and I told him yes, he was mad, and yes it was good to express that. I was and am thrilled. I'd love him to start using language to express difficult feelings rather than just crying or fussing. This was the first time.

Tuesday 13 June

Damian's very mommy-centric. This can be a problem when his sitter comes to take care of him -- he sees her and he knows his mommy time is up. We try various tricks to segue gently from one of us to the other. This afternoon I told Damian before Jami got here that she was coming and that she was going to take him to the playground (D:"playground" me: "yes, playground") and described the pleasures in store for him there ("playground" "yes, playground"). When she got here, though, he was not pleased. He started dogging my heels. So I stayed with him and put his sandals on while she went to move the carseat to her car. I explained again about the playground and how after he came back, he would eat dinner with Mommy, Daddy, and Jami. He picked the crucial piece of information out of this recitation: "come back?" "Yes, you'll come back after you have fun at the playground." He looked outside, watched Jami for a moment, then pushed on the screen. I opened the door and he went running out to join her. I don't know why he needed that reassurance that she'd bring him back to me, but he did.

He does like her, though. I hear him laughing all the time. And he's started to say "oh my gosh," which I know he's picked up from her. It's funny to hear my kid use a saying I'd never use.

I've started limiting nursing sessions when they're not for sustenance. The countdown from ten method works wonders. I tell him what we'll go do after we stop nursing. Tonight I told him we'd play with his new basketball hoop. When I put him down, he ran off to get the ball and happily shot hoops for at least twenty minutes. It's fun for the whole family: Dan and I say "whoosh" every time Damian gets the ball in (which is every time he tries -- the hoop is tot-height). Damian says a variant, more like "whoa!" and gets all happy.

Wednesday 14 June

This morning I read Marvin K. Moony, Will You Please Go Now to Damian. I read "You can go by a --" and heard a little voice say "zike bike" and I read on: "Zike Bike if you like." Cool. Next line I read: "If you want, you can go in an --" Little voice: "old blue shoe." Who's reading to whom?

When I went to get Damian from his crib after his nap, he saw me, smiled, and said "oh my gosh, Mommy."

He's been saying "kerplop" and "kaboom" and "kaboing" with great relish lately (yes, he learned it from us). Tonight in the tub he tossed a rubber fish into a bucket with a "ker--" and then when it hit, "PLOP."

He's developed this odd habit in the past couple of weeks: when he's nursing and wants to go to sleep, he guides my hand to the top of his head and wants me to rub it vigorously. I have no idea why, but when I do it for a while, he usually falls asleep soon after.

Thursday 15 June

He did it again, reciting the words to a book as I read. This time he knew about half the words, I'd guess. Cars, Cars Cars. Figures somehow.

I had him in my lap when the timer dinged for the salmon I was baking for Damian's dinner and he was being needy, so I didn't think he'd take kindly to my setting him down. I picked him up and brought him along. He got excited when I put on the oven mitt and grew respectful of the hot stove. Then he wanted to wear the mitts himself, so I slid them on his hands -- uh, make that arms, way past his elbows.

Then he wanted me to wear the mitts. This is a game we've played before: I wear an oven mitt and make grabbing motions and sort of tickle him while, um, squealing. He added another step tonight -- he ran away from the marauding hands, which of course gave chase and tickled him and tweaked his nose. Lots of fun.

He seems to have taken a dislike to his high chair since the unfortunate incident on Saturday. Can't say I blame him. So I sat him on my lap and offered him the salmon on the high chair tray. Still wasn't interested. So I said "A shame to let such good salmon go to waste" and started eating it. With gusto, with appropriate "mmm"s and "this is good"s. Thing is, this has never worked before (I've tried) but this time I really meant it, I wasn't play-acting. The fish tasted great. Damian knew I was telling the truth and got interested. Before long, we were both eating the salmon off the high chair tray and both saying "mmm" and "good." (His "mmm" is oddly uninflected, though.)

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