July 2000 page 1 of 2
Saturday 1 July

Damian wouldn't go to sleep last night until two thirty a.m., then got up at nine this morning. With no nap worth speaking of -- twenty minutes while nursing, is all. I'm exhausted.

This afternoon we were sitting on the curb in a quiet residential block. Damian was tossing big round seeds into the gutter. I was reading. A man walked by with a very furry dog, the small yappy kind. I said "look, Damian, a dog." The man said, "look, Fiesta, a kid." They stared at each other, neither willing to make the first move. Damian moved just slightly and the dog jumped backwards. Which made Damian flinch. More staring. Etc. They went on like this for a while, both fascinated but not willing to actually come close. It was a close encounter of the shy kind. Later, the dog came back around and they did it again. They seemed to commune, oddly, but no way was Damian gonna try and pet that dog and no way was that dog gonna try and lick that boy.

Damian walked through the house cursing under his breath (well, it sure sounded like it): "Avocado. Broccoli."

We watched Stuart Little on video. When Damian saw Stuart in his red car, he brought over the Stuart-in-his-red-car remote control car and ran it on the floor as he watched. He loved the chase sequence in Central Park: he chattered through it excitedly, saying things like "Boom!" and "cat!"

Sunday 2 July

Last night was not so good. Damian went to bed at ten, passed out cold. But he woke up shortly after midnight. I sent Dan in to rock him. Wails ensued. Dan brought him to me. I tried rocking. Sometimes he just wants Mommy. More wails. Okay, try nursing. Side lying, sleep-in-bed-together nursing. No can do. He nursed for five seconds and then cried again. He apparently wanted the whole package: both rocking and nursing. But I'm trying to establish that we only nurse on the boppy in the armchair or in bed to go to sleep (on boppy after his bath, side-lying in the morning or middle of the night). Otherwise he thinks he can do it any time and all the time. So I had to stay firm. It looked like a colossal battle of wills was shaping up. Not fun. I sat him on the bed to cry it out, since nothing was working. He scooted over to me and sat in my lap, his arms around my neck. Still crying loudly. So I picked up the boppy, set him on it, and sat there in the dark, singing while he nursed. This quieted him immediately and soon I was able to slide him off to nurse by my side. The power of singing. And, I think, the power of the familiar boppy.

This morning he figured out how to open a door by turning the knob. He's been practicing for a few weeks but he finally got the complete twist-and-pull. This is a good thing: he loves closing doors. Now he can open them too.

I put Damian in his carseat to go to the farmer's market. He pointed at the floor, indicating one of the scattered toys. But which one? I handed him what I thought he wanted. "Is this what you want?" "No," as he tosses it back. "You have to tell me what you want. Do you want a book?" "Want a book." I gave him the book and he was happy.

Home afterwards, I was about to lift him out of his seat when I noticed his dreamy, far away expression. "You look moody. Are you contemplating deep things?" "Yeah."

Dan assembled the tent in the living room. Damian was enchanted. He spent quite a while in there with his little car. He insisted that Dan join him -- when Dan left, Damian came out and pulled him back inside.

Damain hasn't shot hoops for a few days. I moved the hoop to the middle of the living room tonight and he got excited when he spotted it: "Ball basket" and went off to find his ball. In between shooting baskets, he did a little dance, hop-bounce-jumping. He loves when we say "score!" or "whoosh!" when he gets the ball through the hoop. He looked simultaneously so grown up and so small while he was doing it.

Monday 3 July

Damian has been going through something lately. His sleep is disrupted and he won't let me put him down for a nap. Today I was tired enough that I brought him to bed and we napped together, like old times. I woke just before Jami showed up an hour later. When she appeared at the bedroom door, I eased myself out from under Damian's draped arm. He opened his eyes and closed them again. Next time I checked on him, he'd rotated his body 90 degrees and was sprawled sideways, fast asleep. Jami went in and kept him company, lying sideways nearby. That made a nice picture.

I forgot to mention a cute thing from a few days ago: Damian wanted to nurse. I sat in the armchair, boppy in my lap. He trotted over and announced, "ready, honey."

Tuesday 4 July

Damian saw his second movie-theater movie today: Fantasia 2000. He sat enraptured through the whole thing. During the last sequence, an elk appears on the screen. Dan told Damian it was an elk. Damian tried out the word "ek", "ewwk" and finally very clearly: "elk." The elk reappeared several minutes later. Damian pointed: "Elk," he said, pleased that he knew.

Wednesday 5 July

Damian and I played with his remote controlled Stuart Little car this evening. He's gotten the knack of wielding the remote to make the car go. Only one problem: he can make it go forward but refuses to try making it go backward. So we sat on the floor together. Damian would make the car zoom forward and ram into the couch. Then I'd take over and scoot it back to rest near us. Then he'd take over again. And so on. Funny thing, he's become obsessed with turning on his battery powered Brio engine lately too, but as often as not he makes it go in reverse.

He's had a grumpy few days (to put it mildly). Trouble sleeping leads to volatile days but then he has trouble winding down to sleep again so the cycle repeats. He had two meltdowns today for no reason I could see. I solved them by offering him chamomile homeopathic tablets. I used to give them to him every day in the height of his teething problems. Tonight he devoured them and demanded more. I think they had the familiar taste of comfort. Or maybe he's getting his two year molars. Or both. I was grateful something so benign soothed him.

Thursday 6 July

This afternoon we watched as Damian surveyed the gate to a neighbor's yard (two houses down) and then ran back to our front yard, where he plucked a couple of berries. Then he ran back over to the gate, knelt down and stuffed the berries underneath. Then ran back to fetch more berries. This, apparently, was fun.

Friday 7 July

We went to Pasadena today. I lost Damian for a moment in a clothing store when I gazed at some earrings a split second longer than he did. When I turned, thinking he'd be a foot away and easily findable, he was nowhere. My breath stopped. I ran all over the store, even out into the street. The saleswoman found him, back at some vividly painted ceramic animals he'd been ogling earlier. Thank god. But it's a reminder of how lightening fast he is these days.

I brought out his Playmobil fire truck at lunch and we watched as he industriously stuffed wads of bread into the driver's seat. He also ate a sugar cube. As well as a fair amount of pasta and, yes, bread. He even picked a currant out of the bread and ate that seperately, although when I acted approvingly, he took it out of his mouth to examine and see what the fuss was about.

At the shoe store, he climbed up the steps using alternating feet, just like a grownup.

He went over nine hours without nursing today (he knows we don't nurse when we're out and I plied him with food and drink the moment we stepped in the door). I'm delighted. The end is in sight.

He bursts out with "quick!" at the oddest moments. Usually in a loud voice. I have no idea why.

Saturday 8 July

When I went in to get Damian after his nap, he was sitting up pointing at his stuffed animals and naming them. He insisted that his otter was a beaver. When I told him it was really an otter, he practiced that several times and then moved on, always coming back to call it a "beaver - otter." When he's learning a new word, he sounds it out in this slightly gutteral monotone. It's like it's a non-word, just a collection of sounds; even if he's heard us say it he doesn't own it till he can say it with ease himself.

He spent a while reading to himself this afternoon while Dan and I took semi-naps in the living room. I did hear Damian tell himself the story of one of his new book (we bought books in Pasadena yesterday). This one is perfect because it has "bunny rabbits" driving "cars."

He's turning into as much of a book addict as I am. I've started putting piles of books by his carseat. He plucks one out and reads it, and then tosses it on the floor and picks up another. He can amuse himself for an entire car ride this way. Except when he can't reach the book he wants, then he needs Mommy assistance.

Sunday 9 July

We had a full day: two parties. Damian had fun at the first one, a birthday party for a two year old. As usual, he went his own way (one of the moms there, from my playgroup, said she thinks of him as the absentminded professor, he's got that distracted focus). He found some pots of paint and before long, he was actually painting on paper with a brush. Painting one color right on top of another, granted, but still... the thought was there. He seemed to enjoy it more than crayons. I see kiddie paints in his future.

He stayed away from the pool, though. Panicked a little when I tried to introduce his feet to the joys of dangling in warm water. Later he tried throwing objects in like toys, sidewalk chalk, crackers...

Party number two was at the House of the Bunnies. Damian got to pet bunny rabbits again. Happy day.

The only difficult part of the long afternoon was that he categorically refused to drink water or juice from a cup-without-straw or bottle-without-sports-top. He was therefore incredibly thirsty by evening and kept flopping over to nurse. He bought my explanation that we had to wait till we got home to the armchair and boppy, but his thirst made him irritable. On the way home, I discovered a half full sports bottle in the car and Damian drank like a desert wanderer at an oasis.

Monday 10 July

Last night when we got out of the car, I held Damian and pointed at the moon. "Look at the moon." He looked. Then he pointed, a little to the right. "Lookit star." I looked. A bright star indeed. Two way conversations are new enough that they still give me a happy shiver.

I've discovered why Damian almost always turns his battery powered Brio engine on in reverse: he lets it run backward, then he pushes it forward (the power obligingly shuts off temporarily) along the track, then he lets go and it chugs backward, then he pushes it forward again...

Tuesday 11 July

Damian stood on a pair of books and slid/shuffled across the living room. He's just invented a new sport: toddler skating.

Wednesday 12 July

Fire truck is "fydah tuck." Took me a while to piece that together.

We bought him a set of wind-up toys at a store called Wound and Wound. Dan was carrying Damian around, showing him stuff. Showed him a purple vacuum cleaner toy, put it back down. Discovered a while later that Damian had leaned down and scooped it up on their way past. He adored that vacuum. Didn't let go of it till he fell asleep for his nap.

He spent most of the afternoon mesmerized by the wind-up toys. Lots of mechanical gyrating. One entranced child.

Thursday 13 July

At the health food supermarket tonight, Damian got a case of the wiggles. I usually stock up on snacks to keep him occupied but I'd forgotten to bring any, so I let him out of his perch on the shopping cart and brought him over to the mini shopping carts they thoughtfully provide for kiddies. (And let Dan do the rest of the shopping.) Damian grabbed a little cart with glee, pushing it up and down all the aisles. He set his toy truck in it and selected various things off shelves to add to the cart, then pushed it along to the next aisle. Clearly playing at shopping like Mommy or Daddy.

Friday 14 July

Today was difficult: Damian woke up too early and never quite regained his equilibrium. Dan and I took turns with him in the morning and let each other take naps. Damian's the only one who didn't get much of a nap (20 minutes, I'd guess) because he woke up the second I stopped rocking him.

We went to Pasadena again to exchange sandals. Lunch was a semi-disaster. Damian's usually good in restaurants. Not today. The busboy set a bowl of olive oil for dipping our foccacia. Damian desperately wanted to dip a spoon into it. Got upset when we removed it from reach. We had to take turns letting him run around instead. Did end up with him acquiescing to lap-sit briefly but long enough to eat. Not wildly entertaining.

He liked the shoe store, liked revisiting the Brio table at Vroman's. But the high point of the day for all of us was a sojourn in a local park. The playground had a train-shaped jungle gym as well as a fire-engine shaped one. Lots of fun. And the park had long paths painted with a blue line that he could run along. Later, he tossed a paper cup down a slide and then slid after it, then went up the steps and repeated the whole procedure. A little boy, maybe five, seemed quite enamored of Damian and said that he was "pretty."

Dinner was a disaster. The scenario with the olive oil? We had lentil soup at dinner. Same deal. I let him dip his spoon in and dump soup onto a plate but he then wanted something else on the table -- I can't remember what but I do remember it would have made a colossal mess. He had a meltdown when we said no. I took him outside to wait for our food to be prepared in takeout containers but didn't let him run around. Damian and I were both upset. The restaurant owner came out and persuaded me to give Damian to him. I was sure Damian would protest. He didn't. In fact, he quieted and stayed quiet and calm. The guy took him into the kitchen and showed him around, and when they came out, Damian was holding a pencil and wearing if not a smile, then a contented expression. What an amazing, kind man. We could have stayed to eat after all. But it's just as well -- it was late and the kid was past exhaustion into catatonia. He crashed in the car and woke only briefly after we got home, just long enough to eat and get mad at his trains. Then time for bed. I hope tonight he sleeps well and wakes up happy.

Saturday 15 July

The kid's obsessed with escalators. Obsessed. We went to an outdoor shopping center and when we passed an escalator going down to the garage, he was drawn to it like a filing to a magnet. Was prepared to get quite a mad-on, too, but we persuaded him he could go down another escalator later and right now we were going to buy him toy cars.

Then when we bought the cars and left that store, he wanted to turn around and go right back inside. Only problem: the store was closed. Woe is me. But we said, "wanna go ride on the escalator?" And off he raced.

And up and down and up and down we went. Only problem? Damian got upset at the bottom of the down escalator. He refused to get off as if his refusal meant it would keep going forward. I had to hold him up and explain the whole system. How we ran out of down and we had to go around to the up side so we could get back on and keep moving. After that he was fine. All he needed was a little explanation.

I think he's phasing out of his high chair. Either that, or he's feeling needy. He usually doesn't want to sit in it, preferring to sit in a lap and eat at the table.
last // home // next

log archives

current log / Damian essay archive / other essays archive / what's all this, then?

copyright 2000 Tamar