August 2000 page 1 of 2
Tuesday 1 August

The only thing to report today is that I hardly saw Damian today at all. Which felt very strange. We woke up around eight a.m. Dan hung out with Damian while I made bread. Then I took Damian out for a walk; he found a mud puddle and started small, by tossing little rocks in, but surprisingly quickly, his hands and sandals and butt were muddy. We went home, which he took remarkably well. I left the house at 1:15 for lunch, and when I got home Jami was already here and they were playing happily, so I skulked around and slipped into the bedroom. We went out tonight so I didn't see him again until 10:15. Nine hours. That's the longest time apart since he was born. I missed him like crazy. He did fine without me, though he lit up like a torch when he saw me on the porch, and chattered a mile a minute when I picked him up and cuddled him close. And conked out nursing not long after.

Wednesday 2 August

This morning Dan was getting Damian dressed. Damian stopped him from putting his little arm through the shirt sleeve and said "I want to do it." So Dan let him.

It was hotter than hot today, humid to boot. So we went to the mall to ride the escalators. When we got to the top the second time (or was it the third?) Dan said, "want to go see the bunnies?" (There's a pet store near the top of the escalators.) Damian got all happy and bounced over to the pet store. He was actually more excited about an iguana in a terrarium than about the rabbit kits. He pointed at the lizard and said, "alligator."

He got frustrated tonight that we were watching Survivor. He wanted to see his train video instead. (I call it train porn -- lots of shots of trains, no narration, no message, just trains and more trains.) He adores that video. So we promised he could see it when our show was done. By that time, he'd forgotten and wandered off to the kitchen but we kept our promise. Boy did he get excited when he heard that train whistle!

Thursday 3 August

Damian had a runny nose today and a fever. Most unusual for him: he had no interest in going outside. He was very mellow all day, cuddling, playing on his own and with me, reading solo and with me... It was just my speed.

Tonight we had friends over for dinner. They wanted to spend time getting acquainted with Damian, so I suggested they read to him. Josh read Where the Wild Things Are and Damian sat between Josh and me, involved. But when I tried to edge away so I could get up, Damian quickly scooted to cuddle against me again. He was okay with this friendly stranger reading to him, but only with the ability to touch base with Mom. When Hari read The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear, though, he loosened up some more, chatting a bit as she read and pointing things out. He does love that book.

I was going to nurse him to sleep when I realized I had to pee. I told Damian I'd be right back, that I had to pee. While I was gone, Dan assured Damian that I would be right back, etc. Damian said "she not being mean." Dan thinks he was trying to understand and seperate what I was doing from the way he felt about it. I think there's some truth to this -- he seems to be emerging into a more complete emotional awareness these days.

Friday 4 August

We walk around the block every single day. Damian stops at various haunts along the way. His big pleasures are rock tossing (preferably into a puddle, but a dry gutter or grating will do in a pinch) and eyeballing the fire trucks (excuse me, "fye-da twucks"). Unfortunately, a couple of new habits have been introduced in recent days: working cigarette butts into gratings and tossing handsful of dirt into the puddle. Both of which put his hands in touch with icky germs. So this morning I tried to walk him across the street, thinking that the residential block north of us was far safer (more sanitary) than the commercial block south of us. Damian wouldn't hear of it. He categorically refused. Cried his heart out, headed for a tantrum. Oh, hell.

We went on our usual around-the-block perambulation. Unfortunately, this meant I had to be strict and immediate and use a harsh, strong tone to make it clear that he cannot touch cigarette butts or any other garbage or dirt on the sidewalk. He did get the message, though,with very little fuss though a lot of reminding. The last time he picked a cigarette butt up and I said "garbage" in a warning tone, he dropped it lightening fast. Lesson learned. For today, anyway.

This afternoon at the playground, I sat on the bottom of a slide. I was tired, so I lay back on it. Could watch Damian perfectly well, I swear. When he spotted me, he came over, all happy, and clambered onto my lap. Where he lay down too, right on top of me. Rather cozy. Rather lovely.

A little while earlier, also at the park, Damian was running down the path. I gave chase. He stopped periodically so I could catch him and either squeeze his sides or tickle his neck. Well, he was running with wild abandon and tripped and fell on the pavement. Ouch. Cries, of course. I picked him up and comforted him. Two men stood nearby. One commented to me that: "It's great that you picked him up. Many parents don't. You're a good mother."

"What parent wouldn't pick their child up when he has a boo-boo?"


"I'm sorry. Everyone should be hugged when they get hurt."

His companion told him he'd hug him when he fell. And they went off arm in arm.

Saturday 5 August

Lately Damian's taken to mimicking sirens and car alarms. When he hears one, he makes a high-pitched sing-song sort of sound. Hard to describe. Not at all harsh, rather the opposite.

In the children's bookstore this afternoon, Damian brought Dan a box to open. He said "wood car," which is what it said on the box. How did he know? Can he read???

Sunday 6 August

Nice day. We went to the farmer's market (strawberry face), had naps, went to Santa Monica (Damian rode in the backpack on Dan's back -- drank in the lively scene on the Promenade). I'm trying to think of anything noteworthy. Um...

He had delicious sea bass on his high chair tray but he spotted the corn cob on my plate. "I want corn." I gave him corn (cut it off the cob for him). He had corn for dinner. We ate his fish. A toddler's picky palate. He did eat half a date earlier, though, a small (very small) first.

Obsessed with homeopathic pills. Keeps wanting the cabinet door opened and then hands me a bottle to give him. I stopped this after a while by running away and hiding behind the kitchen door. He gave chase. Problem solved.

Now that I'm sharing Dan's computer, these updates will have to be sporadic instead of daily. I'll go back to daily when my PowerBook comes back -- late next week?

Wednesday 9 August

Yesterday Damian said "I love you" for the first time. Except... what he said was, "I love you Boppy." In a pleading tone. As in "please go get the boppy so I can nurse, Mommy."

Last night we were in a friend's car on the way home from dinner. We stopped by Dan's office so he could get his car and follow us home. But a moment after Dan left the car, Damian said -- in a very small voice -- "Mommy?" I said, "Yes, sweetie?" and he said -- in an even smaller voice -- "Daddy" and started crying. And wouldn't be consoled. So we got out and transferred to Dan's car so Damian could see that Daddy was still with us. I was struck that he didn't just say "Daddy!" but initiated a conversation of sorts to let me know what he was feeling.

Today Damian was lying on the couch looking sleepy. I made faces at him and played with him a little and said it was probably time for a nap. A few moments later, he got up and headed down the hall, saying "I get Boppy for you." I told him it was already in the living room, so he came right back, happy as a clam. He nursed to sleep in no time.

Did the same thing again tonight when we got home from an evening out (without him this time). "I get boppy for you."

Later, he left the room saying "be right back." Which is what I often say. I found him in our bedroom; he'd pulled a stool out from under the bed and was piling my jewelry on top of it.

Thursday 10 August

We keep a filmy scarf draped over the open ironwork footboard of our bed. Last night, Damian pulled the scarf down and draped it over his head. I thought it was adorable, so I kept draping it on his head even after he pulled it off. He was amused. He led me into the living room, where he wanted to be hoisted up onto the cat tree. He had a plan: he balled the scarf up and dropped it on the floor, while saying "PLOP! on top of Peter's head." He was quoting The Snowy Day. He repeated the action -- and the quote -- at least a dozen times before he'd had enough of the game.

Another quote today: he picked up the cordless phone and started talking into it. I wasn't sure what he was saying at first, but I figured it out when I heard him say "a dog, a cat, a mouse." He was remembering the page in One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish where Fred (who is stuck in bed) complains on the phone about the animals who have come to call.

Saturday 12 August

Apparently when you're upset, the first word that comes to mind is "honey." Which of course is what we say to him when we're soothing him. So now he says it to himself. Sounds more plaintive than soothing.

When you're mad at an inanimate object, you say "dammit." Can't imagine where he picked that up (she says sheepishly).

He's going through an anti-naked phase. It's fine for the bathtub but god forbid I strip his shirt off when it's ninety five in the shade. And this morning at a birthday party in a friend's back yard, Damian even got mad when I took his sandals off. Odd phase.

Today was "read a board book to Damian and then start at the beginning and read it all over again -- ten times in a row" day. Poor Dan (I have a cold, I couldn't read aloud). It started with Miss Spider's New Car, and Damian spent much of the day quoting at random from the book: "look out for that tree -- Kaboom!" and "slow down, I'm going to scream!" (this after popping off the breast and looking me straight in the eye). He's studiously memorizing them, thus the multiple reads. Much like an actor learning lines.

Turns out a Japanese noodle house is an ideal family restaurant. They have a great kid's plate. Damian slurped up the cold udon noodles and enjoyed the rice (with chicken and veggies discreetly sprinkled in) and even the dessert custard. When he was full, he dropped udon noodles into his water glass until it looked like a lagoon, murky and mysteriously filled with white snakes. He had a great time.

Sunday 13 August

Last night Damian woke up at 3:15 a.m. and didn't go back to sleep till, oh, 6 a.m. Ugh. He wasn't crying, though, at least there's that. At some point, I said, "you have to try and sleep." He replied, very clear, "My tail is caught and I cannot sleep." Maybe ten minutes later, I said the same thing, with the same reply. My first thought: he's quoting a book. But I've read every one of his books plus all the books we've ever taken out of the library. Second thought: could it be his diaper? I checked. His diaper was a little damp. Perhaps it's uncomfortable? I suggested a diaper change. He was not pleased with that idea, no, not at all. Scratch that.

Much later -- well over an hour -- I said again "you should really try to sleep." And again he said "My tail is caught and I cannot sleep." Hmm. Tail? I reached into his diaper and felt his butt. Sure enough, an edge of diaper was folded over and probably was pinching his butt uncomfortably. I fixed it. No more talk of caught tails. And though it still took a while for him to settle to sleep, at least he didn't wriggle around as much.

Tuesday 15 August

When Damian and I woke up, I brought him out to the living room. He was still half asleep. I was wondering how to extricate myself so I could go to the bathroom when I realized what just happened to be parked right outside our front window. "Look, Damian! A fire truck!" A fire truck, a fire paramedic truck and an ambulance, actually. Our neighbor, it seems, fell and broke her hip. She was carried out on a stretcher but was sitting up and seemed perfectly sanguine.

Damian watched the trucks and the goings-on with rapt attention. I went about my business. Until I noticed that there were some men on the other side of our hedge. I came over to the couch to see what was going on. Three firemen had spotted Damian staring out at them. They know his name; they see him every single day at the fire station. They'd come over to wave at him and say hi. I was touched. I brought him outside in his PJs (and let's not discuss the state of my hair!) to say hello up close. He was delighted.

I've heard him say the "my tail caught and I cannot--" line from Saturday night a couple more times since, including once today. I think he's heard me repeat the story and has decided it's a general purpose phrase for "my diaper's not comfortable." Usually it needs to be changed. But I know the first time his "tail" was "caught", it was much more specific.

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