August 2000 page 2 of 2
Wednesday 16 August

When Damian's upset, he tells himself to "calm down!" in a sort of irritable tone. I don't use that tone. I don't think. I hope not. But it sounds like he's giving himself a talking-to. I think it helps.

The last few days when he's seen Jami he's said "no!" and launched into a long diatribe, completely unintelligible. Monday and yesterday this led to his calming down completely and being just fine with her. Today was harder. I'm not sure but I think he might be reciting from There's a Nightmare in My Closet, saying "go away nightmare!"

This morning he went out in the living room, saw Dante, and said "go away, cat." Quoting again, this time Top Cat.

I think Damian's sick. It's hard to tell -- it's so hot it's impossible to see if he's running a fever without a thermometer. But he's not eating much, nursing more, sleeping more than usual every night (thought still mostly eschewing naps) and -- most striking -- he's not interested in going outside. Three days now, he's mostly played indoors. It could be the heat, of course. Seems fairly content for all that. Not like me. I had the flu this weekend and never stopped complaining.

Thursday 17 August

Damian told Jami today that he didn't want to go to the park, that he was hungry, that he wanted a strawberry. This is part of a trend. Speech as communcation. A long time coming. A gradual transition. Lovely to see.

Friday 18 August

Last night Damian woke up at three a.m, didn't end up going to sleep till after 6. At one point, he hopped off the bed and went padding into the kitchen. I could see the fridge light go on. Dan got up and scooped him up, taking him off to rock for a while. He told me later Damian was standing there pointing at foods and naming them: "waddamelon" etc. At four a.m.

Damian's been into counting lately. Dan told me Damian was counting the plastic dolphins in his bathtub last night. Only somehow he managed to count to ten even though there were eight dolphins. Hmm.

We went back to the Japanese noodle place for dinner (the one we went to Saturday night). Damian unfortunately remembered his dump-udon-noodle-into-water-glass trick and wanted to do it right off the bat. Wasn't happy till he had a bowl or glass of liquid to deposit various foodstuffs and swish them around with a spoon. Messy.

Saturday 19 August

Gloria (who cleans biweekly) was vacuuming in the bedroom this morning. Damian brought in his wagon and started "vacuuming" along with her. This he's done before. The amusing thing -- he did everything she did. She pushed the vacuum under the bed, he pushed the wagon under the bed. She did the closet floor, he did the closet floor. She said he was very thorough in the closet, too. Maybe we should get a suction attachment for that wagon...?

I brought Damian out onto the porch when Dan's bike riding partner brought him home. We chatted for a while -- or tried to -- Damian kept shouting "no no no!" the way he does these days when Jami comes. Katie looks nothing like Jami, but he was convinced I was going to leave him with her. He was much happier when we went in the house -- sans Katie.

We successfully used the stroller for the first time in over a month. We allowed him to stand up in it and then ease himself down into the seat when he was ready. It's a control/independence issue, almost certainly. Not wanting to passively go where we push him. But rolling along seeing the sights has its pleasures too. He had a good time. We had a nice walk. I've missed stroller-aided walks.

A small first tonight: Damian climbed into the tub on his own (Dan steadied him a bit). He's tall enough now.

Sunday 20 August

This night waking is getting far too frequent. Damian woke up at 4:30 a.m. and didn't go back to sleep till -- well, till it was light out. At least two hours. I nursed for ages and then finally got tired of it and rolled onto my stomach. So Damian did too. And then rolled around some more. At one point he lay next to me with his feet up by my head. He finally scooted to the bottom of the bed and got down. Last time he did that, I got up with him. Not this time. I lay in bed and listened as he pushed wind-up toys on the living room floor. When he was tired enough, he came back to bed. I helped him climb up and then finally nursed him to sleep.

Monday 21 August

Usually going to the library is a bit of a chore. In a fun way, but still a chore, following a rambunctious child around the stacks and through the lobby and up the stairs, etc. etc. etc. This morning, though, my quiet child sat and looked at books almost the entire time. It made it very easy to pick out new books for him, but I sort of missed the zipping and the zooming.

We bought Damian a rocking horse yesterday. It's old fashioned, wood, toddler sized. He got on it tonight (with assistance) and rocked forward and back like an expert. I got a vicarious thrill out of watching him go at it. Remembering the joy of rocking horses and childhood.

Tuesday 22 August

Every other night Damian wakes up sometime between 3 and 4:30 a.m. and staying awake for two or more hours. Oy. Ai yay yay. But last night, like Saturday night, I ended up not nursing him to sleep. I lay on my belly and snuggled him against my side and he relaxed and fell asleep like that. It was nice. We slept in together to make up for the lost sleep.

He's getting restless with the shopping cart ritual. I've had to start putting him in the cart proper and letting him ride standing up. A bit inconvenient, that.

We've been doing a lot of snuggling -- sitting together resting -- I think to make up for nursing sessions lost. Not that he's weaned, not by any means ("I get you Boppy", he says, while struggling to haul the bulky nursing pillow from bedroom to living room) but I think we're laying the groundwork.

I love leaving Damian for a few hours -- mostly because I see him with fresh eyes when I get home. A sweetie pie, no doubt about it. Dan and I had an appointment, and when we got home, we brought takeout fast food. Damian sat on Dan's lap and ate french fries -- but you have to understand, they were FrenCH Frieees -- but even that doesn't capture the musical intonation, the playing with the sounds of words.

Damian's rediscovered his penis. He goes through phases of interest with it. He pulls it and pushes it into his scrotum and yanks it and squishes it between his hands. Silly putty penis.

Wednesday 23 August

I was watching the Survivor finale and Damian was running around, enjoying himself. He brought me a box of blueberries. I opened it for him. He took one. Ran off. I didn't think much of it. He came back later, wanted another. I gave him one, glad he was enjoying them. I got up during a commercial break to refill my water glass. Walked into the kitchen. The fridge door was ajar, the water pitcher was filled with -- you guessed it -- blueberries. And a few sundry toys. He got a mite perturbed when he showed up in the kitchen to find an empty shelf where the pitcher had been, so I ran an inch worth of water into a big pot, put it on the floor, and gave him some small plastic toys to toss in. He was happy. I got to watch my show. And afterwards, I just had to fish out a few very soggy breadsticks and some stray blueberries.

Thursday 24 August

This water thing is out of control. A few times a day Damian spots my water glass and goes nuts trying to reach it so he can fill it with food and small objects. I ended up filling the bathroom sink with water, fetching a stool, and letting him have at it. He loved to put toothbrushes, etc. in the water. Also loved to pull the stopper out and let it drain. And have me refill it. And put his hands under the faucet. Etc.

I fell and hurt myself pretty badly this morning -- chewed up one knee and really battered my other foot. Damian thought my cries of pain were funny. I guess I can understand that -- I do make oddball noises sometimes to amuse him. But it was a little disturbing nevertheless. I tried to explain the difference to him. He did stop laughing but then got restless and wanted to get moving already. Fortunately, it felt okay enough for me to go for a walk with him after all. But I have to figure out a better way to explain what it means when Mommy's in pain.

Friday 25 August

Damian's nap today was more of a catnap than a real one. When I went in to get him, I said, "That was a short nap!" He replied, "I'm hungry, Mommy." So I scooped him up and brought him to the kitchen. Where he said, "open refrigerator." Yes sir. And then as I carried him over to the counter to get snacks, I passed the coffeemaker. He commented, "Coffee. Hot." Fortunately, he didn't seem to be asking for the coffee.

We had our first official play date this afternoon. I think it meant more to me than to Damian. We met a woman from playgroup and her daughter. The kids didn't interact much but we enjoyed each other's company a great deal. We'll probably do it again next week. And the kids will get to know each other better over time. Damian did say "bye" to them, though.

I'm amazed at how assured he's gotten in the park. He knew exactly where he was going and exactly what he wanted to do. There's a sort of ladder thing that's tricky to climb up because it's curved. Damian apparently can climb it with ease. I was impressed. He couldn't do that last time I brought him there. But Jami brings him probably three times a week. He's become quite the expert climber.

Saturday 26 August

Damian's started sleeping through the night again. He's over his stroller phobia too. Now, it seems, we're into "I don't want to get out of the car!!" He positively wails when we stop the car and want to get out. Oy. Part of it seems to be the music; he loves listening to tunes in the car, which is how we got him to mellow about car rides. Seems the pendulum has swung all the way and now we have to get him less enamored of the carseat. Who'd a thunk?

Sunday 27 August

Solution: we bring his Fisher Price boom box along, put his favorite tape in (Maria Muldaur, "Swinging in the Rain"), and bring it with us when we leave the car. Walking with the stroller bopping to the music. It serves as a transition tool and then we can turn it off and go about our business.

He doesn't like to get his hands messy. We ate out at a deli this evening; Damian had mac and cheese, very saucy. He didn't eat much and kept wiping his hands on his shirt. Finally I started feeding him. That was cool. Then I pierced a noodle with my fork and gave it to him on the end of the fork. Cooler. Then he picked up the fork and fed himself. Coolest. (I stuck the noodle on first, it would require too much dexterity for a two year old to stab a macaroni noodle).

I heard Damian saying "quick!" and knew he was reading The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear. Sure enough, he soon trotted over and handed it to me. When I got to the page where "BOOM BOOM BOOM The Big Hungry Bear will tromp through the forest and SNIFF SNIFF SNIFF smell the red ripe strawberry", Damian stomped his feet (boom boom boom, don't you know). Dan went in the bathroom and started running the bath water. Damian stayed and listened to the rest of the book and then took off like a bat out of hell, eager to jump in the bathtub. Cute.

Monday 28 August

Jami called in sick today. I was worried: I had a lot to do. I didn't need to worry. Damian amused himself for surprisingly long stretches today. Mostly reading (looking at pictures in books, remembering/reciting the words). Kid takes after me big time.

When we went for our usual walk around the block, we found something slightly changed: a whole bed of pebbles around some trees on the sidewalk. Damian got excited when he saw this: "Rocks!" He climbed in and ran through the box. Very pleased.

Dan brought out a container of ice cream for himself when he was done with dinner (Damian was still eating salmon and corn). Damian spotted the ice cream and wanted some. Dan tried to convince him to wait till he was done with dinner. He stopped eating. Done. So Dan gave him some ice cream. Between every bite, Damian said "ice cream". Sometimes commented that it was "cold." When he'd had enough, he went back to his salmon. I mean, why not? Why do we have to have dessert after dinner? Why not have it sandwiched between dinner, as it were?

I'd given him a fork with dinner, thinking of last night. He put some salmon on his fork and maneuvered it to his mouth. I said "Great!" and Dan said "Good job." Damian said "Great job!", all happy.

Damian was half-clothed when he came into the bathroom for his bath (shirt but no diaper). He said he was "cold and hot." Then he sped out to the living room to fetch a purple car. Apparently no bath is complete without one.

Tuesday 29 August

When I heard the light flick on and off in Damian's room at, oh, 4:30 am, I knew we were in trouble. I was right. The kid didn't go back to sleep till 11:30 a.m. Bear in mind he'd gone to bed after midnight. After nursing didn't work, rocking didn't work, giving him juice and a snack didn't work -- oh, and lying there like a log didn't work, I let him get up and hang out in the living room. By himself. Armed with juice, bread, and books. After a while I got up and put on a train video. Went back to bed. I managed to snooze on and off with one ear open. Damian? He was just fine. In a good mood almost all day, too. Amazing. He did take a two and a half hour nap midday. I thought I heard him talking and ran to fetch him, but Dan was already in there watching. Damian had been talking in his sleep. Probably quoting some book. Woke up when he heard me coming. Almost always does wake up when he hears me. Subconscious attunement to mommy footsteps.

Tonight, I was holding him upside down in my lap (head hanging down between my legs) and then lifting him up by the arms. Accompanied by "up" (for the sitting part) and "side down" (for the upside down part -- duh). Which he found very amusing. When I switched to just "up" and "down", Damian chimed in with "up" and "down" and then, from out of nowhere, "turn around."

Wednesday 30 August

Damian hates it when Jami comes, hates the transition from me. After he gets over the initial shock, he has a great time with her; I hear him giggling and shrieking and chatting away. But lately he refuses to leave the house with her. That's just too far away from me, I think. I think it's a phase. I hope it's a phase.

He's still constantly quoting from books but other intriguing elements are making their way into his speech. When he's thirsty, he's started saying, "I forgot to drink." Quoting me. (I have to stay hydrated or I run into nasty problems. So sometimes at night I'll mourn that I forgot to drink, while glugging down to catch up on my liquids.)

His most interesting commentary today, though, was when he heard the sound of a fire truck siren and started saying, "open a box of fire trucks." I'm fairly certain that was pure imagination at work.

He now hates being unclothed. This evening I took off his pants when I was changing his diaper and figured I'd just leave them off. Done it before. But Damian didn't agree with this plan. After he'd hung out on his changing table for a while (he likes it there, and he can get down by himself), he started fussing. I came back in. He pointed at the side table where the wipes are and, not incidentally, recently discarded clothing. I gave him a couple of little toys. Nope. More fussing, more pointing. I led him to the table, told him to show me what he wanted. He picked up the pants and handed them to me. Very annoyed. So I fetched a fresh pair and eased them on and lo, he was fully dressed. All was right with the world.

Thursday 31 August

This evening at six I went into Damian's room where he was hanging out with Jami. He got up, all happy to see me. Took my hand and wanted to lead me to the living room. I figured he was leading me to the boppy to nurse, so I said, "what, no hello? How about a 'hi, mommy'?" So he said "hi, mommy!" while he was dragging me into the living room. When we got there, he headed for the armchair. Okay, now I was sure I was right. But no, he didn't go for the boppy, he went for a pair of his socks that I'd left there. He handed them to me. Wanted me to put them on his feet. I obliged. He was happy, kept wiggling his feet and gazing at them with pleasure. Kid's sock obsessed.

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