September 2000 page 2 of 2
Saturday 16 September

Damian's become inordinantly fond of my copy of Home Buying for Dummies. He keeps flipping it open as if expecting he'll be able to read the words this time. Or there'll be pictures this time. This morning, he turned it over in his hands and said, "house." There's no picture of a house anywhere on that book. How'd he know that's what it was about? I know I've been talking about it a lot, but that's an impressive leap to deduce that's what this particular book is about.

Sunday 17 September

Damian spends a lot of time these days playing with his Brio trains. He loves stringing together long chains of train cars. Two problems with this. First, he tries to push them from the back instead of pulling from the first car. Of course, they go skidding off the track. Of course, he gets frustrated. And mad. And god forbid he's tired when he does this. Oy. Second, he wants to attach the Brio truck to the train. Behind the engine. But the truck doesn't have a magnet at the front. He refuses to accept this fact. He gets frustrated. And mad. See above. Not fun. But oh how he loves those trains. So we put up with periodic outbursts.

Monday 18 September

This evening Damian scrambled up into a dining chair, took the lid off the sugar bowl, and picked up the salt shaker. He was about to sprinkle salt into the sugar when I looked over and saw what he was up to. An early practical joker?

Damian insists on wearing his shoes most of the day. I insist he not wear his shoes on the bed. Tonight he climbed onto the bed and said, "take shoes off if you're on bed." Guess he got the message. Except he wasn't wearing any shoes at the time. I praised him anyway. Then he brought me a tiny bottle of bubble soap our neighbor gave him this afternoon and wanted me to blow bubbles for him. Which he caught and popped with his hand or watched fall gently onto the blanket and pop. Bu then he opened his mouth wide and tried to catch the bubbles in his mouth. I laughed at this, so he laughed too.

He was reading tonight, flipping through a book of touch-and-feel animals. He got to the end and was laughing at the picture. He said, "playGROUP!" Repeated it a few times. I looked over, realized the animals on the page were all playing together in one big mass of activity. It was indeed a sort of playgroup.

Tuesday 19 September

The transitions between Mom Time and Jami Time have been rough from the get-go. Damian cries and fusses and sometimes really bawls. Heartbreaking. Dan had an idea that might make it better. So yesterday we tried an experiment: when Jami got here, I stayed in the living room, working on my computer. It worked fine -- he played happily, occasionally running to me for a quick hug and then racing off again. Today we saw the fruits of the experiment: Jami arrived and Damian greeted her with pleasure. Not a whine or a fret but a smile.

Wednesday 20 September

This afternoon he sat on my lap at the dining table and reached for the fruit in the bowl. He loves to hold the fruit, name it, arrange it in front of himself, put it back in the bowl. Today he did all this and then he tried taking a bite of (unpeeled) banana. I suggested he might prefer it peeled. I handed it to him after I peeled it a little. He took a tiny bite, then another, then another. He enjoyed that banana. This is very nearly the first time he's ever eaten banana in any form. When he decided he'd had enough banana, he picked up the apple. Took a bite. Then another. Then ate nearly half the apple. He's done this before, and recently has started eating apple slices I give him but still... he's getting more adventurous with food. Just a hair, but it's encouraging to see.

Thursday 21 September

We had a full day today. We spent the morning at my cousin Kate's. Damian and her 20 month old son David played side by side. David mimicked Damian, following him as he trotted along a stone path. It was quite cute. Damian got a huge kick out of David's water table, pouring water from one side into the other and soaking his shirt, which he then wanted off immediately if not sooner.

Later we went to a few stores -- one where Damian picked out a train toy which I bought him and he absolutely adores. It's a series of blocks put together to form train cars. Damian got very upset the first time the blocks fell apart and his train was no more, but I showed him how he can reassemble it, and he's become enthralled with forming ever new configurations of train cars.

He then met the woman who helped me get pregnant with him -- my acupuncturist, who was delighted to finally meet him. Kept saying how tall he was. Said he had my eyes and Dan's face shape. Dan thinks Damian has a combination of both our eyes and my face shape. I can't tell at all.

Then we went out to dinner with friends. Damian ate tortillas and chips, mostly, and ran around the restaurant like a madman. A waiter ran up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder. Damian was so focused on his circuit of chairs, he just brushed the hand off like a bothersome fly. Pretty funny.

Friday 22 September

I bought preschool workbooks during yesterday's outing. I sat down this morning to "work" on one with Damian (really an excuse for a project to do together). He liked sticking the appropriate stickers in the book and tried real hard to get them on the outlines. He also liked pointing to the candles on the birthday cakes while I counted off the numbers. He's funny that way -- he'll count and count and count but the moment you start in too, he quiets to listen and stops counting aloud. It's a kind of shyness that stops him from responding verbally in various situations, I think.

This afternoon I heard him telling Jami about the "tall giraffe" in his lift-the-flap book (the short giraffe opens out to become a tall one). But he was pronouncing "giraffe" with a hard G instead of a soft one. When I told Dan about it later, he was intrigued that Damian should get it wrong in a phonetic way like that. Almost as if he can already read. Or perhaps, he's remembering how gorilla is pronounced...? Either way, an interesting and telling mistake. His brain is making unexpected connections between words and pronunciations.

When Dan got home, he was talking about how nice it was outside with the cool air and a slight mist. Damian ran and got his shoes and wanted to go out to enjoy the night. So we all went for a walk around the block in the misty night air.

Saturday 23 September

We made it to Mommy & Me class this morning for the first time since, well, the first time. Damian was exhausted from a restless night's semi-sleep, but was a trooper nevertheless. Even though he did lie down in the middle of the circle -- while people were singing and whatnot. When Josie (the group leader), read a book, Damian lay down in front of her and gazed intently at the book. He was also very good about putting the various acouterments back into the basket when we were done with that segment of the session. The school emphasizes putting things away when you're done with them.

So I started working on it at home this afternoon. In small ways at first: making sure he put the cap back on a marker when he was done with it (too many dried out markers floating around the house these days). I left the room after doing about three of these with a reminder that when he was done with the yellow marker he was currently using, he should put the cap on. Came back to find that he'd done just that. I was proud of him.

Another marker moment: he picked up the purple marker and said, "Harold and the Purple Crayon." Not surprising association, that. But then he finished with the purple, picked up the blue marker, and said "Harold and the BLUE Crayon." Heh.

I've discovered he has different styles with different caretakers. If Jami says "let's go to the changing table to change your diaper," Damian gleefully runs to the changing table. If I say the same exact thing, he gleefully runs in the opposite direction. In fact, I've noticed that if he comes up to me during the day and then immediately runs away, wanting me to chase him, it means he needs a diaper change!

Sunday 24 September

I bought Damian a new video on Thursday's shopping spree: Animal Mothers, part of DK's Amazing Animals series. I'm starting to be sorry I did. He loves it. I mean LOVES it. I mean stays glued to it, laughs at the same spots every time, talks back to the screen and most of all, wants to watch it over and over and over. I think he watched it eight times today. And got indignant that he couldn't start it again from the beginning immediately after the end credits rolled. He doesn't understand the whole concept of waiting for something to rewind. I've never seen him quite this infatuated with a tape. It's almost scary.

Damian's got an extensive vocabulary but only uses it when he feels like it, mostly for quotations from books, sometimes narration of something happening, often for labelling objects around him. He does say "bye" pretty consistently now, but that's something most one year olds master. And he almost never asks for something with words. Extremely frustrating. We've started trying to convince him that it's a whole lot better to use words than to point or whine. He doesn't act like he's even slightly interested in what we're saying but today he did tell us that he "want again" when the Animal Mothers tape finished. Unfortunately we couldn't reward this with an immediate viewing, since it was still rewinding. We praised him a ton. I hope that's enough to help it stick.

Monday 25 September

I was hanging out with Damian in the armchair tonight. I read him a book or two, he read himself a book or two. He burrowed behind the cushion behind us, reached down. Couldn't reach far enough. Enlisted my help. I pulled out a board book called, simply, Trucks. He hasn't read it for a while (seeing as how it's been ensconced behind the armchair cushion and all). He opened it up and started reading aloud. He got "through tunnels" and "over bridges" and even "bread truck bringing bread for the store." I was impressed with his memory. Then he got to a page he didn't remember. He looked at it for a while. Decided the newspapers were books and said, "here is a book truck bringing books." Then flipped a couple of pages, saw a cat in the window of a house, saw a hose from the truck into the house, said "a cat truck bringing cats." (It's an tanker delivering oil.) I was enchanted. Then he wanted me to read the book to him. I was seriously tempted to read it the way he had; I knew he was going to try and memorize the real words and I thought that was a shame. I love seeing glimpses of his imagination. Unfortunately, he thinks the words as written are gospel. He'd rather memorize than invent. At least right now. We'll work on that...

Starting just yesterday: Damian comes up to me and takes my hand and pinches the skin. I have no idea where he picked this up, but he gets indignant when I tell him it hurts me and he can't do that. On the other hand, he's also started running his hand lightly up my arm. Stroking, almost tickling. Very gentle. I tell him it feels nice and do it in turn to him.

Tuesday 26 September

Big step: Damian's bed arrived today. He's asleep in it now. More on that in an entry, probably tomorrow. So far the transition has been completely painless. I'm afraid to say so, in case I jinx it. I did explain it several times before the bed came, but he acted like he didn't hear me. Maybe he did after all...

In the car this evening, we stopped at a red light. From the back: "Stop dogs stop, the light is red." The light changed, we started forward and sure enough, "Go dogs go, it's green ahead."

He's just beginning to consistently ask for things with language. Now he says "jus" (juice) when he's thirsty. In the restaurant tonight, he said "jus" and I gave him water to drink. He's got a ways to go still. So frustrating. He can but he won't. He talks but doesn't ask.

He's got a brand new bath phobia. Dan thinks it's because we've let him off the hook if he's complained, so now he thinks he can get away with never taking a bath. Sounds quite possible, as Damian seems angry more than upset about being in the tub. So he's going to get quickie baths, but baths nevertheless, and every night. Kid's gotta stay clean.

He's getting just a smidge more adventuresome about food. Bananas are firmly part of his food vocabulary, as long as he can eat it like an adult (ie, not cut up into mushy chunks). He ate half a banana today in one sitting. And he tried and liked a cashew. Ate about three. The first time he's been willing to try a nut. Gradually his palate expands.

Wednesday 27 September

I wrote more about yesterday's/today's bed transition in this journal entry.

This evening I sat on the floor in the living room and watched as Damian squeezed through the miniscule space between armchair and ottoman, just for kicks. He looked over his shoulder at me. Saw that I was smiling warmly. Got a huge smile in response. Forgot what he was going to do and ran over to me for a hug-and-cuddle. Times like these, motherhood feels like a delicious drug.

He ate tofu tonight. Several small chunks, taken from my plate while he sat on my lap as I read him a book.

Thursday 28 September

We went house hunting today. As we walked into one of the houses, Damian said, "new house." This particular house happened to be the one we later came thisclose to making an offer on (and still may -- we're on the fence).

Later he commented, "new house has three doors." And then modified it: "three pink doors." That house did have three doors, I think. But I'm fairly certain they weren't pink. Maybe we should keep our eyes peeled for a house with pink doors?

Progress on the bath front: I got into the tub with him tonight. He sat on my lap as the water rose in the tub. Dan put the ball chute -- one of Damian's favorite toys -- into the tub too. The combination of fascination with the new water toy and comfort with having mommy in the tub definitely helped. In fact, he complained (vigorously) when we got out of the tub.

Friday 29 September

I forgot to mention this yesterday -- it was early evening. I'd tried to feed Damian some yogurt. He wasn't interested. I left the custard cup of yogurt on a pile of books with a spoon sticking out. (Yeah, yeah, bad housekeeping.) About an hour later, I saw him find the yogurt and start feeding himself. Completely proper spoon form. I was rather impressed. He ate the whole cup. I refilled it but he'd wandered off by then, so I left it on the dining table. Shortly thereafter, he climbed into the dining chair, sat himself at the table, and ate the yogurt -- once again, skillfully navigating yogurt via spoon to mouth. Polished off the cupful again and then hopped down.

Damian's new bed has precipitated another change: we've eliminated the morning nursing session. When he wakes up, I go into his room, offer him juice and flop on his bed with him. Cuddling in a non-milky way. So now we're just down to the nighttime post-bath nursing ritual. I'd never have guessed he could go from seven times a day to just once in such a short time, with no emotional damage. He did ask for the Boppy today around two p.m., though, for the first time in a while. He was sort of sleepy but not quite, and I think he thought he could go to sleep that way. I think he was probably mistaken (he wasn't tired enough). I offered to rock him. He accepted, perfectly content with that. (Didn't go to sleep, though.)

At the playground this afternoon, a man was pushing his daughter on the swing next to where I pushed Damian. He was telling her that they'd better be getting home soon, they were having dinner with friends. And then started to list all the Mexican food they'd be eating. Chips, guacamole, nachos. Damian heard, said "CHIPPPPPS!" And then repeated it several times, getting such a kick out of the word. Shouted it to the heavens. I told the guy we'd be coming to their house for dinner. (Damian does like chips, I must admit.) Later, Damian said "climb," I think because he was contemplating climbing up the swing ropes. Uh uh. But I said "where will you climb? To the moon?" And he agreed, "to the moon."

Saturday 30 September

Damian did much better at the Mommy and Me class this morning. He's starting to really get into the routine of it. He bounced/danced when we were supposed to "shake our beanbags" and did some of the other activities without much coaching. I was delighted to see it. He seemed to be having a really good time.

He lingered at the table (well, high chair) tonight, enjoying playing with the rice on his tray. Dan lounged on the couch, I sat in the armchair. We were talking. In a good mood. Damian burst out with "YIP! PEEY!" And then repeated it several times, shouting it out. Adding "Great!" and something else we couldn't quite make out. But pretty soon we were all shouting "yippee!" Having a child releases the child within, no question.

The bath went a little better tonight. He didn't cry much. I'm still getting in the tub with him.

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