I managed to get Tristan to pedal on his little giraffe toddler bike. He prefers to pedal backward, but at least we got the motion going. At this rate, he’s poised to learn to ride a bike for real FAR before his daddy.
On Monday, we ate lunch up at Google while James was on vacation (but needed to get his pager). It was cold and shitty outside, but the seats inside were all taken. We had some random buffet-style lunch and were situating ourselves as best we could, and James went to look for a high chair. In the meantime, I set the plate containing some french fries on a table, and a bird immediately swooped in and stole one. Tristan uttered his standard Tristanese for “airplane,” thus declaring that an airplane had taken the fry.
We’ve been taking showers together for the longest time (which you know if you’ve been reading along this time). I have a “tramp stamp” tattoo – big old dragon on the lower back, but it’s an original dragon that I use on my webpages with outspread wings. Tristan kept snuggling up to the tattoo today in the shower – never before had he so much as indicated interest. I am also fairly sure he said “airplane.” I do not have a damn airplane on my back – that’s a dragon! I figure perhaps we can foster interest in dragons through airplanes.
Due to Tristan’s airplanitis, we decided to get him yet another Little People airplane toy. Now we have the 3-seater airplane and the little plane with an airport. I swear, having a kid is just an excuse to get the toys and crap you’d have gotten for yourself.. and in a way, it’s a good thing, because we ARE stuck playing with this stuff, after all!
We haven’t yet done “Christmas” with Tristan yet – we’re waiting for our friend Jason to arrive so we can try to convince him to wield a camera. Besides, we’re hoping Tristan naps his little butt off for a couple of hours. We did give him a couple of his gifts ahead of time – a big felt-plush dragon for babies that we discovered locally and the Imaginarium 5-Way Giant Bead Maze Cube, which has already paid for itself in baby-entertaining time.
Tristan’s been spending much of his time opening and closing doors, cabinets, drawers, and the like. Since we decided to put this potentially annoying behavior on cue, he delights in getting it right when we let him open and close things.
He definitely recognizes words and enjoys the hell out of his language videos. I am not sure if he recognizes basic body parts, but he recognizes the words for them. Whenever he sees or hears a word he knows, he tries to say it – which sounds a lot like gutteral growling – and gets grinny.
We brought him to a local Gymboree yesterday and played with Chun and Marcus. Tristan ADORED the place and we’re definitely going to sign up so we have access to the open playgym times, if nothing else. In fact, we were just about to when Tristan tried to be a bit of a gymnast and flip beyond his means, earning him a headache and us all an earache. After we calmed him down from that, we realized it was getting late enough that he’d likely be a pain in the ass while we tried to sign up for anything, so we put it off for next time.
If you’ve been reading along with us for the past year, you will remember how Tristan always seemed to like the word “vegetables.” I am telling you, this kid craves them. Not only did he suck down two pouches of the spinach, peas, and pear baby food in rapid succession, but he gobbles dried peas like the rest of us gobble up chocolate. In fact, he isn’t even interested in stealing our chocolate! We did let him have a nibble of dulce de leche fudge (no cocoa) and he loved it, but he was also satisfied with the kitty-lick size we gave. He seems to be a smarter eater than the rest of us here at home, so far.
We had a very successful playdate at Thamien Park this morning! We arrived around 10:30 and started playing with some wet sand. Jennifer and Tysen arrived soon after, and then a group containing many of the moms from our group and their babies wandered over. The weather was beautiful – warm, didn’t even need a sweatshirt on Tristan.
Tristan, however, felt it necessary to wander across the park and not look back for even a moment – he got far enough away that if I did not sprint, he could’ve walked very slowly and made it to the opposing street. He did this a few times, too. What he’s doing is chasing the airplanes, since they seem to circle overhead. I describe him as secure; this is the polite word for it. He is the only child that I have ever seen that will just wander calmly away from mom and not even bother looking back. I assume that he trusts me enough to come after him when he’s in danger of being separated and not that he’s just that happy to get away from me. I like that he’s secure and explorative, but I’m scared that reining him back in like that teaches him to be foolishly secure and/or reckless. I need to train him to look for me and return to me, but I’m never in a situation where I don’t have to eventually go after him to keep him out of some sort of trouble. Is this just a feature of his age, or is it a feature of his personality in general, I wonder?
Otherwise, he’s been mostly good but trying us as he grows. We’re having a bit of a struggle over him dropping food from his high chair tray. He really does respond much better to positive reinforcement than the command “no!” but other than reinforcing everything that is not food-dropping (and/or just letting him grow out of it), we’re not having the best of luck. He seems to do it when he does not wish to eat a particular item instead of just pushing it aside, or when he’s done eating in general. He’s pretty good, though. He still eats the chicken rice two out of three meals, and he devours that stuff like nothing else. He seems to be sort of particular about the stuff he will eat, though, and doesn’t eat a lot that kids his age like (sound like mommy at all?). For instance, today I offered him a piece of biscuit and his response was to spit it out after two tries – but the rest of the kids were happily gnawing on their biscuits.
As time passes, it’s apparent that Tristan’s starting to understand a lot more language. He can say “airplane” but it does not in any way resemble the English word “airplane.” It sounds far more like “ehhhh” than “airplane” but it’s completely contextual. He also can recognize the phrase “arms up” in print and say it, but it sounds like “auahauhuahahaaaa” instead of “arms up.” Again, completely nonsensical in sound but predictable and contextual. We have a TV set up in the dining room, so he watches his baby videos while he plays in the dining room and eats in his high chair, and he still watches the reading video daily.
A lot of new pictures and videos added!
We scheduled a park playdate at Thamien Park for this morning, even rescheduling the removal of some very cumbersome tables from our home in order to make the playdate, since I was the one to organize it. Most of the folks cancelled ahead of time on account of the nasty weather – some thought it would be too cold, some saw rain – but I wanted to go just in case somebody showed up. Turned out that we were late as it was, but almost nobody was at the park – friends or strangers. Nobody I knew was there, but it’s possible that someone arrived before us and turned back upon seeing nobody they knew there. The weather was pretty nasty, but at least not bitterly cold – pretty much just Seattle-ish, weepy rain that is enough to keep people indoors. The field at the park was soggy enough to be considering becoming marshland. My shoes are quite soaked and I’m glad Tristan was in the sling, because he’d probably have wanted to play in the muck and I don’t believe I had a towel on hand big enough to deal with that and the fact that they tend to use ‘reclaimed water’ in the maintenance of the landscape as it is.
I brought Tristan to the mall and let him walk around the Carter’s store while I picked out some 24 month lightweight stretchy pants for him – I love those particular pants because they have been pretty age-appropriate for him throughout his pants-wearing days and they come in colors that go well with any outfit. Whenever I see them in whatever size he is or is on the cusp of, I like to snap up a few pairs since they tend to be scarce in whatever size I am looking for. I also got him some mittens for shits and giggles, since he won’t wear them unless it’s frostbite-cold, but I’ll bet if it gets that cold he will appreciate them. I also grabbed another pack of socks since we do share a home with the Sock Eating Monster as many of you have experienced in your own homes.
The worst of the teething seems to have passed for now. The lower molar he’d been working on is finally visible, and there are some teeth poking around up on top of those that are causing him a bit of grief, but it seems paltry compared to the week of diaper nastiness.
But diapers are getting very nasty. We tried very hard to be respectful and understanding when the diapers were painful for him because he was all rashy. He seemed to be grateful and cooperative. Now that he has the energy or is getting old enough to protest more forcefully, he is going back to squirming and refusing to lie back without screaming. I’ve been trying many methods for dealing with this and depending on the time of day or week or whatever toddler whim brings that moment, some work and some do not. I have had to resort to lying him down to remove the diaper and wipe a tiny bit (hopefully enough to avoid shit-prints on the changing table, but not always that lucky) before he squirms out and up. I manage to face him so that I can continue cleaning him as he squirms, and then I’ve had to apply the new diaper standing up. Of course, I already suck at diapering this kid so this makes the new diaper sag oddly on at least one side until I’ve spent five extra minutes straightening it. Anyway, I suspect that lying on his back at some moments is uncomfortable and I plan to get his pillow back out, but I also believe he’s just getting more assertive.
He is definitely making leaps and bounds in the language department, at least as far as understanding it goes. He understands the concept of “no” and after a few tries can be convinced to heed it. For instance, we have a new TV peripheral stand with glass doors, and we have our stair gate that is meant to keep the eager baby from going head-first into trouble. As any good toddler does, he does try a lot to see whether the rules have changed, but we’re all pretty good about not making a game out of it where he does the obnoxious thing over and over while laughing. Except for the last time we were at the playgroup, and I was trying to convince him to bang on wood and not glass.. but that was the only time I can recall. I’m sure that my tone of voice was not the same as when we run into these issues at home, and I realize that I should’ve led him away from the glass to show him something appropriate to bang on instead of trying to show him the windowsill of the window he was banging on.
He’s been napping very well this week, and I hope that continues. He’s preferred to take one nap and a bit earlier than he used to – he was asleep by 1pm today instead of the 2:30pm we had been going for – and these past few days he’s slept until at least 4pm.
Oh! He is able to put things back on command (and on his whim) now. He doesn’t do it very reliably, but we’ve made a game of taking things out of drawers and putting them back in, or taking books off of bookshelves and putting them back on. Also, he is still VERY obsessed with opening and closing doors and drawers – ah, my little OCD Virgo. Whenever we have the refrigerator door open when he’s wandering around, he tries to close it even if you’re standing in the way holding it open. He also wants to close open car doors and the trunk. I’m trying to keep putting these behaviors – open, close, in, out – on cue so that we don’t start fighting over it and/or he doesn’t hurt himself or others and/or he doesn’t lock my keys in the car.
TEETHING. Ow. We’re finally feeling better-ish from the series of mild allergylike but annoying whatever-is-going-around symptoms. But poor Tristan! He’s in the process of cutting three molars. He’s alternating between fussy as hell and his normal self – there was a lot more of normal self today than he’s been showing for a good week or so. For the past three days, he has had a bit of frequent diaper blowout and he’s gotten very sore underneath the diaper, as well. After the last change before the nap he’s taking right now, I had to walk around holding him up against me with a towel between us to let the rash air out for about ten minutes – he loved that, though!
Of course, this means that we’re grumpy because the kid requires a lot of tender loving care and comforting. Thankfully, he’s been sleeping through the night well even still (knocking on that wood), but he’s been dicking up his nap in various ways. We’ve been operating under the One Nap schedule lately, which means a 3 hour nap from 2-5pm (with the current wakeup time of 8:15am-ish and current goodnight time of 10:45pm-ish). With the complication of teething, the One Nap is interrupted at various inopportune times, and my break (half break, half “oh shit, what can I get done that requires the baby not be around?”) goes to hell. And since during these times, he wakes up screaming instead of babbling, he requires lots of snuggles and comfort before he will consent to doing anything at all except drinking a bottle. Considering the fact that I’m a tiny bit disappointed that we’re still using bottles at 15 months – mostly because we continue to rely on them, really – I would rather calm him down without offering one if possible. As it is, when he’s at all unhappy, he will not accept a drink in an alternative container and this is a habit we can’t continue forever.
Other than teething, he’s been talking a lot – up, down, mamama, dadadada, a lot of random stuff that I don’t yet understand as well, possibly chicken or thank you or even Tristan – I could see it being any of those. He also really likes it when we sing about his puntypaws – when we catch him in a good mood in a position to kick his legs, like on the changing table, and start to sing, he will punt at us at the appropriate time in the song, or even when we stop and look at him anticipatingly.. I’m sure there’s a better word for that, but you get my point. Anyway, the kid kicks furiously on command and he has pretty good command of a ball soccer style. I’m thinking ninja and not pirate.
His demeanor and behavior were a lot better at the playgroup today – hell, all of the kids were fairly happy. There’ve been a lot of struggles about sharing with some of the kids lately, and with multiple child families, they need their kids to be able to share on command and not be entirely pissy about it. That being said, all of the kids figured out how to play cooperatively, take turns, and share on their own terms today and it was so much fun that the time whizzed right by.