Friday, January 12, 2007

Happy 17 month birthday

Dear Connor,

This month, I think your dad and I finally breathed a sigh of relief. It’s as if we have finally figured out how to parent you – or at least we’re no longer worried about how much we’re screwing up. We have this very odd feeling that our lives are under control and we’re not under constant watch for whatever is going to go wrong or throw us a curve ball. Yeah, I know we’re totally going to pay for no longer being on constant watch, but hopefully we’ll always remember what a great month this was.

For starters, we traveled over Christmas and you slept…in your own bed…every night! The first night was a little rough getting to bed, in fact your cousins were hoping that you wouldn’t scare Santa off, but after that you and doggie and bunny hopped in bed and went to sleep. You seemed to enjoy hanging out with your cousins and, as always, you were a champ on the airplane (though I might suggest SLEEPING the next time our flight is delayed and it’s LATE).

You’ve become a master at opening and closing doors. When your dad comes barreling down the hall after you, you’ve been known to slip in the door and shove it in his face. He totally deserves this.

You have also learned that you can take advantage of the fact that your bedroom door is almost always slightly ajar. A few nights ago, you discovered that your skinny little arm can fit between the slats in your crib with ease. You can then play with the door a bit and it will open – tahdah! You’ve shown a clear understanding of your newfound power. For example, if you would like to get our attention, you now stand up in bed, open the door, and let out a wallop of a holler. It’s quite impressive. You also use the skill to check out things throughout the night, on occasion. Last night, you opened your door about every 3 hours, looked around and decided nothing good was going on, closed it and went back to sleep. Sometimes in the morning I hear you open and close your door a few times before summoning me to your bed with that sweet, sweet “mama” (which is a lot sweeter when it comes AFTER 6:15!).

When once the jokes were typically on you, now you’re playing them on others. The classic is getting a Cheerio or blueberry in your hand, holding your hand out to someone as you put on an extra sweet smile, and then after the person thanks you and tries to actually claim the item you are offering, you shove it in your mouth and laugh. You’ll also tell your dad a cow says “bah” and other things that crack you up.

I won’t go so far as to say you’ve become a “good eater”, but when you do decide to eat, it can be quite impressive. You might be testing out a career path at some meals, because you’ve been known to shove half a pear in your mouth – in one bite – and somehow you manage to swallow it. Oh baby, this could be big some day. Showing that you may not be my child after all, you started eating raisins. I think these are disgusting, even more so when you decide to spit them out. I’m grateful you seem to be done with the spitting out phase. Ick!

You’ve shown you have a real grip these days. I think your dad is never going to give you another cereal bar since the first thing you like to do when you’re handed one is squish it. But on occasion, you put that grip to good use. We went on a bike ride and you carried a toy giraffe for the whole ride. This morning at gymnastics you brought a little monkey with you, and though your dad assured you it would be easier to climb if you didn’t have something in your hand, you weren’t going to test that theory. Besides, Monkey probably wanted to play on the equipment too!

Although I have always been fairly convinced that you have a lot going on in your mind, it’s become very clear to others as well. You’ve started to play pretend with your toys and this is so fun to watch. Most of your stuffed animals and Little People have bathed, eaten supper, hidden, or participated in other activities. One of your favorite games to play with them is “ring around the rosie”. You say “ashes, ashes” and knock them all down. You have also shown that you might make an excellent only child because now not only will you kick the ball and chase it by yourself, you will also twirl around if someone sings “ring around the rosie” and then fall down. It’s sort of cute and sad at the same time. You also show that you know what’s going on by being able to follow all sorts of commands but this afternoon, Connor, you showed that you can solve problems too. I asked you to get me a tissue so I could blow my nose (I was folding laundry, trying to keep you busy so you wouldn’t be “folding” as well, which to most people looks more like “unfolding”). You went into the bathroom, but I could see that you couldn’t quite reach the box of tissues. So you unwound a reasonable amount of toilet paper, tore a piece off, and brought it to me. You also have an amazing ability to generalize. If you see a bird in a book, you will point to our pet birds. If you see a dog in a book, you will point to a dog toy as well. Tonight, we were flipping through a book and when it got to the “goose”, you bopped me on the head, as if we were playing “duck, duck, goose”, which is something we play frequently. Very impressive.

Your projects continue to keep you busy. Above, you're building a drumset. At the Building Museum, you were playing a typical game of "containers" where you dump the contents of one container into another. Only trouble was, the contents of your container were fish crackers, and the other toddler watching the game didn't seem to get the game and kept EATING the crackers. I got the feeling she was looking at you saying "no wonder you're so skinny kid, you have to EAT food, not dump it back and forth, geez". When the crackers were gone, you went to do some other important activity, and I'm sure you were thinking "what the heck happened to all those crackers?".

Ball has turned into a one syllable word most days, and I do miss the “bawa” days, but I’m getting used to the “baaaw” days as well. Some nights you’re like a zombie chanting “moooore” and I only hope it’s never in the context of wanting to suck my brains out.

This month, your dad made three attempts on your life, and you came out unscathed. First, he left the gate at the top of the stairs open. You and I were alone in the house, and I noticed you had been in the kitchen for quite some time – not making a sound. Because you are my child, I knew this could be cause for concern, so I peeked in to see what was going on. There you were, standing at the top of the stairs, looking down – but not daring to take a step. I didn’t know you could show that sort of restraint. Then, your dad left us alone in the house when he ran to the grocery store. He left a pot on the stove and the contents CAUGHT ON FIRE. The fire was contained in the pot, but let me tell you, waking up to the smoke detector from a nap is not fun. You correctly described the situation when you waved your hands frantically and said “hot”. No damage done. Finally, today we were driving in a strange neighborhood and your dad said to me “look at that house” and I did, and then I guess your dad had a change of heart at the last minute because he shouted “car” or “watch out” or something else, because as it turns out, another car was running though a stop sign, about to t-bone us. Because of your dad’s alert, I swerved out of the way. At first, I was totally grateful to your dad for noticing the car, but then he reminded me that if he hadn’t told me to look at this strange house, I might have seen it coming myself.

Before I started writing this post, your dad looked at me and said “you know, he brings a lot of joy into our lives”, and Connor, that pretty much sums it up.


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