Friday, July 27, 2012

I Will Update Again One Day!

No time for blogging. I know: I'm the worst. In the meantime, here's a photo of Zephyr at 14 weeks and 139 weeks old. The baby picture is still one of my all-time favorites, so it's nice to see that face hasn't changed.

And this song; this is what makes me sob. Oh, the sound of the rocking chair in the intro! Pure waterworks. It'll work its way into the lullaby rotation soon.

Lately, motherhood is consumed with reminders that my baby isn't really a baby anymore, and learning to let Zephyr grow up is hard.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Birthday and Christmas, way past due!

Sorry for the flakiness - my book is taking up all my writing time, as I suppose it should. So here are some photos!

We gave Zephyr a toy piano - he always gravitates towards them and was getting frustrated by the fake pianos that just play music instead of notes. Then we had a robot-themed party with his buddy Jasper, who's a day younger (I made sliders and pigs-in-a-blanket and provided decorations; Katie made cakes and provided location). It was like a cozy play date with their little toddler buddies, and a good time was had by all.

3D glasses!

Random pre-birthday cuteness with snack and Yo Gabba Gabba.

For Christmas, we didn't do too much special. We went to Peacock Lane a week before, and walked around and looked at all the lights on the houses. On Christmas day, we stayed in our jammies and Tanya and Sigga came over for brunch. It was super-relaxed, and I felt like it was a perfect holiday. I even decided to not be a sardonic Scrooge about everything, and put on the Vince Guaraldi channel on Pandora and baked persimmon bread and everything!

Zephyr has so much crap that we didn't feel like we needed to get him much (plus he's too young to be greedy and insolent about toys), so we just got him some books and cars, and Scott outfitted his old Nintendo DS with a new decal to make it look like a new thing (we gave him a game to play with it, but it might be a little old for him). After the truck he got from Grandpa Jack, though, everything else was dead to him. Plus, I'm the worst and kept forgetting to take photos.

I guess these pajamas are getting too small - I just realized they're in last year's photos, too. Oops.

Zephyr is very into drawing right now. It's just repetitive swirlies connected by lines (he doesn't take the crayon or marker up from the paper), but to him it's "trucks" or "flowers" or "poop."

He's talking up a storm, too, but it's still hard to understand him sometimes because his articulation is for shit. "Truck" is pronounced "dutz"; "train" is "dain"; "blueberry" is "buh-bay" and "raisin" is "wuh-wain," but his vocabulary and grammar are actually pretty far along. He uses more than 150 words and understands tenses and possessives pretty well. He can count to 13 before he starts making shit up (sometimes he forgets four, but from five on up he's got it down). And as of about a week ago, he can finally say his own name!

Instead of tantrums, a lot of times when he's pissed he just says "mad" and goes and stands in a corner, like he's giving himself a little time-out. It's usually because the option he wants isn't practical or I get something wrong (like he wants to wear two different shoes, but I put them on the wrong feet - he wanted the gray shoe on his left foot, not right! and now he's so mad! everything's ruined!). He loves practicing his mad face and talking about different feelings.

We can just explain things to him now, and can see it really clicking. And now our early waking problems have even mostly subsided since we can just tell him it's still night time, and that we're going back to sleep. Then we just ask him if he wants his star lights and music and then he settles back down. Now the worst we get is a 6:30 wake-up where he plays alone and chats to himself ("dark. ni-night. mama sleep. daddy sleep. stars. music.") until 7:15ish, instead of just having to get up at 5:00. And sometimes instead of waking with a loud, whiny cry, he just announces "awake!"

The more we get peeks into his mind (through his talking), the more we're starting to realize just how freakishly smart he is. We're in for a thrilling ride.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dharma Doll

Wow, the past couple of months have really slipped away from me. It was just warm and beachy, then all of a sudden it was Halloween (he was Daruma), and now it's Thanksgiving. And he'll be two (TWO!) on Saturday. Time really does fly when you're having fun.

Zephyr is growing so fast, both cognitively and physically, and I can barely keep up. In the past two months he's gone from using maybe 20 or so words to 100 words, and is starting to form sentences. He's finally catching up. Our favorite latest development is his contraction of "yes, please" to just "yep." We still ask him to say please, but "yep" is pretty cute. I've listed the rest of his words at the bottom of this post for posterity and record-keeping.

He's finally entered the part of his speech development where he is copying and repeating words in addition to his normal attempts at talking. We try to model proper speech by repeating back to him what he's trying to say. For example, if he says "apeas! apeas!" while standing next to the horse, we say "I want up please!" Oh, by the way, any four-legged ungulate is 'moose.' Horse is moose. Elk is moose. Deer is moose. At home he has an Ikea rocking moose, so we blame the Swedes for this one.

Also, in a tragic case of "Who's on First," Zephyr is calling a lot of things "mine." He doesn't necessarily think they belong to him, it's just that when I hold my coffee and say "this coffee is mine. that water is yours," he thinks "oh, she said that cup of coffee is called 'mine'". He doesn't assign the ownership to the word 'mine', he just thinks it's a label. I guess all kids probably do this, but when this clicked for me it was kind of a revelation. It's always nice to know that our kids aren't totally narcissistic sociopaths.

Zephyr loves trying to jump. It's still really more of a stilted gallop, and his vert totally sucks, but it's adorable watching him try. He also loves doing barrel rolls on the carpet and walking up and down stairs and his little step-stool.

He's starting to mellow out a bit, but last month was challenging, with lots of mood swings. These photos were taken within 30 seconds, during which time he went from sheer ecstasy:


to rage:


I guess he didn't like the silly faces I was making at him after all.

Since the end of September, we've been members of Eastside Family Co-op; it's a part-time day care that is run entirely by parents. He goes three mornings a week, including one with me. It's been really nice for me to have two mornings a week to myself to get work done (or just catch my breath, increasingly), and he gets lots of solid playtime with other kids his age. It's just 1.5 months to 3.5 year olds, so he's right in the middle developmentally. He's really thriving there.

Zephyr's friendships at Co-op are starting to blossom. He loves to hug and kiss his little friends, which sends my cute overload meter soaring. He went through a bit of a hitting phase at around the time we started, but fortunately it was very short-lived.

He's starting to become aware of the potty, or at least the bathroom. He goes into the bathroom whenever the door is open, points at the toilet and says "pee. boop." I know it'll be coming soon, but I guess I just haven't felt like pushing it. I ask him if he wants to go potty and he's already out the door and onto something else.

All of these new tricks are amazing, but it's also becoming very apparent that Zephyr isn't a baby anymore. I actually have to learn how to parent him now, to help him become the best person he can be. It's really scary to know that I, alone, could fuck this kid up completely if I don't do this right. I'm reading every book out there, and have really found the Positive Discipline techniques valuable. I'll probably be taking at least one class to help retrain me. I get really worried about my ability to do this when my knee-jerk reaction is to yell, and I know he deserves better, so I'm just working as hard as I can. As one mom at Co-op likes to say, "it's a process."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Aybee Seedy

Long time, sorry. What's been going on: Zephyr has had a few visits with Holly, his speech therapist (though at this age, the "therapy" is really about repeatedly labeling objects and sounds in a way that's not too pushy or exhausting for him). I think it's going well, but I also am becoming more convicted in my thinking that he really is just a little late, and will actually be just fine.

His obsession with cars is, thankfully, starting to transfer to letters of the alphabet. He's fascinated with letters, and flashcards, and letter magnets. He can say a few of the letters: I (his favorite), O, E, A, Y, S, M and D; he holds up the B and says "zzzz." Because that's the sound a bee makes. The rest of the letters, he usually just says "E" because that's as close as he can get to making the sound.

I tend to forget that his receptive language skills are just fine because his expressive language is lagging, so just for fun I decided to test his knowledge. I hold up a book and starting with an easy one, ask him, "where's the I?" He points to it. "C?" I know he can't say that one, so I'm pleased when he points to it. And H, and J, and Q. He can read all of the letters. Little genius has been holding out on us.

He does have a few new words (mostly bullshit ones, but still):
  • bye (bus; or bye, if waving)
  • die (car)
  • die-die (truck or airplane)
  • dee (train)
  • nana (banana)
  • brr (anything that is marginally wet or cold)
  • no (no)
  • mo (more; also uses signs for more and please)
  • moon (for moon or sun, or any picture of a celestial body)
  • ow (owl)
  • nummynummy (yummy)
  • buhbuhbuhbuh (bubbles)
  • Dada (Daddy)
  • Mama (music to my ears)

He'll be starting co-op day care in a couple weeks, which will be great for us. It's family-run, for kids 18 months to three years old, and is really nice. I'll be there with him one morning a week, and he'll be there without me two mornings a week. I'll get a break to work, he'll get to be out of the house and around other kids his age (which will undoubtedly help his speech development), and everyone wins. We got our official welcome email today, and couldn't be happier.

Riding the train at Seaside was marginally less thrilling for him than the carousel ride.

And we had our first family trip to the beach last week! Grandma was in town and we rented a little house in Seaside called the Lobster House. It was wonderful to be in the salt air and sunshine, to revisit my favorite childhood haunts, and Zephyr had a blast on the coast (aka That Giant Sandbox). We even got our first family portrait since he was new.

I love how squirmy and funny he is in this photo. It perfectly sums up the little boy we have.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Manic Panic

Zephyr just wowed the both of us with the most amazing collection of mood swings. After his bath tonight, before bed, he was in top form. Here's how it went:

"Dat? Dat? Dat?" he asks about nothing in particular, jabbing his little index finger in random directions. He leans into my arms and hugs me into a stranglehold, then pulls back and bucks giddily, grinning with his eyes squeezed tight, shrieking peals of laughter as he squirms his naked tushie out of his towel.

"Et? Et!" (his word for blanket) He's pointing at his blanket, so I grab it and tuck it into his arms as I lay him onto the changing table to get him into his jammies.

Epic meltdown. Inconsolable crying.

"What's wrong, honey?" I ask. He looks at me, face in a cartoon frown, and sobs. Then he flips over (Scott has just gotten a diaper on him), crying, and points to the Totoro mural on his wall, says "dat" and starts laughing maniacally.

Scott and I look at each other, confused, eyebrows raised, trying not to laugh at the ridiculousness, lest we encourage him to act like this on purpose.

I pull his jammies over his head. Tears again. He's hugging me around the neck as he steps into his pajama bottoms. He starts slapping at me, and I gently scold him, "no hitting, Zephyr. That hurts." His face slowly crumples into another frown, and he wraps his arms around me and buries his head against my chest. More crying.

We get to the rocking chair, sing our songs and when he's finished nursing he flips his legs around to kick off my lap. He crawls off toward his crib, leaving me and Scott in our places at the rocker and starts to lay down on his rug. Scott picks him to sing the rest of the lullabies, and Zephyr shoos me off by making his kissy word, "mmmuh." Then he starts pointing at each of the stars lit up on his ceiling, "stahs. stahs. stahs. stahs. stahs. stahs." Points at the fan, "dat," then "stahs."

Sigh. "Goodnight, Zephyr. Sweet dreams. I love you."


Oh, toddlers.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Strong, Silent Type

After reading every book and website on speech delays, and after having a brief visit with a speech-language pathologist (SLP), we had Zephyr evaluated for developmental delays last Wednesday, and it turns out he is completely, smack-dab-in-the-middle-of-the-normal-curve normal. Except for speech. That part, he's only 79th centile.

Normally, they wouldn't consider this a far enough deviation from normal to qualify him for federally-funded therapy, but luckily the SLPs that evaluated him used their best professional judgment to determine that he'd be a good candidate for speech therapy. He might just be a late bloomer, or he might end up with literacy problems later if we don't do something now, early.

So now we wait for the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) to arrive, and then we can start weekly, in-home speech training. I reckon most of the training will be for me and Scott, to help us help Zephyr. In the meantime, I just try to play with him more intently, annunciate more intentionally, use proper English instead of "toddlerese," though we still use the "toddlerese" to quell his thunderstorms, which come and go with frustrating frequency as he cuts four molars and four canines simultaneously, and is unable to communicate much further than pointing and nodding. And disdah. Disdah is, I think, "this is a car."

As in:


But dis is still used to tell me about other things he's observing. Like the white clovers in the garden and the busy little Hymenopteran sisters tending their nectar.

He tells me there are bees here, matter-of-factly. My budding naturalist loves squatting low to watch industrious honeybees and bumblebees, and buzzes alongside them. He loves blowing the fluffy achenes off of dandelions, and perfectly imitating the guttural melody of the American crow.

We spend lots of time at the park, providing happy respite from boredom (for both of us). We usually go in the early morning, so we have the whole place to ourselves. This doesn't really do his social development any favors, but it does help us avoid interactions like the one we had the other day. There's this one mom in the neighborhood, and her son, Liam, is about 6 months older than Zephyr. He's a really skinny little kid, almost always in her lap. He's verbally advanced for his age, but seems pretty shy and xenophobic and may have a social/emotional delay. Thing is, he always has really cool cars with him, which are irresistible to Zephyr. So like any other toddler, Zephyr grabbed one off the ground and started to try to take off with it to play. The other mom scoops up Liam, says something like "you don't want him to play with your car, do you?" and Liam buries his face in her neck and sort of says no, shaking his head.

This is the second time Zephyr has tried to play with this kid's toys at the park, so obviously he's established a pattern of behavior. This woman says to me, "he probably just senses that he can easily dominate Liam."

Yes, you stupid bitch, my 20 month-old son is a cold-blooded predator, can sense weakness in your son, and knew he'd easily overpower him to get what he wanted. He's cold-blooded, merciless and calculating. It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he is a FUCKING TODDLER and the part of his brain that feels empathy or understands the concept of sharing has literally not grown yet. But go ahead and keep treating your son like a helpless victim. That should bode well for him socially, especially if he stays in the 10th centile for weight. You can protect him his whole life.

I muttered an apology, took the car away from Zephyr, handed it back and Zephyr started crying. I picked him up and we took off. If we see them again, I think I'll just tell Zephyr that Liam is too scared to play and we'll go to the other end of the park where he can't hurt anyone. The funny thing is, our friend's boy, Jude, is 14 months old, and takes cars from Zephyr all the time. Zephyr cries, then when it's time to part, we take the car from Jude and he cries. No one thinks Jude is a sociopath for not knowing how to share, and since Zephyr has almost ten pounds on Jude, it's clearly not that Jude thinks he can dominate Zephyr. I honestly don't know how anyone can go into parenthood without at least knowing that toddlers think everything is "mine."

But I can see how she'd think that Zephyr's a monster. I mean, look at this face.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Walky Talky, Redux

...or, Why I am So Damn Tired All the Time

It's been a long time, I know. Sorry about that. I've been too busy chasing my kid all over the damn place, and couldn't be bothered to blog about. And even now that he's taking a nice long nap (all tuckered out from his first swimming lesson), I barely have time to eat lunch and get the rest of my other writing done. So here's what I'll do instead: I'll just show you.

Dizzy? Me too. My favorite part at 0:24, when he's startled by my presence with the camera.

Here's Zephyr's version of a phone call (on a remote control), which is representative of pretty much all talking he does.

No, I can't understand a word he's saying either. I'm hoping that eventually he starts trying to talk correctly, but for now he just babbles incoherently at varying volumes. Sooner or later he'll realize that it's just faster to tell me what he wants instead of pointing and saying "dis, dis" all time.

The last video I want to post is of him splashing around and being silly in his kiddie pool, but he's nekkid as a jay bird in that video, and I don't want any trouble. So that one will just be for Grandma to watch on my phone when she comes to visit in a couple months.

Zephyr's been doing great, though, and aside from the not speaking clearly, I think he's humming right along on his little milestones. His pediatrician said to let her know if he doesn't say ten words in a month or two, so that's a nice thing to be paranoid about. As it stands, he can say "mama," "dada," "caw! caw!" (for crow), "ball," "all done," "hi," "hello," and "I love you." A few weeks ago we were at the book store (he was in the carrier on my back) and I guess he got bored standing there, because he patted me on the shoulder and said "yecko, Mama" ("let's go, Mama"). And he never said it again. Same with several other words, uttered perfectly clearly, plain as day: strawberry, medicine, kitty. I'm choosing not to worry about it yet, because I feel like I'm already doing what I'm supposed to. I talk and read to him plenty, play with him every day, and narrate everything for him, nearly to the point of lunacy. We always freak out and panic that he's behind on things, then just at the last minute he comes along like it ain't no thang.

And it ain't.