Posts Tagged ‘development’

Lemonade and Police Cars

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Little Evan speaks his own language. I think it’s almost English but I can’t be sure, since most English speakers seem to have a hard time understanding him. Maybe it’s a NickJunioreese, a crazy mix of Spanish, Chinese, and speech-impedimented English picked up from those damn Wonder Pets.

“Meenah” is lemonade. Unless it means banana. You have to look around for a banana. “Peesdar!” is police car. He can say “car” correctly, but when he sees “flash lights” he gets to excited it comes out as one word. “Brusey” is our dog Brutus. He used to say Brutus until he spent some time with my parent’s dog Hershey, and now he smooshes their names together. “Ditty” is kitty, which is an improvement over the previous pronunciation. “Fall denoun” is fall down, which is so cute I don’t even care that it’s wrong. “Bushit” actually means push it, although I don’t think anyone believes me.

As much as I love that he’s friendly and outgoing and eager to talk to everyone, I’m getting tired of translating everything he says to strangers at the grocery store and strangers at the mall and strangers at the playground and strangers in general. I’m not tired at HIM, I’m tired at OTHER PEOPLE. I can only say “I’m sorry, he’s hard to understand” so many times. And the truth is, it’s more a matter of busy people not paying attention than anything else. See that pinecone he’s holding? Maybe he’s saying “pinecone!” You asked him if Caroline was his sister, maybe “bebeh siher” might mean “baby sister!” Most grown-ups rush in and say “Oh aren’t you handsome! How old are you? Are you a good boy? Bye-bye now!” all in one quick breath and then breeze back out without pausing for a response. Or if they do they’re really asking ME, and wouldn’t even notice if he tried to answer. Evan could say “I’m two, lady, and your wig isn’t fooling anyone” and they’d just coo some more and wander off to finish their shopping.

I’ve been around enough two-and-a-half-year-olds-who-then-grow-into-three-and-a-half-year-olds to know this is just a phase. His brain thinks thoughts he wants to share but his mouth just can’t keep up. He learns a hundred new words a day and can’t keep them all straight. Whole sentences come tumbling out in a jumble and he gets frustrated. He’ll grown into it eventually and the whole world will hear what he has to say Dino Dan and race cars and big diggers and baseball and everything else. He’ll stop saying “More meena peees!” and start saying “Mama, can I have a banana?”

Although yesterday he called me “MOM”. I am not OK with being MOM yet. MOM is for surly, eye-rolling teenagers. So maybe I don’t mind translating just a little longer.

Situation Normal

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

We had the Birth to 3 people come out for Little Evan’s speech evaluation yesterday. They scheduled it for 1 pm which is an hour past his normal nap time, so when Evan started asking “night night? night night” before noon I knew it was going to be a LOOOONG afternoon. He actually did pretty well, only reaching that crazy level of exhaustion-induced hyperactivity for the last few minutes of the appointment.

Of course, he’s still a toddler, so his general behavior was in the realm of “I DO WHAT I WANT” for the whole hour. After the fourth time he almost hit the therapist in the face with his miniature hockey stick E took it away and an EPIC meltdown ensued – just at the exact moment the evaluator asked “Does he demonstrate appropriate negative emotions?”

Um, is standing in the middle of the kitchen wailing with giant tears running down his face because we took his stick away “appropriate”?

Turns out the answer is YES. BECAUSE HE IS TWO.

The evaluation was actually for all sorts of possible developmental problems, including an early screening for autism spectrum disorders. They brought toys and games and asked him to stack rings and point at items and identify pictures and show off his motor skills. There was one test that involved matching items on little cards (where’s the other spoon? where’s the other dog?) but he was totally over it after less than 30 seconds and ran off to chase the cat. The therapist actually skipped that test completely, because although not being able to focus long enough to participate is unhelpful, it wasn’t a measure of his ability to complete the task and she didn’t want to score him a zero on that one test when he could complete all the others.

The other 50% of the evaluation was questions for me ranging from my pregnancy to how Little Evan handles meeting strangers to what goals we have as a family. (I bombed on that last one BTW. I had no clue. She said some people say to be healthier as a family or to buy a bigger house or maybe a new car. I said “I just want us all to be happy” which makes me sound like a Miss USA contestant.) She asked a series of questions until we reached one where I gave a “wrong” answer, even if it meant going far past the skills they expect a 26 month old to have mastered. Not knowing which answer I was supposed to give made my palms sweat, but both women were so nice and very willing to help me explain and elaborate on my answers until they really understood what Evan’s typical behavior would be.

E came home from work early to be here for the meeting, which was both helpful – when dealing with EPIC TODDLER MELTDOWN – and unhelpful – when the evaluator asked “Does he have trouble separating from mom and dad, even with other familiar adults?”

“Not at all” said I.

“Absolutely” said E.

After a few minutes of clarification and discussion, we decided that we were both right. When we are all at home in the family room and one parent leaves Little Evan will scream and cry and throw a fit because someone is going somewhere and it is probably fun and how DARE they not take him TOO??! But when it comes to allowing another adult to provide for him he doesn’t care at all who it is. He let my father-in-law (who he hadn’t seen in months) put him to bed in an unfamiliar bedroom in Ohio without any problems. He regularly wanders off to the bathroom with my friend Cheri when she takes her son. He will ask anyone who happens to be around for help if he needs it. Apparently a lack of stranger-danger is OK at two, although I am suddenly much more worried about someone snatching him in public because he’d happily go without any protest. We should work on that.

But we WON’T be working with the Birth to 3 people anymore, because after an hour the therapist determined he’s totally normal for a 2 year old and we did not qualify for services. Which is good news. They assured me his vocabulary is fine and that they could understand a lot of what he said and that he had no other signs of any sort of delay. Some of their statistics were really reassuring – the 50 words by 2 is only a general guideline because that’s the point when kids start to put 2 words together and THAT is the real milestone for normal development. Little Evan has recently added “I” in front of most of his statements  – “I slide! I wash! I stink! I fall down!” – so we’ve got 2 work phrases down. They also said a parent should be able to understand 60-70% of their child’s words at this age, which is almost exactly where we are. The speech therapist also confirmed that a child with advanced motor skills (she was REALLY impressed he can hit a ball with a hockey stick with direction) might take longer when it comes to verbal skills. I know it’s something people SAY but to hear it from an expert was nice.

One suggestion from the speech therapist that I really loved was to qualify and expand on the words he does have when he says them. When Evan points at a balloon and says “bah-oon!” instead of just saying “Yes that’s right!” I should say “Yes! That’s a red balloon! A big red balloon!”. I don’t know why I never thought of that on my own, but now I’m going to make a real effort to do it for all his words.

Two more things that made me really happy: First, we’re elligable for a development evaluation every 3 months, so if 12 weeks from now I’m still concerned they will come back and do it again. Second, at no point did they tell me I was over-reacting, concerned for no reason, imagining things or silly. I was actually more afraid of being laughed at than I was they would find something wrong and suggest we start therapy. But this evaluation couldn’t have gone better.

So if you’re wondering if you should mention your developmental concerns to your pediatrician? The answer is YES. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted and I can go back to just enjoying being mom to a toddler.

19 Months

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Apparently I found the threshold at which I can no longer remember to celebrate Little Evan’s every monthday, and that threshold was 19 months. So…Happy Monthday Baby! Good thing you can’t read a calendar yet so you have no idea Mama is three days late! Let’s blame it on the hell known as Daylight Savings Time aka the longest day of the toddler year. SO SO LONG.

But lateness is no excuse to skip my milestone update entirely, so let’s do this thing!

Except when I went to look at the chart it turns out we’ve officially moved to the 19-24 month level, which is WAY TOO MANY MONTHS. Why are there so many months?! (Please say that last part in the “Why are there so many ostriches?” Don Knotts on Family Guy voice, because that’s totally how I hear it in my head)(Apologies to those who have no idea what I’m talking about.)

Sob sob sob Mah bebeh is so biiiiig! Sob sob sob

OK, I’m done now.

19 Month Milestones (from Baby Center, as usual)

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)
• Uses a spoon and fork – I wouldn’t say he’s ready for dinner with the Queen, but he does OK
• Runs – Fast
Throws a ball underhand – Overhand, with enough aim to hit almost anyone in the face
• Enjoys helping around the house – Define “helping”. I would say “is as interested in helping around the house as any 19 month old, especially when it involves cleaning up messes he would rather continue to make.”

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do)
• Understands as many as 200 words – Am I supposed to be counting? He definitely understands at least 90% of the stuff I say TO him, and probably 50% of the stuff I say in general. I can say something like “Why don’t you go get your milk – it’s over there by the dishwasher – and then sit in your chair and watch the football game?” And he will do all those things, while also saying “milk” “football” and “touchdown!!!”
• Recognizes when something is wrong (e.g., calling a dog a cat) – I…don’t know? Is that a game we should be playing? It seems sort of mean.

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)
Washes and dries own hands with help – He LOVES to wash his hands, but it’s not really a help-free activity
• Points to picture or object when you call it by name – Very good at animals, trucks/cars, babies. Not so good at everything else.
• May know when she needs to pee – No, but we usually get a poop warning. Although honestly, teaching him the sign for “potty” has been one of the best things I’ve done, simply because I can explain to him “mama’s going to the potty so she’ll be right back.” And now I get to pee (or hide out and take a few deep breaths) in peace.

In other toddler news, we’re having some trouble with both “no” and “stop” especially in regards to “hitting mommy” and “jumping on mommy’s belly”. I’m planning to set up a time-out zone (aka the Pack-n-Play in the boring living room) and start enforcing time-outs in a calm, non-shouty manner when calm, non-shouty instructions are not followed, but I have very little faith it will result in anything more than 2 minutes of hysterical screaming and crying.

Our super easy bedtimes have regressed a little to mostly easy naps but bedtime crying when he realizes he might be missing out on something fun. Rocking & book reading doesn’t really help – he just needs a few minutes to be sad before he goes to sleep, most of the time for 11-12 hours straight. I’m starting to worry a little about sleep-regression issues after the new baby comes, but figure it’s best not to dwell on it and just take an extra nap whenever I can.

But in general, this is SUCH a fun age. He’s fun to hang out with and capable of entertaining himself long enough that I can still get things done (for example, as I write this, he has dragged his blankie over himself & the dog and is curled up drinking his milk, totally content to be hanging with his BFF). He can make most of his wants/needs known clearly so there aren’t many frustrated crying fits. We still haven’t seen much stranger anxiety – just a little shyness that I swear he fakes just because it makes ladies at the grocery store say “awwwwwww”. And there is no way to explain to a non-parent just how exciting it is when your kid learns a new word/sign/skill. You can practically SEE his brain growing and it makes my heart feel all bursty every single time.

My goal for month 19 is to trick force bribe encourage Little Evan to eat more vegetables, even if it means I have to soak them in ranch dressing. If you see me tweeting about dinner ideas, please remind me that meat with a side of pasta and cheese is NOT a balanced meal and green things won’t kill us. Hopefully my 20 month update will include an extensive list of new healthy foods Little Evan now loves.


I have TWO more winners to announce this morning!

The winner of the adorable green polka-dot Gussy pouch I am crying a little bit over parting with is…

#12 Merin!! Since this giveaway is coming from me personally, I’ll be sure to get you your pouch ASAP. Although it might involve making you drive to my house to get it.

And the winner of the Phoebe Mouse & the book is…

#18 Robyn! Conrgats mama, I KNOW you’re little girl will love Phoebe! I will email you to get your address and send her out some time this week.

Thanks to everyone who entered – I was blown away by how many people entered the Phoebe giveaway, considering it wasn’t made by a fancy handmade seller but just by me. Or, more likely, everyone just wanted the adorable book and planned to throw Phoebe in the trash as soon as they got her.

The LAST open giveaway is from Becca at Hugs & Kisses Designs. Get in your entries now – it’s got less than 50 as of this morning, so you’ve got a pretty good chance to in yourself something REALLY pretty.


Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

We’re currently going through a delightful and exciting stage of development called “I’m 14 months old and I hate everything”. It main consists of Baby Evan hating things and making his hatred known in the loudest, screechiest, most ear-splitting way possible. Things Baby Evan currently hates include:

1. Diapers
2. Getting dressed
3. Being told not to hit people
4. Being told not to throw things
5. The floor
6. Sleep
7. The cat
8. Shoes
9. Hats
10. Sunscreen
11. Water, especially the river, especially people going swimming in the river
12. Children
13. Any food besides the one specific kind he wants at that exact moment but has no clear way of communicating what that one specific food is
14. The world “no”

I think I could deal (if not exactly patiently and lovingly) most of the time if we could get back to the happy place where Baby Evan sleeps 7pm-7am with one early morning feeding. I’m not even asking for him to sleep through the night. I just need him to get more than 8 hours – for EVERYONE’s sanity. For the last week we’ve done our normal bedtime routine at 7:30 or 8:00 pm and then fought a screaming child for close to an hour before giving up and letting him come back downstairs to empty the cabinets and torture the dog for another hour until the face-rubbing and whining reach epic proportions. We considered having him asleep by 9:30 on Sunday night a victory…only to have him wake up for the day at 4:45 am. Last night was another “victory” where he only whined for a few minutes before passing out and AGAIN was up at an ungodly hour.

E and I are understandably exhausted, not just from our own lack of sleep but from the mental strain of a crying, unhappy child we cannot seem to comfort. We spend hours every evening having the same discussions over and over: Do you think he’s teething? He must be teething. One year molars you know. Do you think he’s hungry? What else can we feed him? He must be too tired to sleep, poor thing. Should we just bring him downstairs? I know we don’t want to but what else can we do? It’s probably his teeth. I’m clinging to the hope that it’s just a phase, a temporary setback before he goes back to the good sleeper (relatively speaking) we’ve had for the last 6 months. Either that or I’m selling him to gypsies. Do they still take babies?

The only other possibility – although it sounds sort of crazy to me – is maybe he’s having nightmares or bad dreams or terrors. I don’t know if that’s the sort of developmental milestone a baby grows into around the 1 year mark and I have no idea what to do about it. What does a 14 month old even have nightmares about? A sudden peanut butter shortage? Losing his last sippy cup? The passage of federal legislation making shoes mandatory at all times? Whatever it might be, my only hope right now is to fill his life with so many happy thoughts and new experiences he forgets all about it. Maybe there’s a circus I can take him to. That sounds exciting. And also like a good place to find some gypsies.

8 Months

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

So if month 1 is an exhausted blur, month 4 you start to get the hang of things, and month 6 is when you can start buying them all the good toys, month 8 of baby care is when you no longer remember what sitting down feels like. In the past 24 hours, Baby Evan has:

– Eaten a piece of yarn
– Fell on the cat
– Pulled the recycling can over on top of himself
– Dumped all the dog food out of the bowl
– Ripped up a roll of wrapping paper
– Fallen on his head at least four times
– Hit himself in the face with the baby swing
– Hit me in the face with a baby hammer
– Pinched his hands under the rocking chair
– Tried to put a knitting needle through his ear
– Climbed onto the bottom shelf of the changing table and threw everything on it on the floor

And all of that was before E got home from work. At 2 pm. I picked the wrong month to (re)give up Diet Coke…unless I’m planning to replace it with speed. Or maybe breastmilk, because apparently it makes you super strong – the better to hit you in the face my dear – and super fast – the better to escape the confines of the baby gate. This afternoon while I was unloading the car Baby Evan actually managed to push the back door open a couple inches and was seconds away from falling right out onto the (cement) back porch face first. As much as I DON’T love his sharp little baby teeth, I think it’s better if we keep them intact for at least a few more years. He may actually need them for eating something someday. Not now, or tomorrow, or probably next week, but some day. I mean, he can’t exclusively nurse forever, right? NO baby has ever survived entirely on breastmilk until kindergarten…right? RIGHT??

So besides the violent puking, thrashing, gagging and general crankiness regarding solid food (or really, anything besides milk straight from the boob – still no bottles, cups, spoons, shot glasses or straws either) let’s see how he’s hitting his 8 month milestones:

Mastered Skills (most kids can do):
• Says “mama” and “dada” to both parents (isn’t specific) – No, not really. We’ve both heard “dada” or “daddy” but nothing even close to mama, unless High Pitched Screeching Velociraptor Noise is what he plans to call me.
• Passes objects from hand to hand – Check.

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do):
• Stands while holding onto something – Lord does he ever, and he gets there on his own. The couch, the chair, the rocker, my leg, his play table, the baby gate, the handle on the stove, the dishwasher, your mom. Anything.
• Crawls – He finally got the hang of real crawling, which means my plan to tape a Swiffer cloth to his stomach is out.
• Points at objects – Meh? He reaches, but there’s no actual finger pointing.
• Searches for hidden objects – Do immaginary objects count? He is totally convinced I am hiding something WONDERFUL and DELICIOUS under the rug and one of these days he is definitely going to find it.

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do):
• Pulls self to standing, cruises – See above for “pulls self up”. But he’s finally got the hang of cruising, although sometimes he forgets he has to move BOTH legs and unintentionally ends up doing a very impressive center split.
• Picks things up with thumb-finger pincer grasp – Then shoves them in his mouth, then throws up. Really awesome.
• Indicates wants with gestures – Not so much “gestures” as EAR-PIERCING SCREAMS. I took the disgusting car keys he was gnawing on away from him in Target yesterday and the noise he made sounded so much like the fire alarm he almost cleared the building. I hope he gets the hang of gestures soon.

Speaking of gestures, I’ve been meaning to watch that Baby Signs DVD my friend Amanda let me borrow and get started on making Baby Evan into a genius child. Or at least a child who understands the word “no” or “danger” or “for the love of GOD STOP PUTTING THAT IN YOUR MOUTH”. I felt a little silly signing to a baby that clearly didn’t understand the difference between actual sign language and crazy hand waving, but at this point I think I need to either really make an effort or just forget about it all together. I should at least teach him the sign for “nurse” – he’s GOT to understand that one at this point.