I can hear them growling and laughing upstairs. Bill is changing Alex's diaper. Why? Well, yes, because it needed to be done. But more importantly - because Alex has started telling us when he needs it done.
More specifically, one of Alex's newer words is "poo poo." (Or is that a phrase?)
Anyway, he understands what it means, and now tells us when he has done, or is doing, said "poo poo." And we praise him and thank him for telling us, and off we go to the changing table to change the diaper.
We figure this is a good first step toward eventual potty training. We're not rushing him (I have vague memories of an introductory Psych class and something about all the lifelong personality problems associated with rushed or forced potty training...I don't want these (whatever they are) coming up in therapy years from now....) but we figure the fact that he is recognizing what he's doing and communicating it to us a good bit of progress toward that launching pad.
Another word - the very newest - is "how." He doesn't know what it means, but he can pronounce it perfectly (and for some people, that's enough). For some reason at breakfast this morning Bill decided to teach him to sing "How High the Moon," so he started with "how" and it went downhill rapidly from there. Sure, Alex can say "hi" and "moo" can pass for "moon" when you're only a year and half old...but Alex wasn't all that interested. He was more inerested in his blueberry pancakes.
Which brings me to my next word and Alex's new nickname. It's not really a new word, but he's using it more frequently. He says "more." And the sweet thing is the way he says it. It's got that same hopeful, kind of timid, questioning sound to it that you hear on the soundtrack of "Oliver!" - so you can guess the nickname.
He is working on a more accurate "kitty cat." At present, he says "da da" for kitty cat. But now he's adding a syllable (yes, we've worked with him on this) and so now sometimes, if he thinks of it, he'll say "da-dee-da." Sometimes, when he's really excited about it, he'll say "da-dee-da-dee-da" - she's just that much of a thrill in his life.
His understanding is growing, and his vocabulary is growing too, though he is not saying all the words he knows. Right now, I think he's adding new words, or reinforcing the ones he thinks he knows but doesn't speak yet, and then going back to the ones he is already familiar with. It goes something like this:
Alex: A dat? (pointing at the ceiling light in the kitchen)
Alex: A dat? (pointing at the light above the kitchen sink)
Alex: A dat? (pointing at the light over the stove)
Alex: A dat? (pointing at the light in the dining room)
Alex: A dat? (pointing at the light in the hall)
Alex: Ball! (pointing at one of the 8,976 rubber and plastic balls he currently owns, which are scattered throughout the house)
Parent: Yes, ball!
Alex: Juice! (pointing to his sippy cup)
Parent: Right, that's your juice.
Alex: Juice! (pointing to the sippy cup again, just to be sure)
Parent: Yes, that's your juice.
Alex: Ball! Ball! Ball! (pointing, pointing, pointing)
Parent: That's right! Ball!
Sometimes he mixes it up (I think he's checking to see if we're paying attention) - Light, Light, Christmas tree, Light, Light, Light...Keeps us on our toes....
Yesterday we ventured out from our post-holiday hibernation to get some things at the grocery store and elsewhere, and on the spur of the moment we decided to go out for lunch.
Since this wasn't planned, I hadn't packed a sippy cup. I figured we'd wing it somehow. Maybe he wouldn't be thirsty.
A small beverage came with his children's meal, so I asked for the waitress just to fill the cup half way with apple juice. And then the decision had to be made - do we spend the meal offering him sips from the lidless paper cup? (And then spend the rest of our time mopping up the spilled juice?) Or try to teach him - right then and there - to drink from a straw? (That didn't work - it's a tough concept to grasp, since a straw in the lid of a cup resembles sippy cup design but doesn't work at all the same way.)
In the end, I stuck the straw in the cup and stuck my finger over the other end of the straw, thus trapping some of the juice in the straw. I transferred this to his little open mouth and took my finger off the straw. Some of the juice escaped, but the look on his face was one of amazement and surprise and joy - and then he laughed. He laughed hysterically. And not just the one time. Every time I gave him a mouthful of juice, he laughed wildly, delightedly. And so did we.
Last night something got him going - I don't even remember what it was, I just remember he was so happy he was shouting out assorted syllables and running almost on his toes around the basement. Then he'd get to the area over behind the chair and couch where there's the most open space, and he'd start spinning around like a little dervish. He'd stop and attempt to jump (oh, yeah, that's a new thing too - he crouches down then flings himself up, little arms reaching high. He doesn't get far off the ground, but he puts everything he has into the attempt) up and down a few times before spinning - or careening - around the room again. Laughing and laughing. Bill and I just watched him and laughed, looked at each other and shook our heads and laughed some more.
He is a happy, joyful child, for the most part. Today he's wearing a yellow shirt and beige pants, and with his light blond hair and smiley face, he is a bright, shining ball of sunshine in our home.