Sunday, October 2, 2011


Little Bug said, or signed, his first sentence today. Jennifer and I were planning to take a long walk with the dog, and debating stroller vs. baby carrier. Bug piped up and said, "Na na" (nurse) and then signed "eat" (and then go to) "sleep."

It's bad when your toddler is nagging you for more naps.

He also has instituted nightly baths, which I felt he could go one or two nights without. But how do you answer someone who is 13 months old and signing "bath" and “more”?

It is of course possible that this baby signing thing is over-rated, that it just makes them bossier sooner. For instance, the baby books all say that sometime between 12 and 18 months they can start to follow two step commands (pick up that block and put it in the bin), which he can. But nobody says--because most folks sensibly don't give their toddlers strategies to talk at that age, when their mouths still can't do it--that they can begin to GIVE two-step commands at this age. But I got up today into the greyness of a rainy morning, and Little Bug paddled over to his room in his feet-y pajamas (because he was sleeping in our bed, natch), looked at me and signed (turn on the) "light" (then the) "music."

Ridiculous. (Dancing boy made up his own sign for put on the music: pumping his little hands back and forth by his ears. Gotta dance, mama, gotta dance.)

He has the most astonishing desires for the very things toddlers are supposed to hate. This morning he rejected pancakes for breakfast in favor of black beans, soy milk, and gorgonzola cheese.

It's now becoming clear what direction his terrible twos will take. He will be throwing temper tantrums at the co-op for more vegetables. Stomping angrily down the hall demanding to go to bed earlier.

All of this is not to say he is incapable of real mischief. He is ever ready to throw a shelf full of books on the floor, and he approaches getting into the car seat with a great grin, prepared to drive mamas to distraction with his ability to resist every effort to strap him in. He has faked me out in a store, engaging in misdirection and then darting through strangers’ legs to take off running, shrieking with laughter.

He also seems to have suddenly noticed the existence of other, mostly younger babies. He is riveted by them, staring and signing “baby” so enthusiastically that the swinging of his arms threatens to knock him down. He carries dolls around, handing them to me for a cuddle and signing “baby” at me. Did you know, he seems to be saying, that there are other babies in the world—little babies—and it’s not actually all about me? And I’m not really all that little any more?

But he is still pure sunshine, that boy, even as he is making astonishing leaps into toddlerhood. He certainly is more often a pain than he was when he was still at the potted plant stage. But he is also ever more himself, achingly wholesome and square one minute, so charmingly trouble the next that it’s almost impossible to keep from laughing. But above it all, able to concentrate more joy in every minute than I would’ve thought humanly possible.

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