More talking, more temper
(August 13, 2008)
few nights ago I had another of those funny moments
where I looked at Theron and thought, "I'm married to
the Beautiful Woman and we have a little boy. How is
that even possible?" I note this because it doesn't
happen very often; I've pretty much gotten used to being
the luckiest guy in the entire history of the whole
world. That odd sense of unreality, of Am I dreaming
this?, only comes out when I'm especially tired. (And,
to be fair, when I'm really tired reality always gets a
little frayed around the edges. The Podling just offers
a convenient focus for it.)
(Come to think of it, being married seems a
little unlikely at times, too. The Beautiful Woman and I
knew each other back in college, and if you'd told us
then that we'd end up married -- let alone raising a
small child -- we'd have laughed you out of the room.
It's hard to believe that there's that much irony
galloping around loose in the world.)
Theron is now firmly in the "Terrible Twos", but so far
they haven't been all that terrible. Yes, he's very
excitable; and yes, if he get frustrated, he's likely to
jump straight into a full-blown tantrum. Fortunately, he
can communicate pretty well. His vocabulary is
increasing, along with his ability to enunciate, and if
all else fails he can fall back on his baby signs. He's
got a pretty good life, and he doesn't get frustrated
all that often. We've also made a point of telling him
that we can't understand what he says when he starts
screaming. So far, it seems to be working.
Of course, now that I've said that, the screaming will
He is also using "Yes" with much more regularity. A few
weeks ago, "Yes" meant "Absolutely, definitely, that is
the very thing I want." Now it just means, "Yes." He's
still having trouble with the "Y" sound, though, so he
compensates by adding another syllable: "ee-Yes." Or,
when he's feeling very definite about something, "eeeee-Yes!"
On Sundays, the Podling goes to visit my parents. This
has broadened his horizons considerably, and he loves
it. One of this summer's new activities is Feeding The
Turtle has a long history with our family. He's one of
two turtles who came to our back yard in my youth, so
he's been there something like twenty years now.
(Turtles in general can live quite a long time; a North
American box turtle has a potential lifespan of a
century or more. This concludes the educational portion
of our show.) He isn't a pet, precisely -- my parents
have made no effort to domesticate him, and he lives in
the back yard year-round -- but he's been there so long
that he recognizes the sound of our voices and often
comes to see if we have any interesting offerings for
"Interesting," in Turtle terms, generally means
"edible." This includes dead bugs from the pool's
catch-basket, worms and grubs from gardening, and (on
one memorable occasion) a quart bag of june bugs, which
Turtle treated like popcorn.
Theron found Turtle fascinating. He's a cautious boy,
though, so what he'd do is grab one of our hands, and
use that to touch the turtle. Recently (and after
repeated exposure to Turtle), he's become willing to
actually touch Turtle. And, at my father's prompting, he
has now learned how to take a worm, brush the dirt off
it, and feed it to the turtle himself.
Turtle is not likely to starve to death any time soon.
As his coordination and balance improve, Theron shows a
distinct liking for heights. He watches TV while sitting
on the back of the couch; he climbs ladders* on the
playground. He likes being up high.
...And then he jumps. He jumps off the couch. He jumps
off chairs. He jumps off platforms at the playground.
Last week, I watched him jump off a platform that was
taller than he is -- a full three feet at least. (He was
landing on soft playground wood-chips, though.) He seems
to have a good eye for what is and isn't a safe jump, at
least; I've watched him look at a jump, think about it,
and decide not to do it. Usually that means that he just
tries another, similar jump that he can manage, but what
A surprising amount of the time, he jumps onto Daddy.
I'm going to have to put a stop to this before he gets
large enough to damage my spine. Stretching out on the
floor in front of the couch is a dangerous occupation,
Before he goes to bed, he climbs up on the little
step-stool in his room and jumps onto the gymnastics mat
a few times. This habit is particularly interesting to
me, because it's a two-stage process. He climbs up the
steps while holding something (usually a piece of paper
or a washcloth). Once he's standing at the top, he
throws the item up in the air and watches it fall (or
drift) to the floor. Then he jumps onto the crash pad.
He'll repeat this process for as long as we let him.
Seriously, take a look:
These activities have also led to an increased awareness
of heights. I habitually put Theron up on my shoulders,
usually when I want to make sure that he can't easily
get away from me (crossing a parking lot, for instance).
This has never bothered him. Recently, though, for about
a week, he suddenly became very nervous about it.
"Nervous", in this case, means "panicked into sinking
his fingers into the soft parts of Daddy's face in order
to make sure he has a solid grip". There was no obvious
reason for the dramatic shift in attitude -- it took me
completely by surprise. I think he just suddenly
realized that he was up high.
Fortunately, he seems to be settling back down again.
He's wary about riding on my shoulders, but not eye-gougingly
panicky. And my face is still mostly intact.
My New Mug
So, the Beautiful Woman took our son to one of those
glaze-it-yourself activity centers. The idea, basically,
is that the store will provide you with a selection of
ceramic items and a variety of colored glazes. You pick
an item, paint it with the glazes, and the store fires
it. When you pick it up a few days later, it's a
properly glazed piece of ceramic.
Now, I have a weakness for large ceramic mugs. An
ordinary tea cup is only good for about four swallows; I
need a cup that will last through the morning and into
the afternoon. A proper mug should not only double as a
soup bowl; you should actually be able to do laundry in
it, or row it home during a flood. Mugs of this size
are, as you might suspect, somewhat hard to find.
Well, the Beautiful Woman found one, and Theron glazed
it, and the store fired it. So now I have a brand new
mug, which has become my permanent at-work mug. In
addition to being the perfect size, it's highly
distinctive; nobody is ever going to mistake it for
their own coffee cup. It's a wonder of Expressionist
Don't believe me? Okay, take a look:
Sleeping in the Big Boy Bed (with Tent!)
Theron loves the Big Boy Bed. He loves it so much that
we usually have a very easy time getting him down to
sleep in it. If doesn't lay down when it's time to
sleep, then we threaten to put him back in his crib.
Usually the threat is sufficient by itself, which is
good because any time we actually do put him in the crib
he goes into a complete meltdown. (The end result is the
same, but it's very hard on the ears.)
A while back, Theron's aunt and uncle (my wife's sister
and her husband) sent Theron a bed-tent. This is,
basically, a small tent that's sized to fit over a
double bed. When we seriously started trying to make the
transition from crib to bed, I broke out the tent and
set it up. Theron loves it; he thinks it's just about
the coolest thing ever. It firmly cemented his desire to
sleep in the Big Boy Bed.
We like it, too; but then, that can be said of just
about anything that encourages the boy to sleep through
Other Uses for Beds
Theron is also quite fond of
our bed. He likes to climb
on it. He likes to jump on it. He likes to jump off it.
He likes to get buried under the covers and then erupt
back into view. He likes to lie down, put his head on
the pillow, and pull the covers up ("just like the
He also likes to:
- spill popcorn on our bed
- rub orange slices or pieces of cheese on our bed
- hide leftover pieces of waffle under the covers
Being a parent is all about happiness, love, joy,
sweetness, and being unexpectedly grossed out. Changing
the sheets figures prominently into the experience, too.
And now, more pictures and video.
Stretched out on the mat
As usual, click |
The Bed Tent
Theron loves his
Everything below is a
link to a video. Most of them make noise, so
if you're at work, be warned!
Counting in the bathtub
Climbing onto a platform||
Climbing a ladder|
"More Elmo Weather?"
"Daddy, more slide?"||
Under the Covers|
* Full-on vertical ladders, not that weird set of yellow
steps from the video in the last entry.