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(September 24, 2008)

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image of Theron throwing pebbles at the cameraIt's nearly the end of September. I meant to post this entry a week ago, but events have conspired against me - an out of town conference, followed by two very busy weeks at work. So please ignore the date, and pretend that this entry went up in the middle of September; a little over a month since the last one.

When last we left our hero, Theron was continuing to grow and learn. He still is.

This is surprisingly fun to watch.

Language use is still increasing. A week or so back I sneezed, and he immediately said, "Bless you." This took me completely by surprise; I had no idea that he knew how (or when) to say that. I suspect his grandmother taught it to him, but I don't really know; he might have picked it up at his Mother's Day Out program, too. He's completely consistent about it, though. Someone sneezes, he says "bless you", and we say "thank you". Sometimes he even reverses the pattern, pretending to sneeze. We say, "bless you," and he says, "Thank you."

Also, he now asks rhetorical questions. "Where is _______?" actually means "I have hidden {the washcloth, or the monkey, or the caterpillar, or whatever} and I want you to look for it." Sometimes he plays both sides of this game: he will hide something, ask where it is, then find it himself and say: "There it is." He is also capable of saying "There you are"; he demonstrated that one for me in the McDonald's playground a couple of weeks ago.

He runs, climbs, and jumps with great abandon. I spent most of the last week out of town, at a work-related conference; Theron celebrated my return by jumping on me... repeatedly. One of his better tricks is to climb up on my back or stomach, balance carefully on top of me, and then jump up and come down on his knees. I'm not sure whether or not I should discourage this. On the one hand, I'm not sure I can survive it if he gets much heavier, and he's getting heavier every day. On the other hand, if I stop him I might deprive him of a happy (and lucrative) career as a professional wrestler.

More conversation
His speech is probably the biggest development for this month. He's starting to use it for all sorts of things, though his enunciation and parts of his pronunciation still need serious work. (For example, the long, slightly curved fruit with the yellow peel is currently pronounced "muh-nah-nuh".) Still, if you're the sort of person who takes a creative approach to how consonants should sound, he's pretty easy to understand.

For example:

  • He can ask us to put Charlotte's Web in the DVD player. ("Mommy? Pig-Spider.")
  • He can ask me to clean the woodchips or pebbles out of his sandal when he's playing at the park. ("Daddy? Yucky shoe.") He even holds his foot up to help.
  • While we were waiting for his grandmother to come over for dinner after a week out of town, he asked where she was. ("Where is Nana?")
  • He can order us around and tell us where he wants us. ("Daddy, right here.")
  • And, of course, he can ask for food. ("Mommy? Assah dah-duh milk and cookies?")
  • And, of course, he can say "Cowboy" while riding his little wooden rocking horse.


Children exist to deprive parents of sleep
A week or so back, I came home to find the house empty. Theron was spending the afternoon at another child's house, and the Beautiful Woman* evidently hadn't picked him up yet. Since I had no good way of getting in touch with them, I decided that there was really only one sensible way to respond to the situation. Five minutes later I was sitting in a hot bath.

Ten minutes after that, I was in serious danger of falling asleep in the bathtub. So I got out, left a note on the note-leaving board, and went to bed. The note said, basically, "Wake me up when it's time to help put the Boobelly to bed."

So, naturally, my wife came home with our son, found me sleeping in the bedroom, and promptly turned Theron loose on me. She says she didn't see the note. I think she's out to get me.

Theron was, of course, delighted to find Daddy sleeping in bed. First he walked across me. Then he stole my pillow and tossed it off the side of the bed. Then he started peeling the covers off me. Then, when I grabbed another pillow, he pulled that pillow out from under my head and smacked me in the legs with it.

After that, he jumped on me for a few minutes.

I ignored this abuse, in the hope that if I was boring he might go away. Sure enough, once he'd finished realigning my spinal column, he hopped off the bed.

He was gone for less than a minute. It was just long enough to run into the kitchen, find the drawer that his mother had opened, and steal a pair of steel lids. Then he raced back into the bedroom, came around to my side of the bed, and proceeded to clang the lids together like cymbals. Repeatedly. He even managed a dextrous double-clang, by hitting them in front and then behind his back.

After that, he climbed back onto the bed -- with the lids -- and proceeded to clang them together while jumping on my back.

Daddy... was not going back to sleep.

Not if he had anything to say about it.

Feeding the Turtle - see last month's entry for details.
...And more sleep deprivation
Theron also appears to be getting another tooth. It's a molar, which means that its arrival is slow and painful. While the Podling doesn't really get grumpy about it, it's done bad things to his sleep schedule, and to the contents of his diapers. It has also left him wanting to spend much more time with his mother... and, in a brilliant piece of synchronicity, wanting to sleep on the gymnastics mat on the floor of his room, with his mother.

This is bad, for at least two reasons. First, he doesn't want to sleep in the Big Boy Bed. I like having him sleep in the Big Boy Bed; I feel like he's much less likely to start roaming the house at night if he's sleeping in there. Second, he wants the Beautiful Woman to sleep with him, or at least comfort him while he makes excuses to keep himself awake. As a result, I'm likely to be on Getting-The-Child-To-Sleep duty for the forseeable future. The fact that he also tends to wake up in the middle of the night and not go back to sleep is really just a bonus.

So we're back to medicating the child at odd hours of the night, and trying to get our sleep where we can. Which, in my case, often includes the couch.

With Nana** out of town, I was responsible for taking the Podling to his mother's day out program. My wife was teaching, and had to leave fairly early (six-thirty or so) to get there on time. I had already put in for some time off, so I could come in late to work without creating any problems. It was a pretty good plan, really.

Theron, of course, promptly woke up at four-thirty in the morning. So, when the Beautiful Woman was getting ready to leave, she roused me and sent to the living room to nap on the couch while Theron watched Elmo. This is somewhat tricky; it's hard to keep an eye on anything while you're asleep; it's also hard to sleep when there's a two-year-old using you for a trampoline. On top of that, being half-asleep while Elmo is on the television is a good formula for some really weird dreams.

When my alarm first went off, I looked up and saw that Theron was laying on the fireplace with his head resting on the arm of the Ugly Pink Chair***. I reset the alarm and went back to sleep, thinking all was well.

When it went off again, half an hour later, Theron was gone. I checked the kitchen and didn't see him; checked his bedroom; checked our bedroom... About then, my brain caught up with me, and I went back into the living room. Sure enough, I'd walked right past him on my way out: he was sleeping, face-down, on the hearth (which is padded for safety reasons). The arm of the chair had blocked my view of him.

This actually worked out pretty well, because he basically too dazed to protest when I dropped him off.

image of Theron watching Turtle eatProof of clinical insanity:
Despite all this, we still want to have another child.

We don't really care if it's a boy or a girl ( long as it's one or the other). But I caught Theron carrying around a bowl of cat food tonight, and (after I took it away) eating some of the pieces he had dropped. It's entirely possible that he thinks he's one of the cats, and with luck having a sibling would help clear up the confusion.

And now, the usual monthly allotment of pictures and video.
Click on the images below for larger pictures or video links...





In The Cockpit!

Investigating Gravity
(with a small rock and
a tire swing)
When Elves go bad...

Everything below is a link to a video. Most of them make noise, so if you're at work, be warned!

Balancing, Jumping

Climbing the Spiral Ladder Sneezing!


Navigating the Netting

  Theron vs. Tire Swing

* My wife and the Podling's mother, for anyone who's forgotten.

** My wife's mother and the boy's grandmother.

*** Which has been with us since about the time he was born, and in which he did a considerable amount of sleeping as a baby.