November 2010

Marcus is at last in size 5 diapers, although he’s actually become excited about using the bathroom, so I don’t know how long these diapers will last. We are not rushing him at all, but often he’ll yell out “NEED SIT TOILET!” and then proceed to do just that. Frankly, it’s the loudest, most enthusiastic bathroom experience I could ever imagine having. (Marcus’s enunciation is not always perfect. Five days into the toilet-sitting, Robert actually said to me, “What is he saying? ‘Need fish salad’? That doesn’t make any sense!”)

He’s 25 pounds and 36.5 inches tall (though height is always hard to get, since he squirms and wiggles and screams as though someone were killing him instead of measuring him). He loves his “school”: every morning when we get up, I ask what he wants to do today, and usually the answer is “Play Kelsey!” (a little girl in his class he’s particularly fond of). You can then say, “Who else do you want to play with?” and he’ll think and say, “Ella! Play Ella!” and then, if you say, “Who else?” “Ryan!” He goes on in this way, listing Ellery, Declan, Asher, and Beckett, before returning to Kelsey. At school they do cooking projects (making pumpkin muffins or chili or fruit salads or homemade play-dough), gardening (picking radishes and weeding last week), composting (there’s a worm bin), gymnastics (with mats and a small balance beam), dancing, yoga, floor hockey, and all sorts of other exciting things. I love having him close to me, and I love how much he enjoys it there.

He talks in two-word, three-word, or four-word sentences all the time. “Daddy go orange train work!” he said today when we walked past the Orange Line station on our way home. He narrates what he sees all the time—nice blue bikes, big purple umbrellas, big red buses, nice yellow cars, a man in a green jacket who’s running, and so on. On the bus into school we often play the “Find Something Purple” game, and a purple bike, spotted on the street, is the trump card. Incidentally, though I think his favorite color is purple, if you ask him his favorite color he’ll grin, toying with you, and say “Three!” If you ask him how old he is, he similarly holds up three fingers and yells “Three!” Sometimes, he says “Six!” quite gleefully, but I’ve never seen him get this question right yet. He asks for specific Elmo YouTube videos by “name” (Elmo elephant, Elmo dog bike) and quite likes half an hour of Curious George in the mornings a few mornings a week. (Right now Robert and I particularly like the Adam Sandler Elmo song, with rhymes like “yell-mo,” “cell-mo,” and “kvell-mo.”)

Interestingly, Marcus's word “need,” which used to be a straightforward verb (a month ago he’d say “Need more water!” and that was about the extent of its use), has now turned into something of a placeholder sentence-starter, or maybe something like the existential “there is/there are” construction: Marcus says things like “Need green train!” when he sees a green train outside, and “Need no green train!” when he’s looking for a green train but doesn’t see one. He’s big into negatives. I heard him say "Don't" once, but otherwise it's simply "no" or "Need no": “No kiss Mommy Marcus belly!” he’ll say. “Really? Can I kiss you on the. . . [here he holds up his elbow, prompting me] elbow?” “No! No kiss Mommy elbow!” He refers to himself alternately as “baby,” “Darcas,” and “you,” all while patting himself on the belly. He has great problem-solving and trouble-shooting skills; he asks questions for clarification, now, with perfect intonation: “This? Here? That? There?” If he asks for cereal, and you bring some out, he’ll make sure it’s what you mean: “This? THIS cereal?” He also commands us to watch him play, and he’s started asking why. He does “magic” tricks these days, too—he’ll hide a ball behind his back, then bring out one empty hand and wave it around, and then produce the ball triumphantly with his other hand, or vice versa.

He actually went through a sudden-onset bout of stammering—very slight for a week or so, then in earnest for another week, then not at all—and emerged with four-, five-, and even six-word sentences. I think it’s a developmentally normal phase that lots of two-year-olds go through. This week, as a result, we’ve been hearing: “No open door Daddy”; “Mommy no push button”; “Daddy flush toilet?”; “No Daddy close door”; “Why no more bean?", "Need Mommy help fix Marcus diaper," "Bird flew away up there," and “Mommy, no take that away bean plate!” (“Beans” were edamame at a Japanese sushi buffet near Helena’s house, where all of us, from ages 98 down to 2, had a great time.)

Marcus can, on a good day, count to ten, but since he really likes the number seven, he often mentions that one twice. Four tends to be forgotten. When he’s super excited, he’ll run around the house yelling “ABC! ABC! ABC!” His love of the alphabet also surfaces when we’re in the car, and he likes to conduct Robert and me in a round: “Daddy ABC!” he’ll direct, and Robert (yes, Robert!) will start singing on cue. After five or ten letters, Marcus indicates that I should join in: “Mommy ABC!” Sometimes, I do harmony—though Robert says that throws him off.

His favorite toys lately are a few big trucks/buses we have, Rody, the toy kitchen and play food, his little bucket of instruments, and Legos. He’s been eating everything—hot dogs and pizzas (always plural, when he says it) are favorites, but so are Vietnamese pork patty and egg crepe, dipped in fish sauce, washed down with fortune cookies (also dipped in fish sauce). He’ll eat either meatballs, crackers, and yogurt for lunch at school or else some leftover rice with sauce, and strawberries or raspberries (or sometimes a whole small apple from our farm) on the side. For snacks at home he loves cereal bars (a la Nutrigrain, though we buy some more whole-grain organic brand), string cheese, drinkable yogurts, and warm rice sandwiched between pieces of Korean-style seaweed.

On my Tuesdays home with him, we’ve gone to the Children’s Museum another couple times, and Mama and Me (indoor creative playspace) in JP, and the main library, now that it’s not quite playground weather anymore. We also went to Sean's Open Studios in Roslindale and a babywearing meet-up in West Roxbury one Saturday; Robert gamely supervised Marcus and three other toddlers, while I offered tips on using ring slings and other carriers in an adjoining room. At Mama and Me, we met another two-year-old and his two-week-old little brother. When the tiny baby (who fascinated Marcus) began to nurse, Marcus leaned in super close, peering around and pointing in interest. "Baby wa-wa mommy!" he said. "Baby wa-wa mommy other side!" he continued to narrate. Then, he turned to me, "Marcus wa-wa mommy?"

Videos: eating a cookie with Grandma Helena at Panera, playing independently with his trains one day, and playing the "Are you sleeping?" game in the kitchen


We’ve still been going to the early service at church on Sundays, with Marcus in the action-packed two-year-old nursery, and we see Helena almost every Saturday; in fact, Marcus gets in the car and immediately asks if we’re going to see Grandma. When we get to her building, he presses the elevator button and then, on her floor, runs out and peers in her (cracked) door, then roars in to scare her and jump into her arms.

Last week we went to David and Jingjing’s Quincy wedding—it was small and nice, and we got to sit with Tim and Christine and Debbie and Chris both in the church and at the Chinese restaurant across the street from the Quincy Center station for the reception. There was lobster, and duck with taro, and simmering fish and tofu, and all sorts of other delicious dishes. Marcus and Christine (about to enter her third trimester) partook of the sparkling cider at the table, Chris was declared the “expert” on Chinese food (to Debbie’s amusement), and Marcus had a great time hugging some of the other small children in attendance; they all left early, though, around course four of the meal, and he was the only child under five left by the time dinner ended and the cake was cut.

When the bride and groom were feeding each other cake, David announced, “Jingjing got a kiwi!” and I had to laugh, because you would clearly only hear that sentence at a Chinese wedding, with a Chinese bakery cake (it was indeed kiwi-heavy; Marcus picked around the fruit and ate the frosting on his piece). Marcus and Debbie were particular instigators of the clink-a-glass-make-the-couple-kiss tradition; Debbie would start and Marcus would join in, and sometimes even yell “More kisses!” We left at 8:45 and were home with a sleeping baby in a wrap 30 minutes later; I took his jacket off, took the wrap off, transferred him to bed, and he just kept sleeping.

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Created: 11/16/10. Last Modified: 11/16/10.