Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Uh Oh!

I'm falling back on bulleted lists again, because argh! I'm really busy again.

- LL had his 18-month appointment. He is holding steady around the 30th percentile for height and weight, and above the 80th percentile for head size. He almost always wears baggy shirts because the shirts that actually fit his arms and torso properly will not slip over his gigantic head.

- Inspired by K, I made a list of LL's spoken words: mama, daddy, all done, this, up, down, bear, ball, cheese, keys, no, yes (actually, he says "da", which is "yes" in Russian; thank you Natasha), uh oh, more ("moo"), moo ("mmmm", cow sound; is it weird that he says "moo" for "more" but refuses to pronounce it like "moo" for an actual cow?), arf (dog sound), hsss (snake sound), vroom (car sound), puff (rice puffs), spoon. There is some debate about whether to also include "wee!" which is what he squeals when he's doing something fun, like going down a slide. Also, he only said spoon for one day, and has refused to say it again since, so that one is kind of iffy. The rest are all heard almost every day. You gotta love a kid that manages to fit that entire set of words into conversation every single day.

- I'm told that most toddlers learn "no" long before they learn "yes", so we're rather grateful that the Russian "da" is so easy for him to say. It makes him quite agreeable, and he always says it with a little smile. Natasha asks him yes-no questions all day long because she is so charmed that he answers in Russian. And this morning, he started saying "nyet" instead of no, which somehow makes me want to cast him in a 1980s James Bond film.

- "Uh oh" is a very recent addition. LL learned to say it, and a few days later he said it to a police officer who was writing S a traffic ticket. ("What's the problem, officer?" "I'm sorry, sir, but I pulled you over for speeding." (loudly from the back seat) "UH OH!") Sadly, the officer was not as charmed by LL's sense of humor as I was, and he still gave S the ticket.

- All of the kids I know who are around LL's age seem to have several times the vocabulary that he does. Tons more words, says their own name and the names of other kids, stuff like that. LL's exposure to three different languages (English, Russian, and Spanish) on a regular basis is probably slowing him down a bit, as is his early adoption of the word "this", which seemed to convince him that he didn't need to know any more nouns. Still, I was concerned enough that I asked Dr. K about it. She says that she only gets concerned at this age if a kid has fewer than 10 words or fails the M-CHAT (test for early autism). So we're fine.

- I did answer one question "wrong" on the M-CHAT, but I'm convinced that it's just a bad question. "Does your child sometimes stare at nothing or wander with no purpose?" I said "yes" because although he doesn't stare at nothing, he does wander with no purpose, all the time. So do most kids I know. Dr. K informed me that there is a difference between "wandering with no purpose" and "wandering with a specific purpose that only LL understands." She had no answer for me, though, on how I was supposed to distinguish those things. Apparently the question is meant to identify disengagement with the world, and not whether your child has the heart of an explorer but doesn't always submit a flight plan with his parents.

- Ever since we returned from our trip, LL keeps getting his snow pants out of the closet, putting them in his sled, filling the sled with stuffed animals (usually Winnie the Pooh), and dragging the sled around the house. And now I just feel bad that he's not around snow more often.

- LL has also learned how to sweep. Which is odd, because I rarely sweep, so I'm not sure who taught him this behavior. He gets out the broom, runs it over the floor of the kitchen, gets a dust pan, bangs the dust pan on the floor several times, then puts both the broom and the dust pan back where they belong. Carefully putting them back is the part that kills me.

- My parents, uncle, and grandfather are arriving for Passover in less than a week. Despite LL's attempts to clean the kitchen, our house is a gigantic mess, and I'm a bit panicked about whipping it into shape before they get here. I finally made the seder menu this weekend, did my first round of grocery shopping, and roasted two briskets to freeze until next week. The rest of the cooking will happen next weekend. I'm excited about the menu -- there's an apricot chicken recipe that I only make for Passover, and I didn't make it for the past two years (first because I was pregnant and had a huge aversion to chicken, and last year because the recipe is rather involved and messy and I didn't want to try it with a newborn in my arms). I love this recipe, and I'm excited to have it again.

- Our Passover plans are a bit more scaled back than recent years, mostly because S's family decided not to come this year. First seder will have just 7 people, and second seder currently stands at 22. (For comparison, last year it was 10 and 28; I don't remember the last time second seder fell below 24 people.) For any Jewish readers who are curious about why second seder is bigger: it's a tradition that I accidentally started back in college when I hated the seders run by my campus Hillel and invited three friends to do second seder in my dorm room instead. That first year, I stole most of the seder foods from the cafeteria earlier in the day, and had to take two different forms of public transportation to get to a store that sold kosher wine. None of my friends had a corkscrew, and we had to decant the wine after shredding the cork trying to open it with a pocket knife. After that, I started hosting second seder every year, and it kept growing and growing. By my count, this is my 14th year doing it. It's nice because most people have somewhere to go for first seder, but everyone we invite is generally free for second seder.

- I'm having serious senioritis lately, which is bad because I have a thesis to finish writing and a defense to schedule. In an effort to motivate myself, I'm going to announce some public concrete milestones: by the time my parents arrive on Sunday, I will have decent drafts (ie, good enough that I'd be willing to show them to people) of three (3) full chapters. Possibly without figures, but with full text. One of those chapters might be an appendix, but only if I wuss out midweek. You heard it here first. Check back next week.


  1. I *love* the uh oh story.

    As for the moo thing, Harry says boo for the cow sound and moan for moon (and mo for more). Clearly he is able to say the "m" and the "oo" but is unwilling to put them together in any context. Kids are funny like that :)

    Good luck with the ambitious week you have ahead! I'm overwhelmed just thinking about trying to prep two seders while writing big chunks of dissertation -- and I don't actually have to do either.

  2. My dad took Russian in high school, so he always said nyet to us too.

  3. all kids develope language at their own speed. Monkey didn't start to use sentences until 2.5 years and now he won't stop. I used to be really concerned too, but different languages and interest have alot to do with it. monkey didn't care to talk, he was too busy exploring his world.

  4. Uh yeah, your a little busy!!! Hang in there.

    Jillian doesn't have a very big vocabulary either, which I TRY not to worry about. She is pretty good at sounds, just not actual words. I hear language development takes off around 18 months so we'll see if this changes.

  5. Wow, you are one busy mama!!

    My son wasn't a big talker at 18 months compared to many of the kids at preschool. Then all of the sudden he picked up tons more words. Then at two years he started using sentences. Seemingly overnight, language can explode! And then you are bombarded with conversations that start with "Mommy, ...!" allllllllllll day long. :)


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