Last month Adrian learned to walk. Now he’s already doing his best to run. Waddle waddle toddle toddle, faster!
He’s starting to talk more. Often he says long streams of sounds that are totally meaningless to us but the intonation is such that it sounds like sentences. I don’t know if it means something to him or whether he is just mimicking the sound of speech.
But he’s also saying actual words now. He has däddä and mämmä for daddy and mommy – and he shouts for däddä when he’s at home with Eric, and for mämmä when it’s night. There’s titta (“look”), deddä for det där (“this”) and lampa. He has some approximate version of kinni (“closed” in Estonian) which is what he says when he opens and closes my fleece during nursing. Babba means banana (his favourite food) but he also uses it for other fruit. He is pleased when he manages to make himself understood.
He so wants to be a part of our life, to join in all our activities, to help, to do like we do.
It’s particularly visible in the kitchen. In the morning when we go downstairs he goes to the pantry and takes out the porridge oats. He brings them to the kitchen counter and then opens the cupboard and takes out the saucepan I usually use for porridge. (Not just any saucepan but the right one.) Then he stretches up his arms and shouts, to tell me that he now wants to be up on the counter to help me make porridge.
I lift him up and open the bag of oats. I get out two measuring cups, one for each of us. He puts his hand in the bag, takes out some oats, puts them in the cup, empties the cup in the saucepan, and repeats this as long as I am also measuring the oats.
Then I turn on the tap and he does the same with water. Sometimes he misses. In fact he misses pretty often – if he pours 8 dashes of water, one of them will probably end up on the counter or on himself, because he gets distracted. But most of it goes in the saucepan. With the oats I do most of the measuring because his method is too slow for my taste, just a tiny handful of oats every time. But with water he can do the work and I focus on counting. Half a decilitre… another half… a dash… almost full, so we’re now at about two… two and a half…
When I cook dinner (which I don’t do very often, as this has been Eric’s responsibility on weekdays) he picks and inspects the veggies, hands me potatoes from the bag, tastes the sweetcorn, etc. Adrian sitting on the kitchen counter is now a most natural part of the cooking process for me.
His absolute favourite in the kitchen is the microwave oven. It beeps! It has lights and buttons! The insides rotate! You can make things happen! The moment I turn it on, he rushes to the step stool and starts pushing it towards the microwave, almost crying with frustration at the lost seconds.
We have a very simple, child-friendly microwave, with just two knobs to turn: one for power, one for time. I tell him not to touch the power knob but I’m not too strict about the time knob – especially since he almost always turns it towards zero, so the oven stops too early rather than overheating the food. It’s like with him measuring the water: he randomizes it, and I keep track of a rough total in my head, and adjust. And of course there’s the door which is pure magic. Close it, and the light goes on and the plate starts rotating. Open it, and the oven goes off.
When the microwave oven is empty and I’m not using it, he is not interested in it.
Other buttons and machines are also interesting, especially when they make sounds or lights. The toaster, lamps, phones, heaters, the clock radio, the baby monitor, the stereo… One afternoon I thought the house felt cold, and upon inspecting the heaters, discovered that he had turned off three of the four heaters he can reach.
He likes opening and closing my computer, to hear it whirr to life and see the screen light up, and to yank out the power cord. He never puts it back in, and often gets upset when I do so. I think he actively dislikes that little indicator light. The keyboard doesn’t interest him much; he hasn’t yet understood that what he does affects things on the screen.
He is helpful and co-operative outside the kitchen, too. He wants to do right. He pushes the safety gate closed when we go upstairs. He pulls down the toilet paper for me. He puts his arms in the sleeves of the pyjamas when I hold them open for him, and tries to brush his hair.
The one thing he doesn’t often co-operate with is nappy changes. Those he hates, and I often have to hold him down while he screams and writhes. But recently he’s actually voluntarily walked to the changing mat and sat down on it when he’s had a dirty nappy, so it may be that we will have less screaming in the future.
In general he’s pretty well aware of the signals of his body. If he doesn’t want clothes, I let him be naked – and when he gets cold, he takes his trousers and tries to put them on (around his neck) or hands us his socks. He refuses mittens when going out, but then reaches for them when his hands get cold. If he is hungry he goes to the pantry or the fruit bowl and demands food. If he isn’t tired in the evening, I prep him (night nappy, pyjamas, toothbrush) and let him potter around. When he feels tired he will go to the staircase (the bedroom is upstairs) or wave good night to us, and then happily walk upstairs to go to bed. Unlike Ingrid, who will claim that she is not at all tired! even though she is falling over from tiredness.
He still eats unevenly throughout the day. Usually he barely touches his breakfast. Lunch and afternoon meal are usually his largest, although sometimes he skips lunch too and then eats throughout the afternoon. It used to be that he’d try almost everything we served, but now his diet has become pretty limited. Bread of all kinds, fruit – especially banana but also other kinds – and occasionally lots of meatballs.
Other food we put in front of him he mostly ignores. If we actively offer it to him – whether on a spoon or in our fingers – he recoils, peeks suspiciously at the food and then looks as if we were trying to poison him.
For some reason it’s different with drinks. He has been very interested in trying the stuff we drink, rather than just his plain water. He’s tried diluted apple juice (our usual mealtime drink) and oat milk, and liked both.
With this diet he has pretty much gone back to eating with his hands only and ignores spoons and forks. On the other hand he has now learned to drink from normal glasses and two-handled cups. The sippy cup still comes in handy at night or when we’re out and about, though.
He’s jealous. When Ingrid is sitting in my lap he butts in and tries to push her out of the way.
He likes fridge magnets. For some reason he often puts them in the dishwasher.
He likes it when we mimic him – when he gets us to laugh, to clap our hands, or to put our arms up.
He started nursery a few days ago. We’re still in the schooling in period, but from next week he’ll be there for real. Eric’s been taking care of the schooling-in so I don’t have much to say about this.