Sunday, February 8, 2009

Twenty-two months or so...

I'm glad I started this blog, because were it not for the few memories I occasionally put in writing here, I'm afraid that I would forget most specific things that happened in Joris' development and be left with just a vague idea of what occurred in his early life.

In fact, thinking back of Joris's first year of life (pre-blog, if you will), which in reality started less than two years ago, it already feels like an eternity ago and I mostly just remember the emotions, the feelings of that year and not so much specific incidents, unless they stood out tremendously (seeing Joris's skin blister and peel off in front of my eyes when he got burned comes to mind). Not that that's necessarily a bad thing; the year did exist mostly out of diaper changes, feedings and a whole lot of rocking, but I can't help but think that if I had taken the time to write some things down, I would remember it better.

Like all toddlers, Joris has hit an acceleration of development and is making connections, remembering things and coming up with ideas at an alarmingly fast rate. There are so many new things that he does or comes up with every day that I find myself actually not being able to remember all of it to recount to Jacob at the end of the day.

He is getting more and more creative and loves pretend play, especially with his stuffed animals. I realized that his animal entourage is starting to get a little out of control when he tried picking up Coco, George, Aap, Brown Bear and Talking Lion at the same time and got frustrated when it proved impossible. The plus side of his enjoyment of talking to stuffed animals is that they often can get him to do things that Jacob and I cannot (even though he fully understands that it is us who make them talk) but the flip-side, of course, is that I spent a whole lot of time each day speaking in squeaky and gruff voices and Joris will often toss an animal at me after I tell him something, meaning I need to repeat the comment in the animal voice.

For example:
Joris kicks a ball.

Me: Good kick, Joris!

J: Coco? Mama, Coco!

Me: Coco thinks that was a good kick, too.

J: Coco! Coco! (tosses Coco into my lap)

Me (In Coco's voice): Good kick, Joris!

J: Yay! Doota kick!

Joris has been able to grasp the idea of representation and symbols from a young age. He was less than a year old when he would look at drawn pictures of say, a ball, and understood that it was representing a real ball, even though it was not a picture of the object or anywhere near its real size. (Probably all babies can do this, but I still think it's amazing!) Since this summer, he knows what letters are and, for most letters, knows several words that start with that letter.

When we draw, he asks me to write letters or words and he likes drawing the letter O himself (Obaba! O. Obaba, Mama!) and he can now identify the written names of Joris, Mama, Daddy, Coco, George, Koos, Oskar and Avery. The other day when he was taking a bath I asked him to find the letter J among the floating foam letters, which he did, and he stuck it on the side of the tub. I next asked him to find the O and the R, which he also did and stuck them (on the left side) next to the J. He then found the I without me prompting him and started looking around for the S. It wasn't in the tub, so I told him I'd go find it, which I did. In the meantime he had settled on the K and added it to the row, pointed at all the letters and said "Doota. Doota."

A few days ago I drew a picture of a tree on his chalkboard wall and wrote "boom" (tree) next to it. He then tried to imitate writing boom, which looked like a series of vertical lines. When I asked him what letters were in the word boom, he looked and recited "B. O....O...M!" If you ask the same question without him looking at the word, he'll get B & O.

A few weeks ago, when out thrift shopping, I came across several bags of Legos for $2.99 a piece. Two were from Harry Potter sets (one bag had, among other things, about 30 Harry Potter Lego people, of which I sold 12 - mostly doubles - on Ebay for over $20!) and one was a soccer set that came with the building instructions. My plan was to just hang on to the sets until Joris gets to be of Lego playing age, but he spotted the Harry Potter figures on the shelf, waiting to be shipped, and really wanted to investigate them. So I pulled out "his" HP people from the bag and he spent many, long, wonderfully occupied minutes just looking at the figures, taking them off and and placing them back on the little Lego platform. There was no tearing off of heads, trying to rip the capes off trying to ingest any parts of them. I'd put them out of reach when he wasn't playing with them, but he would keep asking "pay (play) people?". So last weekend, I thought it would be fun to try to put the soccer set together to see if it actually was complete - which it was. The set lets you actually play soccer with the little Lego guys; they're all up on small pedestals that have a spring, allowing you to kick the small, awesome choking hazard little balls from one guy to the next. Joris absolutely loves it and we've been leaving it out on his play table. He will kick the ball with one of the Lego guys and then say "Daddy (or Mama) turn". No destruction of the set or little people has occurred (yet).

I've been holding off on publishing this blog post because I realize that it really just sounds like I'm bragging. Which I totally am. But then I thought, so what? With the continued sleep challenges, emerging dictator behavior and a recent comeback of some sort of separation anxiety, there is plenty to grumble about, so why not remind myself and my five readers, that Joris is mostly a joy to be around - a sweet, smart, sensitive and funny little kid who really seems to know what he wants and lights up my world every single day.

1 comment:

Christine said...

If you're self-conscious about bragging, you can bring me on as a guest blogger. It's more socially acceptable for aunties to brag ;)

I agree you should write about anything you want! Years from now, it'll be fun to read and remember how proud you felt.