Letters to Jack: Month 20

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My dear, sweet boy,

Sometimes I don’t know what to write in these letters. Though it’s probably not fair to compare, your brother was more challenging as a baby and a toddler (see Letters to Charlie: Month 20). Writing letters to him was somewhat therapeutic.

You? You’re pretty content with life. Grandma Z cared for you yesterday and said you just giggled all day. “He walks a few steps, then giggles. Walks a few more, giggles.” She sent photos all day of your grand adventures.

And you’re chill, too. The other day, I plopped you in front of a box of Duplos and you played — independently — for at least 45 minutes while I made dinner. I didn’t even know this was possible!

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That doesn’t mean you aren’t sharing some joys of toddlerhood with us. You run away at diaper-changing time and screech until we get a new one on you. You’re beginning to knock over your dinner plate if you don’t like what’s on there, or drop food to test the laws of gravity. And some days you are just plain grouchy.

You hit (and still bite, occasionally) when you don’t get your way. “Mine!” and “Move!” are favorite commands these days (though they sound mostly like “mye” and “moo”).

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You’re saying more words, but the rate at which you acquire new ones concerns me. This morning Dad tried working with you to say “cow” and “fire truck” and “lion” instead of mimicking the sounds they make. Raisins are”weeeee.” At least 80 percent of other nouns are “mama.” You continue signing Charlie’s name (a “C” over the heart, though you do a fist), instead of speaking it.

Grandma B assures me you’re doing fine, that you are the most accomplished communicator of kids your age in her school. You said your first sentence –“bye ball”– in her backyard just the other week.

To me, progress seems slow. Perhaps this is because my recollection of Charlie is that he was practically reciting Shakespearean sonnets at this age and/or telling me off.

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You’re beginning to mimic counting and every number is “nine.” You’ll line up your toys in a straight line — making adjustments along the way until they’re just right (my father would have been so proud) — then count with your finger: nine, nine, nine, nine, Nine!

You walk with your hands clasped behind your back, like a perfect gentleman.

You love to laugh, especially with us. “He’s funnier than any movie — this is so great,” Dad said the other day, when you were both squealing in the backyard. “We’re just watching a ball fall off a tennis racquet!”

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This month, you met Darth Vader at a birthday party (great gathering, Ash!). The kids played all afternoon with foam lightsabers, so now you want to sword fight with everything in our house.

We took you to the county fair, and you learned the hard lesson that you can’t stay on the merry-go-round with Grandma Z forever.

Last week, on a family walk around the neighborhood, we watched a giant hot-air balloon soar directly over us, just above the tree tops. This made a huge impression on you. Every time we’re outside, you look around frantically, make the sign for balloon, and point to the sky. I showed you YouTube videos of hot-air balloons and you just about lost your shit.

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You are such a sweet boy, my Jack. On Saturday mornings, when we watch Elmo (mel-moh!) with Charlie before Dad wakes up, you climb in my lap and snuggle into my chest. I’ve started calling you my “lap cat.”

You clutch your stuffed animals so tightly and love to kiss them on the nose. You travel from me, to Dad, to Charlie so we can kiss them, too. Then you ask us to smooch your soft, little lips. Oh, my heart!

You’ve fallen asleep in your high chair twice this month. I don’t know how this is even possible, and it’s one of the sweetest things in the universe to see.

Jack, sometimes the thought strikes me that you must be a reward for doing something right in this life. When I think of you, I feel calm and happy and complete.

And I can’t stop giggling.

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One Response to Letters to Jack: Month 20

  1. Barbara Crawford says:

    In case you haven’t seen this:

    http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/12/

    Points out how receptive language (understanding what you say) is a good gauge of language acquisition. I’ve seen everything on the Talking side of the chart except two word questions. But he does ask non-verbal questions, like Read book? And he gives orders: Move! And makes comments: Birds outside. Thomas crying. Down, please. Also, he seeks to communicate. He catches your eye, shares a joke, tries to make you understand. The social motivations for good language production are all there. Not to worry!

    Thanks for this lovely post. I would like a copy of the photo of him on the beach, please!

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