rivka: (boundin')
Three years ago, my life changed forever. Happy birthday to my darling boy!

the year in pictures )colin_bike
rivka: (Colin 1.5)
Colin has a new favorite story that he keeps asking for. It's right up there with the one in which he is a dog who goes flying on a green airplane.

Colin: Tell me the story about how I was just a little speck.
Me: Okay. When you first started, you were just a tiny little speck, and you were inside my body.
Colin: And I was in your tummy!
Me: You were in a special place inside my tummy called my uterus. And you got bigger and bigger, and my tummy got bigger and bigger until I was huuuuge (miming with hand motions). And then you came out and you were a baby! It was AWESOME!

That's the way we usually tell it. He likes to hear it over and over. But today he had an addendum.

Colin: And then what happened?
Me: Then you had some see-sees.
Colin: And THEN what happened?
Me: That was pretty much it.
Colin: And then I went back and turned into a little pig!
Me: You did?
Colin: Oink oink oink! I DID turn into a little pig!

...I guess he figured that if I could make up crazy, outlandish stuff, he could too.
rivka: (boundin')
Having a bad day? Here, have a video of Colin bouncing around in a giraffe costume singing "My Favorite Things."

rivka: (Default)
One I stop posting, it starts to feel like I shouldn't post until I have something really momentous to say. "You've barely posted in months, you didn't write about X, Y, and Z, but you're going to make a post about trivial topic q? Really?"

That's a large part of why I never restarted Respectful of Otters. I couldn't let myself just post sporadic small things - I couldn't restart unless I was going to make significant posts on a regular basis. With the first one super-awesome-earthshattering, of course, to make restarting justifiable.

So the hell with that. If I go ahead and post a few random trivial things, maybe the spell will be broken and I'll be able to start writing again.

Random trivial thing of the day:

You can easily tell by looking at Colin how many days it's been since we've done laundry.

First day of clean laundry: green and grey striped hoodie.

IMAG0524 IMAG0509

First few nights of clean laundry: moose hoodie PJs. Yes, he sleeps with the hood up.

moose_pjs2

Second day of clean laundry: orange hoodie with raccoons on it.

hoodie_boy

Third day of clean laundry: grey hoodie whose hood doesn't stay up very well, but it is partially redeemed by having a picture of a bulldozer on it.

If Colin is wearing an item of clothing that doesn't have a hood, it's been at least three days since we did laundry. Simple as that.
rivka: (Default)
The happiest of happy birthdays to Colin Randolph Nutt! Today he is officially a big boy (just ask him): two years old.

It's been a challenging year in some ways, but the sheer wonderfulness of this excellent little guy can't be beat.

a year of Colin )
hoodie_boy
rivka: (Colin 1.5)
IMAG0461

Dolphin jump in the air and catch ball, and catch ball, and catch ball.

I see a turtle. Girl feed turtle lettuce. Girl touch turtle's back.

I see a rays. Rays swimming in the water.

A shark scary. Daddy hold me.
rivka: (alex & colin)
We had the kids' pictures taken for Christmas. They turned out really well.

get ready for the magnificence to blind you... )
rivka: (Colin 1.5)
I wrote that developmental update while I was at my faculty retreat last week. Since then, Colin has picked up two awesome new things I want to share:

  • A while back he learned to sing "Goodnight Ladies." "Goodnight ladies, we're going to leave you now." Then he did a little experimentation with changing "ladies" into people's names: "Good night Mama, we're going to leave you now."

    This weekend he started changing the lyrics entirely. Michael left the dinner table to go to the bathroom, and Colin broke into song: "Good night, Daddy, going to pee potty." And this morning, as Alex settled in to watch her video: "Good night, Alex, going to Liberty's Kids show."


  • He's started carrying news. We went in to wake Alex up this morning, and he eagerly reported to her about his exciting new pajamas: "Alex! Colin dinosaurs on there!" Michael had a massive sneezing fit, and Colin came into the next room and told me excitedly, "Mama, Daddy sneezed! Daddy sneezed!"

    This isn't flat-out funny like singing "Good night, Daddy, going to pee potty," but it's a big developmental leap because it shows that Colin is starting to understand that everyone doesn't know what he knows. That's the beginning of a theory of mind.
rivka: (Colin 1.5)
Colin, clinging to Michael: Want Mommy carry boy.
Michael: hands Colin off to me.
Colin, clinging to me, head on my shoulder:
Want Daddy.
Me: Do you want Mommy or Daddy?
Colin: Want BUNNY.

Once he had Bunny in his arms he was perfectly content. Mommy, Daddy, whatever.

IMAG0355

(He starts out in a crib, but at some point in the early morning hours he winds up in our bed. So does Bunny.)
rivka: (Colin 1.5)
Michael: Colin, are you going to plot world domination?
Colin: (gropes at waistband.) First Colin pants off.
rivka: (Colin 1.5)


Colin favors us with "Good Night, Ladies" from The Music Man. Kind of. As always happens, he was singing with much greater continuity and verve before I took the camera out.

(Here is Alex singing, at the same age. Man. Aren't toddlers 100% the best thing ever?)
rivka: (motherhood)
Colin has been going through such a rough patch lately. He's had a cold for a couple of weeks. Even before the cold he had been ramping up his nursing, and with the cold it has been pretty much nonstop. He hasn't been eating more than a few bites of solid food; he makes up for it by constantly.wanting.to.nurse.

And his sleep, oh my God. Alex slept through the night starting at ten months. At Colin's age she could be put into the crib awake, and she'd put herself to sleep and sleep for twelve hours straight. Before the cold Colin was waking around 4:30 and then coming into my bed around 5:30-6 and dozing/nursing/dozing until it was time to wake up. For the last two weeks he's been up every few hours every night. The last two nights he slept no longer than two hours at a stretch, and each night there was a period of 90 minutes in which every time I put him in the crib and went back to my own bed he woke up and cried. I cried too.

What I need to do, and have needed to do for a really long time now, is nightwean him. The thing is that it's incredibly hard to do something that means even less sleep in the short run, when you are already getting so little sleep that you can barely function.

Thursday night was awful and I was wrecked all day yesterday. Last night was awful. Today Michael took Alex to the Rennaissance Faire, which means that I am on my own all day with Colin. I am so exhausted and angry and fed up.

So I'm doing the best thing one can do in a situation like this: I am pretending to be a naturally good mother. I took the kids to Alex's ballet lesson this morning and while she was in class I fed Colin healthy little snacks and pretended to be excited to read his train book again and promised him he could take ballet too someday. (He is jealous.) Then I brought them home and made myself some strong black tea and let Colin have half my breakfast when he asked for it. I felt a little desperate when Michael walked out the door and Colin also didn't have Alex to follow around all day, so I packed him into the stroller and took him to the park and we wandered around in the sun tossing a little neon-green toy football and playing "hide and seek" the only way you can play it with a toddler, which involves hiding slowly in very obvious places while talking to them the whole time.

I took him to the Italian deli and got some fresh hot bread and prosciutto and smoked mozzarella for our lunch and listened to him meow at the cats on the cases of Gato Negro and engaged him in conversations and fingerplays while we waited in line so he wouldn't ask to get out of the stroller. I let him sit in Alex's big-kid chair for lunch instead of his high chair.

I am pretending to be an excellent mother with all of these outings and interactions, but really my goal is not so much to nurture him and enrich his day as to keep him off me and minimize his need for my attention, and especially to keep him from asking to nurse. Because I have HAD IT.

He's napping now, so I should go lie down too. Because when he wakes up I'm going to need to be able to pretend to be an excellent mother again, because if I am my normal kind of mother there's no way I'll be able to get him to leave me alone.
rivka: (Colin 1.5)
I need to post about my weekend, but I've just been too sleepy. So instead you get some conversations with my son.

Colin: Breakfast.
Me: You want some breakfast?
Colin: Yes.
Me: What do you want to eat?
Colin: Chocolate ice cream.


Me: Having bathed Colin, runs new bath for Alex and helps her in.
Colin:
Shirt off. Onesie off. Diaper off.
Me: No, this is Alex's bath. It's Alex's turn.
Colin: exits the room Colin stairs. Alex privacy.


Me: Shh, Colin, it's time to go to sleep.
Colin: Bunny!
Me: No, Bunny is in the crib. Bunny is sleeping.
Colin, loudly: Wake up Bunny! To me: Bunny awake.


That last one notwithstanding, I love it so much when they get old enough to have a conversation. Talking kids are the best.
rivka: (Colin 1.5)
In mid-August, the kids participated in cognitive development experiments at the Johns Hopkins Lab for Child Development. (We do that a lot.) At the end, as usual, they each got to pick a prize: a T-shirt, book, or small stuffed animal. For Colin, I picked out a little white bunny with pink ears and a pink bow around its neck.

I had no idea what I was getting into.

I should mention here that Alex never really had an attachment object, as a toddler. She had a stuffed dog she was fond of, but it was never the sort of thing where she dragged him everywhere and couldn't get by without him.

So I was totally unprepared for the way that this cheap little stuffed bunny quickly became BUNNY. Colin carried it with him everywhere. It hopped around, saying "hop hop!" in a high, squeaky voice. (Colin's commentary: "Bunny hop Mama head! Hop a toes!") He brought it to me to nurse at least six times a day. It developed grey patches around the nose and tail from being sent down the slide at the playground. He held it, a lot. "Bunny!" he would croon, cradling it in the crook of his arm. Then he would hold it out for me to feed again. "Bunny see-see."

Whenever he found the nearly identical little stuffed kitty that Alex got on the same lab visit, he dropped what he was doing and picked it up. "Alex kitty," he would say, and then march off to deliver it to her. You could tell that he didn't understand why she didn't carry it everywhere.

A few days ago - you saw this coming, right? - Bunny disappeared. We couldn't find it anywhere. We tore the house and car apart looking for it. I offered Alex two dollars to find it, in vain. Bunny was gone. Colin didn't cry for Bunny, but it was definitely clear to us that he'd lost a major source of pleasure in his life.

What would you do?

I called up the Lab for Child Development at Johns Hopkins, of course. Unfortunately, they told me, Colin wouldn't be eligible for another study until he was 30 months old. They bought the stuffed animals in bulk and didn't know where a single one could be purchased.

Buuuuuuut... they're developmental psychologists over there. They get it. So they suggested that we borrow a study prize against the time, eleven months in the future, when Colin will be old enough to actually enroll. And they took a bunny out of their prize cabinet and set it in the back room with Colin's name on it. We went to pick it up today.

"Bunny went away to have a bath!" Alex cleverly told Colin, trying to cover up the discrepancy between Bunny Mark One and Bunny Mark Two. But it was unnecessary. He knew what he was looking at.

He was perched on my hip. He reached out and curled the bunny to him with his free arm. He put his head down on my shoulder.

"Bunny," he said. Just that.

I couldn't see his expression, except as it was reflected in the eyes of the grad students who delivered the bunny to him. They looked like they were basking in the sun.



(This evening Michael found Bunny Mark One wedged between a rolling toy cart and the wall. How it got there, I'll never know. We've stashed Bunny Mark Two on the top shelf of my closet for now, but I have plans to rotate them so they'll both age similarly.)
rivka: (travel)
So I went camping with the kids this weekend. And survived! It was fun. Read more... )
rivka: (Colin 1.5)
It has been pointed out to me that perhaps I shouldn't post about how much my life sucks and then disappear for a week. Sorry.

Here I am, back! And with a developmental update. Colin is 18 months old, and a fine big capable boy.

peekaboo2

Just recently he's really gotten the rules down for peekaboo. He "hides" (announcing "hiding!") and then pops out and shouts "peekaboo!" He has not fully grasped the principles underlying hiding, which sometimes makes for very cute results.

(Also a perennial source of toddler cute: Colin thinks he can jump. What he can do is squat down and then stand up quickly saying "jump!" It's almost like jumping, right? He's very proud.)

He's got a few hundred words now, which he deploys with verve. We can have real conversations:

Me: Want to help me put away books, Colin?
Colin: touches a book. Alex.
Me: Are these books for Alex?
Colin: Chapter.
Me: Yes, those are chapter books.

Colin: pointing at my monitor. Baby! Becky! Baby!
Me: You want to see pictures of Becky and the babies? (pulls up our friends' baby blog.)
Colin: reaches for the screen. Baby. Carry.
Me: You want to carry the baby?
Colin: Yes.

One of my favorite new words of his, which he uses all the time now: "Turn." He'll take a bite of a cracker and then hand the rest to me, saying invitingly, "Turn!" Or Alex will get out of the bathtub, and if it doesn't look like I'm getting ready to put him in next he'll anxiously say "Turn! Turn!" He was in a study today at the Johns Hopkins Cognitive Development Lab, and he eagerly directed me and the experimenter to take turns with a particular toy. It feels like it's of a piece with the general harmoniousness we've noticed in Colin all along.

He has a few two-word phrases: help me, other side, read again, cut it, and, inevitably, more see-see (i.e., nursing). They are stereotyped for the most part; he's not flexibly putting together two different words he happens to know. But it is still definitely an expansion.

He likes to reel off lists of words. When I'm rocking him at bedtime, I'll hear "Red. Red. Orange. Blue. Green. Pink." Or he'll look up from playing and start naming animals and making their sounds. "Sheep! Baaa. Neigh... horse. Cow. Cow. Moo." Or he'll just start pointing to and naming parts of the body. I guess that when you only have a couple hundred words, it's hard to make conversation without relying on lists. (Colin is actually the world champion of animal sounds. You should hear his elephant trumpet.)

alex&colin2

Colin and Alex are as thick as thieves these days. They chase each other around the house and climb all over each other. As soon as he wakes up in the morning he looks around: "Alex? Alex?" He wants to be right where she is doing right what she's doing. Sometimes this poses difficulties on the homeschooling front, but I try to remember that their good relationship is more important to me than her learning this particular thing at this particular moment. On her side, of course she sometimes finds him annoying, but she also plays with him much more than I expected her to.

Colin likes: airplanes, trucks, trains, and other things that go vroom. Bunnies. ("Hop! Hop! A bunny!") Being "pretty," such as dressing up in Alex's dress-up clothes or putting ponytail holders on his wrists and ankles. Playing in the sink or other water sources, which he attempts to justify by pleading to wash his hands. Being read to. Looking at pictures online, particularly Google Images searches for "commercial airplanes" and our friends' aforementioned baby blog. Having his entire family in sight at all times. Nursing, a little too much.

He continues to be a good regular-food eater, although ironically he isn't any heavier than Alex was as a terrible eater. He loves meat, fish, shellfish, rice, pasta, fruit, raw vegetables. We've got another one here who loves sushi.

IMAG0064

His sleep continues to suck, but he has slept through the night twice now, so I have a tiny shred of hope that it will improve. We've decided to nightwean in a few weeks (after our camping trip) in hopes that that will lead to a big breakthrough in nighttime sleep.
rivka: (colin in whoville)
Conversations with my son:
Colin: Daddy, Daddy!
Me: Where is Daddy?
Colin: Coffee.

Also, I made the mistake of showing Colin that it's possible to Google for pictures of airplanes. Now, every time I sit at my computer, he comes running up to point at the screen. "Airplane! Airplane!"

It is simply impossible to deny him when he gives me his Face of Joyful Anticipation.

Especially because, if he's not entirely sure that I've understood, he'll clarify using one of his most adorable word abbreviations: "Picsh? Picsh?"

"Pictures?" I say. "Yes!" I haul him onto my lap and search Google Images for airplanes. He vibrates with joy. "Airplane!" Point. "Airplane!" Point. "Airplane!" Attempt to climb right off my lap and into the monitor. "Airplane!"

On that note, have some picsh of the Many Moods of Colin.

IMAG0129

princess_in_training

IMAG0141

IMAG0132

(Yes, those are salmon eggs he's eating. The minute the tray of sushi arrives he starts pointing: "Pease? Pease?" Both of the kids will fight me for them.)

(Why so many highchair pictures? Only time he sits still.)
rivka: (colin in whoville)
1. Colin puts Alex's ponytail holders on his wrists or, sometimes, his ankles. Then he walks around displaying them to people and saying, "Pretty! Pretty!" If you tell him that yes, he is pretty, he will beam like it's his birthday.

2. He tucks humanoid toys under his chin and says "Awwwww..." in a baby-cuddling voice. The tinier and more incongruous the toy, the more adorable this is; it is pretty cute when he does it with his baby doll, and damn near fatal when it is a three-inch firefighter in full regalia.

3. He stands up on a chair, makes eye contact with the closest adult, shakes his hand in an admonitory fashion, and says sternly, "Get! Down!" Then, softly and sweetly: "Tank oo!" No actual sitting-down occurs in the course of this ritual, but he always thanks himself anyway.

4. He opens up one of the kitchen cabinets and removes its contents of paper towels. Then he uses the cabinet as a seat. It is exactly the right size.

IMAG0111
rivka: (colin in whoville)
I am sooo overdue for a developmental update on Colin. I guess that's what happens when your ceiling falls in, you start homeschooling, and you have a sermon to write.

Anyway: Colin is sixteen and a half months old.

IMAG0082

When I last updated, he had about a half-dozen words. Now he has more words than we can count, and new ones pop up all the time. He says giraffe and shower and outside and thank you and Rebecca and all clean and grapes and glasses. He says Ashes, ashes, a down when we play Ring Around the Rosy. He knows a couple dozen signs, although he only regularly uses a few: more (which he also uses for again), all done, bath, cracker, socks. He isn't putting two words together yet (things like "all done" don't count because they're set phrases), but he can certainly make himself understood.

He is probably the first toddler in human history to learn yes before no. I guess if any toddler did it, it would be Colin, Mr. Agreeable McEasygoing. We ask him a lot of questions, and when we get something right he beams at us and says "yesss."

Conversation with my son:
Colin: (climbs onto my desk chair and stands up, then shakes his finger in an admonitory fashion.) Down! A Down!
Me: Sit down, Colin.
Colin: (beams at me, sits down).
Me:
Are you the goofiest boy in the world?
Colin: Yes!

He tries to throw tantrums. They are pretty sorry. He casts himself on the ground and sort of reclines on one elbow so that he can still see you and tell whether you are reacting to him, and wails unconvincingly. He can't really hide his sunny nature for long.

He does know when he's being shabbily treated, though. For example: someone reading to Alex. Clearly being read to is for Colin, and Colin only. He's been known to slam her books shut, say "All done!", and substitute a book of his own. If he brings me a book of his and I don't stop reading to her immediately, he brings another book and another, as if he's sure that I will give up on Alex if he only tempts me with the right selection.

Colin loves: Books, again and again, especially if they have babies or animals in them. Balls of every description. Keys, not to shake the way a baby does but to insert hopefully in locks. Dogs and ducks, in real life and in pictures. Michael, with the fire of a thousand suns. After Michael leaves for work in the morning, Colin stands by the door calling and calling for him. When Michael returns, Colin catapults into his arms and snuggles in deep. Michael is everything right now.

He likes to look around the family circle, pointing and naming each of us in turn. I remember Alex going through the same stage. "Daddy! Mama! Alex! Colin! Daddy! Mama! Alex! Colin!" When we're out in public and a stranger comes within our orbit, Colin makes eye contact with them, points to me, and says firmly: "Mama." Don't get any ideas - I'm with her.

He eats well for a toddler, with a particular preference for meat and fruit. He likes to use a fork and spoon. Nursing (Colin calls it see, I think because I say nursie) is still going strong. I do see why people find toddler nursing annoying; Colin is big on gymnastics, and this morning while I was lying in bed, staying actively latched on the whole time, he first stood in a tripod pose and then started climbing up my body until he was sort of standing on my side and leaning way over to nurse. On the other hand, there are compensations. When he was an infant, although he loved to nurse, at the same time it did seem like nursing was just sort of there to him - something he took for granted. Now when I pick him up and turn him sideways he gets a sweet and excited smile of anticipation. So that is rewarding.

Colin is adventurous in a way that Alex was not. He's the type to pull out a dining room chair, climb up on the table, and brandish a knife that was left on a cutting board. At one point he found our spare housekey, pulled a chair over to the front door, and did his damnedest to insert the key into the lock and open the door.

IMAG0086

For all that he terrifies me, he is such a fun and sweet little boy. If he only slept through the night, I'd be ready for a half-dozen more just like this one.
rivka: (colin in whoville)
I don't want to work on my grant. Good thing you guys need a developmental update, huh?

IMAG0016

Every other month is too infrequent for updates at this age. Because the last time I wrote Colin was just taking his first independent steps, the steps that mark the boundary between baby and toddler. Now he is a sturdy and reliable walker, and crawling has almost entirely disappeared - it's for stairs only.

Spring arrived at just the right time for Colin. He loves to play outside and go for walks. He loves watching birds and dogs on the sidewalk or in the park. We have smooth white river stones at the border between our fence and the sidewalk; they are Colin's favorite toys in the whole world. He likes to hold one in each hand and walk up and down the block. He goes back and forth carrying rocks to the neighbors' front steps, making little cairns. He clicks them together. But mostly he just holds and carries them. Everywhere. He cries when I refuse to let him bring them in the house.

He's talking a little bit. He clearly says Mama, Dada, Alex (which sounds like "A'ek" in his dialect), dog, cracker ("cakuh"), and that ("dah!", meaning give me that/look at that). There are other words I think I've heard him say (duck, shoes) but I can't be fully certain yet. He sometimes uses the signs for "more" and "all done," which are the only signs we've introduced, and he also uses other communicative gestures: nodding, shaking his head, pointing. Nodding in response to a question is still unreliable, but when he's trying to ask for something he wants he uses nod/headshake signals well to let us know whether we've guessed right.

He clearly understands a lot. He can follow simple directions, like "go get a book" and "give Mama kisses" and "let's go find Alex." He recognizes the correspondence between a picture of a wagon in a book and his own wagon, between pictures of dogs and the word "dog" and real dogs. He understands the word "no." (Whether he complies or not depends on his mood.)

He loves to manipulate objects and work mechanisms, and he is fiendishly good at it. He is ingenious and dextrous. He will sit for five minutes at a time taking the cap on and off a highlighter. He has figured out how to take the childproof cap off a pill bottle. He loves opening and closing doors, turning things on and off (the TV, Alex's CD player), balancing precariously on the rocking chair in the living room to practice working the doorknob, plugging in unplugged appliances, turning the knobs on the stove, removing outlet covers, unrolling all the toilet paper from the roll, and indiscriminately pushing buttons. In short: he is an utter menace, and he terrifies me. We've made it five years without an ER trip for Alex, but I don't think we're going to be able to say the same about Colin.

He's still very snuggly and loving. He likes to cuddle and hug and nuzzle and be held. He still likes to bring me soft toys so that we can cuddle them together. Sometimes when Alex is nearby he will stroke her affectionately. They are really getting to be good buddies; now that Colin is older and walking, Alex has a little more use for him, and they play together for short bursts. He has always found her hilarious, and she's starting to return the favor. Unfortunately, one of the things Alex finds most entertaining is to egg Colin on to do things he shouldn't.

His sleep sucks so unbelievably that I don't even want to write about it.

But mostly Colin is awesome. I really love one-year-olds. Especially mine.

IMAG0004

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