The oldest of my little men has recently passed the 2 1/2 year milestone (which according to any actuary you might ask, would be considered 3). His adorable wit and enthusiastic giggle continue to infect my heart, not to mention those expressive eyelashes and affectionate hugs. The vocabulary and imagination on this kid are astounding and I find myself speechless in awe of how voraciously he’s developing into a gifted little man. My favorite time of day is often just before Jack tumbles off into slumber, when I lie on his bed for a “couple whiles” to “just talk”. He loves when we ask him questions about his day and he recants the minutiae of his experiences (“I didn’t go on the slide because it was too hot, so I played with Eddie on the rocket ship on the playground…”). And given the number of those experiences that have built up unblogged, Jack’s 2 1/2 year old post is brewing into something quite lengthy. So let me summarize, to the best of my verbose ability, why I am 100% convinced that 2s are not terrible.
- I think we are blessed to have a child with an exceptional ability to communicate from a young age. This has, I am certain, limited the number of tantrums and time outs we’ve had to witness and administer. On the occasion that we do send him to stare at the wall in his time out chair to consider his disobedience, my creative little pumpkin has found a way to self-entertain, either by monologue, or with imaginary friend.
- Jack still, after 6 months, will often refuse to leave the house if he is not sporting his bicycle helmet.
- He’s obsessed with “lips” (aka chapstick) and will mash mounds of it onto his drool-covered puckers
- My little conservative doesn’t like when I wear a tank top and much prefers my outerwear to have sleeves. He saw a teenager in a sundress the other day and told me she was “naked”.
- In this age of growing independence, Jack prefers to do everything himself (pouring his own milk; brushing his own teeth; climbing into his own car seat; buckling his own seatbelt; and closing his own car door), including pressing the garage door button, which he is about 1/8th of an inch too short to reach. Hence, why he is constantly getting his rubber boots out of the closet on a bright, sunny day, so that he can be elevated just enough to reach the garage door remote.
- Along the same lines, Jack absolutely loathes eating “a piece” of anything. He must have the whole thing. The whole banana (peel on so he can peel it by himself, of course), the whole slice of toast, the whole peach, the whole granola bar, the whole popsicle (heaven forbid you split a two-stick frozen treat in half). He’s happy to share, but only after he’s in control of doling out the bites. The other day he shared a snack-sized banana loaf with me because he had already had one and I told him he was only allowed one. When I took my first bite, he inquired “can I have a piece?” Wily, I tell you.
- Jack has taken to sing-song lately and I catch him bursting into melody about whatever is on his mind. “Pancakes…Pancakes…” He also loves his bedtime songs (listen here: Bedtime Songs).
- Jack gets out of bed an average of twice before finally settling in to slumber. He’ll stand at the top of the stairs and say something like “I’m happy!” or “I want my motorcycle” (which is typically already in bed with him) or “Want to hold me?” His cunning attempts at escaping sleep are wholly entertaining.
Jack’s memory never ceases to dumbfound me. While reading a book a few months ago, Jack spewed the names of the Presidents whose statues appear on the Washington skyline as clear as day (listen here: Presidents). He can point to specific states on a map of the US; he knows that Saturday and Sunday are “swimming pool days” (aka weekend) and that Monday is the first school day of the week; he can spell his name; he can navigate his way from his home to his school by telling you exactly which direction to turn and when; he can pass by a street and say things like ”Mommy and Jack went driving on this road to look at the big houses and Daddy didn’t go” multiple weeks after the event occurred. After meandering through the aisles of Walgreens after preschool one day, I realized once we were in the car that Jack had left his milk behind. He was able to tell me the specific location in the store where he had placed his glass (beside the Snoopy toy) so that I could go in and retrieve it. This past weekend we visited an ad hoc Ducati promotional tent set up at a local park and when we drove by on Monday after the exhibit had been taken down, Jack looked at the park inquisitively and said “the motorcycle tents are gone.” His capacity for organizing objects and processing their logical sequence, relation to each other, and position in time is seriously mindblowing. He understands yesterday, today and tomorrow (although he currently uses the term yesterday to refer to any moment in the past, whether truly yesterday or three weeks ago); and he can count to thirty (although he faithfully skips the number 15 for some odd reason – and if he is required to wait for thirty seconds he’ll count “1, 2, 3, 4, 5…30 because that speeds up his wait time); he can spell any word you put in front of him, whether upper or lower case (overheard in the car yesterday: “t-r-u-c-k, b-o-o-k”) and he informed me recently that the #1 in his numeric flashcard set was actually an l (they DO look exactly the same after all).
He also knows Mommy’s the boss. What can I say, he’s a smart guy!
Feats of athleticism
Jack is extraordinarily coordinated, fearless and agile. When his class had a makeshift olympics one week this summer his name topped the leaderboard in all the ‘sports’ (first in bowling; second in standing long jump). He’s been racing his tricycle around the park from the moment he turned 2, scaling monkey bars, leaping from benches. He can whip a frisbee clear across the side yard, hit a badminton birdie with a racket, throw a nerf ball in the air to himself and smack it with a baseball bat, kick a soccer ball so hard across the basement that it hits the middle of the wall. And now he lifts his entire weight with just his upper body to hoist himself over couch arms and…tractors?
- “I don’t want a bath, I want to go to bed. It’s my choice.”
- “Ketchup on toast is not gross. Poo poo and pee pee are gross.”
- “I don’t want this…I want Lady Gaga.”
- “You wanna sleep with me for a couple whiles?”
- “Because…” or “Actually…” or “You wanna…”
- “Hey…” in front of the majority of his sentences.
- “The sun is up, it’s time to wake up!” or “The moon is up…it’s time to sleep” (the former he says quite enthusiastically, the latter he whispers)
- “Hey Grandpa, now can we go on the really faster boat?”
- After being told to get out of the middle of the street: “There are NO CARS, Mommy!”
- “Pee pee is faster than cars.” “I runned faster than pee pee.”
- “Mommy, you have to work so you can make money to buy me a dirt bike.”
- Driving by Metro construction in Tysons Corner: “The rocket ships are building a subway where Bobby will live.”
- About birthdays: “My birthday is in January. I will have a big cake. Bobby will have a little cupcake.”
- “Upside down” and “upside up”
- About tiptoeing, “I’m walking on my balls.”
- About sickness, “I’m not feeling better.”
Though we may have unofficially ruled out dairy and eggs as the catalyst for his eczema breakouts following negative skin tests at an allergist, he still prefers soy milk and cheeseless meals. But I am blessed to have a young man who is oddly willing to try just about anything. Perhaps because we guided him into many blended taste adventures as an infant, or perhaps because he sits with us at dinner and eats whatever Daddy has cooked, Jack’s palette is abnormally broad for a 2 year old. He eats salmon, every fruit, nut and vegetable that crosses his plate (in fact, he even requested “more spinach” the other night), lamb chops, mild curries and steak like it’s the last cow he’ll ever get to eat.
I still have to remind Snack Attack that cookies are not for breakfast (even though we keep our sweets on ‘unreachable’ shelves, Jack has been found stacking cartons for a step stool and helping himself to a sample of the forbidden when momentarily unattended in the mornings), but otherwise his diet is relatively well-rounded. When you have a kid who begs for mangos, broccoli and grapes, you definitely cannot complain.
- Diego. Lord help me, he loves this show. He can now identify just about every species of rain forest animal known to man (including what those animals consume, what they’re afraid of and where they live); he puts a pen to his eye and tells me it’s his “spotting scope”; and he sings “rescue pack” while skipping around the house (as do I, because that *!#&*(&#@! song is so damn catchy). He also knows how to work the remote to get the next episode to play. As a bonus, however, his Diego briefs are helping us with potty training, because Jack feels very bad about peeing on his favorite cartoon character.
- Motorcycles. If you’re willing, he’ll take you to view his favorite 1956 Harley Davidson on the print of 26 classic Harleys that hangs just to the right of his bed. He points out every. single. motorcyle. that he sees or hears by yelling and enthusiastic “Motuh-cy-tul!!” and asks me “can we chase it, Mommy?” if we happen to get passed by one while we’re driving. He sat motionless on his Grandpa’s lap at the Ducati exhibit, absorbing every detail of the most boring film about torque and metal alloy components of the motorcycle framework. Jack doesn’t mess around when it comes to his motorcycles.
- Playdough. The colorful putty has become an almost daily pre-dinner ritual, but the creative effort required is minimal. He’s happy simply molding the putty into a sausage and pretending it’s a rocket ship. He’s also fond of the fluorescent putty that he made at the Maryland Science Center using Elmer’s glue and borax.
- Gatorade. I don’t let Jack drink much other than milk, water, or limited quantities of juice, but Gatorade is a special treat for our exercise time. Jack is enthralled by the rainbow hued drink colors and when I need to fit a run in while I’m watching the kids, promising a few sips of Gatorade mid-way through our jog is a sure fire way to coerce Jack into crawling happily into the stroller (that and an assurance that our route will go past both the swimming pool and the houses under construction). In fact, on weekends, Jack eyes the Gatorade and requests “I want to go jogging now.” If a few ounces of electrolyte-infused sugar water are all it takes to convince Jack that a 3-mile jaunt around the neighborhood is fun, why not?
- “Squirt” or “spray” hose. He likes to water the tomatoes, the grass and Daddy.
- We recently taught Jack to play “I spy”. Jack’s version, however, is to choose an object, which may or may not be in immediate view, and then tell you the answer before you guess. For example, “I spy with my little eye, something that is red – my helmet!” And there doesn’t have to be anyone else in the room for him to play. In the back of the car on our way to the Baltimore Inner Harbor today, we overheard Jack playing by himself. “I spy with my little eye something that is brown – the telephone poles! And the trees are brown too!”
- Motorcycle dance. We have a dance for just about everything. The motorcycle dance consists of singing “dance, dance, dance…motorcycle dance” and doing some spins and kicks. We also have a pee pee dance where we do side-to-side chest pops while sitting atop the potty. The words to that one are “pee pee dance…pee pee dance.” Genius, really. Must be something Mommy made up.
- Without reading the “for ages 6+” on the label, I bought Jack a pocket version of Guess Who (or as Jack calls it, “my people game”), thinking it might be fun. Playing by the rules didn’t quite work, but when we improvised slightly by using one board instead of two with Mommy holding the answer card in her hand and helping to prevent Jack from flipping all the faces up or down at one time, he actually did quite well.
- Making up names. His little plastic pilot inherited the name “Pilot Wingsy”, his blue bear is “Blueberry” and he often refers affectionately to his brother as “Bob”.
And last but not least, a myriad of 2 1/2 year photos. All imagination, all the time.