I set out, while pregnant, to make sure I kept better track of milestones with Andrew – both before and after birth. I did a horrible, horrible job! Completely dropped the ball, I did.
So let’s catch up. At 6 months…
We made it halfway through the first year – I can’t wait to see what the second half has in store for us!
Danny turned 4 today, and it blows my mind. I think part of that, though, is that I’m still coming to terms with the fact that he’s NOT the baby anymore. He was the baby for so long that it seems odd to see him, all huge and big and grown up, beside his baby brother. When did that happen, anyway? He’s seemed to make a lot of “life skills” progress lately, making leaps in communication, sleeping in his bed instead of where ever he crashes around the house, understanding and following directions… It’s a treasure and a joy to watch him.
I could go on forever, of course, and I seem to do a lot of that lately with is progress. Instead, I’ll simply report that his birthday, while quiet and low key, has been perfect for him. He doesn’t really understand the concept of it being his birthday, so we just made it fun. He got a pancake breakfast, a giant banana bread “cake” (since he loves banana bread), a couple of gifts (that he absolutely loves), and just a good day. What more can you ask for, really?
Oh yes, and the love and best wishes of a big brother as well, who was SO into Danny’s birthday. He basically demanded we take him to the book store today so he could pick out a gift for Danny, and then he came home, disappeared into his room, and made this card:
There is no doubt that Danny is coming out of his shell for communication – and the more he does, the more hilarious he gets!
Moving away from one of his most distressing acts, the dreaded beating his head against things, Danny has developed the preschooler facepalm. This cracks me up to no end! “Danny, we have no more milk.” Facepalm! “Danny, it’s time to turn the computer off.” Facepalm! “No, Danny, you can’t have a third bag of fruit snacks before supper.” Facepalm! He sometimes bangs a hand, or both hands, against a nearby table as well to express frustration, but more often than not it’s a top-of-the-head facepalm that gets the job done. If what I have to tell him is especially distressing, both hands will go up in a double facepalm that gets a good giggle – quickly disguised as a cough, of course.
More awesome than the facepalm, though, is Danny’s desire to communicate with words – and his ability to do so! He is, very slowly, starting to refine his speech, no doubt because he is trying to use it so often. He is very close to mastering /m/ in words! This is a huge step for our kiddo who doesn’t use consonants. His speech therapist has an awesome book full of letters, both vowels and consonants, that he absolutely adores and works so hard with. They work on blending sounds, and it is really paying off. His favorite phrase around the house, for example – I want milk – used to resemble “eeeck ow-k!” Now, with a little prompting on the use of his W sound, it’s roughly “I wah mowk!” Is it a far cry from the real words still? Yes, absolutely. But it’s also a whole lot closer! Milk is also his first word to incorporate a (correct!) beginning and ending consonant. Reciting his favorite book (Brown Bear, Brown Bear), he’s starting to put in effort to get closer to the correct words as well; if I read “Brown bear, brown bear, what do…” he will pop up and say “you sssssssss-ee!” He’s also starting to get the hang of yes or no questions; he doesn’t seem to recognize them on presentation, but if I tell him, “You can tell me ‘yes’ or ‘no,’” he will follow up with a solemn “oh” for no or a bubbly “yeah!” for yes. Yeah is becoming one of his most common words too, and he’ll use it to reinforce pretty much anything he wants. Heck, when we’re driving home from school and make the final turn toward our house, a lot of the time I’ll hear an excited “Yeah! Yeah!” from the back seat.
The best, though, I have saved for last.
When Danny sees me and wants me – say if John is carrying him – his face lights up and, clear as a bell, he announces, “Mama!” Not long and drawn out, not repeated like a babbling mamamama, not dropping a consonant, but the clearest “mama” you ever did hear. It is, perhaps, his only word that even the most unknown of strangers would hear and understand immediately from him. (Well, that and ‘yeah,’ I suppose!)
That is definitely not something to facepalm about.
When it started happening to other kids in his class, I was amazed, but I put it off as them being the 6 year olds of the group. Surely, losing a tooth wouldn’t happen this early…would it?
Apparently, it would.
It started in a rather bothersome way, though. For a while, I expected that Eric would be losing his first tooth in a more than memorable fashion: by having the dentist yank it out. You see, we went to the dentist in early January, and as luck would have it, they called me back. Typically, Eric disappeared back with one of the hygenists, and no one reappears until he’s bouncing out the door with prize in hand. That’s why I had no problem scheduling the appointment before school, with Danny in tow. I should have known having Danny along would ensure I’d have to go back, talk to the dentist, and chase Danny around all the exciting new places he wanted to discover.
The dentist quickly relieved my worries that he had cavities, then followed it up with the one-two punch of “but he’s got two adult teeth trying to come in behind his baby teeth instead of under them.” Sure enough, within a few days, I was able to look into Eric’s mouth and his first adult tooth – bottom left center – has burst through the gums without so much as a wiggle from the baby tooth in front of it. Oh, great. Here we go. The dentist had given us a month, saying that if the baby teeth did not come out within that time, they would have to do an extraction to get them out of there, because the adult teeth may not line up well enough to work their magic. At the sight of that tooth, I started weaving all sorts of stories in my head, strategies of how I could combine the Tooth Fairy with the dentist and not lose that magic of losing the first tooth. Plus, I really didn’t want Eric to associate all his baby teeth with the dentist.
Thankfully, the baby tooth behaved! There was a definite sigh of relief when, sitting in a restaurant, Eric announced that it was hard to eat his pizza because “it hurts my tooth!” From rock solid, the tooth had become super wiggly. He managed to get through the meal with a little coaxing about chewing off to the side, and later that afternoon, he wanted apple slices for a snack.
“MOMMY! DADDY! MY TOOTH FELL OUT! … There’s a little bit of blood.”
Why yes, there is, but that’s OK. A tissue was provided, and he was so excited he didn’t even care. The tooth was carefully wrapped up, deposited under a pillow, and Eric was reassured a few times that we did not need to “write the Tooth Fairy a note” to let her know he had lost a tooth; she would know all by herself with her special magic. She did indeed arrive overnight, with a special $2 coin for the big achievement. (Thank you, Canada!)
Of course, there are two caveats to the story.
The first is that I learned that my careful counseling on tooth brushing backfired. For years, Eric has done a great job of brushing his teeth. Whenever he would ask why, though, I would tell him that it keeps teeth healthy. Otherwise, they will get sick, decay (a word he learned and was fascinated with for a while thanks to Sid the Science Kid), and fall out. Well, then he discovered that teeth falling out is exciting! And it gets you money! “But Mommy, I don’t WANT to brush my teeth!” … Whoops.
The second problem is that there was not just one tooth the dentist thought they might need to pull. There were two. The other one has made itself scarce, and the baby tooth is solidly in place, with about a week and a half left in our count down. The Tooth Fairy may be visiting again soon, and in a less exciting fashion. (Or more exciting, I suppose, depending on how you look at an extraction!)
I’m rooting for the tooth to show. Soon.