Friday, July 25, 2008

He's Three

Birthday Interview with Gage:

Mommy: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Gage: A penguin.
Mommy: What's your favorite food?
Gage: Meatballs.
Mommy: What's your favorite thing about Daddy?
Gage: I like when he holds me up. (Gage holds onto a stick and we lift him off the ground so his feet are like a foot in the air)
Mommy: What's your favorite thing about Lila?
Gage: I like when he tickles me. (Yes, he. What?)
Mommy: What's your favorite thing about Mommy?
Gage: I like when you holds me up on the bar.
Mommy: Who's your favorite friend?
Gage: Daniel. (cousin)
Mommy: What's your favorite treat?
Gage: I like lollipops.
Mommy: Where's your favorite place to go?
Gage: Wegmans. I like Wegmans. (Who doesn't!?)
Daddy: What do you think Mommy and Daddy do after you go to bed?
Gage: Come and check on me. (Because I'm King Of The World!)
Mommy: What's your favorite thing to drink?
Gage: Hot chocolate.
Mommy: What does Daddy do at work?
Gage: Work.
Daddy: What does Mommy do at work?
Gage: I don't know. I guess she works.
Mommy: What makes you happy?
Gage: When you sing a song. Cows that Type. (a book)
Mommy: What makes you sad?
Gage: Nothing. (Awww! But so not true.)
Mommy: If you could choose a present what would it be?
Gage: Doggies. I like doggies.

Well there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Gage in a nutshell. (And Mike was like, "Maybe we should get him a dog." Um, no. Remember Sam? The 90-lb shedding machine? We're good.)

Gage was sitting in my lap in the living room last week and he said: "Mommy, watch this." I looked at him and he screwed his face up, looked at the ceiling and tensed his body. I didn't understand what he was going for and I said, "Is it that you're making a funny face?" He said: "No, watch." He looked again up at the ceiling and tensed up harder. After a few seconds he relaxed, sighed and said "It's not working." I looked up where he was looking - the lights in the ceiling fan. "What's not working?"
"I can't turn out the lights."
"What, with your mind? You're trying to turn the lights out with your mind?"
"Yeah. But it's not working."
"Well, don't feel bad. Most people...can't...turn lights out...with their minds." Another statement I never thought I'd have to say.
Gage, sighing sadly: "I can't close doors, either."

Aw, kid.

Once yesterday and twice today Gage and I have made eye contact and shared such a deep, steady, soul-swapping too-long gaze that all I can think about is how he's all the time drawing away from me. That sounds depressing, and I don't mean it depressing. But my relationship with him, with Lila, is so intimate right now, by choice as well as by necessity. I truly know everything that goes on in their lives. Not a thing happens that I don't have my hands in. I love it, but I know now that it won't last.

I'm unnerved by this look, by how Gage looks at me - this obviously sensitive kid - I adore it and wouldn't trade it for anything, but it's also a little unnerving. It seems almost as though he's willfully baring his soul. It seems as though he knows that this period of whole, pure connectivity is limited. It seems as though he's being generous with the time we have left, the remaining time in this stage.

It reminds me of when I was young, maybe six or seven, and I'd pretend to fall asleep in the car five or ten minutes away from home so that one of my parents would carry me into the house. I remember thinking that they probably wouldn't mind holding me in their arms again, their baby, feeling the full weight of me. It would be okay under the guise of sleep - I wasn't too big to be carried if I was unconscious, after all. It was a safe way for all of us to pretend that I was so dependent again. Plus I got to feel a heartbeat against my ear - a feeling I didn't recapture until I was in my twenties, falling asleep on Mike's chest.

Soon Gage will realize that he *doesn't* have to say everything he's thinking of outloud. He *doesn't* have to tell me about his wants, his fears, his embarrassments. He doesn't have to ask me to clarify something that he doesn't understand (he could even, maybe, ask someone else).

It seems as though he realized this before I did, because I didn't think about it at all until he started giving me these looks. Maybe I'm imagining it. Maybe the looks are a coincidence. Maybe he's thinking about how to wrangle a popsicle out of me before bed. But the message I'm getting, three times in a row, is: Treasure this. It goes too quickly. He's all yours right now, so do it right.

And then I melt into those lovely big brown eyes for a moment too long and I don't speak. It's all I can do to blink and look away.

They'll get the best from me. I'll make sure of it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Old News

I belong to a parenting message board that's switching hosting sites. Because of that we have to get any of our old posts off the old site and record them somewhere else or we'll lose them. I've been going through old posts tonight and wanted to share some snippets from when Gage was younger, and some funny things that I haven't blogged about. It's so neat to read these old posts and remember these times. And oh, how they've grown. Sigh. Here goes....

Gage at 17 months: Gage has been saying "Excuse me" very well lately, it's too funny. He says it "Eh-see-see." He says it when he wants to get by and you're in the way, or when you're touching him and he wants personal space. It's the funniest thing in the world, I swear, this tiny guy ducking out from under your hand when you're trying to play with his hair or something, "Eh-see-see."

Gage at 18 months: Yesterday we were at Barnes & Noble and Gage went up to a woman who was sitting looking at a book. She had a cup of coffee and Gage pointed to it and leaned over to her and said, very seriously and quietly, "Hot." Without missing a beat, the lady goes, "Thank you. I'll be careful."

Gage just turned 2: On Monday he was playing in the kitchen and I was in the living room visiting with my mom. Gage gets quiet all of a sudden, then he says: "No spitting. Sit the steps. Time out." And he walked his little self right to the steps and sat down. After maybe thirty seconds he said: "Time out all done!" and got up, went back to playing. I was trying so hard not to LMAO, and I managed to say: "That's right, spitting is a naughty thing to do." But really, he had the whole thing covered.

(Next day) He did it again today! I didn't see what he did wrong - if anything - but he scooted over and sat right down on the steps.

He: "Sit the steps. Time out."
Me: "What happened?"
He: "Bit nonny."
Me: "You were a little bit naughty?"
He: "Yes. Bit nonny. Time out."
- Pause -
He: "Time out all done!"

I guess I'll never know what he did that time....

Gage a bit over 2: Gage has just started to say a couple of funny things, like: "Gage no sleepy alllll day."

He also has started narrating everything he does, like when he's going upstairs to his room:
He: "Gage upstairs. Play toys in room."
Me: "Okay. Have fun."
He: "Go up stairs. Bye, Mommy."
Me: "Bye, sweetie."
He: "Window open."
Me: "Yes, your windows are open."
He: "Love you!" (Lub you!)
Me: "Love you."
He: "Bye, Mommy!"

This can go on and on....

And everything is 'in two minutes.' "Hold you two minutes?" "Potty two minutes?" "Done dinner two minutes."

Oh, and I thought of one more. I told him he had to have a bite of potato before he could be done with dinner a few nights ago. I said "You may either have more fruit, then eat your potato. Or you may just eat the potato and be all done with dinner. What would you like?" he thought for a minute and said very cheerfully: "Mommy eat it!"

Gage at 2 years, 1 month: While DH was out of town this weekend I took the kids up to visit our friends in the Poconos. Gage and I slept on their pull-out couch. Everything is going well until...I hear Gage say "Huuuurts!" in the middle of the night. I woke up and looked over at where he should have been - he's gone.

I'm about to panic when I see his feet sticking straight up where his head used to be. He had squirmed around his pillow and fallen between the edge of the mattress and the cushions of the couch! He slipped through the, like, 8-inch gap there and all I could see was his little feet and ankles. I grabbed onto them and hauled him back up.

I was all frantically touching at him, like, "OMG, are you all right!?" He goes: "Yep," sticks his thumb back in his mouth and goes right back to sleep.

Scary, scary stuff! I stuffed a bunch of pillows back there so it wouldn't happen again.

He's such a trooper, that kid.

Gage at 2 years, 3 months: So I'm getting the kids in the car this morning and I tell Gage we're going to the doctor and he needs to have a shot. He thinks about it for a minute and says "No, thanks." I was like, "You have to have this shot to keep your body healthy and strong. It'll only hurt for a minute." We pull in at the doctor's office.

He: "We're here! At the doctor for baby Yi-yah."
Me: "No, sweetie, we're at the doctor for Gage."
He: "Nooo.... Doctor for baby Yi-yah. No Gage."

We go inside, and into the 'injection room' I don't know what this is called - it's a tiny room just for giving shots.

He: "No yike the doctor. No YIKE it."
Nurse: "Aww, Gage. I like *you*."
He: grumpy silence

He gets the shot. Cries hysterically for five seconds, kicking and screaming.

He: "Gage sad! Gage sad whole time! Gage cryin'!" Pause. Shuts the drama off like a lightswitch. "Gage feel better." All smiles. Accepts Elmo sticker from the nurse.

Nurse: "He handled that pretty well, I think."

Yes.... *Well*

If I ask Gage to do something he tells me that he has too much to do. I'll be, like, "Gage, get your shoes, we're going to the store." He'll say "Gage lots to do," hop on his tricycle and ride away. "Time for your bath." "Gage lots to do."

Oh, and the tricycle. He's been 'going to work' all week. He kisses Lila on the head, hugs her around the neck and says "Goin' to work!" then he climbs on the tricycle, tells Lila "Drive safe!" and rides away. After he rides around a little bit he comes over to me and says "Gage work at Jackson's houes (his cousin). Gage saw wood, Jackson hammer nails!" and the whole process starts over again. It's too funny.

And the other night we heard a strange noise in the house and Gage looked at me all wide-eyed.
He: "Hear that sound?"
Me: "Yes. What do you think it was?"
He: "Cookie Monster opening my door in my room."

A few weeks ago he regressed a little with pooping on the potty. he was doing it reliably and then he had a couple of accidents. I upped the potty reward, and this is what we do when he poops on the potty:
(1) We cheer and clap
(2) We flush the poop and use a "Special Wipe" (Peshal Yipe) - a toddler flushable wipe - on his bottom
(3) We light a candle (dubbed the "Poo-poo candle," unfortunately)
(4) We sing "Happy Poo-poo on the Potty," to the tune of Happy Birthday
(5) Gage blows out the candle
(6) He gets "A handful" (five) M&Ms

We're freaking crazy, right? This ritual is longer than, like, bedtime. It's ridiculous. But the good part is: he poops on the potty reliably again. So I'm not ready to give the ritual up yet....

It's too funny - after he poops on the potty and he yells, "Mommy, get the candle lighter!"

Gage at 2 years, 4 months: Really? Is *that* what the horse says? Gage inherited a rocking horse from friends and he's been climbing up on it, rocking it and saying "Na-HAY. Na-HAY."

Lila at 7 months: I asked Mike to keep an eye on Lila while I took Gage up to bed. I came back ten minutes later and Mike was lying on the floor, and Lila was playing up by his head. I came closer and I saw that Mike was sound asleep and Lila was playing with his hair!

Gage at 2 yrs, 5 months: Gage has recently started patting me very gently on the cheek, looking soulfully into my eyes and saying "You're a good boy, Mommy."

He also says "Uh...sure," after he asks for something, and although I'm not aware that I do it he must be copying me. He'll say "Gage have a snack?" and before I can answer he goes "Uh...sure!" Like he's trying to sell me on the idea, LOL.

The two babysitters we interviewed are named Megan and Jordan. He calls them "Megnin" and "Jordnin."

Gage at 2 years, 7 months, Lila 9 months: Yesterday Gage said "There's a little snow on the ground." But in his slurry toddler-speak it came out: "There's a yittle no on the down."

He's also been very affectionate with Lila lately - hugging and kissing her, but also sometimes rolling over her on the floor. Luckily...she doesn't mind.

Gage at 2 years, 9 months: He doesn't understand 'funny' being anything but ha-ha. Like, I'll say "Do those shoes feel funny?" and he'll say "No, they don't feel funny, I don't like them. I want funny shoes!"

Gage at 2 years, 10 months, Lila almost a year: Today Gage rescued a little boy at the playground. The little boy was about three, and his grandfather was there but busy with his younger brother. Gage was standing on a platform and the little boy was at the top of a tricky ladder, but he couldn't make it to the platform. He yelled "Help! I'm stuck!" Gage and I both got there at the same time. I gave him a little boost on his bottom and Gage reached for his hand, saying, "Don't worry, I will help you!" I was so proud of him.

And whenever anyone leaves the house, be it his grandma, me, Mike, his aunt...he says "Hugs and kisses!" Once that's done he looks sternly into our faces and says "Now, remember. There are cars in the street. Be careful and look both ways." We have to nod our heads seriously and say "Okay. I'll remember."

Lila swings her fingertip into her mouth and makes a smacking noise to indicate 'hungry.' Today at dinner she pointed at the rice, looked at me and did her sign for hungry. I'm so pleased that she's finally able to communicate a little! She's also saying "Hi" and "Guh" for Gage.

Gage has been hitting the stage of disagreeing with us over what he is allowed to do. Like today he tried to take some of Lila's cereal and I said, "You may not do that," he puffed up his chest, looked me in the eyes and thundered "Yes I may!"

Last week he was experimenting with blowing raspberries in our faces when he isn't pleased. We put a quick stop to that. But twice today we had confrontations and he looked in my face and I could see he was thinking about blowing a raspberry. The first time he just blew air, like at my hair. Way to be aggressive, buddy, LOL. The next time he *coughed* at me. I had to tell him that he wasn't allowed to *cough* at me.

That's, like, one of those things you never thought you'd have to say. "You may not cough at me out of anger."

Our dog doesn't bark much, but he whines a lot. When you ask Lila "What does a doggie say?" She whines: "Nnn Nnn Nnn." It's too cute.

Gage at 2 years, 11 months: This morning we went to Linens-N-Things (Store closing! Sale!) and we went through the first set of doors. I grabbed a cart with my free hand - I was holding Lila in the other arm - and Gage was right beside me. I went through the other set of doors and Gage started to, but then was distracted by something and stopped. I went to put Lila in the cart and realized he wasn't right with me. I called to him and he started to come, but the doors were closing. It would have been funny if he wasn't so scared. He looked like a tiny commuter who missed the train. He stuck his head and arms through the gap but had to pull his head out, and then tried to pry the doors open with his hands but they closed anyway and he had to let go and step back. He looked so scared and lonely, his lip all quivery. Luckily a woman was coming through, and she stepped on the thing to make the doors open again. He talked about it for like a half hour after, "I was in there but then I didn't want to be in there but the doors closed!"

Lila 15 months, Gage almost 3: The other day Lila picked up a toy phone, put it to her ear and said "Hi Gage." We were all hysterical.

Gage has been such a little adult lately. It's so funny. Like yesterday my dad bought him a little matchbox truck, and I was trying to get the package open and I was having trouble. Gage was like "It's okay, Mommy. Keep trying. You'll get it!"

And my mom was taking him around the block on his little bike last night and she moved it a bit to center it on the sidewalk.
Gage: "That's my bike, Grandma."
Grandma: "I know it is."
Gage: "Please don't touch it again."

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Babyhood Falling Away

While Gage is testing (constantly) his new independence, however clumsily (and, at times, annoyingly), Lila has become so much more child and so much less baby in the past few weeks. She plays so nicely with toys - either her own or her brother's - her favorite thing to do is to put smaller things into larger things. Beads into a cup, or blueberries into a toy wagon. I find quarters in my work shoes every day.

She speaks now, which is so exciting. I kind of forgot that she'd start, since she's "the baby." Babies don't speak. But Lila, my blossoming child, says "Up." And "Down." And "Gage." And "Ball," and "Ow," and "Milk."

Lila gives hugs, when she feels like it. When I come home from work she races to me, grunting eagerly. She twists her plucky little arms around my neck and buries her face in my shoulder, squealing with pleasure. If there exists a better greeting than that I don't know it.

She loves her blanket, loves it to bits. Every time I lay it out for her she scrambles toward it as fast as she can go and collapses in a heap of warm limbs, smushing her face down into the supreme softness and grinning widely.

She's charmingly naughty, and she knows it. She sneaks up the stairs and I know where she's going - to plunge her hands into the toilet and splash around until I can grab her away. I see her at the top of the stairs and I sternly say "Li-LA," and she starts giggling hysterically and she runs - runs - into the bathroom. She made it to the toilet twice before we broke down and installed a baby gate to prevent further toilet-splashing adventures (and the resulting obsessive hand-washing).

She sleeps through the night, twelve hours in a row. This is a HUGE milestone that I'm sure has more than a little positive effect on my own well-being. She's still nursing four times a day and it's going well for both of us. Neither of us is ready to call it quits yet, but I imagine the end is looming within the next several months.

And she eats so heartily you'd swear she had a hollow leg. This kid can put away as much food as I can! And she'll eat anything we put in front of her. Brussels sprouts. Edamame. Pork chops. Curried chicken!

She's something, this kid. She's so much fun these days, and such a bright light in my life.

Gage is doing plenty of his own growing up, too. He decided several weeks ago to give up diapers at night, and has never once had an accident. He doesn't have accidents in the day anymore, either - amazingly he's had only one in the last two months. We spread out some blankets on the living room floor and were playing "Nest" which is really just an excuse for me to lay down and snuggle them, maybe even close my eyes for a minute or two. He got up from the nest and dragged his little blue chair over to the spot where he'd been sitting.

Me: "What are you doing?"
Gage: "Just coverin' up the spot where I peed."

Of course. (Sighing) Well, these things happen.

He is still loving his gym class at Parkettes and talks about it all throughout the week. He is so brave these days, so brave. He dives into the foam blocks now and swings "like a monkey" from the bars. He is getting so much out of that class, it's been nothing but good for him.

I read an old entry recently and was so surprised to remember how he talked about himself in the third person - he never does that anymore. Sometime in the last several months he dropped it, and I never really noticed the transition. He went from "Gage want to do that" to "I want to do that."

There are two really charming things with his language right now - the verb To Be and his Ls. He still can't say the Ls, so two nights ago when he meant to say: "Leave me alone Lila" it came out "Yeave me ayone, Yi-yah" and I couldn't help but laugh.

He doesn't have a firm grip on To he'll say "I are ready," or "Mommy, you am tired?" I love it. He also says "Mines." As in "No, Yi-yah, don't take the crackers. They're mines."

He loves to hear about words he mispronounced when he was younger. He loves to tell people "When I am a baby I can't say 'Syrup' so I say 'Seer-pup.'" Or "...I can't say 'Truck' so I say 'Look at that tut!'" I think he imagines that these were mistakes from his babyhood, rather than mistakes from a few short months ago. I'm constantly logging away more from now to tell him in another few months.

The summer is passing so quickly, but we're enjoying every day of it. I've been working earlier in the day, which allows us more time as a family in the evening. It's been wonderful and stickily humid and I can't believe June is over.