Monday, January 17, 2011

express yourself

My son isn't quiet.

He's reserved at first. Like when I take Cate into preschool. Those people probably think it's the quietest kid around. Just give him five minutes. And then he'll be waving, grinning and nicely yelling. Unless, of course, he's tired or hungry. Those conditions prompt a confidence repeating of "nigh night" and much clapping, which is his version of the sign for "more," respectively.

And for having a limited vocabulary, my [almost] 14-month-old son does pretty well expressing himself. I especially noticed this yesterday.

Example 1:
I took just Ben to Kroger and put him in the normal grocery cart when we got inside. I didn't even think about the car cart that was parked several feet away.

He looked around instantly and then pointed and grunted toward the car cart. And then he started clapping, you know, "more," which can also be interpretted, "I want that." He's certainly learned his grocery fun from his sister, who loves driving the car cart when she's not pushing a small cart of her own.

So I put him in the two-seater car cart and he scooted to the middle like he owned the cart.

Example 2:
Cate was working "in her area," which is a nook in the play room where she keeps her crayons, markers, paper, glue, scissors and stickers. Yes, she takes after me. But the point is, she was doing that while Ben was playing with some of her My Little Ponies. Yes, we have balls and cars and trucks, but he really likes the ponies. No worries. His daddy will teach him to catch and throw and tackle and shoot and cast and jump.

The ponies only lasted so long, though. Then he wanted to be with his sister. In her area. With her stuff. Her craft stuff is dangerous for a boy who likes to put most everything in his mouth. So I'd walk into her area, spank his hand and bring him back to the center of the room, where there were ponies and balls and cars and a town's worth of Little People. That would last seconds, and then he'd be crawling at his quick, quick speed back to Cate's area.

"Mom, he's in my area," she'd say. Like I didn't notice.

So I'd get him. And again spank his hand. Then remove him from the area. And again the other, more boring toys wouldn't satisfy.

This sequence repeated probably close to 10 times.

I was frustrated. Cate was frustrated. And Ben was frustrated to the point of tears.

He crawled out of the room and started backward down the stairs. I came down behind him and watched him crawl into his room. He started reaching through the bars of his crib for his soft, blue blanket that he cuddles with each night. And then he sat in front of the crib and pointed, saying "nigh night."

Apparently he was done with the day. At 6:39 p.m.

I changed him, rocked him, sang to him and put him in his bed. He smiled. And that was the last I heard from him until this morning.

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