Elliott: Year 2, Week 37 (May 2 - May 8, 2004)

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An early birthday present from Grandma and Grandpa!




hmm.. sand.. dirty!

Mmmm, frozen strawberry pie!

forks are overrated

Grandpa plays a copycat game with Elliott

Grandma joins in


Elliott studies his flowers..

Yes, this is May in Vermont!

Jasmine prefers to eat blueberries, but Elliott likes to wear them too!

Ready, weee!

Later that day - you'd never know we had an inch of snow!

best buddies

"help? Dada?"


Mmmm, nummy pesto and noodles!

Oh Dada, boogie?



and down!
Language News: Elliott and Mike were playing with some pillows, and Elliott came out with "mine, gimme, mine!". Not exactly the "first sentence" you want to write in your kid's baby book, but at least he's stringing more words together. He had just played the day before with his 2 year old buddy Jasmine, who has a touch of mine-itis. Elliott also continues to be fascinated with pronouns.. he will get hung up on "yours" "ours" "him" or "his", etc. and repeat then in a questioning tone. His ability to pronounce unknown words is really improving. He still uses "y" instead of "l" many times, but he can say "hello" for real, and he just learned "railing" although he prefers to call it "raining" instead. There are many words that sound the same like that, though of course I can't think of any right now. Fish is "bit", cement is "mint", saw is "daw", loud is "yowd"..

Elliott is really starting to play "make believe" a little more, and will play independently for longer periods of time. We frequently catch him exploring his toys, or driving a little truck around the floor on his own, which believe it or not, he hadn't done without our participation. I'm happy that he's social and likes to play with us, but I'm REALLY happy that he can also play on his own (near us). Of course, he also has a tendency to quietly get himself into a lot of trouble - he climbs on the windowsills and can scoot from one to the other, all the way to the plants. He also took a slow-motion head-first dive from the futon frame to a rocking swivel chair of ours, and by the time I rescued him, his belly was hanging in mid-air between the two pieces of furniture. He rarely actually falls, but if he did, it would be a big problem.

He's entering a serious intentional defiance mode too. Mike asked him not to put his feet up on the table while we were eating, and he stared at Mike, and deliberately put his feet on the table. He just HAS to push and test the limits. you can see that it's an almost purely innocent pushing - he's not TRYING to irritate us, so defiance is probably the wrong word. I don't try to defy the car locks when I try the door latch after locking up - I just need the reassurance that it did indeed lock. I think he's the same way. He needs to know we're serious about these rules. It's hard to be the bad guys though. We've taken him off the couch countless times, pulled the high chair away from the table, taken all his food and utensils away when he started throwing, taken his slide away when he refused to sit and hold on (he stands at the top and dances - ugh!), and taken his books away temporarily when he insisted on walking all over them in spite of our rules against that. SIGH.

The worst is naptime. Sometimes he goes down easily, and other times, he just WILL NOT stop moving. It's very frustrating.. he's too young to really get it, and if I act upset, it just makes him upset.. but my patient voice will only last so long (let's say.. an hour?) before it starts to sound really transparent.. At least when he does get to sleep, he usually sleeps well. I know he'll get me for this when he's older, but I'll also say.. he is really into picking his nose too. Several times now, he's had trouble getting to sleep because he keeps stopping his nursing to pick his nose. He actually woke up Wednesday from his nap after only an hour and started scratching his belly and picking his nose (when I say pick I really mean jamming his index fingers into his nose and wiggling them - he hasn't gotten the retrieval mechanism working yet). He totally woke himself up doing that. SIGH. When he finds something, he has to stick his finger out and yell "boogie!". I have him put it in a tissue if I have one handy, and wash his hands, but it's pretty tedious.

He's singing all the time now.. in the back seat, we can hardly hear the radio or carry on a conversation, because he's back there bellowing out "ode to the number one" at the top of his lungs. His normal requests are turning into sing-songy chants - so he'll start babbling a song about "uppie, downy, nummy, ah-done, uppie, mama uppie, nummy, down, done-done-done, out!" etc. when he is all done with his lunch. Sometimes it's hard to know if he's actually demanding all of those things, or just singing for fun. He's definitely experimenting with song.

He also precedes a word with a string of nonsense sounds. It almost takes the form of stuttering, but it's clearly not. He'll say something like "num um buh ehm ba duh BALL?". A friend suggested that he might be trying to mimic the sounds of a sentence - inserting random syllables between words, to make it flow more normally. It does sound that way, and I like her explanation more than "he's going insane".

If I am talking to someone in person or on the phone and Elliott interrupts ("if" should have been a "when" or an "almost every time" there), and I say, "what?", he will often repeat whatever silly words had just come out of his mouth - as if I'm talking to him. It can be annoying, like a broken record, though he doesn't mean it.

Mike's started playing hide-and-seek with him a lot. Elliott likes to hide with a parent, and have the other one find them, but he doesn't like the parent to hide, especially if they aren't talking or moving. He LOVES being chased around in circles. If we are trying to, say, clean the kitchen, he will often run over to the couch, lunge onto it, and say, "getchoo?" - meaning - come get me. Too cute to ignore.

Though his vocabulary is huge, his ability to pronounce things is lagging behind. For instance, "cracker" and "tractor" are almost the same. You would think context would remove all doubt, but in fact, if he's reaching for something on the table, it might be either one, in this house.

His interest in words makes car rides, hikes and stroller rides much more interesting - it's easier to catch his interest and hold it with conversation than ever before. Elliott's very observant of sounds.. he'll notice an airplane, a motor sound, a siren, and especially birds, when I've tuned them out. He knows what a pheobe sounds like, and we're working on woodpeckers (they have a distinctive sound) and a few others. He may not learn a human foreign language at an early age, but maybe we can teach him all the bird language that we know. If only he could learn to be "quiet". If I say, "be quiet" or "use a soft, whispery voice" he might comply (he can whisper), or he might repeat me "kie-eht? kie-eht? boice? boice? whipper? boice? doft?" over and over.

I've been reading an Oliver Sacks book called "An Antrhropologist on Mars". Among other stories is a story on Autism, and he mentions a term that I've found exceedingly useful - echolalia. Elliott's certainly not autistic, but he has great fun echoing back words we say, particularly anything interesting or unfamiliar, especially when we're singing a song. We have to be careful about the explanations we give, because they will be echoed back to us every time we see that object or pass that place again. For instance, in one of his favorite books "the sun is my favorite star", there is a picture of a child holding a magnifying glass over a leaf, and causing it to burst into flame a bit. Now, from the second he saw that page, the magnifying glass became "bi-er!" (fire). He is completely fascinated with fire. He knows it's hot and dangerous and we don't touch it, but he's just obsessed with it too. We actually worry about leaving magnifying glasses lying around (normally a fine toy for a toddler exploring his world). When he figures out the whole light concentration thing, we'll be in for it, seriously. Likewise, we saw a bonfire once on the way to Nana's house. Now, every time we drive that way, he spends most of the trip saying, "moak? bi-er?" even if there isn't one.

Elliott's great at pointing out details. If he pipes up with some incongruous statement or observation, I have learned to give him the benefit of the doubt. He usually *does* see a puppy, or a ladder, or a bird ("a bird" sounds exactly like I would say "abort" when he says it, which is very confusing for me).

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