Today I took Liam for his 3 year well child exam. He weighs 37 lbs (75th percentile) and is 38.5 inches tall (75th-90th percentile). The doctor assured me that his total inability to sit still for more than a second at a time is completely normal for a three year old. I was wondering about his eyesight, because he's been wanting to be right up in front of the TV. We did a screening, but he was pretty distracted, plus he doesn't really know his shapes, so it didn't tell us much. I have a referral for an opthamolgist to get him checked out. Given that both of his parents are nearsighted, it's just a question of when, not if, he'll need glasses, so might as well get him into the system early...

Other than that, he's happy and healthy and doing all the things he should be at his age.


Feb. 19th, 2007 07:31 am
So, while I was in Chicago last week Liam had another little developmental leap. Or maybe I just notice these things more after I'm away for a few days. In any case, Eric reports that Liam slept a whole lot while I was gone, and when I got back he was using much more complex sentences and concepts.

Here's an example - Liam is a big fan of a TV show called Dora. One of the characters in the show is called Swiper the Fox, and he's always swiping the other characters stuff. After he does, he says "You'll never find it it now!" On Saturday, Liam was noodling around the house, and for some reason went up to the TV and sort of gave it a raspberry - stuck his tongue out and spit at it. Now, this is not something we want to encourage of course, but the cool thing was what happened next. Liam says "You''ll never watch a show now!" in his Swiper the Fox voice. This was just amazing to me - he's been mimicing that character for months, but this went beyond simple mimicry and demonstrated his ability to apply the concept across different situations.

He's been doing a lot of playing with language lately. Substituting words for other words in songs, singing songs with the words all strung together by adding sss sounds before and after all of them, things like that. And as part of all of that, he's working on humor - lots of trying to come up with jokes, and figuring out what's funny.

Very, very cool time.

I know!

Jan. 12th, 2007 06:09 pm
As Liam and I are driving home from daycare, I'm reminding him that Grandma is coming to visit next week and they are going to go visit Cousin Ethan. "Oh yeah," I say "That reminds me that I need to figure out what we're doing about a car for Grandma." At which point the following conversation ensued:

"Why we need car for Grandma?"
"Because mommy and daddy need their cars, but we need a way for you and Grandma to get to Aunt Amy's house."


"I know! The bus!"
"That's a great idea, Liam. But the bus doesn't go to Aunt Amy's house. We'll have to figure out something else."


"I know! We take my car!"
"Wow, that's another great idea, Liam. But I don't think your car is big enough for you and Grandma."

It's very clear that a couple weeks ago when he was having so much trouble sleeping and I said he was having a developmental leap, that I was right. Even his daycare workers are commenting on how much more he's talking and how much more sophisticated his concepts are. And along with the potty training has come a new level of personal responsiblity - he's putting on his own pull up, taking off his own pants, putting his shoes and jacket on himself - things he would previously have asked for help with. So cool.

Another conversation snippet from this evening:
"We go to Santa's house?"
"Where does Santa live?"
"Far away."
"Do you know where?
"Umm... ummm... I know! The North Pole!"
"Right! That's where Santa lives."
"We need a sleigh to get there."
"That's right, we need a sleigh to get to the North Pole."
"I know! My cats!" (ie. the cats will pull the sleigh)

How cool is that?
I think has just had, or is in the midst of, another developmental leap. His language and cognitive ability has improved by leaps and bounds in the last week or two. He's no longer satisfied with us just reading books to him, and stops us every few words to ask "why" and have us explain. He acts out interactions between his animals, using different voices for each. He's just becoming much more sophisticated in his relations to the world - I wish I could remember some specifics, but if I don't write them down right away, I quickly forget them.

It's made bedtime interesting, as books that used to be relatively short to read can now take a long, long time. Along with the leap has come the usual - problems sleeping. We were solidly in a routine where I'd read him three books, tell him one or two stories, then he'd roll over and settle in, and I could get up and leave without a fuss. Now we're back to him begging me to sleep with him, and calling my name long after I've gone downstairs. I think that all the new thoughts running through his head are making it hard for him to relax - a problem I can surely relate to! He's also waking up earlier in the morning, unfortunately.
Liam had a HUGE developmental surge in language and cognition. I don't know what his dad was feeding him, but it was apparently the good stuff. I saw a sneak peak of it on Saturday when we had a playdate with Alex (age 3) and he and Liam were carrying on quite a significant conversation with one another. But it was really noticeable for me today when I picked him up at daycare. First off, he and Annabelle (both age 2.5) had planned a playdate with one another all on their own. (Liam: Annabelle come my house and play? Annabelle: I come Liam's house and play?" Okay, I guess you guys have been talking about this, huh?) Then, in the car on the ride home, I asked him my usual "What did you do today at school?" His stock response up until now has been "Played with baby toys." Today, he regaled me with tales of several parts of his day. In gramatically correct sentences, no less. And, when I backed up to an earlier part of the story to clarify a name I hadn't understood, he said "I'm all done with that part now." Woah.

It was really neat. We were able to really carry on a conversation with one another, with real back and forth. Very cool.
If I don't kill him first.

Moody, defiant, whiny, demanding, loud. Ugh. I am not dealing with this stage well at all.
Liam has asked to nurse every day since I got back. At least once, sometimes more. He's not getting upset about it when I say no, but it's clearly still on his mind. I'm trying not to feel like a bad mommy, cutting him off before he was ready. It has been nice getting my body back, and I mostly haven't missed it. Yesterday he was having a tired, sick day, and was getting really stressed out and hysterical, and I wished that we were still nursing, as that was a surefire method to help him get centered and relaxed in situations like that. But we made it through.

Bedtime is going much easier these days. He's resisting Eric putting him to bed, so we've switched again, with Eric doing bath and my doing books. This used to be hard for me because Liam would want us to stay until he fell asleep and then I'd be too tired to do anything. But now I read him a few books, turn off the lights and tell him a story, and then am able to leave while he's still awake. How this happens varies from night to night. It started with me telling him that I had to go potty, and then he'd fall asleep while waiting for me to get back. I think Liam realizes that it's easier for him to fall asleep if mom or dad isn't with him, but he doesn't want to admit that. So sometimes, like tonight, he'll ask me to get him water or something like that. But he never calls for me after I leave the room, so I think it's just his way of saying he's ready to go to sleep. This is a big improvement, and seems to be resulting in him getting to sleep a little earlier too, which is a good thing.

Unfortunately, he's been waking up early since I got home from vacation. Between the time change and his cold, the last couple of days have been particularly hard - this morning he was awake at 4:30 am. I tried to get him go back to sleep, but once he woke up he started coughing, and that kept him awake. I finally gave up at 5:15 and brought him downstairs. Fortunately, Eric gave me a birthday present and took over so I could go back to bed. I hope tomorrow morning is better - 6 am pushes my limits - anything beyond that is really stretching harsh.

And that's the state of the Liam.
I've been asking Liam about his day for a while now, but he's getting better and better at answering. Today he told me that, among other things, he "sat on a bench and watched people." In exactly those words. His language development is moving so quickly, it's really amazing. He's still stuttering sometimes, but we just stay very patient with him and let him work it out, instead of jumping in and trying to guess what he's trying to say. I'm given to understand that he'll probably grow out of it.
Nearly two and a half, and therein lies the problem.

As I've written about here before, the "experts" say that young children go through developmental changes every 6 months or so. And they say that the half years are the challenging periods. This has certainly been our experience. When Liam was 18 months old, I was cursing his early onset of the "terrible twos". But at two he was totally fine - a little joy and an angel really. 2 1/2 is another thing all together.

Can you say defiant? Liam can. Well, he doesn't say "defiant" per se, but he says NO! A lot. And, my personal favorites - "I'm NOT" and "It's NOT." I'm not leaving anything off the end of those statements. When he's feeling particularly defiant and I'm not giving him anything direct to defy with a no, he still has to express his independence. Thus "I'm NOT!" at the top of his voice.

Right now we're averaging two power struggles a day. When we're lucky we can usually head them off at the pass pretty regularly. Otherwise they descend into full blown temper tantrum. The other morning he wanted to go down to the basement and got very upset when I told him he couldn't go. He screamed, he yelled, he kicked the offending basement door. And then cried because the door had hurt his foot. I gave him much sympathy as I tried desparately not to laugh. The look on my face must have perplexed him, because he asked "Mommy sad?" Yes, Liam, I'm very sad that you hurt your foot. But that was only a momentary distraction, and a couple minutes later he did it again!

I'm pulling out my parenting books and brushing up on strategies for coping and redirecting and getting us both through this tumultuous time. As one of my books says, if you can keep yourself calm when your kid is having a tantrum, then you've addressed at least half the problem. The same book also says that defiance is a totally normal developmental step for a toddler, and that if you can get your toddler to cooperate half the time, then that's about the best you can expect. So I guess we're not doing too badly. So far.

I a...

Jul. 21st, 2006 11:16 pm
I don't know if this is some sort of recognized developmental leap, but Liam's very suddenly gotten very into this whole "I a [something]" thing. Tonight, it was "I be clown" which was inspired some how by his hooded towel. Then, "I be baby" when usually he vociferously protests his non-babyhood. Interesting.

Our teething supposition of the last few days seems to be true. He's been very grumpy and tempermental and tantrumy these last few days, and judging from his response to a teeth brushing incident, his mouth seemed to be hurting. And he's been waking up earlier again. So we've been giving him Ibuprofen at bedtime. Then, last night when I woke up at three, I snuck another dose into him, and sure enough he slept until shortly after 6 (after several days of waking up by 5).

I hope those teeth come through soon and give us our happy, agreeable child back.


Jul. 20th, 2006 09:13 pm
Liam appears to be teething. At least we're hoping that's where this latest round of grouchiness and early morning wakeups is coming from, and we can hopefully cure both with doses of carefullly time Advil. We shall see.

But he's still cute. Tonight when we were having our bedtime nursing session, he was picking at my belly as he is want to do. I moved his hand away, and the following conversation occured:
L: I scratching mommy.
T: Yes, you were scratching mommy. You should scratch mommy, she doesn't like it when you scratch her, it hurts.
L: Mommy need cut my fingernails. Daddy! Get nail clippers, please. (Understand that the words that made up that sentence were much less clear than they are here, but the meaning was utterly clear.)

How cool is that?

He's definitely in boundary testing mode, though. Purposefully doing things he's been told not to do, while looking at us all the while to see what we're going to do about it. Push, push, push. I'm not very good at dealing with this stage. Especially after three days of being back to ~5 am wakeups. I'm not getting enough sleep, and it makes me grumpy.
Oh, this is a slacker week. Here we are at nearly 1 pm and I haven't really done anything today. Not good, Tammy, not good.

Before I go off and attempt to rewrite a concept paper, I shall share with you all news of the Liam. He continues to be increasingly verbal. A sort of new thing he's doing now is naming the books he wants to read. "Reada book Trucks." "Reada book Ham." (Green Eggs and Ham) He will "reada book Trucks" over and over and over and over - I thought we were going to escape the truck fascination that has enveloped all the boy children in our immediate circle, but it seems not. I blame all the hand-me-down clothing with trucks on them. :-)

He is so good at sharing. I am very proud of him for that. He's an expert at taking turns, although he is still a toddler, so it's not uncommon for him to rather, umm, vociferously insist that it's "Liam turn!" But when the swing is in demand, he has no problems at all taking his 10 pushes and then letting someone else on. He's starting to play more interactively with other children, which is very cool. I get all kinds of reports on his exploits from daycare - he's quite popular among the ladies - Stella and Annabelle talk about him every night to their parents and are always rushing up to him when we come in. Liam, however, prefers raising a ruckus with Nate, and on mornings when Nate isn't at daycare, he'll look around calling "Nate, Nate!"

Daycare dropoffs have been tough this week - not sure why. Another resurgence of separation anxiety for one reason or another. Last night was my wine club, so Liam's bedtime routine was slightly altered. I explained to him that mommy had to go to a meeting, so we were going to have our nighttime nursing before bath instead of after. Then, off and on throughout his bath he'd look at me and say "No go meeting, mommy." Oh, the guilt.

Okay, that's enough for now. Gonna go work.
Liam has adopted a serious voice. It's also his commanding voice. It's low and kind of gruff. He most often uses it for commanding - "read the book," "sit down," that sort of thing. If we remind him to say please, the entire tone of the entire statement request changes, he doesn't just add on a low gruff "please" at the end of it. It's very funny. Hard to convey on LJ, unfortunately.

In other Liam news, he's changed his sleeping patterns yet again. On the good side, he usually sleeps pretty much straight through from 9:30 to 5:30 or 6:00. This is a big improvement from the one or two wakeups a night from a few months ago. On the down side, he's only sleeping for that time period. (At night, anyway - he still naps for a couple of hours during the day.) He's once again resisting sleep at bedtime, so bedtime is drifting later and later - we'd like him to be asleep closer to 9 than 9:30 or 10. On the theory that sleep begets sleep and earlier bedtimes are better for most kids, we're going to try shifting the start of the bedtime routine earlier in the evening, and hope that helps get him back on a better pattern. And really, it's such a small challenge compared to the other sleep challenges we've had, that I almost feel like it doesn't bear mentioning!

He continues to be cute and delightful most of the time, although he has been having more frequent temper tantrums - perhaps coming out of being overtired because he keeps shortening his sleep period. And maybe because he's had a cold for a while, which I think has turned into a sinus infection, judging from his goopy eyes. Doctor's appointment tomorrow.

Lovin' it

May. 10th, 2006 09:00 pm
Liam is at a really great age right now, he's really a lot of fun to be around. He's inquisitive ("What doin mommy?") and creative and playful and goofy. Right now he and his dad are out playing in the rain - Liam carrying an umbrella and shouting "brella, brella" completely exuberantly. His language has developed to the point where he can express himself well, and we can even understand him most of the time. (And even the times that we don't understand him are hysterical, as he gets the cutest expression on his face when he's leans forward and repeats himself to try to be understood.) He puts concepts and ideas together in a much more sophisticated way than ever before - I'm constantly amazed by him. There are so many little moments of utter coolness, I can't even tell you about them all.

I think different people resonate with children at different ages. As I wrote about recently, my stepmother is amazing with babies, but has horrible instincts about toddlers. I think Liam has reached an age that's good for me. For the first time, I really enjoy and look forward to spending time with him. I look forward to picking him up after daycare and hearing him talk about driving in mommy's car. I enjoy playing with him much more now than before. He so much more interactive, eager to learn and try new things.

So yeah, it's really cool, and I'm loving this mom thing right now.
As mentioned earlier today, Liam had his two-year check up yesterday. I thought it would be interesting to see how his two year stats compare to his one year stats. But dang it all, I just went back to look, and I never recorded them in LJ! Bah.

Oh well. At 2 yrs old, Liam is 34 1/4 inches tall (almost 75th percentile), 31 lbs 5 oz (between 50th and 75th percentile) and has a head circumference of 20 1/4 inches(90th percentile).

He has 14 teeth, we think - it's kind of dangerous to put your fingers in there these days.

His vocabulary is great, according to his pediatrician. It would be impossible at this point to say how many words he has, other than "a lot." And he puts them together in all kinds of neat ways. He likes to recite numbers and letters, although he skips quite a few. And we're still working on colors - right now most things are blue.

Fine motor skills are great. Gross motor skills good too, although I'm not sure if he "should" have figured out jumping by now...

He's a great eater. Toddler picky, in that something that is amazing one day is poison the next, and he'll gobble down half a banana two minutes after saying "I don like dat." But he frequently tries and likes new foods and has a wide variety of things that he enjoys eating.

Sleep is getting better. At night, he usually sleeps from about 9 to about 6, with usually only one wakeup. Sometimes more than one, and occasionally none at all. But he's getting much better about putting himself back to sleep, and while he's never really embraced being nightweaned, he's complaining less about it when I say no. He's pretty consistent about having a 2 to 3 hour nap in the afternoon - it's rare that he goes less than 2 hours these days.

He still loves to nurse. I don't dare go topless around the house, because he'll be running over and lunging at me every chance he gets. In a way I could say we nice 3 times a day, but really we nurse AT 3 times a day - first thing in the morning, when we get home from school, and at bedtime. But he'll often nurse several times in those periods - in the morning we'll nurse in bed before getting up for the day, then he might nurse once or twice more between his morning TV shows and breakfast etc. Evenings are the same way. Weekends are much less scheduled, since we're together all day long, but we tend to be on the go, and don't nurse much when we're out and about.

And that's the state of Liam. It's a really fun age, and we're all enjoying it a lot.


Apr. 16th, 2006 10:42 pm
I swear, it's like living in the Little Rascals. O-tay, mama!

In other language news, he's developing manners. We're working on please, mostly because his demands are so, well, demanding, and we're trying to soften those a little. But the thank yous are coming pretty naturally, and in the right places, to make me think he's actually getting the concept. Like tonight, when I brought him a cup of water in bed and he said "thank you mama." Awww. Or yesterday, when he pulled off from his bedtime nursing, looked up at me and "thank you," then latched back on and then immediately conked out (saving a tired daddy from bedtime book reading). Yesterday I also got a "sorry, mama" (and a proper Canadian sorry, I will note, not an American "sarry"). We were pushing strollers side by side, mine empty (ready for his legs to get tired), and his with his baby. He accidently bumped into my leg and said "sorry mama." How sweet is that?

As I noted above, Daddy is usually responsible for bedtime book reading. But Liam has occasionally started to insist that mommy read books instead. "Are you ready to read books with daddy?" "No. Books wit mommy!" No amount of convincing will do. "No daddy. No. Sit-down! Books mommy." Okay, okay, we get the picture.

This is just such a totally fun age.
Liam has been starting to do some counting on and off. He used to quite like the number 9, and when I'd count to 10 for some reason, he'd always fill in the 9 for me. Then he started counting "one, two, free!" regardless of how many items their might be. Then it was just "one, free!" This morning was fun, though. He woke up at 5 and wouldn't go back to sleep, but I told him he couldn't get out of bed until 6. So he was rolling around yammering away at himself while I got some more horizontal time. At one point he started counting.

"One... One... One... One Mama. One Mama!" Too cute. And he was so proud of himself.

While he's not using color words yet (except blue, but everything is blue) he did indulge me a color matching game the other day, so I know he's not color blind, anyway. He wasn't interesting in learning the names of the colors, but he was able to take a given block and place it correctly on the blue, orange or yellow pile.
What with all the talk of sleep woes, I thought I should highlight some of the neat things Liam does too.

In the last week or so, he has mastered the skill of... playing all by himself. That's right, he sits down with his toys and entertains himself while mom and dad get ready for work, or do dishes, or whatever it is we're doing. He still requests (and receives) our attention on a regular basis, but he's much less demanding of it than he has been in the past.

I think this is part of a general process of learning to play. He's not only playing well by himself, but he's starting to play well with others too - actually playing interactively with the other kids at daycare or in the community, instead of just engaging in parallel play. It's very cool to see. Like the day that they were all pretending to be tigers!

He loves talking about and looking for planes. The talking about started after our trip to Florida for Christmas, and has continued ever since. The looking part started one afternoon a couple weeks ago, when he was having a tantrum about getting into the car to meet his dad for dinner. Desperate for some distraction, I looked up and saw a small plane flying overhead, and pointed it out to Liam. Ever since then, whenever we go outside, he immediately tilts his head to look in the sky, calling "play-neh, play-neh." The days when we actually spot one are especially exciting. This morning we got to see many flocks of geese fly over our heads as we walked out to the car, and that was mighty nifty too.

Oh, and thanks to everyone for the reminisces about your childhood love of pancakes. It is a sign of how utterly uncreative I can be that it had never occured to me to make letters or Mickey-mouse heads or any of that. We've just been making plain old round pancakes. Perhaps we'll be more creative with the next batch!


Dec. 21st, 2005 11:22 am
Liam continues to impress me with his language development. Yesterday we were reading an ABC picture book, and he could name the thing in the picture for probably about 1/3 of the book (there are several photographs per letter). He knows the names of all sorts of animals, including bats and crabs. He knows that frogs ribbit. He loves challenging words, and tries to say elephant (emala), hippopotamus (potama), and watermelon (watermln) on a regular basis. Generally speaking, his pronunciation is great - most of his words are actual English words, instead of a baby equivalent, so they're pretty easy for people who aren't his parents to understand. This morning he was eagerly pointing out every bear he could see (books, stuffed toys - no grizzlies wandering the neighborhood or anything). And he loves talking about eyes - he's always pointing out the eyes on all the stuffed animals, on mom and dad and the cats, even the kitty cats printed on my flannel pajamas.

Here's my favorite eyes story, though. Every morning, Eric brings Liam into me for nursing. We nurse in the dark, in the vain hope that someday Liam will fall back asleep. But that never happens. It's very dark, so when I turn on the lights, Liam would sometimes ouch a little, because it hurt his eyes. So I got in the habit of telling him "It's time to turn the light on, close your eyes." Now, whenever he wants the light turned on in the bedroom he points over towards the lamp and says "Eyes, eyes." He's always so happy when I turn on the lamp. Sometimes he even claps!

Another great thing Liam has started doing is reading books by himself. I've been taking advantage of that to have baby free showers in the morning. We just take a few of his favorite books into the bathroom, and he'll happily read them while I'm in the shower. Much easier than having to get him in and out and dried and dressed. Not to mention better on his poor dry skin.
Does "No - MINE!" count as a two word phrase?



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