Thursday, January 14, 2010

Swimming, music, talking... Basically, being 2!

I am trying very hard to remember to say that Carter is 2 when people ask. I've been adjusting his age for so long that this is a challenge for me. He went from being 21 months to being 2, pretty much overnight, and it's sort of weird. But as I look around when we're at our various activities, I'm realizing that he seems to have more in common with other 2yos than other 21mos. He talks like a 2yo, and interacts like a 2yo. He even looks a little bigger and older than many of the 21-22mos we've been around.

Or maybe it's all in my head? :-P

Carter is really talkative these days, and is almost always chattering on about something. Occasionally he'll babble incoherently, but for the most part he is saying actual words and phrases. He likes to pick up a phone and talk into it, and he almost always says the same thing: "I saw fire truck and elephant... uh huh... hmmmm... awesome!" It's so funny to watch him do that. I don't think he yet understands that when you're on the phone, there's a voice coming out that you're talking to, but who knows?

Lately he's been saying a lot of "I ___" phrases, like "I so sweet!" and "I so awesome!" He uses a lot of our favorite adjectives to describe things, so we hear a lot of "awesome", "great", and "cool". We went to Gymboree music yesterday morning, and when we left he said, "Awesome Gymboree!" He repeats everything these days, which is both scary and funny. He even repeats things in contexts when I would otherwise have thought he wasn't listening.

I'm trying to remember that he really does understand everything we say now. My earliest memory is from when I was 22 months old, and one of the things that stands out to me from that memory is that I understood everything all of the adults were saying, as clear as day. It's easy to think that Carter is too little to understand us when we talk, but that memory reminds me that he isn't -- and that he is listening!

I took some pictures and video yesterday in Carter's music class, something I've been meaning to do for a while. This is the last day I'll get to go with him for a while, since the class is on Thursday mornings and that's when I teach.

These videos give a sense of what the class is like.

They play an instrument for a couple of songs, and then that instrument gets put away and a new box of instruments comes out. For months now, Carter has been reluctant to put his instruments back in the box. The teacher sings the clean-up song and most of the kids run right over and put them in, but Carter runs the other way. Once the new box of instruments came out, he would give up the old ones, but not before. The teacher would always go over with the box and ask him to put them in, and Carter would run away again -- at least until the next box came out. But yesterday, like magic, he was putting his instruments away when asked, and even trying to help other reluctant kids put theirs in the box too.

I've been working with him a lot on transitioning between activities lately, and I'm wondering if that is a sign that he's starting to be able to see ahead a bit. Toddlers are famous for living in the moment, and helping them learn to transition from one activity to the next is really important. They are having so much fun NOW, and why are you making them stop? *insert tantrum here* They just don't have the ability yet to look ahead and see that the next thing you're going to do will also be fun, and once they get upset, there is no reasoning with them about it. I'm getting better at helping him transition, but it was definitely a habit I had to get into. I still could be better at it, honestly, but we're getting there. :-)

Wednesday morning was Carter's last Waterbabies swim class. He moves up to the 2yo class next week, Super Waterbabies, and I am no longer in the pool with him. I'm sad, because the swim classes were so much fun, and Carter would just light up every time we got in the pool. I'm being silly, of course, because it's not like I'll NEVER get to go swimming with him again! I mean, we have a pool, and it's warm enough to swim here 6 months of the year. The point of the lessons is for him to learn to swim, not for us to have playdates in the water. (This is what I keep telling myself, anyway.)

But I'm also excited because this level is when actual swimming really starts to happen. He can swim a few feet alone now, but from what I've heard from other moms, at the end of this session he'll actually be able to swim. It would be great if he could swim by summer! I'm still a little worried, because for the next level they have to sit on a little turtle mat on the side of the pool and wait their turn to swim with the teacher -- and that is something I'm not sure Carter is ready to do. Last time we tried, I ended up chasing him all over the pool. Maybe it will be better if I'm not there. We'll see what happens next week. :-P

I have been trying for 2 weeks now to get a video of Carter singing the ABC song. He can sing the entire song, but he is NOT a performer, and won't do anything on cue, so I just have to get lucky. Here is my latest attempt:

See what I mean? Heh. Here's another attempt that shows him saying a few other things, and singing part of the song yet again. It's probably a bit boring for the more casual readers of this blog. ;-)

He's actually really good at identifying letter of the alphabet and numerals now. He consistently counts to 10, and can go to 12 sometimes. He calls numerals "letters", which is really cute. He'll say, "Letter 8", for example. He can name several things that start with each letter of the alphabet, so now I'm trying to introduce the sounds those letters make to see if he'll pick them up. He likes picking out letters on signs when we're out and about, so it's a fun game we can play everywhere. He hasn't yet tried to write any letters, and it's not clear to me yet if he understands that groups of letters make words. I point to words a lot, but I'm not sure the connection has been made. He recognizes his name, though. It's hard to tell!

One of his many Christmas presents (I think this one was from Mom) was an art easel that attaches to his learning tower. It has a chalk board on one side and a whiteboard on the other, and it's magnetic. Our refrigerator isn't magnetic, so I was excited to have a place where we could start to play with magnetic letters and numbers. He has really enjoyed it so far!

But we'll wait a bit before we let him loose with markers and chalk on there. Thank goodness for Crayola Color Wonder markers! I've already had to scrub blue marker out of my new carpet once, and ink pen off of several walls. More than once I've wondered if this was some sort of karmic payback for the time I colored all over the wall of my bedroom with orange crayon, and blamed it on my sister. :-P

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