August 8th, 2004


Visiting the Nephew

I'm back from my whirlwind Chicago visit. Someday I shall have to visit for longer than most-of-a-weekend. It was great seeing my bro and his family! My nephew is the most charming and adorable baby I have ever met -- but of course I may be just a bit biased. He is almost 19 months old now, and like I mentioned in my "sneak preview" camera-phone post from Chicago this morning, he is literally exploding with language.

When I last saw him 3 months ago, he had just learned the basics of talking. He had a pretty substantial vocabulary of one-syllable words, his favorite being "truck." Twuck! he would announce, as he pointed at anything with wheels. We would cheerfully correct him when it wasn't a truck. "SUV," we'd tell him. "No, that's a bus. That's your stroller."

Now he still loves vehicles, but he has a much better understanding of what's what. Bus! Truck! Train, choo chooo! Bike! Cycle!, he exclaims, pointing away. (That last one means motorcycle.) He notices things everywhere. Birdie he'll tell you, and you'll look around in search of a bird, only to find a single bird quite far away. If you don't acknowledge what he's telling you ("You're right, there's a bus"), he'll keep saying it until you do.

He also likes to tell you what he is doing. We were at the playground, and he would periodically just start running in circles exclaiming, Running! He has the basic concept of "thank you," and once he even said it (tank woo) to his mother without prompting. It was funny because it was unusual, and she was so busy making his breakfast that she didn't even realize he'd said it until I replied with approving enthusiasm, "You're welcome, Will!"

If you say a word, he'll usually try to repeat it. "He can repeat any word you say," his neighbor told me yesterday. Repeat! he chirped. He has also just started using simple sentences, like "I bring it," or "We go." The whole thing is absolutely amazing to me, watching him develop and learn and grow. I mean, I realize that every child does this, and every one of us did it too....but it's still fascinating having a close up view of the process.

Like any toddler, he is very good at the word "No." The interesting thing is that he doesn't seem to know (or at least to use) the word "Yes"! He says the names of things all the time, and we'll ask followup questions. For example he'll say Juice!, so I will ask, "Do you want some juice?" And I'll get a firm No. But if he does want some when I ask, he'll just say "juice" again. He says "no" all the time, but I've never once heard him say "yes"....kinda strange, that.

Unfortunately, the little guy has a cold right now. This meant he was much more moody and crabby than usual. He did a lot of whining and crying, often mixed right in with being his usual cheerful and charming self. Roller coaster mood swings, I tell ya! We never knew what to expect.

It's hard to blame him though, what with not feeling well and not understanding why. (Heck, when I'm sick I often want to behave exactly the same way.) Every now and then when he was being quiet he would tell one of us, "It hurts." We would ask, "What hurts?", but he wouldn't answer. He'd just go back to playing or fussing. Poor little kid!

Looks like I'm going to be lucky enough to enjoy his cold too. I woke up this morning with a sore throat, and now I'm pretty stuffed up. It's cute though, because he's been sneezing a lot, so people have been saying "bless you" to him a lot. Last night while he was being changed, I sneezed. From his bedroom piped a little voice, "Bwess ooo!"

"He has such long eyelashes," my sister noted. "The girls will love him."
Oh, like the golden blond curls won't be enough?