Sunday, May 31, 2009

Holy Jumping Linguists, Batman!

So Sam is wearing his glasses more or less all the time, now. (I want to point out that at the beginning of his wearing glasses, I thought this day would NEVER arrive. I swear, it was like training a cat to wear glasses. Sam had about as much interest in and comprehension of the reasons for his wearing glasses as one of our felines would have. Or possibly not as much.)

I read somewhere that when infants and toddlers who have wretched vision and desperately need glasses actually start wearing them, their language skills and coordination improve as if by magic. Well, I'm here to testify. Sam is Mister Linguist now, and Gus is only a hair behind him. I frequently call both of them "Mr. Parrot" and "Mr. Echo," since their favorite trick is to echo the last three syllables or so of whatever I've just said. A couple of weeks ago, Gus was puttering around my feet and whining "Joots! Joots!" while I was trying to juggle three or four tasks -- one of them being pouring some juice for him and Sam. So of course D chose that moment to show up and want me to do something or other for him and I snapped out, "Just let me give Gus his juice before he has a coronary," and Gus dutifully echoed, "Coh-woh-na-way!" Which cracked me up and put an end to my snappishness for the moment.

But Sam has the Mister Linguist title for now. Earlier this week, D decided to finally cover our fireplace opening completely so that the boys could no longer throw their toys -- and clothes, and juice cups, and Sam's glasses, and anything else that would fit -- in there, necessitating Mom and Dad to drag it out. He got it covered and locked down while the boys were napping. The first thing Sam said when he got up from his nap and saw it was, "Daddy do! Daddy do! Fireplace!" Both of the boys puttered around it for a bit, trying in vain to stick some of their little toys in there. Finally Sam burst out with a heartfelt, "Why?! Daddy, why do dat?!" His very first question, and his first relatively sophisticated sentence! Wow... but I do wish it hadn't been so sad-sounding. He still brings it up occasionally, making it clear that he hasn't given up on the issue: "Daddy, why do dat? Fireplace! Why?" Poor kiddo.

Not to be outdone, tonight Gus spontaneously started singing, "Goodnight ladies... goodnight ladies..." echoing the song from "The Music Man" (which they are currently enamoured of -- the Robert Preston version, of course). But then, last night Sam started trying to sing the "Ice cream!" barbershop quartet from that show, with Gus chiming in.

As for the jumping... Gott in Himmel, the jumping. I think Gus has Olympic aspirations. Both of them have been jumping for some time now, most recently from the 6" thick couch cushions, which they drag from the couch and strew across the floor like water lilies. (Note to self: Self, NEVER EVER do anything in front of the boys that you don't want them to do right back at you, and forever! It was more than a little silly to pull the couch cushions off the couch where they could see you, wasn't it, eh? Remember that the next time you want to sit on the couch and have to round up all the cushions before you can do it.)

Ahem. As I was saying. This evening Gus climbed up on the couch (with couch cushion still on -- maybe 22" off the floor) and leapt off it like a gazelle. Distance achieved: about three feet. He landed with a thump but on his feet, no worries (except my ensuing heart attack). Gus also has taught himself to do a somersault (his term: "sowersaw") from the fireplace hearth (about 2" tall) onto the rug. (Sam is still working on his somersault, but I'm sure he'll achieve it eventually, egged on by his more daring brother.)

As for me, I'm constantly torn whether or not to let them do things that I fear will necessitate a trip to ER. I do not want them to have needless fears or be hesitant about trying new things. And as a shining example of what not to do, I have my own mother, who was constantly forbidding me to do relatively safe things that most other kids got to do, and who did her earnest best to make a fearful emotional cripple out of me -- all with the best of intentions. (Sigh. Thanks, Mom.) As a result of my own upbringing, my interior monologue when the boys are jumping around is something like, "Eeeeeek! Ohmygod, he's going to fall! And crush his skull on the hearth! And die! Oh, wait, it's okay, he landed, he's all right ... oh noooo mister bill he's doing it agaaaaaaiiin! Aaiieeeee!" I try to let as little of this out as possible ... but it does pop out here and there. Yikes.

And yet, nervous as the jumping makes me, I'm also proud that they're so intrinsically daring and happy that they're having fun. I think I'm learning that a large part of Momhood is learning when to keep your mouth shut.