A Painted House

Dear Edison: Month Sixteen

Posted on: March 22, 2012

Dear Edison,

Happy sixteen months, Butterbean!  Did you know that’s been your nickname since you were just teeny?  I don’t remember if I’ve ever mentioned that.  But something about your pale, pale Casper skin and adorably squishy face and how you fit right on my hip and under my chin combines to make you my Butterbean. I’m just waiting for you to join an organized sport so I can have it embroidered on the back of a sweatshirt.

This month has been an interesting mix of impossibly cute new tricks and impishly naughty behavior.  On the tricks side you’ve learned how to blow raspberries when we ask you what an elephant says, and seem convinced that every other animal makes the sound of a monkey.  Chickens, dogs, fish, they all say “ah ha ha ha” as far as you’re concerned.  I’m pretty sure I could ask you what a wooden spoon says and it would be lumped in with the rest as, “ah ha ha”.  On the naughty side you’ve also learned to vocalize when you’re upset about something.  Which is every time we don’t let you rule the world.  Isn’t it amazing how tiny human beings just your size are convinced that they are capable of commanding governments?  So when we take something dangerous away, redirect you from something you really, really want, or in any way indicate that you’ve done something wrong, we get Collapsible Baby: Perfect for Traveling in Carry-on Luggage.  You suddenly melt into the floor, forehead down, as if we’ve deflated you like a balloon.  And after you’ve summoned your strength, you adamantly let us know just how displeased you are.

This does not amuse us at all.  We are not turning away because we’re hiding our laughter.  Nope  Really, we’re very distraught that you’re so unhappy with how your kingdom is running.

Or not.  Tantrums won’t get you far in this house, Edison.  You and James should talk about that, he has insight.  But that doesn’t mean we don’t find it hilarious and exasperating and right on par for what you should be doing as a big sixteen-month-old.

Another example?  You’ve finally, finally, FINALLY learned to sign “more” when you’d like something else to eat and “all done” when you’re finished.  You’ve been mimicking these words for a couple of months but when it was time to actually let us know what you’d like, you would choose to do your best pterodactyl impression (which, for the record, does not also say “ah ha ha”) instead of using your words or your hands to let us know what you needed.   But NOW, now all those little circuits in your brain that make those connections have clicked into place and when you want more you smoosh your teeny fingers together and when you’re finished you wave your entire upper half around, and all is well.  Except for the only things you want “more” of are cackas and nanas.  Most everything else suddenly gets an “all done”.  Which lands us in this precarious position of wanting to effusively praise and reward you for communicating instead of screeching, but also beginning to teach you that what you eat at any given meal is not nearly as much of a choice as you believe it to be.  So we find ourselves saying things like, “Good job, Edison!  You asked for MORE!  Yes, MORE!  Here is one tiny morsel MORE of cracker.  Now eat your chicken please.  I know, you think you’re ALL DONE!  Yay, you signed ALL DONE!  But you’re NOT all done, you need to eat MORE chicken.”  And around and around we go.

My sweet boy, I’ll take every one of those teachable moments if it means I get the smiles, the giggles, the way you blow out your cheeks and cover me with spit when you see a picture of an elephant.   That one gets me every time.

Love, Mama

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