Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Roadmap rising

The depth of Carter's orientation impresses me. He's not even 2.5, and he always announces when certain landmarks are around the bend: Fashion Island, the grocery store, his two favorite parks, his preschool. He also has the location of every fountain in the neighborhood down,
and he knows every elevator and escalator within a two-mile radius, thanks to Russ's indulging him in frequent joy rides, to his unquenchable bliss. If he indeed has a special talent for constructing an internal roadmap, I will be sure to exploit it in the near future, on family vacations to new cities, and perhaps even for locating my car in the parking lot every now and then...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Good gob

Carter's self-esteem is, in a word, sturdy. What can we say? We are fans, and encourage him all the time. But is it too much? Popular fiction author Jane Green claims that she would never have become a best-selling author if her British upbringing hadn't made her feel unimportant. The subsequent low self-esteem made her strive to achieve. Does this mean that Carter, whom I hear muttering to himself, "Good gob" when he accomplishes the smallest tasks: takes the milk carton out of the fridge, completes a Lego tower, picks the cats' food dish up from the floor and puts it by the sink... does it mean he won't strive? Or worse, that he will feel entitled? I prefer to think not. We'll have to wait and see. For now, I can't help but comment on the squiggles he makes when "signing" a birthday card for his dad, "Great job!"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


There is little more heartwarming than seeing the door to the garage being flung open by Carter from the kitchen, and hearing him shriek, "Mommy's home! Mommy's hoooome!" All this fanfare, when all I did was go to the grocery store.

But what's really funny is his notion of "home." His home is "home" for anyone coming here. It reminds me of a video I saw on language acquisition that showed that first, young kids define things in relation to themselves in funny cases, such as calling the "front" of a television whatever side was facing them, even if it was the back of the TV. Or calling a cup "small" for a twelve-inch doll, just because it was small for them (even when the glass was huge as far as the doll was concerned). So when the babysitter arrives, "Alyssa's home!" Or when my parents visit, "Grandma Carol and Grandpa Frank are home!" So cute, and so heartbreaking in a way... sooner or later, the little guy will have to learn that the world doesn't revolve around him. But how wonderful for him to have this brief period where it does.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Putting on them

There is a funny syntactic quirk of English: you have to be a full noun phrase (i.e. not a pronoun) to follow certain particles. So:

You put on the shoes.
* You put on them. ("*" = "not grammatical" in standard English.)
You put them on.

You picked up the book.
*You picked up it.
You picked it up.

Carter hasn't gotten this one down yet; he says things like "You put on them" all the time. (Only, he means "I [Carter] put them on", technically, because he still has "I" and "you" switched too...) I can almost see those gears churning in his active little head; many linguistic puzzles still to solve. In the meantime, a conversation about who is going to put on the shoes gets confusing fast!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Gavin's teeth are coming in so fast, I wanted to be sure to get a picture of the first to arrive, before he has his whole set.

He's already teething again, working on the next ones...


Our little negotiator-in-training has a funny way of letting us know what he would like. He speaks in yes/no questions. When we ask him a question, he often proposes something different. To: "Would you like some milk?" He replies: "Or would you like some juice?" These exchanges happen all day long, to our amusement. "Do you want to go to the park?" Carter: "Or do you want to go to South Coast Plaza and ride the escalators?" "Should we read Library Lion?" C: "Or should we read The Cat in the Hat?" We ask: A future diplomat? Or...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Back-to-school night

Last night, we went to the first of what will be numerous back-to-school nights. What fun! The teachers even made a cd of some photos they have taken of the kids so far this year. Parent conferences aren't until November, but we already suspect that Carter is one of their favorites.

Hard at play, just as it should be.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's funny, what sticks

Yesterday, when I was pushing Carter and Gavin down the sidewalk in Corona del Mar along PCH on the way to get a coffee, we passed two dogs and two women. Both dogs were on a leash. Carter saw them coming and said something about here come two doggies. Then, out of nowhere, I heard Carter screaming. I looked down, and the bulldog had Carter's sweatshirt clamped in his jaw. He let go, but Carter was frantic. I pulled up the sleeve, and there was a minor injury there, but not bad; thank goodness, the sweatshirt was thick. The lady was crushed and apologized, saying her dog just got diagnosed with cancer and was not himself. My main concern was that it would traumatize Carter and he would be afraid of dogs for the rest of his life. (He is a sensitive little guy.) But he hasn't brought it up since. Heard some dogs barking today -- "Doggies barking!" Just as excited about it as always. This, from a kid who took days and days to recover from a trip to the Hyatt in Huntington Beach six weeks ago, where the valet took our car. Days later, he was still comforting himself, "They brought mommy's car back," bringing it up over lunch, when he woke up from a nap, during a diaper change, you name it. But getting bitten by a random dog? No problem, apparently.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Washing dishes

Carter is going through a phase where he loves to "wash dishes." Russ and I have stopped fighting it, and let him pretend to wash dishes for a little bit. It keeps him busy and happy, and he doesn't get water on the floor nearly as much now as in the early days, and we figured, hey, as long as he hangs on to his interest in it, it is a skill that will come in handy soon enough! Let's just hope the interest stays, and grows...

Friday, October 10, 2008


Carter is going through an independence spurt. For the most part, I applaud it; it will be great when he can dress himself, read to himself, pour his own milk. But until then, it leads to some frustration on both parts, as his face turns red, his arms flap, and he sputters, "Want to do it self!" as his arms get lodged further up the wrong hole of a shirt, or milk goes running, splattering, and dripping across various kitchen surfaces.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A little bit more

This is Carter's favorite phrase. Whether it's riding escalators, looking at fountains, or climbing ladders at the park, whenever it's time to go, he requests, as he did this morning at South Coast Plaza, something along the lines of, "Or do you want to visit the fountain a little bit more?" At least he's pretty reasonable when the answer is no.

Artwork first

Carter came home from preschool with his first piece of artwork.

It brought back memories of my own fingers and hands in thick paint, the pleasure of spreading it over smooth butcher paper, and also the way the thickest paint streaks cracked when they dried. He was so proud. And I think it's pretty good! (For a first effort and all.) And as a bonus, when Alyssa asked him what it was a picture of, he replied without hesitation, "Mommy!"