Friday, September 12, 2008

growing loud


Asher has entered a new stage, meaning we have all entered a new stage with him. He has learned to put two words together, and now he won't stop talking. Ever. In the car, in the high chair, reading, playing - always with the words. And if you don't acknowledge them, he will become increasingly louder and more persistent until you do.

Dinner tonight was comical. Mr. Mark (as he's known by Asher) is here for a couple of days. Asher LOVES Mr. Mark, and because he is one of those rare adults who will engage children, not just humor them, Asher is pretty well convinced Mark exists solely to talk to him. "Maaaahhk! Maaahhk!" All evening. Punctuated with "'Om Samon" (interpreted "some salmon" - meaning he wanted more). "Maahk! Maahk! Om Samon! Om Samon! Om Samon! Maahk! Om Samon!" fistfuls of salmon heading to his mouth as he talks, mind you. "Mama Daddy Mahk. Mama Daddy Mahk. Om Samon." Good Word.

Also, he didn't nap well (hasn't been lately, actually - I'm blaming the tooth that's just barely visible under the skin. Any other guesses?), and not sleeping well has the uncanny effect of turning my sweet cooperative Asher into a regular old toddler. A toddler who, when told to sit beside his brother's blanket, stands up and stomps on the blanket instead.

Between the "Om Samon" and the stomping, we decided bedtime was at 6:25 tonight. Know what? He didn't argue.

But his narration can be cute. He has started putting his hands over his face, calling "Asher?" then saying, "There he is!" It's a one man peek-a-boo. I can also get him to do almost anything if I say "like a big boy." I have found a new trick for making drinking water fun. Water has lost its luster the past few months; he prefers milk. Which is great, except that milk, in Alabama, in August, is not always the best thing for the playground. But if I put water in a regular cup, not a sippee, and tell him he gets to drink it like a big boy, he'll down the whole thing.

This much I know - when they are newborns, people tell you to just do whatever works. Find the equipment, or the sleep position, that allows you to get some peace in life, and go with it. There is plenty of time to undo bad habits. I'm beginning to apply that logic to toddlers as well. Whatever will get him to cooperate - so long as I can live with the consequences - sounds like a good idea to me. The promise of (and of course administering of, in due course) a Quiet Party will keep him from screaming in the grocery cart. A Big Boy Cup keeps him hydrated in the heat. He'll wash his hands if bubbles are involved. I feel like my role as mother has become part goalie, part nurse, and part - I don't even know what to call it, but some caricature that would land me a part on The Wiggles.


But I'm game. I signed up for this, and I really honestly love talking to him - if only we didn't have to always talk. Always. Aaaaalllwaaayyyyys. So send me your best toddler trick, and I'll keep you posted on what works for me. Between the two of us, we might just make it to his second birthday.


Valerie said...

So, I have no toddle tricks to offer, but I do have a question. I read the thing about the Quiet Party, which is a term I did not recognize. Therefore, I googled it, as I am wont to do, but sadly only came up with this:

I'm feeling like that's not what Asher participates in, though.

Stephanie said...

The Quiet Party is a term created by me. Asher loves parties. LOVES them. Remember the Vacuum Party right after Silas was born? He talked about it for weeks. The Vacuum Party consisted of us following Brian around, clapping our hands, and saying, "Hooray! It's a vacuum party!" while Brian vacuumed.

The Quiet Party is slightly more sophisticated. If he can go for a specified period of time (while we are in the grocery store, for example, or from the end of naptime until Dad gets home) without screaming, he gets to have a Quiet Party (hooray! it's a quiet party!). Since screaming is rewarding because it gets attention (and it does - it is impossible not to respond) I wanted it to be more rewarding not to scream, but giving positive attention to a kid so young for not doing something is a little complicated. So that's how we ended up here. Obviously he's a little young to be expected to remember and think before acting for hours at a time, so I talk up the Quiet Party quite a bit. If he's successful, we all stand in the living room, applaud, and talk about how well he did at not screaming, and how now he gets to have a Quiet Party!. Then he gets a treat. The treats vary. Once it was marshmallows. Another time it was his own glass of iced tea while he listened to his favorite song on the ipod. Things like that.

Quiet Parties carry me a long way, because they change the tenor of the day. Rather than spending all that energy saying what he shouldn't do, I am talking about how well he's doing instead. It works.