(Playing in the doctor's office waiting room.)
Today, Ana got her last 2 year old shots. We spaced them out a bit but we still wanted them in a little while before Tami, the kids, and my in laws head off to Puerto Rico. No more shots for a few years. Ana did very well again. There were three and she didn't start to look too annoyed until part way through the second. When the third stopped, she recovered quickly from a few vocal complaints. Before all that, while in the waiting room, Tami was reminding Ana that she would get her vaccine shots today, it would hurt briefly, it is ok to cry, and that Mami would give her lots of kisses after. Then I chimed in that I would give her kisses. Then Enzo chimed in that he would give her kisses! This made Ana smile. And it made my heart warm. Seconds after the shots, the kisses started. As promised, we all started giving her a bunch of little kisses and all of us were smiling and laughing. Awesome.
I continue to be amazed by Ana. She is physically confident, has a happy disposition, likes to sit next to me when I sit, is adding words to her vocabulary quickly and beyond her mouths ability to pronounce words, and continues to be a gorgeous smiling child.
Two and a half weeks ago, just a few days after returning from San Diego, I was amazed. I don't know the words to describe it technically but it was clear that, seemingly over night, Enzo matured to a new level. His pronunciation hit a new level of clarity, his sentence structures became increasingly complex, he was taller. Dramatically changed one day to the next, as it appeared to me. Remarkable. A couple days later Tami came home to tell me that his teacher commented on how Enzo was using many more connecting words in his sentences like "and." A week later my mom commented on how much he talks now. He does. He talks all the time.
One of his games now, and one that my mom and dad witnessed on our drive to Santa Cruz, is that Enzo will make up a song/story and then have each person in the car sing a song or tell a story in turns. His songs are long, funny, include several things that we can trace to recent events, and also contain his favorite themes. Themes include fireworks (which he thinks are too loud), trains, and Lightning McQueen (the main character in the animated Cars movie- which Enzo calls Talking Cars). When it's my turn, I usually sing a song but will sometimes make up a story like he does. Ana and Tami generally sing songs. Ana likes to go with Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star. Enzo pretty much always goes with a song version of a made up story, each different even if he gets four turns on a drive.
A few days back, I was trying to negotiate some driving situation requiring much focus and Enzo was telling me something long and complex and then asking me something. I told him "Son, I am having trouble hearing you right now while driving..." Enzo yells from the back of the car "PAPI! I SAID........." then proceeds to tell me the whole thing again in a very loud voice! Haaa! Even typing this out I am laughing again. Tami and I were definitely laughing in the car when that happened.
So much of what I learn pertaining to kids is as a result of looking something up on the internet as Enzo grows up. I guess that is an advantage for Ana, we already know a lot before she gets to a phase of development. A couple of months ago Enzo started stuttering a bit. Mostly when he was tired or excited. Looking into this I have learned that "Disfluency," which is basically a temporary child form of stuttering, is common with kids and usually goes away by itself. Disfluency usually occurs between 1.5 and 5 years old, last days to 6 months, and can come and go several times. It's part of language development. But for some it can be a little different and become stuttering. Which is also fine and basically means that the child goes to speech therapy at some point and then learns strategies to get over stuttering. Based on what I have been reading it sounded to me like Enzo was experiencing some disfluency and some genuine stuttering. What I have learned about dealing with kids going through a phase of disfluency or stuttering is that people are NOT to say to the kid "slow down" or "think before you speak" or interrupt the child. The adult IS supposed to be completely patient and let the kid get through the stutter and finish the thought with the adults full attention. There is also advice that the adult can slow down their own speaking, but not annoyingly slow, and can pause between talking and responding to the child. So, I have been trying to practice being a good and patient listener which has been good for me. The last couple of days Enzo's stuttering has gone down dramatically, at least as I have heard. It's still too early to know if this is a short term thing for him or something that will require speech therapy. But it has been interesting learning yet another thing about human development which continues to amaze me. What I am now wondering, is if there is a connection between this stuttering which started about two months ago and is now receding and the new complexity in Enzo's sentences. I don't know but it will be interesting to see how this pans out. Either way, the disfluency or stuttering does not seem to be bothering Enzo when he does experience it (which would be my primary concern if it did bother him) and I have been getting better at giving my full attention when he and others speak.
Probably the thing that makes Enzo happiest right now are his new Converse shoes that Grandma and Grandpa got him. He loved his last pair. But now that he has new ones, he is even more excited. He loves to run in them and talk about his super fast new Converse. He will usually go out to the front yard barefeet, and even mentions "Papi, you and me have bare-shoes." Ha! But now, he insists on putting on his new Converse first. Ana, then gets excited and puts on her new Converse. You can actually see them both wearing their new Converse shoes in the picture at top. Funny kiddos.
The Kid continues to impress me with his ability to hit a ball with a bat, to kick a ball, to love his sister, and to be beautiful.
Monte is still a crazy dog. He went for a run(away) one recent evening and thankfully was found by a local dog owner who called us at midnight so I could pick him up. Crazy dog. He still has more energy than any 10 dogs need. And despite running away when he found a gate left open, he is getting much better at listening to directions. And most importantly, he continues to let the kids roll all over him and hug him and play with him. Monte is a good dog.
Tami, my hot wife. I got a call two days ago from Tami while I was working. She called excitedly to tell me that a guy had just pulled up to her car at a stop and motioned for her to roll down her window. She thought he would want directions. Instead he told her that she is beautiful. Good thing cell phones have free long distance because she called me right after and I think that the guy's compliment sent her to the moon. She is still walking around floating about a foot off of the ground.
And me? Loving my family, enjoying summer, and doing my best to not get too stressed while working on a big time-sensitive project. Also, it's kind of cool that I get to ride a motorcycle to high school now, even if it is about 20 years after I graduated.
(Riding my motorcycle to high school.)