March 2011


Everett has started taking a great interest in babies. Some time ago he started identifying them in public, which seems to be a popular activity for a lot of babies and toddlers. Then he started calling his stuffed blue bear “son” and putting his stuffed animals to bed before he went into his crib. Recently he has adopted Melissa’s nightgown as his baby that he has to take care of. He puts the nightgown baby down for a nap and tells us to talk quietly when he is sleeping. He also puts the baby under his shirt or pajamas, tells us he is pregnant, and demonstrates when baby nightgown is born with great celebration.

A few weeks ago at dinner Everett asked “Do I have a brother?” And when we answered he followed up with “Can you get me one?” Friends and family (and even some strangers) have begun to ask similar questions. All we can say right now is that we are open to the idea but we don’t know what might happen or when.

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Everett’s speech has developed dramatically over the past year, and his pronunciation is generally quite good, except for a few words that he either hasn’t quite mastered or has invented. Here is a nearly comprehensive list of malapropisms that we have assembled.

gnnkn = milk. This was his name for milk when he was an infant. We haven’t heard it for quite a while but this is what it sounded like:

grinilla = granola or sometimes gorilla. For example, the other night when Melissa brought him home from daycare (he now goes to daycare two days a week so that she can make some progress on her dissertation), he recalled that Chris took a granola bar to work that morning. So as soon as Chris opened the door to the car Everett asked “Daddy, was your grinilla bar tasty?!?”

mookus = music

lellow = yellow

pooputer = computer (or at least it used to).

puddup = pudding

Nutellup = Nutella

skazaweez = calories. This is a line from Ice Age 3 that took us a while to figure out. Everett started saying “You don’t need those skazaweez!” and we had no idea what he was talking about until we heard it ourselves and realized he meant calories. We corrected him, and it’s great that he now correctly pronounces calories, though this is a little awkward when he sees friends or other family members eating and exclaims “You don’t need those calories!’

huggle = hug + snuggle

particklish = particular + ticklish. Or maybe ticklish in a particular place. He changes subjects quickly so it’s hard to keep up…

highlight = twilight. As in ”highlight turtle“ instead of ”twilight turtle“

bodies = breasts. This was a term he started using while nursing and hasn’t outgrown yet.

comfortable = comforter

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The before/after pictures above illustrate a significant milestone in the amount of freedom that Everett is allowed, at least during naps and at night. Never mind that most of our friends and family made this step at a much younger age. Usually this occurs because the crib railing becomes irrelevant, perhaps even dangerous, once the child learns how to climb over it. Everett never did climb out of his crib though we are certain he could have if he wanted to (he was able to climb into it), and we have avoided removing his crib rails for as long as we could. Seriously, who wants a two year old loose in the house? It doesn’t make us bad people – if anything it has made us slightly more sane because the crib has consistently contained him during time-outs and sleeping. We decided to make the change in the hope that when he wakes up in the morning he can entertain himself in his room for a while before waking us up. So on Sunday afternoon we asked him if he would like to have his crib rails removed, and he said “Yes! Can we do that right now?”. His first night in the “big boy bed” went reasonably well. We put a gate up at his door and he only got out of bed a couple times before settling down for the night. After Melissa put him down at his normal bedtime he stood at the gate and called me for a while. When I finally came upstairs he said “Dad, now it’s your turn to put me to bed.” This was a new tactic in a seemingly boundless amount of creativity that he puts into procrastination at bedtime.

On the subject of freedom, Everett now has considerable amounts of it during waking hours, and with the exception of the basement he wanders around the house as he pleases. As his freedom has grown so has his imagination. For example, Big Bird came to our front door this morning and hung out with us for a while after breakfast. Another example is the large number of monsters that live in the house. Interestingly, most of them are benevolent but there are a few bad ones like the goat that screamed at him in the office about a year ago. He remembers this, which is why the office is now called “the monster room”. Lastly, when we stayed with Tina, Dennis and Zach at their house after our trip to Europe last year we made a nest for him to sleep in the closet. In the back of the closet was a small access door for utilities, and he informed us that this was “where the monsters live”, but he didn’t give any indication of fear – if anything he seemed curious about it. We will keep watch on the monster situation and keep everyone informed.

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Grand Plans

Over the last few months two things have happened that have reduced the amount of activity on the website. First, Chris has been extremely busy. Second, Chris developed grand plans for revamping the entire website, primarily to address the problem that we have outgrown iWeb (and probably iPhoto as well). However, it’s going to take a couple days of focused effort to get everything deployed, and it’s rare that this much time is available. When time does become available it is consumed with other activities like igloo building (see above), an activity that we try to do at least once a winter. Nonetheless I remain optimistic that it will happen very soon, and in the meantime I have updated a couple blog entries and added some recent photos.

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Some time ago I talked about the many ways that Everett used the word “no”, and speculated on when we might hear the defiant “No!” that is common for children his age.  Our speculation is over.  He now says no defiantly several times a day. Sometimes he even starts throwing in a few preventative “No!”s as soon as me or Melissa start talking, which can be both amusing and exasperating. At the same time he is becoming quite particular with regard to just about everything. For example: we went through a brief phase where he only wanted Mom to put him to bed or get him from his crib; he got pretty angry with Chris the other day for putting peanut butter on the wrong side of his waffle (flipping the waffle over was not a satisfactory solution). As tempting as it may be to try to reason with him during these times, we have been able to keep in mind that the issue is mostly about control rather than the specific details of what is going on. Everett sees his parents as omnipotent, which we think he finds both reassuring and infuriating. Until now our primary disciplinary technique has been timouts, which have been pretty effective, but during our trip to Rehoboth last summer he set a record of 6 timeouts just to get one diaper on in the morning. Ouch.

Everett has also recently become the rule enforcer. By this we mean that he has been assembling a list of rules, and he takes the time and energy to ensure that everyone is following them. For example, when we visited Carrie and Armin last fall he learned that you do not wear shoes in the house. Ever since we returned he reminds Melissa of this (Chris does not need to be reminded to take his shoes off): “Mom, we do not wear shoes in the house.” He has also become aware that certain words such as “stupid” are not nice, and he points out whenever we or a character on television uses it: “We don’t say stupid.” In short, Everett has become pretty bossy. We don’t have the authority that we once did with him, but thank goodness for other authority figures in his life to help out, especially his teachers at school.

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