He's still "behind" where he "should" be, verbally, if you go in for that sort of thing, which we don't. He communicates a lot with sign, and I understand what he means when he tries to talk, as long as there is some context. For instance, on the patio "mo-ee beebah" means "more bubbles." In the living room, "dee-dah" means "guitar." But in the bathroom, "dee-dah" means vitamins (which he calls "fruit snacks," which is also something that "dee-dah" means).
As, or perhaps, more importantly, he understands *everything*.
A couple of days ago, Mal was in the stroller as my sister and I were walking up a trail and chatting. She'd just helped me up a steep ravine and said it reminded her of being in China and getting the boys around. She mentioned reading her blogs from the time and remembering how much she just wanted to be home, because the kids were so new, and they were all so tired, and it was so hot (kind of like here, now), and everybody was staring at them. I said, "I get it on some level. I feel it on some level when we're just out and about and I don't think I can chase him down anymore. I want to go home, because at least there, I'm comfortable and the worst he can do is climb up on the cabinets--" "DIE!" Mal interrupted cheerfully. "That's right, Mal, you could die." It looks like that lesson is sticking, though I don't think he's taking it very seriously.
He also got onto one of the cats the other day when she hopped up onto the kitchen counter. "Die!" he warned her. She was nonplussed.
The other night, he cracked me up because I was sitting in his room playing with him, and I was having a protracted, though mild, asthma attack. I told him, "Mal, I'm going to have to go take a breathing treatment." He sucked up a lot of air and made an "o" shape with his mouth, laboring to breathe in and out. Um, I hope that's not how I look when I"m medicating, but it was very cute on him.
Today, he did several things that were funny.
We had gotten into the car to run to the office to switch our our gate remotes (yes, after ONE YEAR, it looks like they're fixing the gates), so I let him ride up front with me (save your comments; it's a private road and everyone else was at work). I was putting on some lipstick and Mal had already sat down and put on his seatbelt. I was listening to NPR's recap of the DNC last night, and some of the President's speech. Just as he got to a good part, Mal wriggled out of the seat belt, leaned forward, and pushed a button. The first channel was music, that's what he wanted, so he sat back, satisfied.
I let him have his choice, then backed up to go. Mal kept saying, pretty agitatedly, "Bee bat, bee bat." I looked and he was pointing to my hip. I said, "Oh! I need to put on my seat belt!" He nodded and stopped as soon as I clicked in. What a sweet reminder.
Inside the office, he got a Jolly Rancher. I walked him around to where there's a trash can and said, "Let's throw away your wrapper." He dropped it on the ground. I said, "No, not on the ground. Please put it in the trash can." He picked it up, came around the corner, and put it in the can. The assistant manager was impressed, but he shouldn't have been. At home, Mal will pick up cat hair and trash, open the pantry, lift the trash can lid, and throw trash away all by himself.
After the office, I put him in his car seat (so you can relax now) and we went to his gym. He was jumping on the trampoline, and I noticed that his hair was kind of clumping together on top. He'd eaten a lollipop yesterday, and I'd noticed he'd gotten some of the sticky in his hair. I said, "Mal, we're going to have to wash your hair today. It's really yucky." He nodded, hopped down, went into the bathroom, got his hands wet, and threw water up onto his head, rubbing it in. Man, that kid is on top of things!
The nodding/head-shaking thing is such a great improvement over not knowing until we tried. In the past week, he's also added a strong, "No!" to his head-shaking, when something's really important.
He'll sign "poop" to me when he's pooped and wants to change his diaper. He'll sign "poop" and shake his head no when he's pooped and doesn't want to change his diaper.
Mal has been playing with Starfall for a while now, and he's getting old enough to appreciate some of the stories. There is one part at the beginning of Zac the Rat where Zac hums. It's just a silly little tune, but it used to crack D up so much that we'd watch it over and over again. Guess what? It has the same effect now on Mal!
This, to me, is the fun part of parenting. I don't miss the baby days. I don't miss the pre-semi-verbal and/or signing days. I like being able to interact with my kid and watch him develop into the person he's going to be.
In case you're interested, he still doesn't sleep through the night. He actually slept six hours in one stretch two nights ago, and it was the longest he's done in 22 months. I got about 4 and a half hours of sleep, so that was great. Otherwise, he sleeps 2-4 hours when he first goes down, then wakes multiple times per night after that. Whatever. We're used to it. He sleeps with us, so it's easy enough to get him back to sleep.
I find I keep buying more nursing clothes, because that doesn't seem to be likely to stop any time in the near future. I am letting him lead the way, and he's still very much a "boob monster."
He has started doing something different with his nighttime routine (but not the nap time, which is interesting). At night, he'll nurse, then unlatch and roll over, or crawl to the foot of the bed, get comfy, and then go the rest of the way to sleep. Last night, he did something new. He nursed, unlatched, played with this Melissa and Doug peekaboo panda for a few minutes, laid it down, rolled over, and went to sleep.