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Dear Ezra: Month Thirty-two

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Dear Ezra-

You’ve suddenly hit the hockey stick part of the language development graph, and it’s great. You use adjectives and adverbs and conjugate verbs like a boss. You even say “like a boss”. You pick up hundreds of new words and concepts a week. You only have one weird holdover from your babytalk days. Every word comes out properly, except for one: “open”. Instead, you say “openum”. As in, “This door is stuck. Openum it, Sandy.” I have no idea where that came from. I also can’t bear to correct you, it’s so cute.

One of the byproducts of this development is the way you do play-by-play on your own life. If you’re upset and start to cry, you’ll say “I’m sad. I’m crying.” Then we fix up whatever was wrong, and you’ll smile and say “See, I’m NOT crying. I’m happy.” If you get on the couch, you’ll announce it. If you’re wearing your boots, you’ll stomp around telling everyone that simple fact. Meanwhile, you have an appetite for knowing the name of everything, leading to a common refrain of “What’s that called?”

There’s been a strong uptick in dancing this month, mostly to the Jackson 5, which we mostly play on record. Is your favorite song the upbeat I Want You Back? Or the perennial list-topper ABC? No, you dig the slow jam, Never Can Say Goodbye. Meanwhile, you dance to the beat of your own drummer, with something out of the Benny Hill playbook. It’s completely disconnected from the rhythm of the song. But it’s your own thing; who are we to say you’re doing it wrong.

You’re also been able to pick up on lyrics, often just after a few listens. We’ll frequently catch you singing Justin Roberts songs to yourself just before bed, or in the backseat when your attention drifts off and you forget we can hear you. It’s amazing to see you pick up on the patterns within the songs, and adapting them to your own preferences. “Where is Thumbkin?” turned into “Where is Uno?” with Dos, Tres & Quatro following up in later verses.

The big adventure this month was a trip down to see Papa Pete and family in Florida. You did great on the plane, where for the first time you got to sit on the plane sans-car seat. This meant learning self-restraint about keeping the tray table up and your seat belt closed. We stuffed Popo in there with you, because after all monkeys need to fly safely too. For the rest of the time we cashed in our patience chips and handed you the iPad to keep you busy while we tried to rest.

Florida itself was wonderful, despite your being burdened with a minor cold the whole time you were there. You’ve got a tepid relationship with water, only venturing in after you’ve had some time to get used to the idea. Much more to your liking is the beach, with an endless amount of sand for you to dig in, pile up and knock down. We could have left you there unattended for hours with a single shovel and bucket and you wouldn’t have noticed.

Once in the pool, your goals were modest: walk up and down the steps, and climb up and down the ladder. Once in a while you’d brave a trip around the pool on Dada’s back or shoulders. Never were you ready to dive under, and rarely did you care to kick and swim on your own. (Unlike your sister, who’s glad to splash around in the water ad infinitum.) You’re more interested in the goal-oriented stuff. I can’t imagine where that comes from.

Best of all you got lots of time with your grandpa and Alla and the two funcles. The two boys are great with you, reading you books, playing hide and seek, helping you build sandcastles and generally being the kind of older sibling mentor types you don’t have at home. As you get older, that’s going to be more and more important — somewhere you can go to stop being the archetypal responsible older sibling we all know you’re going to be. (Right?)


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