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For the Record: Emmett at 19-20 Months
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I promised my daughter that I would record moments in her boys’ young lives, my grandsons, and send letters of love to their Gmail addresses. It’s today’s way of putting together a baby album: first steps, first words, lots of firsts. Each day reveals another miracle of growth, and I’m way behind on milestones and deadlines. These boys are growing up faster than I’m tracking. So, here goes.

Go-to words: Hiiiii! and Bye! (on every occasion, to almost everyone)
Word bank: Down, Home, Ball
Monday, 9/27: Oreo (for dessert)
Tuesday, 9/28: Wah (for water)
Thursday, 9/30: Done
Friday, 10/1: Moneeeeee (first time calling babysitter by name)
Saturday, 10/2: Oh-oh ( as he drops mac & cheese on the floor)
Sunday, 10/3: Poopee, Butt-butt (courtesy of big brother, whose favorite book character is Captain Underpants)
Monday, 10/4: Emmett (first time identifying self by his own name)
Tuesday, 10/5: King Tut (after his daddy says, “I’m going to be back before you can say KT.”)
Wednesday, 10/6: Scoop (sand at Argonne Playground)

Meet Emmett, our monosyllabic moppet. His eyes are still blue (since birth), his hair toffee-colored and so straight that it looks chopped instead of trimmed when I give him a haircut. He has a full set of baby teeth, minus four canine (Update: three, as of Friday, 10/8) and second molars yet to come, and a newly acquired gift for gab.

From screech, yell, bang and babble, he’s suddenly mouthing syllable-solo words at a fast and furious rate. It’s a cumulative language explosion, and age appropriate say the experts.

For example: when he’s finished with a meal, he announces, “DONE,” and climbs down from the high chair or lap he’s claimed as best seat in the house. “Done,” he broadcasts when the coffee maker buzzes. “Done, ” he calls out when the toast oven beeps.

Just little over two weeks ago, “Eh, eh” was his one and only vocal expression. It covered a lot of territory. Eh, eh meaning play with me, feed me, give it to me. I want that toy, that book, that food, that sharp paring knife you won’t let me touch.

The very next day, it seems, Emmett wants to play “ball,” to drink “wah” with an ice cube if you please. He tells you to sit “down” beside him as he pats the floor with his little palm. “Pat, pat,” he’ll say as I give him a hug and hold him close after a fall. He pats me on the arm or chest as I pat him on the back to comfort him.

Today, we had playground time before flu shots at the doctor’s office, an experience he would dread if he was capable of understanding future tense. We bought donut holes as breakfast treats to make the day special and pre-assuage the trauma. As soon as we turned at the Argonne gate, big brother on the scooter, Emmett in the stroller, he wanted “down” to play “ball” and then “scoop” and pour sand. In between activities, he investigated: the discarded pretzel wrapper (“Yuck, dirty, leave it on the ground!”), the dew on the still-wet bench, the chalk drawings fading away on the cement sidewalk. He watched the maintenance man “sweep” as if to learn more the mechanics for his own efforts in the backyard. (Wouldn’t you know, he as his own broom and dustpan.) Becoming bored or tired or having had enough, he climbed back into the stroller and dictated, “home.” He’s telling us what he wants every day and bossing us around at the same time.

Talking with Emmett (a full-time, fun-filled job) is like learning a new language – word by word. (Thank you, Anne Lamott.) He’s opening a new dimension for me; I’m sinking into each new word, syllable by syllable, as if it’s the first time I’ve heard it. When he says, “more,” I repeat “more.” I want to remember every miracle moment forever – the time when Emmett became one of my favorite conversationalists.

Thursday, October 7: Pax (first time he calls his big brother by name) and Cheese (for iPhone photo)
Friday, October 8: Kick (the ball) and Blow (while watching the wind blow the leaves)

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