09 July 2006

growing up multi-syllabic

Oliver's vocabulary is growing slowly, but it's growing. Last night he started trying to say his name, his first attempt at three syllables. It's not coming out in anything the average listener could distinguish, but he's giving it his best effort. It shouldn't be long before he succeeds.

"Dog" continues to be his favorite word. It's the first thing he says when I go into his room in the morning, all the while pointing at a picture of Clumbers above his bed (shown above, by Sandra Coen).

He follows this up by pointing at the dogs in "String of Pearls", a wonderful original painting of five Clumbers (including Penguin and Chewy, in the excerpt shown -- it's too long to fit in one photo and show any detail) by Chris Franey, hanging in our bedroom. As we go down the stairs he continues to say "dog" pointing to the painting Chris did for our Christmas card a few years ago. Then he spots one more Clumber picture in the living room and points, reminding me that this, too, is a dog. If he's obsessed with canines, it's likely genetic.

Oliver has also started to understand more of the things he hears, meaning I probably need to be a lot more conscious of what I say around him, lest something like this happen. In general though, this is useful. When I notice a particular tell-tale stench eminating from his backside I can say, "Time for a diaper," and he trots himself right upstairs to his room for a change. I hope this bodes well for toilet learning.

Someone else I know has grown up too. If you haven't been checking on the daily updates from Voodoo Child, sailing in the Vic-Maui race, you really should, especially today's entry from Sam. This is a kid I used to see a fair bit of when he was small, though I haven't seen him or his brothers in many years so it's a real treat to read his thoughts on the race and get a glimpse of the young man he has grown into. Today he's 18 and about to leave for college, after the boat race finishes. His parents, Brian and Susan, are understandably and entirely justifiably proud of who has become. I wish I could say I predicted it. I knew he'd grow up to be a terrific person but I think I underestimated him. Brian and Susan are my parenting role models. I wish I could bottle whatever they've got, or maybe send Oliver to them for a while. No, scratch that. I'd miss him too much. The one thing that stuck with me from watching them parent three young boys is an uncanny sense of what was important and the remarkable ability to let go of everything else. I'm going to need to keep that in mind this week.

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