Carter is talking up a storm now, to the point that we've hit the stage where it's hard to get him to stop talking. Lately long after bedtime we'll still hear him up in his crib singing and talking to himself. Most of the time he's super cute and keeps us laughing. Sometimes he just talks about the world as we pass it by. He'll ask about certain buildings, or point out a bus or airplane, or just talk about his day at daycare. He's still got a pretty nasty stutter, and while it doesn't seem to phase him, it does make me sad to hear him struggle to get words out. But he's so observant and knows so many words, and I love this phase as he learns how to have a conversation.
Lately he's had some phrases that he uses all the time. I figured I should share them here for posterity...
"You love me, Mommy?" - I think he knows the answer and just wants to hear it again, but I tell him I love him at least a half dozen times a day (more on weekends), so there should be no question. If anything perhaps he's learning that it doesn't depend on anything and I will always love him no matter what. On a related note, I had to have the conversation with Jacob a couple weeks ago about how I will always love him, but that sometimes I may not like him very much. He accused me of wanting to hang out with Carter more, and I explained that yes, sometimes I do like to hang out with Carter more because it's not fun to hang out with someone who doesn't listen and makes me yell all the time. Ironically, a co-worker of mine mentioned the same issue in her house, saying that it's a real compliment when she says that she likes her kids, in addition to loving them. I think it's still a hard concept for Jacob to understand, but I think the big takeaway is that I will always love him, even when liking him gets hard. For now I think Carter just likes the validation of hearing it over and over again.
"Are you my Mommy?" - I have no idea why he asks me this, usually at least twice a day. I think there might be a book out there that's says something like that, but I have no clue what brought it on. Maybe me asking, "Are you my baby boy?" or "Are you my big boy?" Still, every single time I respond, "Of course I am, silly!"
"Are you happy?" - Oh, this one...I think this one is related to the love one above, where he's trying to gauge where he stands with me. Obviously a few times when he's misbehaved I've told him that the behavior doesn't make me very happy. Conversely, sometimes I tell him that something he did makes me very happy, be it a big hug or a successful use of the potty. And when those things happen, he will ask me if I'm happy. And when he misbehaves sometimes he will ask me, and I will tell him that no, I'm not happy. He was particularly cranky on a walk down to the mailbox the other day, not wanting to hold my hand in the street, and he learned I wasn't happy with him. He's mentioned it multiple times since, and his teachers laugh that only Carter would blow himself in for being naughty!
"I have brown hair. You have brown hair, too." - Carter always likes to mention that we both have brown hair. Sometimes he talks about our eyes, too. He seems to like that we have that in common. Perhaps he likes it even more because Jacob does not have brown hair and that is one thing that Carter has in common with me that Jacob doesn't. But mostly I think he's just observing the world and likes having something in common with somebody!
"Your car is blue. These your tires, Mommy?" - Carter loves pointing out what color my car is, and that my car is different from Daddy's car. He's also been interested in my tires lately, and likes to confirm that's what they are. Silly boy.
"I leaving you!" and "You're trapped!" - Reverse psychology works really well on Carter (see the point below, too), and sometimes when we need him to head for the door, we'll ask, "Are you leaving me?" And he suddenly decides that leaving is a good idea and he delightfully responds, "I'm leaving you!" He'll do it to daycare teachers, too! In the morning when we employ this technique, he also says to Craig, "You're trapped!" as the front door shuts. Apparently he likes the thought of shutting Craig in. I don't think it's mean-spirited, but for now it works so we'll go with it.
Breakfast at daycare - Okay, so this isn't a saying, but it's a habitual routine for him. Most mornings I have a heck of a time getting him into daycare. Despite all the issues we've had there, he's still with the same teachers so I know that's not it. His friends have changed a bit, but I think for the most part they're fine, too. I honestly think he'd just rather stay home and hang out. We had those three months together when I was off work, so maybe that's stuck with him. Regardless, every morning he gives me trouble. When we finally get in the room, he's either being stubborn or hanging on to me for dear life. There are rarely any tears, though, and a minute after I leave he's always fine, so I know it's pretty much just an act. However, the one thing that will get him to stay without an issue is the thought of missing out on breakfast. The ongoing joke is that his one teacher is going to eat it. I know, that's probably cruel to use that threat, but I have to think by now he knows it's a joke. But once he hears that, he sits right down, drinks his milk, and starts in on his bagel and banana or his cereal. It works at dinner time, too, by the way.
"Rock me!" - Lately we've been stuck between the "baby boy" and "big boy" worlds. He's always going to be my baby, and since he's a lot smaller than Jacob was at this age, it's easier to think of him that way. But there's no doubt he's getting bigger (we're less than four months from his third birthday, for goodness sakes!), and when I encourage him at potty training, of course I want him to be my big boy. Jacob never really went through a regression phase, but Carter seems to like being the baby right now. A couple times at bedtime as we cuddled after reading, I explained to Carter that I used to hold him and rock him in that chair. And now suddenly he's asking me to rock him! He also tells me that he's my baby ("I you baby, Mommy!"), so I may have created a monster. BUT...on one hand he's getting too big to rock for too long, so it's hard to indulge him too much, yet on the other hand he will only be this small for a little longer so I'm going to savor it all I can.
"Shoot me!" or "Play me!" - He hasn't used "Shoot me!" as much lately, but it's his term for "Shoot on me," as in playing hockey or lacrosse where he's the goalie. He does say "Play me" quite a bit when he wants you to get down and play with him. It's hard to resist when he asks so sweetly.
"I hit home runs!" - He says this whenever he's playing baseball, which usually involves taking a swing and running the length of the house like a maniac. He's not quite the stickler for accuracy that Jacob once was, apparently. Oh, and half the time it ends with a fall, to which he says, "I slide in the dirt!"
"You go Canada?" - He says this to Craig a lot, apparently because Craig spends a lot of time in Canada and Carter just assumes he's going there all the time. This week it's been "You go doctor?", since Craig has been nursing his bum knee.
"Artie-Toodie" and "Indy Jones" - Those are two movie characters...any guesses? Indy Jones is, of course, Indiana Jones, and Artie-Toodie is R2D2 from Star Wars. Too cute. He used to call Scooby-Doo "Doo Doo", but he's gotten the hang of Scooby now.
"I give you hug." - He offers to give me hugs a lot, often out of the blue, and I love it. It's a pretty hardcode contrast to Jacob, who now doesn't want me touching him at all.
"I love you, Mommy." - Yes, this one is my favorite. After having one child where I could probably count on one hand the number of times he's told me he loves me, Carter says it all the time and it makes me so happy. Most importantly, he shows it, too. He is such a sweet, thoughtful kid so much of the time (and clearly entertaining to boot), and I feel so blessed to be his mom.