29 Months!

Malcolm, Vaughn, and Gisele, ready to terrorize our neighborhood

Summer has arrived, and Malcolm and Vaughn have Gisele home all day. They can talk now, albeit in a stilted garbled way. They'll typically say things like, "Me want go blue park". Malcolm often comes up with better sentences like, "My hat fell off my head". He practices talking more and has the habit of repeating everything you say. It drives Gisele crazy, but I think that it will make him speak better.

Malcolm and Vaughn even have conversations with each other. They usually involve confirming what other people like.
Vaughn: "Malcolm like pudding?"
Malcolm: "Malcolm like pudding"
Vaughn: "Me like pudding, too"
Malcolm: "Oh? Vaughn like pudding, too"

Vaughny running with the big kids in Gisele's school, and sliding backwards down our slide

Vaughn has recently become more stubborn, impatient, and ornery. It's a delightful combination. If he wants something he'll often yell at the top of his lungs "almond milk!!" (or whatever it is) over and over again. It's as if he can't understand that my hands are in a toilet rinsing out his poopy cloth diaper and he'll have to wait a moment. He also can be unreasonably opinionated about things. If I try to put a shirt on him that he doesn't like he'll say in a disgusted voice, "don't like shirt (at) all!" If he ends his sentence with "all", it means that he loathes whatever he's referring to. Malcolm has a "glass half full" approach to life. He has very often tasted something and then told me that he "loves it... so much". He is pretty free with his love and has enthused that he "loves... green car.... so much" along with his other toys.

If you make the mistake of lying on the floor, you deserve what you get. Malcolm looooved Easter.

Vaughn has also become even more aggressive. If he gets into a certain mood, he'll gleefully pin Malcolm on the floor by sitting astride on him. The disturbing part is that he'll usually think it's hilarious to hit Malcom with a toy or a stick at the same time. Malcolm will screech his displeasure and I'll come running once I recognize that it's a real cry. Vaughn continues to brazenly stalk Malcolm to force toys out of his hands and then run off laughing, expecting to be chased. Gisele never had to put up with this abuse, but Malcolm is learning early that it's a cruel world.

Although Vaughn is usually the hunter, he has a bizarre paranoia of being chased by bears. He'll often say, "Bear coming!" and pretend that a bear is somewhere behind him. Recently while driving, Vaughn mentioned that there was a bear coming that wanted to take the wheels off of our car. He's also more afraid of dogs than Malcolm is and he's more afraid of people and new situations. He has a typical bully profile.

Taking a nap and pretending to take a nap

While Vaughn tends to have a serious demeanor, Malcolm is all silliness. If Malcolm is doing something slightly comical he'll emit a constant stream of squeals and laughs. And he's starting to make up jokes! I asked Malcolm recently if he had pooped, and he said "no", but then went on to say, "Maybe box pooped". Then, "Maybe arm pooped", etc. He laughed crazily, so I knew that he was being intentionally humorous. Now he tries to make little jokes like this all of the time.

Malcolm is still very sweet. Just ask Gisele's Brownie troop, or the girls in her school. They'll tell you that all you have to do to get a hug from Malcolm is approach him and ask for one. He's happy to oblige so long as the request is coming from a child and not an unknown adult. He has to draw the line somewhere.

Vaughn and Malcolm jumping onto the bed

I like to think that we model non-stereotypical behavior in our house. The boys see me and only me wielding power tools, building fences, fixing irrigation pipes, drywall, etc. Yet Vaughn has become very sexist. When he sees a truck he'll say, "Man driving truck?" And I'll say, "It could be a man or a woman driving the truck". But then he'll say in a definitive way "No, man driving truck". In Vaughn's world, fire fighters are always men, along with mail carriers, motorcyclists, and people using distant power tools that we sometimes hear. He doesn't seem to speculate much on women. And he has begun to worship at the shrine of daddy. Whenever daddy is around and Vaughn needs his shoes put on or a glass of water poured, or any menial task performed, he'll push me away and insist that daddy do it. I could take it personally, but, hey, it's less work for me to do.

Not many people say this to my face, but I know that they're thinking that I'm a bad disciplinarian. I do let the kids jump off of tables, stand on chairs, use my tools, etc. And I sometimes wonder if they're right when I see how often Gisele (age 7) steps up to the plate to administer time-outs. In fact, it was GIsele who gave Vaughn his first time-out. She led him away to the couch telling him to stay there until she told him that the time out was over. He actually obeyed her! Now she gives him time-outs pretty often. I heard her say to Vaughn before she sprung him free, "Do you think you could not throw things at people anymore?" She wants to be a second mommy but gets deeply offended when they don't trust her to carry them around the pool. I have to remind her that for one thing, real mommies don't kick their children and scream at them like she sometimes does.

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