Green blueberries…

Zak bought grapes – green grapes – for the first time since last summer, and for some reason, our son insists on calling them blueberries.

It’s not like a new fruit would be too complicated for him. He knows oranges, kiwis, watermelon, strawberries, mangoes, mandarins, apples, pineapples, avocados, tomatoes, and probably a lot more I’m forgetting, plus, of course, blueberries. He even knows raisins (the dried fruit in English, not the French for grapes). But for some strange reason, he just refuses to say grapes. He has baptized these round things blueberries (read “booooooies”), and booooooies they will remain.

I don’t even want to think of how confused he will be when we buy blue grapes!

Learning by imitation

One of the most fascinating things I find about raising a toddler is that you become awkwardly aware of your own quirks when you’re suddenly faced with a little mini-you imitating them… One example:

Zak and I don’t usually bother closing the door when we go to the bathroom. So I guess someone has been watching. Our son is now using the potty regularly (only when asked if he needs to, but that’s still pretty good at 21-months old) and often, he’ll ask us for some toilet paper while he’s sitting on his throne, regardless of whether or not he actually peed or pooed. It’s not really meant to wipe himself. When we give him a sheet or two, he bunches them up meticulously in his hand and rests it against his thigh, in what seems to be a well-considered spot, while continuing his business.

I guess we do tend to do that. I mean, we grab the paper before we’re done and hold it there. It’s just so funny when you see your son doing the same thing not because he has a use for it, but just because he saw you do it so it must be the proper thing to do!

Now if only he imitated our table manners, too…

What would Jesus buy?

I watched this movie a while ago but keep forgetting to talk about it. It’s worth watching, though. This documentary, produced by Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me), follows Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir on a tour of the United States. It is a brilliant criticism of the extreme commercialism that we almost all fall victims too, especially around Christmas. Reverend Billy doesn’t take himself or his church seriously; they don’t preach any religion but simply try to make people realize how ridiculous things are getting when it comes to materialism. He wants to make people stop and think, buy less and spend more quality time with their family instead. In order to do that, they invade malls, exorcise Wallmart signs and make a lot of people uneasy in the process. The movie is interspersed with sickening stats about how much we overspend and scenes of over-spoiled brats complaining that they received only ONE miniature Hummer for Christmas instead of two (plus a whole pile of other stuff). It’s definitely worth watching if you can find it; our local repertoire video store has it.

The first of many

This morning, my son asked me for the first time: “What’s this?”

It wasn’t such a remarkable conversation. We were in the bathroom, he grabbed the corner of a towel, hung up to dry:

- What’s this?, he asked.
- Une serviette, I replied.
- Maman wash with serviette, he exclaimed.

See, nothing remarkable. But it’s the first time he asks (me, at least, and I don’t think he has asked Zak either) what something is. The thing is, I am an informed parent. I know that soon enough, he will be asking me what everything is, 20 times per hour. And I will be sick of it after a while, especially when he will be asking me about something he knows very well what it is because I have told him 20 times a day for the last 20 days. So that’s why I figure this is a remarkable thing. Because it is announcing a new phase.

My baby is growing so fast!

Bilingualism à la Justin Trudeau

I don’t know if many people visited Trudeau’s Web site during the last election campaign, but he posted a series of videos in Frenglish in which he switched from one language to the other constantly, often in the middle of a sentence. He claimed that this would make them understandable for both French and English viewers, and I suspect he was hoping to make each half of the country more open to the other, but the reality is, his videos were just unbearable for both! You pretty much had to be bilingual (and used to switching language all the time) to manage to follow him.

My son, who is now starting to make longer sentences, vaguely reminds me of this bad experience, but he has the excuse of being only 21 months old! It is extremely funny to hear. From what I have read, kids raised in bilingual households don’t actually confuse the two languages: they know very well which is which, they just borrow words or expressions to the two languages because they don’t have enough to express themselves properly in just one.

For instance, this morning he woke up a bit distressed at the thought that he had slept without his (stuffed) dog. When I said that yes, the dog had been left downstairs, he replied “Maman downstairs cherche (go get) dog”. Then after breakfast, when I was changing his diaper and putting clothes on him, he exclaimed “Maman go c’est l’heure du (it’s time for) work?” I was impressed, as he didn’t ask me if I had to go to work yesterday or Saturday, only Monday morning.

Anyway, I know that his language skills are more than on track for his age and I have absolutely no fear that he will eventually manage to make complete sentences in each language separately, but in the meantime being bilingual certainly helps when it comes to understanding him. It keeps you on your toes when you have not only to understand his (sometimes) poor pronunciation, but also figure out in which language the word or expression is.

Good luck to my family when we go visit!

Already a consumer!

My chatty toddler and his dad were about to eat some messy watermelon (hmmm… watermelon!) yesterday afternoon when Zak reminded his son that he needed a bib.

- Papa bib?, replied the said son.

- Papa doesn’t have a bib, answered his father.

- Papa go store buy some!, was the final answer.

That’s a pretty good sentence for a 21-month-old toddler. Too bad he already knows that the store has the answer to all plights!

Counting my blessings

I never, ever, ever want to be a single mom.

For the past week, Zak has been doing some contract work. But he works full-time already (taking care of our son), which means he has to do his contracts on the night and/or weekend shift while I’m there to take over. He has been making phone calls and trying to tighten loose ends during the day, which means he’s had less time for domestic chores. So my share of the work has increased, and I have had a hard time keeping up with the basics (meals and dishes, with the occasional laundry load).

It has been only a week, but already I am exhausted and the house is a pig sty (no, really… and my standards are pretty low)! Apparently, you still have to eat even when you don’t have time to clean up afterwards. And toddlers seem to have absolutely no sympathy for parents in this situation (mine spilled a bowl of minuscule cereal which is still on the floor as we haven’t had time to vaccuum).

Don’t call Children’s services just yet – we are working on it. There are no rats or cockroaches yet, and I have been washing diapers regularly, at least. But that’s after a week. I can’t imagine living like that all the time – having to pick up my son at daycare and then doing all the household chores by myself. I am soooo glad I’m not a single parent!

I’d better make sure things stay that way…