Two nights ago, both Isaac and I were up in the middle of the night running a fever, unable to sleep because we were coughing and had stuffy noses.

Except, Isaac was trying to sleep, while I was sitting up cuddling and comforting him and trying to hold him in a position where he could feel better and breathe more easily.

I was exhausted — especially after a few grueling weeks at work. But what I felt then, at that moment, was immense gratitude.

I was grateful that even though we were both sick, we were there with each other. (This sounds a little melodramatic but I had just read an article earlier in the day about a young boy at his mother’s wake and it made me cry the entire drive home.) I was grateful that motherhood has given me the strength to prevail through the most challenging moments, far beyond what I thought I could. And most of all, I was grateful to be grateful, even in that tired moment.

Anyway, Isaac woke up all cheerful and sprightly yesterday has been happy and active since, despite the runny nose and cough; while poor mommy is feeling far more miserable with an awful earache. But fortitude and tenacity YX! There’ll be time for a bit of breather soon!

Isaac’s Language Development

Every other day, I find myself writing these long, boring posts about Isaac’s language and cognitive development — mostly because having trained as a linguist, I find the whole process of language acquisition very fascinating. Apart from a few big milestones, I certainly didn’t observe Isaac’s gross or fine motor development quite as much.

And! At 26.5 months, Isaac can now say at least 250 words! Which is quite astonishing considering that he spoke around 40 words two months ago and only just reached 100 words a month ago. In fact, he now says up to 10 or 15 new words a day (many of which he probably already knew but never had the occasion to say out loud). Of the 250 words, around half are nouns (include about 15 species of flower names and random words like ‘confetti’, ‘whirlpool’, ‘gear’), he has close to 60 verbs and 30 adjectives and a smattering of prepositions, numbers, pronouns, adverbs and other functional phrases. (It also includes the only and only Chinese phrase “不要“) At this point, while it’s still fun to track the new lexical words, the linguist in me is looking out for pronouns, articles, more abstract prepositions, and of course eventually the use of number and tense.

It is also quite amazing how he is now quickly forming new sentences and structures without us having us explicitly model them for him. The longer sentences are not grammatically accurate yet but it’s reassuring to see how quickly he’s piecing things together!

And the last development which had us quite surprised is how much he actually remembers. A couple of weeks ago, I told him a story about a mother cat dying (a bit morbid, but I was trying to weave in a lesson about crossing the road safely), and weeks later, he would ask for that story. Then, a second incident was when he started telling us “Gong gong carry Isaac see old windmill airport”, which got us very curious, until we found out from my parents that they indeed brought him to see an old windmill at the airport when they picked me up from my work trip to China, last November! That’s an incident from 8 months ago and we haven’t spoken about it in between! Then most most amazingly a couple of days ago, he saw a picture in his book which looked like a toy he had when he was one, but of a different colour. So I told him, oh this looks like Mr Squishy, do you remember what colour Mr Squishy was? And he could answer, yellow! We threw away this particular about a year ago, so that was the last time he saw it. So Isaac has been noticing and remembering things way before he spoke!

This is really such a lovely lovely age — everyday, Isaac surprises us with new demands “Papa play piano!” and new learning “Yellow gear turn orange gear” (um, a bit of an engineer in the making like his Daddy!) I don’t think I have ever imagined parenthood to be such fun, and so fulfilling, and I am grateful everyday for this happy and healthy little one =)

Terrific Two!

Isaac’s been playing with tissue paper these two days, leaving our floor strewn with bits and pieces that stick to our feet. So before his nap today I got a pail and told Isaac to help clean up — and he obliged very enthusiastically. After we’ve picked up all the pieces, I saw a gleam in his eye and told him no he cannot throw all the paper out again. That got Isaac all cheeky and laughing and trying to overturn the pail. Finally, I said sternly ‘Mummy said no’ at which point he let go without any fuss and went off to find something else to do. No meltdown!

And not for the first time these few weeks, I marvelled at how our fussy stubborn younger became this terrific two year old. He’s curious, cheeky and independent — but also so cheerful, and amazingly for his age, so reasonable! He fusses and whines at times, but they never last long and he’s always so willing to listen to reason. Of course I half suspect that as soon as I say this he’ll morph right into a terrible monster the next moment. But I’m very very grateful for the lovely child he is right now.

We can hardly claim any credit — except perhaps that we have always just let him be a kid. (Note how we allowed him to play with tissues for two days >.<though on that note, he was so experimental in the way he was playing, tearing them to different sizes then dropping them from different heights that I thought there might actually be a lot of learning in his play!) Likely he’s just a very happy and sweet character to begin with, once he got out of his younger fussy days.

In any case! He gets cuter by the day and we’re so utterly smitten by our boy! Throwback picture from our time in Osaka!