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November 3, 2003 - Monday
Jeremy is 2! And, almost all of a sudden, his life seems to be moving into high gear. That didn't happen just today on his birthday, of course, although a little party with Grandma and Grandpa and cake and presents was a nice showcase for Jeremy's emerging personality. But noticeably, over the last couple of weeks Jeremy has started to come into his own.

I suppose with a two-year-old "high gear" usually means a lot of me, me, me. And, there's definitely a little extra of that with Jeremy lately. He's been, for example, particularly disagreeable at mealtime and that's a big switch from being such a wonderful eater thus far in his life. He's been growing increasingly particular about foods getting mixed together, sauces being put on foods like spaghetti, and only eating foods he knows and whats. Mostly, I take the current swell as a symptom of Jeremy discovering himself and his place and power in the world.

On the other hand, being particular is really not new for Jeremy. It's just manifesting itself it differnet ways. Jeremy's strong sense of routine and his unguarded likes and dislikes are something that Mary, his babysitter, likes to talk about often. "He likes things the way he likes them," she often says with a smile, charmed by his transparent emotions. She tends to let children at her house follow their own desires and dictate much of the course of the day and Jeremy often goes through several days in a row doing much same things in the same order. That predictability or inflexibility is an intriguing aspect or contrast to a boy who otherwise comes off as so easy going. In a real sense, though, his continued thumb sucking and reliance on the nunny as a comfort measure (admittedly, he's increasingly doing that just at night now, but it's still there) are a good tip off that he's a kid that needs a little extra regularity in life. But, where he's otherwise such a happy young boy, we've never thought of Jeremy's strong predilection as anything other than endearing.

What's most obvious lately is that Jeremy is talking, especially over just the last couple of weeks. He doesn't pronounce words particularly well, and certainly not as well as Harry did at the time of his second birthday, but all of a sudden it seems clear that Jeremy knows plenty of words and is constantly trying to say new ones. I guess it's impossible to remember how quickly things happened with Harry, and it's certainly easy to imagine that with one child we were better able to wait on every of Harry's early syllables than with Jeremy (second child and all). But my sense is that Jeremy may be going through a faster word-learning spurt than Harry did and may be starting to catch up a little to Harry's remarkable early pace with language. Maybe that shouldn't be a surprise because when Harry was learning words we were getting a glimpse of a year and a half old mind and with Jeremy it's a two-year-old mind. With the longer wait for words with Jeremy, we've effectively waited a little longer to know how much he really understands. The answer is that he understands plenty and has shown that he remembers plenty, too, going back at least six months. It's my sense that Jeremy's diversity of new words, verb tenses, and clear word phrases, while not a match for Harry early vocabulary and elocution, are similar in terms of young thoughts. Jeremy is very often babbling now and, while it can often sound like just babble, I get the distinct sense that he's always saying words and sentences that I just can't make out. The wonderful thing about Jeremy is that he's often very committed to being understood and will often say the same word several times, calmly saying "no," then the word again if we get it wrong. And, when we finally do get it, he'll smile, tilt his head a little, and offer a big congratulatory, "ya-a-a-ah." It's the very frequent moments like this that make Jeremy seem like such a wonderfully open and communicative boy.

Of course, the other stuff shows what an emotional boy he can be, too. It's too early to know how those two traits will take shape. But, they sure are fun now. And, with a tow-year-old Jeremy, when they're not that fun, the sad, pouty, and angry faces are all so perfect and perfectly transparent that they are really mostly funny.

This is Jeremy's new "Little People" garage, but Harry, appearing patient in this picture, is soon to become very active with it, too. Conventional thinking suggest that as the younger sibling starts to get a little older and equally possessive, the relationship starts to change. I suppose we see a little of that, Harry saying things like, "Jeremy's grabbing," "Jeremy pushed me [away from his toys]," and so forth. But, their squabbles, especially when they start with Jeremy, are so clearly either little boundary-pushing tests or juvenile negotiations that it's easy to see even those positively. So far, the boys still get along very well together.

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