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Monday, April 14, 2014

Baby Anthropology Series

For those of you who enjoy the videos I take of Anders, I have created a YouTube playlist where I will publish them from now on (as opposed to Facebook). Here is a link to the most recent one!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Three Conversations With My 2.5-Year-Old

Yesterday Anders and I were reading a book about cats. When I read this page, Anders pointed to the "scary cat" and said, "He not scary. He frustrated. Soooooo frustrated. "

A little while later I said, "Anders, I am going to the Culture Club today. Do you want anything." Anders said, "Almonds. And a cement mixer." *This is called "wishful thinking" on the part of a toddler. He knows the Culture Club sells food and not cement mixers. But he enjoys the thought of buying a cement mixer.

This morning Anders was playing a friend of ours who was visiting. Anders was holding his green plastic saw and said to our friend, "I saw you." Our friend looked horrified and said, "Noooooooooo!!!" Anders said, "It not real saw. It pretend saw." *Anders likes to pretend to fix things with his tools. Previously he has always pretended to fix his tractor, his bike or walls. Yesterday a well-meaning adult friend of ours pretended to fix Anders with Anders's tools... And now Anders likes to pretend to fix people with his tools as well. It looks identical to the tractor video I posted except it's a person instead of the tractor. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

House Broken Toddler Pees on Floor

Three days ago Anders peed on the floor twice in one day. The first time I didn't think anything of it and just cleaned it up, but the second time I thought there may be more too it. Anders is 29-months-old in this post and has not had an accident in the house since he was 20-months-old. I asked him about it as follows (to the best of my memory):

*I want to note that there is no judgement in my voice when I ask Anders if he wants me to be mad--wanting to make your mom mad is a perfectly normal and legitimate thing for a toddler to want.

Mama: Anders, when I see pee on the floor I feel sad and frustrated. I also feel confused because I don't know why you peed on the flood. Did you want Mama to feel sad?

Anders does not answer.

Mama: Do you feel mad at Mama? Do you want Mama to be mad?

Still no answer.

Mama: Was it just an accident? You just forgot to go to the toilet?

Still no answer.

Mama: Did you just want Mama's attention?

Anders: Attention.

Mama: Oooooh. I've been so busy working on my book, are you missing your mom?

Anders: Yes. Miss Mama.

Mama takes Anders in her arms.

Mama: When you are needing attention Anders you can just tell me. I always want to meet you needs if I can. You can say, "I need attention!!!" like that and I will hopefully be able to stop what I am doing and give you attention.

Anders: Ooooooh.

We clean up the pee and it doesn't happen again. But three days later, Tom (my husband) and I are sitting at the dining room table after eating dinner. We are chatting on and on about something. Anders is running back and forth from his room to the dining room. He does this about two dozen times over the course of half an hour. He is very high energy and being very funny. Twice he comes to me for a kiss. And then suddenly he throws himself onto the carpet near the table and says very loudly:


Mama: Oh Anders, thank you for telling me! You want me to stop talking to Papa and give you my attention?

Anders: Yes.

Papa: How can we meet your need for attention? What would you like us to do?

Anders: Come watch me work.

Tom and I follow Anders into his bedroom where we watch him practice jumping and playing with his tools. Anders is very happy. And I am very happy--both that I don't have to clean more pee off the floor and because of Anders's self-awareness and ability to communicate his needs.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Three Conversations With Two Toddlers


Anders is almost 2 1/2. Truman is almost 2. They have played together enough to be very comfortable around each other.

Anders plays with a toy backhoe. Truman is nearby playing with a scooter. Anders holds out the backhoe--

Anders: Truman! Truck!

Truman stops what he is doing and takes the backhoe.

Truman: Thanks, Anders! You welcome.
Anders: Welcome! Say welcome.
Truman (pointing): That backhoe [i.e. not a truck like Anders had said]
Anders: Backhoe
Truman: Backhoe

Anders points at the dump truck at his feet.

Anders: Dump truck.
Truman: Dump truck.
Anders (pointing): Has these tires. Drive outside. Turns.
Truman (pointing): This the engine.
Anders (pointing): This the dumper.

[Anders gets between Truman and the dump truck.]

Anders: Doing my work. Don't want play with my toys.

Truman takes a few steps away and then kneels down and plays with the backhoe. Anders plays with the dump truck.


Truman sits on the floor at the foot of a dining room chair eating from a bowl of raisins. Anders sits in a dining room chair nearby eating from a bowl of nuts. Anders puts down the nuts and stands on his chair. He leans toward the chair near Truman.

Anders: I want knock chair over. Need Truman move.

Truman continues eating and does not notice that Anders wants him to move.

Anders (repeating louder): I want knock chair over. Need Truman move!!!

Truman again does not notice. Anders watches him, his head cocked to the side. A few minutes pass. Anders's Mom comes and sits in the chair next to Anders. Anders looks at his Mom.

Anders: Frustrated.
Anders's Mom: Yeah, you want Truman to move but he didn't hear you. You've been waiting a long time.

Truman looks up from his bowl of raisins.

Ander's Mom: You have Truman's attention now. Do you want to tell him again what you want?

Anders doesn't have to say anything because Truman moves aside. Anders knocks the chair over and--

Anders (giggles with glee): Ha ha ha.


Truman plays with a toy truck. He hurts his thumb.

Truman: Ow!

Truman approaches Anders's Mom with his thumb out.

Truman: Kiss!

Anders runs and dives into his mom's lap.

Anders: NO! That's MY mom!

Anders puts his arms around his mom.

Anders's Mom: I am your mom! But Truman has a hurt thumb and he wants a kiss. How about you kiss his thumb instead of me?

Anders shakes his head.

Anders's Mom: Then how about I kiss Truman's thumb, but I stay your mom?

Anders nods. Anders's Mom kisses Truman's thumb. Truman goes back to playing. Anders does too.