“Look, Ma! I Can Read!” Or More Adventures of the Little Man and Little Miss

It has been a while since I’ve posted an update on the Little Man–now 3-1/2–and the Little Miss–now 15 months. This is probably a relief to some and a sin to others and exemplifies the adage, “you can’t please everyone all the time.” But since it is my blog and I am in charge around here, I ask your indulgence. After all, it’s not like I’m showing you pictures of cats.

Back in October, the Little Man had some minor surgery to remove a mole from his forehead, right between his eyes. The mole wasn’t cancerous, but the doctors agrees that for a variety of reasons, he’d be better off without it. The Little Man did very well and the scar is healing nicely. It will still be a few months for the scar to fade, but already I can tell the difference. He asks every once in a while to see the scar in the mirror and I think he is started to notice the difference as well.

He has entered that whiny phase of childhood, where every question comes out in a long, drawn out whine. And often not in the form of a question: “I waaaant some juuuuuuuuice!” Kelly and I have taken to telling him that we can’t understand him when he talks that way. He caught on pretty quickly and will repeat, in a much more cheerful voice, “Can I have some juice, please?”

The Little Man has been slow to learn his colors–to the point where we thought he might be color-blind. But from a little experiment at his school’s open house last night, we discovered that wasn’t the case. He had two sets of colors blocks. He would try to name the colors on one set (getting them right about 50% of the time) and hen lay them out on the floor. Next, he’d match the colors in the second set to the first. He matched the colors perfectly, meaning he can see and recognize the differences in color, he’s just slow on putting names to them.

On the other hand, he blew me away with a talent I had no idea he had yet. I walk over to his school every afternoon to pick him up. On the walk home, I ask him about his day and what he did. Usually his answer is, “Played toys, did lessons.” So I’ll follow up with, “What kind of lessons?” He never really answers this in any meaningful way. Well!

Last night at the open house, his teacher sat down with him, took out a card with a picture of a bathtub and the word TUB next to the picture. She covered up the picture and pointed to the first letter. The Little Man said, “Tuh.” She pointed to the next letter. “Uh.” And the last letter: “Buh.” She repeated her pointing again, this time faster: “tuh-uh-buh,” he said–and half a second later: “Tub!” He did this with six different words and I was totally blown away by this. I had no idea that he’d been learning to sound out letters to make words. Even now, after a full night’s sleep, I am still astounded. Watching my kids learn how to read was something I was very excited about when they were first born and now I’m finally seeing it happen.

As for the Little Miss, we call her our little genius. She seems to be far ahead in many areas than the Little Man was at the same age. Part of this is certainly due to the fact that she has an older brother to show her the ropes. But I suspect some of it is native talent. At fifteen months, she has a vocabulary of a 2-1/2 year old. And she can speak in multiple word sentences. For example, the other morning I was heading off to work. The Little Miss was in bed with us and I kissed her on the head.

“Bye-bye, Daddy,” she said. “I looove yooou!”

“I love you, too, sweetie.” I said.

She put her hand on Kelly’s arm. “Mama stay.”

“Yes,” I said, “Mama is staying home with you.”

Incidentally, Kelly had the idea of recording the Little Miss saying “I love you!” because it is so adorable and would be something we could play at her wedding guaranteed to bring a tear to every eye in the room.

The Little Miss is clever, but also willful. “No!” has become a go-to word for her. It used to be a soft, quiet “No,” but has in recent weeks grown into a stern and commanding “No!”

She loves to play games and one of the games she loves the most is “I chase you!” where she, the Little Man and I chase each other around the house shouting, “I chase you.” Sometimes, when I am otherwise occupied, she will walk into the office, strike a pose, give me the cutest little smile and say, “Daddy, I chase you!” and then go running off down the hall. How irresistible is that!

If the Little Man laughs around her, she will burst into laughter as well. They can really get each other going that way.

They keep us busy, but they are both, finally sleeping through the night in their own beds. The Little Miss gives no fuss over it any more. It used to be that I’d get up to put her in her crib and she’d cling to Kelly and start crying. Now, she looks forward to it. She calls for me and I pick her up and we go into her room. I set her down in her crib with her stuffed puppy and she says, “I love you!” and turns her head and is asleep.

Her latest obsession is with Santa Claus. No matter where she sees him, she says hello to him. Both kids are very excited about the holidays.

The Little Man is very much into good guys and bad guys right now. I watched the original Star Wars with him a few weeks ago and he was fascinated. Throughout most of the movie, he kept asking, “Is that a good guy or bad guy.” But toward the end, when the rebels were attacking the Death Star, he was quite literally on the edge of his seat. After a couple of rebel ships were destroyed he turned to me with a look of high anxiety, “The good guys ships got broken?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“But I want the good guys to win.” He seemed on the verge of tears.

“Just watch.”

When Luke “broke” the Death Star, the Little Man shrieked with glee and jumped up and down the room for the entire run of the credits.

Yesterday, in the car, he made a funny breathing noise.

“What’s going on?” I asked him.

“I’m being Darth Vader1,” he said.


  1. For a while, he was calling Darth Vader, Fart Hater.”