Explosive Learning

Closing in on two years old is one of the best ages for a baby. Everything he does is just amazing. He’s speaking more, understanding more, and can actually recall things from previous days. Every time he does, it just blows my mind all over again. He’s using 3 word sentences now. He’s learning new words and concepts every single day.

How is this tiny thing, who was completely unable to do anything whatsoever just a few short months ago, able to express thoughts and opinions?

In fact, lately he has started making deals. The other day we were trying to convince him to go to the farmer’s market, and he didn’t want to leave. Evelyn said, “Alex, if you go to the farmer’s market, I’ll give you my [pretend] phone to play with.” Alex thought about it for a minute, and then agreed. The second we got out to the car he said, “Phone!”

I know it’s a little thing, but there’s so much wrapped up in that! He can understand what we are offering him. He is able to conceptualize the fact that he wants the phone, and he has to do something to get it. He is able to weigh two different things he wants, getting the phone or staying home, and decide which he prefers. He is then able to communicate all of that to us, and then remember his decision later when we actually get in the car.


Sara has been trying to get him to go on the potty. He has been kind of interested in it, but will only sit down for a second or two before standing up, that kind of thing. We’ve offered some rewards, like “Hey, if you go in the potty I will read you a book” or “I will do hip-hip-hooray” (which is like tossing him up in the air and catching him). Finally, Sara hit upon the correct reward: “If you put your pee pees in the potty, I will give you a spoonful of ice cream…”

He went immediately there, sat down, and squeezed some out. (And a good thing, too, since we don’t have our tried and true potty training method anymore)

The next day Sara said, “If you put your pees pees in the potty I will do hip-hip-hooray” and Alex looked at her slyly and said, “Ice cream.”

He drives a hard bargain, this one.

Kwkwkwkwkw (chicken)

Alex has a couple of words that he consistently says to indicate something, even though they don’t sound anything like the word itself. For example, “Guh” is always cheese. He will point to it in books, he will ask for “More guh”, and he will show you where it belongs in the refrigerator. If you say, “Do you want more guh?” he will laugh, but if you say, “Do you want more cheese?” he will shake his head yes, violently.

So he knows that cheese is cheese, but it just comes out guh for some reason.

One of the entries in Alex’s word list was “Kwkwkwkwkw (chicken)”. This was my attempt to spell the way he says chicken, and it is ADORABLE. Again, chicken is always consistently this sound, kind of a cross between clearing your throat and choking to death.

Anyway, enjoy:

Alex’s Word List

In the spirit of posts like this one, Sara and I have been putting together a list of words that Alex knows. We started with a few words, and then we kept coming up with more and more, texting each other additional words for the list, until we realized that Alex knows a lot of words! It seems like he learns a new one every hour or so, so I better publish this quick, otherwise we will never stop adding to it.

I think it is a pretty impressive list of words for a not-even-one-and-a-half year old!

To quote from the post about Oliver:

So I tried to be very conservative in my list, and only include words that he uses often and obviously understands completely. He has a lot of words that he has said just a few times, or that he repeats after you, but has not used independently. So those I didn’t include. He also understands about 100 times more words than this, but I think that’s pretty normal.

Anyway, here is the (partial!) list, in no particular order:

  • book
  • Eva (Evelyn)
  • Oliver
  • Mama
  • Dada
  • Up
  • Down
  • More
  • apple
  • applesauce
  • avocado
  • cracker
  • egg
  • pasta
  • pizza (sounds pretty much exactly like pasta)
  • water
  • burger
  • Guh (cheese)
  • Guh (keys)
  • Vroom-vroom (car or anything with wheels)
  • Ambulance
  • Airplane
  • No
  • Packer
  • Girl
  • There
  • vata?  (flower)
  • elephant
  • bacon
  • pancake
  • hammer
  • come on
  • Nana (cat)
  • Da (dog)
  • Kwkwkwkwkw (chicken)
  • Ba (bear)
  • fish sound (fish)
  • rar (for lion or other big cat)
  • Monster
  • Elmo
  • Bir (d)
  • Who-who (owl)
  • Tongue clicking (horse)
  • Baah (sheep)
  • (ba) nana
  • Buh (bottle)
  • Buh (bib)
  • Buh (bug)
  • Buh (ball)
  • buh (bus)
  • balloon
  • bicycle
  • elephant

Maybe tractor too. Maybe puzzle. He also inexplicably still signs a few words, but refuses to actually make the noises: bye-bye, night-night, all done, milk, train.


Alex, The Shrieking Goat

Alex becomes more opinionated every day. We have now entered a phase where, once he makes a demand, you have about 8 seconds to comply before he begins shrieking at the top of his lungs.

That is pure, unadulterated rage, my friends. “MAMA I SAID PICK ME UP RIGHT NOWWWWWWW!!”

Right away I knew what it reminded me of. Now whenever he starts doing it, I start playing this on my phone:

Strangely, that doesn’t make him feel better.

Alex’s First Birthday

I don’t know if I should start by saying “my how time flies” or “look how far we’ve come”.


Alex babbles basically non-stop. Whoever thought we could have a kid that talks MORE than the two we already have? He basically understands everything that you’re saying to him, even if he can’t answer back as much as he’d like. For example, he can point to every body part if you ask him, as well as basically everything in the house.

For some reason he can shake his head “no” just fine, but when he tries to shake “yes” he does it with his entire body. This makes for a VERY ENTHUSIASTIC yes, especially when you understand what he’s saying (usually by handing him something he wants or taking him somewhere he wants to go). If you ask him, “How old is Alex?” he will stick up one finger, he will make a goofy face on command, and he can stick out his tongue.

Okay, so here’s a list of things that he says. Some of these were actually after his birthday but before I wrote this post (there are pretty much new things on the hour these days):

“Na na” can mean many things: no, Nala, banana, or that emoji thing that Evelyn gave him for Christmas. “Da da” can mean me, or sometimes dog. “Da” (singular) means down. “Ma ma” means Sara, of course, but also sometimes more. “Ma” (singular) means cat (as in “meow”). He can say door, bird, apple, “vroom” (for car), “whoo” (for owl), up, “wa wa” (for water), bib, and book.

He also signs some additional words, like more, all done, eat, water, train, banana, book, bath, night night, “yummy”, milk, and book.

We were keeping track of how many steps he took in a row, but he’s pretty much just straight up walking now. He can also climb up the stairs, which makes it tricky for trying to watch him downstairs. His favorite toys are anything he can carry around the house while walking, but seriously, his all-time favorite toy right now is just the little cookies from the Melissa & Doug set play-kitchen set.

He continues to have strong opinions about food, and he definitely has a sweet tooth (bananas are still his favorite). We hadn’t really given him any dessert until the holidays, but now that he knows what it is, he absolutely flips out if we try to eat any without him. He doesn’t really like to drink anything.

All in all, Alex definitely keeps us on our toes! He is now officially a typical, talkative, opinionated one year old!


12 Month Comparison Photos


They grow up so fast

So most of you probably saw this video from over a week ago now, but I’m saving it here for posterity:

With all the new stuff that Alex is getting up to, it’s easy to forget that the other kids are growing up too!

Ollie in particular just suddenly seems so old all of a sudden. I went to get him out of class early one day for a doctors appointment and I just had to laugh. He’s in real school now! They were doing math, and then when I got there he took care of his math notebook and I was just like, “Wow, he’s like a real kid!”

In fact, Evelyn had some multiplication flash cards the other day, and Ollie was pretty dang good at them.

He has gotten so good at reading all of a sudden. I remember this with Evelyn too, but it’s like he just got to that point where he realized that there’s writing everywhere, and he can read it. He’s reading billboards, the backs of cereal boxes, and addresses on Christmas cards. It’s like a whole new world! It’s so much fun to listen to him read an Elephant and Piggie book.

He’s also a very detailed artist. He can sit and draw for HOURS, and he draws these really elaborate scenes. He loves to explain to you all the little nuances and hidden things he’s added to his drawings, and he gets very clever with them.

And if that wasn’t enough, Ollie started taking piano lessons! It seems absolutely crazy to me, but there it is. He is so excited about it! I can tell he feels grown up too; he’s very proud. And even songs like “Mary Had a Little Lamb” seem so impressive when this little boy is playing them!

Not too long now before he starts writing his own blog!