El Guapo is two!

Note: I wrote this back in November, and I thought I had posted it, but apparently not.


Okay, El Guapo’s birthday was actually in the middle of July. But apparently I was so busy then that I didn’t take the time to do what I did with Lego and Duplo for their second birthdays—namely, write out a long post (or a series of posts) about the funny/frustrating/cute/interesting things they were doing. Even though his birthday is long gone, I’d like to do something similar for El Guapo because it’s amazing how quickly I forget these things.

1. El Guapo is two. He tells us this over and over, every day. He even uses it as an explanation for things: I like cookies because I’m two. I don’t want to take a nap because I’m two. You get the idea.

2. El Guapo’s favorite color is pink. In his words, because he’s two. Yesterday, at the dentist, he chose a pink balloon and a pink no-cavities bracelet.

3. El Guapo is obsessed with Disney’s Cars. Obsessed, I tell you. His absolute favorite toys are his little Lightning McQueen and his Mater, and the other matchbox cars that have become other characters in the movie: a purple car is Ramone, an antique navy blue one is Doc Hudson, a white Porsche is Sally (though we seem to have lost that one), etc. The only “lullabies” he will allow me to sing before I put him to bed are the happy birthday song, addressed to various Cars characters. Anything else gets dismissed with a loud, “Not that song! Sing happy birthday to The King!” He watches part of the original movie, or the half-hour-long Mater’s Tall Tales on Netflix, or random videos on YouTube about Cars, every single day. This has lasted for at least the past four months. We are all a bit tired of Cars. Well, all of us but El Guapo.

4. El Guapo is having a problem with being kind with his body. He mostly picks on Duplo, but we all get pinched, bitten, hit, kicked, head-butted, etc., from time to time. He seems to do it with absolutely no provocation, or even reason. Sometimes it’s as if he thinks his “victim” will think he’s being friendly or funny as he throws a toy at their face. He’s been having quite a few time outs for this lately. I know consistency and patience will win the war, but I sure hope it’s not a very long one.

5. El Guapo is learning to identify his alphabet and numbers. So far he knows O, S, I, T, Q, R (sometimes), G (sometimes), J, and Z. He also knows 2 (of course) and 0. He points out letters he knows all the time, and asks, “What’s that?” about the ones he doesn’t know.

6. He knows his colors completely, and has for some time. Actually, I’m not sure if he consistently gets black, white, and gray right. But still. He’s only two!

7. El Guapo will only wear socks and shoes if we are not at home. The moment we walk in the front door, he insists on them being removed from his feet immediately.

8. El Guapo also loves Star Wars. At some point, we started watching the whole Star Wars series, little by little. Each time we ordered pizza, we’d sit down and watch another 20 or 30 minutes. Well, now it’s tradition because El Guapo insists on it. Quite a few of his first words involved Star Wars: “shimma” for “lightsaber,” “Doodah” for “Yoda,” “Bup Boop” for “R2D2,” etc. (The only one he still says this way is Bup Boop. We’re a little sad about that.) He learned to sing the Star Wars theme song before he could even talk well.

9. El Guapo is an animal lover. From a very young age, he’s been enthralled by the dogs and cats in our neighborhood. He’d trot around chasing them and petting them if they’d let him (our next-door neighbors had two dogs, our downstairs neighbors had a dog, and random cats would wander through our back yard). He’s surprisingly gentle and quiet with animals, so they tend to tolerate him pretty well. I kind of wish I weren’t so allergic to animals so I could get him a pet someday.

10. El Guapo is suddenly really into coloring. He mostly just scribbles all over coloring books, but he colors a LOT of pictures every day, and now we have no coloring books with pictures left in them. I know what he’s getting for Christmas. (Psst! Don’t tell.)

11. I don’t know if I’ve said this on this blog before, but for a couple of months or so, El Guapo would rush to help me every time I was emptying the dishwasher. He would take the things out and hand them to me so I could put them away. After a while, he enthusiasm waned a little, but he still helps me cheerfully from time to time.

12. He also loves to help me cook. This is a lot less fun for me than #11, but I try to let him when I can. He is pretty insistent on doing things he is too little to do, though, like stir food cooking on the stove.

13. More so than the other two, El Guapo is kind of clingy and demanding. He tends to want to be near me (or Jonathon, if he’s home) all the time, and he wants us to be interacting with him much of the time. He even freaks out and wants to come if I go and check the mail, and any time I go somewhere and leave him with Jonathon or a babysitter, he’s very nervous. There are a few exceptions. He seems to like his nursery leaders in this ward quite a bit, and when we pass the church daily on our walk to the school, he points it out and says, “There’s my teacher!” One of his teachers knitted hats for all the kids (like, 15 or more!) and gave them to them last Sunday. El Guapo loves his hat.

14. He’s trying to decide whether he takes naps. Or, maybe more precise, I’m trying to decide if he takes naps. Sometimes he’ll take one early enough that I’m fine with it, but his naps are irregular and often too late, and then he’s up late. But if he doesn’t nap, he’s super cranky in the evening while I’m hurrying to make dinner, and he’s fallen asleep on the couch before dinner a couple of times. When he does that, he wakes up in the night starving, and I have to stumble downstairs to find him a snack so he’ll go back to sleep. Not my favorite.

15. El Guapo loves to make his family laugh, and he loves when we are all doing something together. He loves having a family and knowing where all of us are and what we’re all doing. When we pick Lego up from school, he’ll run and give him a huge hug. (He doesn’t do this when we get Duplo because usually he’s buckled into his car seat, since I drive to pick up Duplo from kindergarten rather than doing the walk to and from school a third time each day).

16. One cute thing El Guapo says is that he’s “too” anything. He’s “too hungry” or “too poopy” or whatever. Sometimes when I tell him to be nice to Duplo, he’ll say he’s too tired. I sometimes wonder if he thinks he’s saying he’s “two hungry” because he likes being two so much.

17. He has absolutely no interest in potty training. He has only tried sitting on the potty chair a few times, and always with all his clothes on. There is a temper tantrum if anyone suggests anything else. I guess we’ll wait a while on that.

18. He likes to point out the same things on our walk to school every day: the inflatable witch (now replaced by a turkey) on someone’s porch, the pink flowers growing in someone’s yard, the dog in someone’s back yard, the giant pumpkin growing in someone’s garden, and then the smaller pumpkin suddenly appearing on the same vine, then both of them disappearing one day (they had been placed on the gardener’s porch), the water fountain at the park, the slides at the playground, the lights on the school, the circle of pink spray paint surrounding a drain or some such on the sidewalk, the flag pole. Then, turning around, everything in reverse. If something changes, he’ll tell me about it every day for weeks afterward. He still tells me about how the giant pumpkin is gone, even though it was moved a week before Halloween.

19. El Guapo recently learned to count to ten and sing the ABC song. He still can’t count actual things yet.

20. El Guapo mostly pronounces things correctly. His R’s and vowels aren’t always quite right, and he’s been talking too fast lately and mumbling, so our comprehension of what he says is currently lower than it was, say, a month ago. Our other boys have gone through this stage too, so I’m not too worried. He’ll figure out that he needs to slow down and enunciate better. One thing he doesn’t say quite right that’s really cute is “humby” for “hungry.” I have caught myself actually asking him if he’s humby, which is probably not helping, but it’s so dang cute.

I’ll probably think of more things later, but I think that’s enough for now. We sure love our El Guapo. 🙂

Sometimes I feel so mean

My kids love making art. They seem to especially love making art if it involves tape, scissors, staples, and garbage. The more of these things go into any given art project, the more they will love it. So, reusing an old water bottle by taping cut-up paper onto it and filling it with water and glitter to make a snow globe? Pretty much awesome in the kids’ book.

Which, you know, is kind of a cute idea. I was impressed with Lego’s creativity when he came up with the idea. But then Duplo had to make one too. And El Guapo had to make one too. And since the taped-on “snow villages” don’t really look like much besides little bits of paper taped onto water bottles, and since the glitter settles to the bottom, it looks like I have three water bottles, stripped of their labels, with paper attached with tape, filled with water sitting proudly on the hearth. And they’ve been there for over two weeks.

At some point, I’m going to have to throw them away, but I know there will be tears when I do. I know. But children don’t really understand that even if you dress it up, garbage isn’t meant to be kept forever. The water bottle snow globes are just one in a series of dozens of similar art projects the boys have done over the years. It never gets easier to toss them, but really, can I keep a water bottle snow globe in their file folder of best art projects ever?

There have been plastic bag parachutes and glasses made with cut-up Ziploc bags for the “glass” and ornaments made of toothpicks and “inventions” made of straws and stuffed animal houses made of Kleenex boxes and phones made of tin cans and string and all sorts of things made of bubble wrap and and and . . .

And don’t even get me started on tape and scissors. If the boys feel they are free to use them, they use a whole roll of tape in a week or two. If I make the tape available but require them to ask permission first, I’ll say, “You may use two small pieces,” and they’ll use their two, then come back and show me how the art project in question MUST have four. Or they’ll use two large pieces. Or they’ll use their two, and then half an hour later, need more tape for another project. Or they’ll use their two and leave the tape where El Guapo can pull three feet of tape off it before he’s caught.

Sometimes I (or Jonathon) just make a tape ban altogether. I know that I can’t (or shouldn’t) just never let the kids use tape until they’re teenagers, but sometimes I just need a month or two where the tape battle is on hiatus.

And scissors. Any time scissors are used, for any reason, there will be many tiny pieces of paper left all over the table, chairs, and floor. Every time someone says, “Can I use scissors?” I say, “Yes, but you have to clean up all the bits of paper afterward.” And they roll their eyes and say, “I will! I promise!” and they don’t. Every time.

Jonathon is a talented painter; I’m halfway decent at art myself. I shouldn’t be surprised our children love making art. Some of the stuff the boys make is actually really good. I want to encourage the development of their artistic talents. But can we please do it without tape, scissors, staples, and garbage?