Cookie Monster

The house smells like gingerbread this morning, which I suppose makes the seven hours spent in the kitchen yesterday worthwhile: 1 ½-batch of gingerbread, double batch of sugar cookies, single batches of chocolate cutouts and peanut butter ball filling…three loaves of bread…and a chicken and rice casserole.

We were cookie monsters yesterday. Nicholas spent a good part of yesterday sitting in his high chair, staring openmouthed at the bustle in the heart of the home. Julianna “helped” me make the chocolate cookies and the peanut butter balls…I use the term loosely because the second batch took three times as long as it should have, because every time I turned away to get another ingredient, she dove for the batter. She turned on the mixer while the spatula was in the bowl; she picked up the spatula and flung runny peanut butter all over the kitchen…

Definitely a cookie monster!

We resemble cookie monster in another way, too. It seems that Cookie Monster is always hanging around when Ernie is trying to teach a letter. Well, it’s a turning point time in speech/language/reading in our house, too. A couple of weeks ago, we decided that Julianna had her first “proto-word”—mmmm, as in “moon.” But it’s been scattered and hard to get her to do it. Last Thursday during speech therapy, she suddenly made a breakthrough. “Say ‘mmmmmmma,’ Chris said, and Julianna puckered her lips and said, “MmmmmmmAH.” The world went crazy for a few minutes, and then Chris said, “Can you go give that spoon to Mmmmmma?”

Even now, five days later, it’s only half connected in her brain, but this is the first deliberate imitation Julianna has done, and that is a huge step forward in terms of my almost-three-year-old learning to talk.

Meanwhile, Nicholas has good receptive language—he’s been responding to “kiss Mommy” for a couple of months already—but yesterday he had his own breakthrough. I was cutting up grapes for him, and when he finished the first bunch, he started fussing. I turned around and said, “Do you want more?” I took his hands and hand-over-handed him through the sign, and his face absolutely lit up. He finished his second bunch, and I said again, “Do you want more?” He giggled and grinned at the word, and as soon as I touched his hands, he balled them into fists. Yessssss! We really do think that Nicholas talking may be the spur Julianna needs to get talking.

This hasn’t been my most organized post, but I hope I can make it up to you by sharing a couple of seriously cute pictures. Nicholas is a bad napper, and he got up just as I was taking my only baking break to work on writing, so I put him on the floor. A few minutes later, I realized that Alex was beside him looking at the “Killer Dinosaurs” book. “This is the scariest monster of all!” he was telling his baby brother very seriously. “It has the sharpest teeth. You don’t want to get around this monster or his brothers!”

"This is a scary monster. He can run really fast and eat you..."
"My big brother is SOOOO interesting!"

This post is linked with Tuesdays Unwrapped at chattingatthe, where you can find more stories of the beautiful in the ordinary.