Junior: Mid-Year Report

Several noteworthy developments have emerged since I submitted my last report. A summary is below.

Section I: Skills 
Junior has demonstrated remarkable growth in the following skills:

1. Cycling
Junior can pedal his tricycle along flat surfaces, with only a slight tendency to inadvertently go backwards. He dutifully wears his helmet, and likes to point to older children riding their bicycles. We are currently working on maneuvering and expect to continue training at this level for at least another year or two.

2. Climbing
Junior is an excellent climber of household furniture. His first foray into indoor rock climbing resulted in many cute photos, including the one above. However, he was not a fan of all the safety gear.
For the time being, he is honing his skill via playground jungle gym. The ultimate goal, of course, is to graduate to climbing trees like a monkey, a la his father:

3. Playing
Junior is now capable of surprisingly sophisticated social interactions with his peers. For example, here is an exchange at the sandbox the other day:

Junior: Do you want to play?
Older boy: Yes.
Junior: Come in!
Older boy: My name’s Fandango (name changed to protect identity). What’s your name?
Junior: I’m Junior (name changed to protect identity).  

Negotiations followed. Ownership is fluid in the sandbox; all toys are up for grabs. Junior successfully retained his excavator after offering his dump truck for Fandango to play with.

On the topic of negotiating, Junior has learned the phrase “One minute!” which he uses to plead for extended screen time. It’s…actually pretty impressive. Nevertheless, mommy is taking the iPad away.

Section II: Behaviors 
The improvement in Junior’s physical and social prowess has been matched by his cerebral development. The behaviors listed below show his mental leaps:

4. Affection 
Junior is expressive toward loved ones, saying, “I missed you!” and “How was your day?” to his father in the evenings. He adores his cousins and insists on being carried by any and all relatives. The best part is his latest proposition: “You want open-mouth kiss?”

 He really is very sweet; one day I told him I had a headache, and he replied that he wanted to massage me, which he did, very gently. Junior is Best Boy.

He has also finally begun to play with his dozens of stuffed animals after two and a half years of ignoring them. A particular lifesaver has been Elmo, who keeps him company in the mornings when he wakes up at 5am. At 6am, Junior will excitedly rush into our room to report: “Elmo has two hands!” Yes, he does, bless him.

5. Self-assertion
Now that he is on the cusp of becoming a threenager, Junior is determined to impose his will whenever he can. Often this is easy to accommodate, since all he really wants to do is play and eat. Sometimes it can lead to hilarious fashion choices, as below:
However, when pushed to his limit he will not hesitate to produce a shudder-inducing high-pitched shriek of thwarted desire, followed by a lower volume yet still highly annoying whine, which he can maintain for a long period of time. Yes, sometimes Junior is that kid at the grocery store, howling to be wheeled back to the toy aisle.

6. Conceptual Understanding 
Junior can understand and, crucially, remember interesting tidbits, such as the fact that daddy is building an aerostat, which is a thing that flies. He has mastered the concepts of big and small, and has predicted that he will be taller than his father. He also recognizes beauty (“Look at the pretty sunrise!” and “Ang ganda ng bulaklak!”)

Most importantly, he can use his big brain to follow directions, meaning he is now able to make minor contributions to household upkeep – e.g. by throwing small items into the trash, or putting away his coat and shoes. He does recognize when a room is messy (“Ang kalat-kalat!”), unless it’s his own room, for some reason. In any case, his powerful mind lets him operate at a different level than other toddlers. This is objective fact and in no way a severely biased statement from a bragging mother.

As a final note, I must inform the Board that potty training has only been partially successful. Junior can pee in the potty, and has even asked to do so a few times. But he persists in pooping while under a table, and then reporting that his diaper needs changing when the smell finally overpowers him.

While three is a typical age for successful potty training, the morg (maternal organism) has been under social pressure from Manila HQ for some time now (“He’s not potty trained yet? Why, I trained you to use the toilet as an infant!”). Meanwhile, the porg (paternal organism) is satisfied with progress to date. We leave it to the Board to cast the deciding vote.

As always, thank you for your support for Junior, and I look forward to apprising you of his new developments very soon.

Sincerely,
Fragrant Elephant
Maternal Organism