There have been a few Willem anecdotes from the last few days that I've been particularly impressed with so I'm sharing them here:
The other night, Peter, Willem and I were getting ready for bed by sharing a bit of chocolate. We finished the chocolate bar and we had the resulting wrapper. I handed the wrapper to Willem and told him to go throw it in the trash can in the bathroom (one room away). He held onto it, climbed of the bed and walked out of the room. He came back into the room a short bit later without the wrapper. Both Peter and I knew it could be anywhere--the toilet, the other bedroom, the floor in the hallwa--and we knew that when we got up in the morning, we'd find out where it ended up. The next morning, I found the wrapper...guess where? The trash can! Way to go, Willem!
Yesterday, I was busy with something online and Willem was telling me he wanted to go outside. He brought me his shoes but he was only wearing a diaper and a shirt. I told him that he needed socks and pants. The next thing I knew he was gone from my knee and had gone off somewhere. Then I heard him coming down the stairs, he came over to me and handed me 3 socks. Two of them matched well enough and I put them on. I was impressed that he would follow such complex directions and bring me socks!
We have kind of started potty learning with Willem. He will let me when he needs a new diaper (if his diaper is off) or that he needs a diaper change after he's used the diaper he's wearing. He also will sometimes sit on the potty that we have for him. Today while I was making lunch, I looked up and saw him sitting on his potty in the living, reading a book. He had a diaper on but he was doing exactly what I've been trying to show him. Other times that he's sat on the potty, he's sat perfectly well without a diaper on, but he still hasn't actually relieved himself into it. That will come with time. I'm wondering if I should get some of those cloth training pants that he could pull down by himself (no pull-ups around here!).
He's also learned where Grandpa and Grandma live. The other night, Peter and I were talking and I mentioned a town in Texas. Willem heard the reference and immediately said (and signed) Baba (his way of saying Grandpa). He hasn't said Texas yet, but he knows that's where his grandparents are! He'll also point to airplanes that fly over head and say Baba and Nana. I'm pretty sure that means he wants to get on the airplane and fly to Texas to see them.
He is also starting to show empathy. On Saturday, I came home from an Irish dance performance with sock glue residue on my leg. The fuzz and lint from my pants stuck to the glue and I had these furry rings on my calves. Willem say them, touched it gently and said "Uh-oh! Oww..." He also gives kisses to ouches, like when Peter had some road rash from a bike accident. Willem would gently kiss Peter's elbow. Willem also kisses his knees when they have scrapes on them. One time, something fell on my toe and he kissed it for me.
He also is starting to think symbolically. He "pretends" that blocks are cars or that his finger is an airplane.
He's also learning to pray. Last night, I told him it was time to pray and he folded his arms across his chest. I started the prayer and then asked him who he wanted to pray for. I started with Grandpa, and he said Baba and then Nana and then Daddy and then Mama. I finished the prayer and at the end when I said Amen. He said May-may (which is what he calls our neighbor Eamon).
I am happy that Willem is learning skills that are needed to be successful in life. Following directions, empathy, praying, dressing oneself and toileting are important milestones that he needs to learn and I'm impressed that he is working on some many of those skills at his age.
His language (as seen from above) is coming along and he is learning new words frequently, including the signs for many of those words. His favorite newest sign is seal--clapping your hands together like a seal clapping its flippers.