The local Baskin-Robbins inexplicably has gummi bears that you can’t buy, even as a topping for your ice cream, prominently displayed near the entrance/exit, so every time I take him and Rainbow there, there’s a significant chance that he’ll want gummi bears instead of ice cream. I explain that we can’t get the gummi bears here, and he says, "Dad, let’s go to Wall O Greens."

Around Christmas, I’d take him for a drive in the evenings, both to look at Christmas lights, and to get him to fall asleep. One nearby house had lights strung up a pole in a conical semi-catenary to the effect, after dark, of simulating a Christmas tree. They didn’t fool Carter, though. He saw it and exclaimed, "Dad! It’s a Christmas Vol-o-cano!"

The "grammar explosion" has started. He’s started making mistakes that demonstrate that he’s internalizing the rules, for example, we "goed" to the store last night. (Remember, "last night" means pretty much any time in the past.) He also correctly said that the gallon jug of milk that I dropped "’sploded."

One word that I’m not sure about is "najer." He wants to go play golf "on the najer." My best guess is that it’s "nature," but he insists that’s not it.

It continues to surprise me a little that he really doesn’t get "Why?" or "How?" questions, or maybe he just thinks they’re trick questions. "Carter, why did you chase the cat out of the room?" I’ll ask, and he just nods his head and says "yeah." I love the way he doesn’t lie about almost anything except "Carter, are you pooping?"

"No," he replies in a high, tentative voice, meaning "Yes."

When I get home from work and talk to him, I ask him how his day at the park went today, and that being a "How?" question, he says "yeah." So I try again, "What did you do at the park with your friends today? Did you have a good day?"

"I bit A.J," he cheerfully announces, not tentative at all.

"Why did you bite A.J.?"

"Yeah!" (Oops, this was a "Why?" question.)

 "What did A.J. do that made you want to bite him?"

"A.J. . . . not . . . share," he might say.

Today Nolan was crying inconsolably, so Lindsay and I had both given up trying to console him for a few minutes and he was lying in his crib (with the anti-cat tent, but that’s another story). Carter was in the same room, and was apparently as frustrated as we were about the continuous wailing. Lindsay walked in just in time to see Carter stick his face in the crib and yell "Dammit, shut up!" That got him immediate removal from the room, and Lindsay was busted as well. Some weeks back, she had been driving and Carter had been yelling along in the back seat while she was trying to drive and/or make a phone call, so she finally turned around and said that to him exactly once. Apparently it made an impression.

She felt awful about both saying it in the first place, then about Carter repeating the behavior on Nolan, and ended up crying for 10 minutes.

I’m sure Carter will be playing back some action of mine that I’m not proud of soon. So far, I just find it cute how he (mostly) wants to be like me. Too bad no one else thinks a toddler saying "Holy Crap!" or "That’s an ugly baby!" is cute.


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