Gabriel at 32 Months

by Heather on October 19, 2013

Post image for Gabriel at 32 Months

The last time I updated this blog, Gabriel was just over 2 years old. Now he’s a few months shy of turning 3, and we’re expecting our second child two weeks after his 3rd birthday.

He’s as energetic as ever, however he has a much longer attention span now than he did when he turned 2. We went back to the US this summer for 5 weeks, and Gabriel was the best traveler out of all 3 of us. He’s finally discovered HEADPHONES, so for him it was like a two-day movie and juice marathon getting from Saigon back to Boston. In Toyko Narita he loves to run up and down the moving walkways, which is a great way for him to burn off some energy before sitting for the long flight between Tokyo and New York.

When we arrived in Boston, after three flights, we were waiting for D’s dad to pull up the mini van. Gabriel looked outside and said, “Airplane?”

“No airplane. Gabriel, we’re going to go in a car now.”

“No car. Airplane!”

Gabriel in his new uniform for ISHCMC.


Gabriel’s language use has exploded during the last 3 months. He’s started talking in complete sentences and using vocalizations like “Oh yeah!” I went on a school field trip for 4 days in early October, and when I called to talk to him, we actually had conversations. It was like talking to a different child. I mean, we’d been having conversations in person for months, but to be able to do it over the phone without any kind of visuals, gestures, or facial expressions, that’s a big leap.

Commonly used phrases:
– “Help me Mama!”
– “Mai doowit!” = “I do it!” – He’s combining “me” and “I” to make his own first person pronoun of “mai.”
– “I like it, pancake. Nice!” (or whatever he likes)
– “Papa, look, see _____”
– “I go Oscar house” (Oscar is a friend he sees on Saturdays)


He tends to latch onto a favorite object for a few weeks or a month and then change to something else. He currently always wants to sleep with a little boat bath tub toy. We have spent many nights looking for that boat…

Puzzles are his favorite indoor activity right now. He’s gotten pretty good at putting them together, and he likes to challenge himself by dumping out 4 or 5 puzzles, hiding the pieces all over the play room, finding them, and sorting them back out so he can do the puzzles. Often he forgets where he put several pieces, and we’ll find them inside his toy microwave or the trunk of of play bus.

He still loves pretty much anything outside. We recently went to the Mekong Delta, and he was always excited for the boat rides and garden walks. We moved in June to a house that has a small yard, and it’s been great to be able to bring him outside. He loves to walk around the house in the evening looking for snails, frogs and lizards.

Vietnamese ao dai

Wearing ao dai for National Day


Life with Gabriel is much smoother than a year ago. Now we can reason with him! He’s started to understand and remember things he’s not supposed to do, and often a day or two after he’s gotten in trouble for something, he’ll look right at me and say something like “No open door!” and repeat what he was told.

Probably the most difficult thing at this stage is that much of the time he wants ONLY Mama, and I’m often too tired to do what he’d like. For example, he’ll want ME to put on his shoes, but bending down down with a big pregnant belly is something I’d rather avoid if D is there and can do it. Sometimes we can reason with Gabriel, but other times he goes into a meltdown “Mama doowit! Mama doowit!” until I give in or D gives him a time out.

He’s started to realize it a lot more when I’m gone. When I went away for school field trips, he behaved fine at home, but at school he acted out by biting. One day he managed to tell his teacher that Mama was “bye bye.”

I can’t pick him up and carry him anymore, because he’s too heavy and I’m experiencing some pain in the SI joints and pelvis due to my previous DSP and the current pregnancy. It’s hard to look down at his little arms reaching up when I can’t just scoop him up, but often I can satisfy him with a hug and some book reading time.

He continues to show his stubborn and determined character. He’s also very talkative and extroverted. These qualities exhaust D, as he’s a natural introvert and a person who likes to stick to patterns and systems.

Jackfruit in Vietnam

Standing with jackfruit, not happy to take a photo

Fun Stuff

Although having a 2.5 year-old is tiring, it’s also really fun. I love seeing his social and cognitive development. He’s really started understanding imaginative play. When we have older kids over to play, he always picks something up that he then tries out during the week. One boy came over and played with his mom using the doctor kit. Gabriel then wanted to “check the baby” every day for a month when I got home from school.

One of our favorite activities now is pretend cooking. He loves the kitchen and always wants to “make hot” things in the fridge, which he think is the microwave. D got him a coconut tea seat in the Mekong, and so we’ve had tea parties every day this past week.

He loves creating things, and he’s always excited to show me his arts and crafts projects from school.

He’s very loving, affectionate and socially aware. A couple times when he’s seen me crying, he’ll bring me over a box of tissues and give me a big hug.

I think he’ll be a great big brother, once he realizes he can’t have Mama all to himself any more!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lily October 30, 2013 at 12:45 pm

What a lovely post. It reminded me of my three-year old nephew, Mateus. They sound super alike. Best wishes on your pregnancy.


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