Monday, August 15, 2005
Dear Big Boy:
Today you turned 14 months old. The day went by without any fanfare or celebration, just a casual acknowledgment of your 14-month-day, accompanied by a nagging reminder of how quickly the time is passing.
This month has been another busy one, what with your daily discoveries of new and potentially harmful objects to shove into your mouth, along with your insistence upon developing more and more advanced skills, the most recent and significant of which is WALKING. Yes, that’s right; you’ve finally started getting around on two limbs instead of four. This means two things: (1) We can finally say “yes” to all the nosy people who, upon seeing you, immediately ask, “Is he walking yet?”; and (2) We’re spending even more time chasing you, as you do your Frankenbaby walk (legs stiff, arms out in front of you) around the house, swaying to and fro like a drunk and leaning precariously to one side or the other, constantly threatening to topple over and slam your soft skull into the nearest table/chair/wall/door. Congratulations, Son. God help us, you’re officially a Toddler.
As if the constant anxiety over your new mode of transportation (a.k.a. those chubbilicious little legs of yours) was not enough, you seem to have embarked on a quest to find The Perfect Toy. The thousands of age-appropriate toys overfilling your toy box and scattered throughout the house are just not good enough anymore; there must be something better. So off you go to find the elusive Perfect Toy, the one which will satisfy all of your sensory needs and perhaps even retain your attention for more than 5 seconds. Your journey usually ends in the kitchen, where you have discovered the joys of rifling through the kitchen utensil drawer, a veritable treasure trove of rubber spatulas, measuring cups, and wire whisks. You’re not quite tall enough to actually SEE into the drawer, so you pull yourself up by the drawer edge, standing on your tippiest of toes, and reeeeach as far as you can into the drawer, grasping whatever your hands graze. Once you’ve found your treasure, the only logical thing to do is force it out of the drawer and promptly deposit it into your mouth.
I’m not sure if you’ve found that Perfect Toy yet, but you’ve managed to cover every kitchen utensil in the drawer with slobber. Oh, the slobber! We’re sure you’re teething again, since we’re once again mopping up puddles of drool from your chin, your clothes, the floor…wherever you happen to drip. You still just have those front eight teeth you sprouted almost simultaneously a few months ago, but we’re expecting new neighbors for them anytime now.
Even though walking and slobbering are consuming most of your time and energy these days, you still find a few moments here and there for the other activities you enjoy. Several times a day, you bring one of us – Daddy, The Drama Queen, Miss Attitude, or me – books to read to you. You’ve started pointing at the pictures and babbling, and you love to turn the pages as we read, even if we haven’t quite finished the page. And you still love to spend quiet time alone with your books, just sitting, standing, or lying on the floor and “reading.” It always makes me smile to see you enjoying a book.
You also still love to bury your face in my hair; and you’ve decided that, when I’m out of reach, your sisters’ hair makes an acceptable substitute. I don’t know what it is about our long hair that captivates and comforts you. The summer heat has forced me to pull mine into a ponytail a lot lately. When you’re tired, cranky, hurt, or upset, you fuss and grab at my ponytail until I finally oblige you and pull it down. Then you sigh with content and make sweet little happy noises as you rub your face and hands in it.
In a disturbing twist, you discovered my eyelashes and eyebrows this month. And when I say “disturbing,” I mean “Son, please keep your fingers out of my eyeballs.” Rocking you and singing your bedtime lullaby isn’t nearly as peaceful and relaxing when you keep poking me in the eye, threatening to send my contact lens screaming from its rightful home.
It certainly has been a busy month, as they all are, I suppose. There’s just so much growing and playing and growing and discovering and growing and…did I mention the growing? Ah, yes. It’s just happening too fast.
Only moments ago, as I was typing this, you awoke suddenly and cried out – not the gentle whimper of a baby stirring in his sleep, but a startled, fearful cry, the kind of cry that sends mamas flying from their beds (or their computer chairs) to the baby’s crib in a panic. Something had frightened you, or worried you; some bad dream or anxious thought disturbed your slumber and made you cry out. I looked you over for any signs of physical distress (there were none), gave you your pacifier, and held you tightly and whispered in your ear. You settled quickly, your head snuggled under my chin, your breathing slowing to a more comfortable rate. I didn’t want to put you back in your bed, not only because I was still pretty shaken from my panicked sprint to your room, but also because those moments – standing in your room, nuzzling your hair, swaying back and forth, as your little baby body relaxed and became heavy with sleep – are the ones I want to hold on to the most.
I love you, my Big Boy, my Little Man.