The Squirrelly is eighteen months in age, and continues to grow like early Spring Lysichitum americanum in low- to moderate-elevation temperate wetlands. (Marrying a botanist has really Increased My Simile Power.) These days he sort of fluctuates between two quantum states: one moment he’s a baby, sitting on the floor and playing with some blocks, then you glance away for a second and, when you look again, he’s a full-on little boy, sauntering around the house in pursuit of a cat like he’s been perambulating since day one.
I have mixed feelings about his getting older. While I feel no small amount of pride when The Squirrelly hits some new developmental milestones, it is always tinged with sadness. Not sadness that has youth is ebbing away or anything like that, goodness no — I can’t wait for this kid to up and get himself toilet trained — but sadness that yet another line in our babyproofing defenses is about to be breached. Last year we had him confined to the livingroom, but then he got big enough to push the chair we had blocking the entrance to the kitchen out of the way. So then we let him roam in the living room and the kitchen, but then he figured out how to subvert the babygate in the mouth to the hall. So we decided, well, it’s okay if he goes down the hall so long as we keep the doors to the bedrooms closed, but now he’s figured out how to push those open. By October he’ll be frolicking about in the crawlspace. He’s like the little Katamari Damacy dude, barreling around and accumulating mass until he’s big enough to crash into areas that were previously inaccessible.
Also, he is now so tall that, when I carry him around, he can further his Sibling Prevention Program just by kicking his feet, if you catch my drift.
(When I mentioned this to The Queen last night she rolled her eyes and said, “You’ve been complaining about this kid kicking you in the nuts since the day he was born.” “That’s my point!” I cried. “A few times I could chalk up as accidents, but this is clearly an orchestrated campaign!”)
One thing that’s cool to see is how things The Squirrelly has been instinctually practicing for months are suddenly clicking into place. Like, he’s sort of shuffled around to music for months, but now all the sudden he’s dancing. And remember when he was five months old and I posted this pitcure of him?
I mocked him for trying to fit an object the size of a cantaloup into his piehole. Well, as with many of the things babies do that adults dismiss as “play,” it appears that The Squirrelly was actually engaged in The Acquisition Of Valuable Life Skills. In this case it seems that he’s been systematically working to increase the size of his mouth so as to better shove thirty-seven cookies in there simultaneously.
(Of course we would never give our toddler “cookies.” These are, in fact, “Sesame Street Banana-Flavored Crunchin’ Blocks.” Which are, in all respects, identical to cookies, except they are (a) slightly smaller, and (b) endorsed by Elmo.)
The Squirrelly’s still not much of a talker, though we’ve long since stopped worrying about it. We’ve noticed that he’ll try out a new word for a day or so and then, when he’s bored of saying it, file it away in his little mental dictionary. Apparently he’s just going to save them up and then, one day when I’m out in the family room guffawing to “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” he’ll come strolling out in his shark pajamas and be all, like, “honestly, I’ll never understand why you fritter your time away on this puerile tripe”
Until then he’s adopted his own, invented language, which consists entirely of the word “kitty” spoken with varying degrees of intensity.
Me: Are you done with your snack?
M: No? Then do you want some more applesauce.
M: Okay, then: how about some Veggie Booty?
If he feels that some statement is ambiguous, he will occasionally add, by way of clarification, “Pooh.”
Oh, and hey: while we’re on the subject of adorable lil’ boys, did you know The Squirrelly has a cousin? A robot cousin??!
This is my nephew Pogo, two weeks younger than The Squirrelly, who had the audacity to be born on what was formerly known as “my” birthday.
We have since made up. He is hard to stay mad at, though I tried my best.