Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Look Who's Walking Now!

Dylan First Steps

Since I can't get my act together to create a traditional "baby book," I've intended to use this space to chronicle Dylan's development. Alas, you all see how well - or poorly - I've done with that. It turns out that blogging regularly is one of the things, along with exercise and a social life, that have been squeezed out of my life by the full-time work/parenting combo.

But I've caught a few moments now and want to share what I can.
Obviously, the big news is that just a few days before his 14th month, Dylan began walking, and this morning for the first time, I noticed that he seems to prefer getting around on two legs rather than on four limbs. (We'll see if that's still true this evening when he's tired.)

Truthfully, I'm surprised that it's taken our little guy so long to stand up and get going. I haven't been worried about him; I know that all kids develop differently, and that though some parents can boast that their kids were toddling around at nine months, there was not yet any cause for concern with our boy. What I didn't expect was that he'd be inchworming (at eight months), then bear walking (at nine months), then speed crawling (at ten months), then cruising (at eleven months), then jamming around the house with his walking toys (since around his first birthday), and then "walkin' with the one-finger assist" (since shortly after that) for so long. I kept thinking he was so close to taking his first independent steps, but then another week would go by.

For a couple of weeks now, his cruising has advanced to include a few shuffling steps between couch and ottoman, for instance. And more and more, he'd stand up on his own, pick things up, throwing balls, etc. without any locomotion. But finally, the other night, we had bonafide first steps...and (in an incredible stroke of good luck, since it's rare) I had my iPh*ne with me.
I was in the living room, M. and Dylan were in our bedroom. M. shouted, "Hon, come look at this!" But I didn't have to go anywhere, because into the living room toddled my little boy.

In one hand, he was holding a wooden flute M. had picked up in Ecuador that we'd just given to him to distract him from other items he was going after in the bedroom. In the other, he was holding his precious Puppy. I think he wanted to show me the flute, but he wasn't willing to put his lovey down. Dylan could crawl very easily with an item in one hand, but carrying TWO things made getting up and walking a necessity. So up he went and off he went.

The vid is just moments after I applauded his accomplishment and encouraged him to show his daddy the flute. Who knows how far he would've gone if we all hadn't gotten so excited about it!

Since then, he's had several "repeat performances," going a bit further and not requiring two hands full, but he definitely still showed a preference for the speed and accuracy of crawling. But after this morning, I suspect we've truly entered a new phase: life with a toddler.

When I've mentioned this to others, they all get a sympathetic look in their eyes and say something akin to "oh, I hope you've baby proofed" or "he'll really keep you on your toes now." Uh-ooh.

Yes, the last couple of months, as Dylan's mobility and determination have increased, have been a lot more challenging. Long gone are the days when we could strap him into his bouncy seat and clean the garage while he contentedly fiddled with a toy. He now requires constant, vigilant supervision. And it's exhausting. Will it get even harder?

But he's also so much fun now.

He understand so much of what we say, sometimes it startles me. How did Dylan know what I meant when I suggested he smell a blooming rose? I'd never done it before. Then I remembered that Paul smells the flowers in his "Pat the Bunny" book. It's so cool that now I can say, "go get your brush" and he'll DO it!

Dylan's comprehension is impressive to me, but he still hasn't articulated much. He babbles all the time, and its fun to hear him mimic the tone or cadence of our voices. He's insisted that a dog says "arff! arff!" for months now, and recently he's learned that a dinosaur says "rrrrhhhrr!!" Still, it's rare we'll hear him say something intelligible. Everyone agrees, however, that he has uttered his first, easily-understood and consistently applied word: "BALL!" Usually followed by "ball! ball! ball!!!"

Now he is really playing - stacking blocks, moving cars around, throwing (and catching!) balls of various sizes, opening and closing doors to play peak-a-boo, "diapering" his stuffed gorilla. He is still a bibliophile, pulling book after book from his shelf. Often, he'll spread one out on the floor in front of himself and flip through the pages, pointing at things and making sure we notice them. Not infrequently, he'll find something on a page and we'll hear "arff! arff!" or "ball!" and sure enough, he's "reading."

For quite awhile, he was a terror on the changing table, wiggling and squirming so much I feared he'd fall off. Now I can ask him to help, and he (usually) lifts appropriate body parts at the right times, even offering a foot to go into a pant leg and such.

Dylan has always loved bathtime, and as he gets older, his fun in the tub just seems to increase. He's got a few favorite toys that he scoots around and splashes with, but he gets by far the most enjoyment when we let the cup pour into the water or onto him from higher and higher.

Our boy is now not just a walker, he's a climber. Though (thankfully!) I haven't seen it myself, I received a report from the park that he climbs all the way up the big slide ladder, fusses and pouts for awhile at the top, and then finally decides the easiest way down is plopping on his bottom, letting go, and woshing down the slide. Oh, my!

I've always thought Dylan was a pretty good eater, and maybe he still is, comparatively. But the list of finger foods that make it into his mouth rather than getting thrown off his tray and onto the floor is shrinking and concerningly scares of vegetables. His favorites right now: yogurt, grapes, apple, tofu, and J*oe's O's. He will no longer eat cheese (unless its melted on pizza) or peas. Increasingly, he's interested in what's on our plates and will fuss until we offer him some, only then to send it flying over board. For awhile, I took some pride in the balanced, healthy "meals" my son ate because they focused on whole-grains and veggies. Now I happy if he'll just eat the same stuff his folks do.

As with his eating, Dylan's sleeping pattern seems to go through phases. Napping is kind of a crap shoot these days. Fortunately, he continues to be a very good sleeper at night, usually going down around 8:30 p.m. and rarely peeping until around 6:30 a.m. or even later. In the last week or so, he's been doing something I find so adorable: he loves this little plastic music maker some of my friends from work gave him. You press a button, lights flash, and it plays one of a half-dozen or so simple, classical tunes such as Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. Well, one day M. put it in Dylan's crib with him for a nap, and he played with it quietly until he fell asleep. Now, rather than being awoken ourselves with some whining and the beginnings of tears to let us know he's up, some lovely little electronic tunes will come floating down the hallway from the boy's room. If we're lucky - like we were this weekend - we can extend our snoozing for twenty or so minutes while he continues to make his music.

At other times in the day, when he plays his music box or he hears music from some other source, he'll do a little dance. When he's seated, its waving his arms and moving his feet around. When he's standing, he puts his whole little body into it. My favorite is when he dances while I'm holding him and we can boop joyfully around together. The kid has more rhythm than I do!

For awhile, I was a bit disappointed because part of Dylan's growing independence seemed to include a lack of interest in snuggling. Almost as soon as he'd finished his bottle (which is down to just three times a day and should be even less), he'd want to be up and playing or pointing sleepily to his bed. Sure, I'd give him lots of kisses and hugs anyway, but often he'd just push me away...which is a hard thing for a momma to take! Somthing has change this week, however, and I hope it's more than just a phase. He offers lots of hugs, has snuggled with us in bed in the mornings, and is full of kisses.

There is just something about slobbery little smacks that makes my world a better place.

1 comment:

Bobby said...

Isn't watching them turn human/I mean develop fascinating! They go so fast that sometimes I wonder how they manage to hold it all together!