Every month after I write an update I’m haunted for days by things I wish I’d included. Last month I forgot to mention that his favorite place to be tickled is his thighs and that at bedtime, instead of hugging me and leaning into my chest as I sing a lullaby, he now hurls his body backwards toward the crib.
And there are thousands of other things: facial expressions, favorite toys, new skills. If I can’t seem to remember it long enough to write it here, how could I possibly remember long enough to tell David’s high school friends about his obsession with cat food?
In the past month there have been so many changes, I can’t keep up. One night I went to bed and when I woke up David had grown three new teeth. Just like that. It’s not that I didn’t have warning. David, um, warned me in the special way babies warn their mothers they’re getting new teeth: by screaming in agony and throwing his body to the floor. But I thought they’d come gradually. Instead, his smile changed overnight.
David loves standing. Now that he’s more stable he has one hand free to pull objects down and throw them to the floor, which means he’s more destructive than ever. He’ll play on his own, but he’s a baby, so I have to watch him every second. I’m not sure how he does it, but if I ever left him alone in an empty room no doubt I’d come back to find David with dreadlocks and the walls covered in graffiti.
We need higher furniture, nothing is safe. I keep pushing things farther back on the couch, but then the other day he climbed on my back and then onto the couch.
He can climb stairs, too. Entire flights of stairs. We don’t have stairs, so it’s not like he got to practice. We were visiting my parents he just looked at me and said, “Hey mom, wanna have a heart attack? Watch this!”
Another development that happened this month, one that came absolutely out of nowhere is: David stopped sucking his thumb. David has been a thumbsucker for a long time. As he’s gotten older he’s sucked his thumb more and more, especially at bed time. Between visiting family and power outages, we’ve been traveling a lot this month, so David went weeks without sleeping in his own bed. In the midst of all that upheaval, David relied on his thumb more and more, and eventually he got a huge, red, disgusting blister. And suddenly the habit wasn’t quite so fun anymore.
The shock of it all – the transition from getting comfort from something to it feeling like a cobra attack – was, um, difficult. It was hard for me and really hard for him, hard enough that, even though the blister has completely healed, he’s still scared to suck his thumb.
It’s a sad transition, but I’m also like, “Um, does this mean I’ll never have to Google “how to get your kid to stop sucking his thumb”? Slam dunk.”
Like I said, we’ve been traveling a lot this month, mostly to visit David’s cousins that live in Taiwan. Every time we get in the car David communicates his feelings and, by now, we get it: you hate the car. Thank you, David, I got the memo. No need to resend.
The travel also means swimming in Gramps and Grammy’s pool, and rides on Pops and Mimi’s boat, two things he loves every second of. He loves it so much he doesn’t even complain about the sunscreen or life jacket.
My favorite development might be his new social skills. He’s clapping and waving and has started sharing things with Tom and me and pointing with a curled wrist. He’s also starting to show that he understands words. When I ask him to find his ball, he freezes and looks at me with an expression of surprise and concern, as if he’s the best man in a wedding and just realized he doesn’t know where he left the wedding bands.
“The ball? Mom, I thought you had it?”
And then he goes looking for his ball. Any ball will do, but he mostly likes to find his big, yellow ball.
Like his father, David exhibits incredible, unbreakable focus. This is especially true at meal time. David rarely looks up during meal time, he eats with both hands, stuffing as much food in his mouth as possible. He drops food all the time, but never lets a missed mouthful interrupt his cadence – right hand, left hand, right hand, left hand.
Every now and then he stops for some water, which is an event as well. Like everything else, he drinks purposefully. He takes gulps bigger than his little mouth can handle and when he swallows most of it sprays out of his mouth. My brother’s girlfriend described it best when she said he drinks like a fountain.
His shirts are usually soaked, as are mine.
David weighs somewhere close to 25lbs, and at the end of every day my wrists hurt from holding him. It used to bother me, I know it can’t be a good sign. I used to wish for maybe an entire weekend of not holding him because maybe in that time my wrists could recover.
But yesterday David was holding onto our yoga ball and he let go and stood all by himself for just a moment. And when I saw him stand there, wobble, and then collapse onto his poofy diaper bottom, I gasped and scooped him up. I will cheer him on when he learns to walk, but watching him gain this kind of independence reminds me to hold him while I still can. Who needs wrists, anyway?
This post is already so so long and I haven’t even scratched the surface of everything you’re doing. Did I mention how you squeal when your Daddy chases you? Or when you get mad, you hang your head and then roll around on the ground in protest? Or that when you get tired you start screaming and staggering around our house, falling down and crawling into furniture like an angry drunk?
You’re looking more and more like a toddler these days; with long legs and lots of mobility. Now that you’re imitating your dad and me – giving me food because I give you food, clapping when I do – I realize how much you’re watching us. It makes me wonder if you’ll love running or camping or, one day, set out to itemize everything you own on a password-protected spreadsheet. It’s also an incredible challenge. If we are impatient with one another, will you be too? If we’re unkind, how quickly will you pick that up?
David, I love waking up to the sound of you babbling and watching you roll cars across our carpet. I will do my very best to love you completely and teach you well, but your dad and I? We’re not perfect. We make mistakes all the time, small mistakes and big mistakes. So maybe don’t do everything we do. But remember this: you can always, always, always look to Jesus.