In which I convince you to read *lots* of text by promising tons of cute photos.

Oh.

Hi.

Um, we have a baby.  Still.  Still have a baby.

In fact, we have *another* baby now, too, though this one won’t make an appearance for several more months yet.  (Yay, us!)  We have a few other things now that we didn’t have before, too: mainly, a looming dissertation deadline, brought on by the immanent appearance of said second baby.  Thus, all a good chunk of my free time for the past several months has been taken up by dissertation-writing.

The free time not taken up by writing has been taken up by time-wasting, in a half-hearted attempt to rest and avoid writing but without actually committing to not writing by doing anything fun/constructive/creative, etc.   So, all in all, not good for blogging.

Meanwhile, Baby has been providing his father and I with months and months of eminently recordable material, which we will agonize over having lost forever because Mommy didn’t actually record any of it.

Sigh.

Want a four-month recap?  In no particular order!

1. Baby is finally crawling.  He was so loathe for so long to actually work on self-propulsion that his doctor recommended he be tested for a delay.   A week before the assessment team was due to check him out, he went from rocking back and forth on his hands and knees, to tentatively lifting up one knee in a, “is there something I’m supposed to do with this?” kind of way, to shuffling his knees forwards (and backwards) in random movements, to BARRELING ACROSS THE ROOM AT 15 MILES AN HOUR.

Well, not really.  But that’s how it seems in retrospect.  He finally figured out how to propel himself forward in tiny, shuffling movements, with pigeon-toed feet tripping over one another, just in time for the assessment team to declare him “normal” at 11 months.  From there it was all about increasing his coordination and his strength, which he did surprisingly quickly.  (Now we have a child who looks as though he’s never encountered the concept of “delay” in his life.  Everything he wants must happen NOW.)  His hands, knees, and the tops of his socks are usually  black by the end of the day, which he no doubt considers to be the sign of a day well-seized.  Mommy considers this a horrible commentary on the state of her floors.

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2. Once he started crawling, it was as though his entire personality changed overnight.  That statement actually isn’t so much of an exaggeration.  Once he realized that he could move himself whenever and wherever he wished… suddenly lights clicked on in his brain in the previously dimly-lit room labeled “Will.”  His curiosity exploded, and he became immediately obsessed with dismantling/unloading/unpacking/gutting/eviscerating any and every object that contains other objects: magazine racks, kitchen cabinets, mommy’s purse, garbage cans, you name it.  He also began launching himself at objects of interest with surprising force and without regard to the likelihood of cracking his head following a 4-foot drop to the floor if he happens to be on the changing table or in Mommy’s arms.

Most of all, he became *stubborn.*  Actually, make that “imperious.”  My sweet, laid-back little baby hit the Terrible Two’s at 12 months.  Any delay — or, heaven forbid, refusal — of his desires produces tantrums any toddler would be proud of.  (To be honest, this is still a little funny to his mother.  Something about so much rage in so tiny a body is just kind of adorable.  “Aw, you actually think you’re the first person to come up with the idea of throwing things to get what you want!  That’s really cute, sweetie.  It’s still ‘no’.”)

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3.  He’s playing more games with us.  Many of them he has made up himself and finds hilarious, like grabbing the shopping list out of Mommy’s hand and tossing it over the edge of the grocery cart.  When we join in the game, he gives a belly-laugh that wrinkles his nose and squints his eyes and is pretty much the most adorable thing ever.  Which is why Mommy is perpetually picking her shopping list up off the floor.

He also loves all rough-housing games with Daddy: he gets tossed in the air, swung upside down, “dropped”, and carried under his father’s arm like a football or a sack of potatoes.  (This last one earns us some dirty looks from middle-aged women in parking lots who no doubt think his father is abusing the defenseless little angel.)  Phillip has to be perpetually on the alert, though, as Dominic will often unilaterally decide to be swung upside down and vault himself backwards out of Daddy’s arms.

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4. He sings along to “Wheels on the Bus,” which is currently the only song that will keep him from having a fit when his diaper is changed.

[Us]: “The wheels on the bus go ROUND and round…”
[Baby]: “ba ba ba… BA ba ba!”  *grin, nose-wrinkle*

This is now our favorite parlor trick to showcase our baby’s adorableness to strangers.  He now also sings along to other songs I sing to him, with the same “ba ba ba” accompaniment.  *Also*, it appears that he has some ability to match pitch and rhythm: if I hum two notes, he will often hum them back to me.  If I sing three, he’ll give me three back, more or less on pitch.

[Update: he has now started singing at Mass, but it’s different than his “ba-ba-ing” at home.  I think it must have a lot to do with the fact that there is the full accompaniment of musical instruments at Mass.  Whatever the reason, when he finds himself surrounded by hundreds of voices lifted in song, and the organ and violin and guitar and flutes coming down from the choir loft, Dominic will get a slightly far-off look and begin…actually singing.  Atonally, of course, but with sustained notes that change pitch: “Ahhhhh ahhh AHHHHH, ba ba ba ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…..”  Kills.  Me.]

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5. He absolutely loves other children and occasionally shows his affection by attacking them in a violently enthusiastic embrace aimed at their heads.  We had some friends stay with us for a weekend with their six children, ranging from 12 years to 2 months, and Dominic was in heaven.  One afternoon, he and two of the little boys sat playing with his bead maze.  For 5 full minutes, Dominic just looked back and forth between the other two and giggled periodically, or reached out a hand to pat their faces.  (George, the 3-year-old, was equally taken with him, and asked for “Donny-mic” first thing on waking up in the mornings.)

He’s also a terrible flirt.  Just this evening, we caught him making eyes at a cute 4-year-old sitting with her parents in the pew across the aisle at Mass.  Catching her attention, he crawled onto the ledge of the side of the pew and waved at her with his whole arm, from the shoulder, like he was hailing a taxi.  The other day at Target, he watched three little girls with their mothers walk past us down the aisle, leaning out of the side of the cart to catch a better view as he did so, until they finally turned the corner.  Then he looked directly up at his mother and grrrrrinnnnned.

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In his defense, Dominic is just as often the object of the flirting as he is the perpetrator.  Only in his case, it’s middle-aged women, the elderly, cashiers, female undergrads, Starbucks barristas, grocery baggers, parishioners sitting in surrounding pews, receptionists, nurses, high school students, and pretty much everyone in the world except modeling agents.  (So far.  Daddy and I aim to rectify this oversight.)  As proud as it makes his mother, it’s actually on the verge of getting old, mostly because of the burden it puts on me to stop whatever I’m doing and make small-talk with complete strangers every five minutes.

“Oh, my good-ness, will you LOOK at that cherub?!?  Those cheeks!  I just want to—”
“Yes, yes, he’s adorable, blah blah.  Can I have my groceries, please?”

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6. He babbles incessantly, using about every consonant and vowel combination imaginable in an unending stream of commentary, generally complete with arm-waving, until the moment a stranger stops to talk to him.  Then, dead silence and a long stare under lowered brows.

7. Sorting.  This child is a sorting fiend.  It started after we got back from Seattle in July; as I was emptying out my suitcase, he found himself surrounded by piles of clothes.  He immediately began picking them up one by one, passing them from his right hand to his left in a furiously efficient way, and tossing them behind him.  He did this until every single piece of clothing had been thrown into this pile…then he turned around and began doing it in the other direction.  This was literally his favorite activity for MONTHS.  We could keep him happily (and silently) occupied for a full 20 minutes when we needed to get work done by just dumping a pile of clean diapers or laundry at his feet.  In our first few hours home from a recent trip, Dominic celebrated our return by emptying: two kitchen cupboards, his father’s work-out shirt drawer, a bathroom cabinet, and his toy shelves and baskets of every. single. one. of his toys.

Now his sorting has become more complex — things have to go into things.  As I’m typing this, I’m watching him pick up his toys, one by one, and crawl with them over to the end table, where he stashes them on the bottom shelf.  Earlier today, I found all four plastic bottles I’d given him to play with stashed neatly underneath Daddy’s chair.

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8.   He is now imitating a lot of the things we do around the house.  Hand him his comb and he will immediately try to brush his hair; he wants his little fingertip toothbrush whenever he sees Daddy brushing his teeth in the mornings; it’s easiest to keep him occupied while I cook if I hand him a little bowl and spoon for him to “stir”.  He has no idea how to put his own socks on, but he wants to try, and heaven forbid if you try to feed him and don’t give him his own utensil to jab into the bowl while you do so.   He is also starting to imitate the sounds we make more closely, too: pitch, inflection, rhythm, etc.  (Go, “mmm-mmmm!” when you feed him his food, and he’ll do it right back to you!)

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9.  …which leads us to: his first word!  …well, according to me.  Daddy remains skeptical, for reasons of prejudice.  Dominic has been babbling for a long time, and “mamamamama” and “dadadadada” are among his favorite sounds.  We weren’t sure he was actually associating these sounds with us, though, until about two weeks ago.  Dominic and I were upstairs, when I realized I needed to fetch an item from the kitchen.  I told Dominic I’d be right back, and headed downstairs.  He continued to play quietly for a few moments, when I suddenly heard, drifting down from the head of the stairs, a clear and plaintive: “MA-MA!”

Yeah.  That counts.  🙂

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