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Now that Simon is one year old, his list of favorites is changing. As of this October, Simon’s day is brightened by the following:

The Dirties: Dirty Duck and Dirty Dog are still very popular around here, but they are no longer toys. They instead fill the role of transitional object or lovey, and Simon holds onto at least one of them as he falls asleep. I can’t help but think that my training him to hold onto a blanket toy instead of a proper stuffed animal is fueled by my desire to see him a sweet, Linus-like little boy.

Clippy: Clippy came into our lives this past May. It’s really a Haba brand pacifier chain, a gizmo that safely allows us to attach Simon’s pacifier to his clothing or a harness strap. Now that one of Simon’s favorite activities is throwing things, this device has become a must when he needs his pacifier on the road or in his stroller. Bonus: It’s so very cute that Simon will play with it when he’s not interested in using the pacifier.

Radio Flyer Little Red Wagon: OK, this version is not very little. In fact, it can seat 2, has a fold down activity tray, a storage area, cup-holders, a canopy, and a cooler that hitches to the back. It was a present from my brother Steve and his family, it is totally over the top, and Simon loves it. Several days in a row, Simon has had a mid-day fussy patch that no amount of dancing, nursing, eating, reading, or playing could undo. Each time, I hauled the Radio Flyer down the porch, put Simon in it, and hauled him around the block while he laughed and smiled. Monday evening Matt and I took him all the way to a café on Eastern Parkway (about a mile and a half round trip), let him sit in the wagon while we drank our coffee, and then pulled him back home again. He had a ball, and even discovered two fun games: (1) littering; (2) grabbing the wheel as it spins. I can already tell we will be abusing this wagon for years to come.

Dancing: Oh my. This one makes mama all mushy. It began as a joke. We were having dinner at third avenue café about a month or so ago when a swing band began to play. I love to dance, and Simon was getting bored and squirmy. So to buy my mom and Matt some time to eat, I picked him up and danced with him. He loved it. Big smile once I held his left arm out. Bigger smile when we spun. And biggest smile of all when I dipped him. Dancing is now a regular part of our repertoire, and it makes us both happy. I think Simon enjoys the movement and the closeness with me. And me? I love the fact that I can back-lead all I want….

Glasses: Seems Simon agrees with the band Sloan on this one. Lyrics from “Deeper than Beauty”:

And your glasses, your hideous glasses
When you remove them I would rather
Skip my classes and be caught
Than to entertain the thought
That someday you’ll just put them on again

Simon simply adores taking my glasses off. It’s to the point that I have to hold him at very specific angles and/or take them off to play with him. That latter part is tricky, because I really, really need mine to function! We’ve put my glasses on Simon a few times to amusing effect. Specifically, he smiles, squints at the distortion, and then yanks them off as soon as he can. Today he made a grab for his Bubbie’s glasses as well, so it seems my little cherub is an equal opportunity glasses yanker.

Nesting Boxes: I bought a set of nesting boxes with a Golden Gate Park theme for my nephew Ben a few years back. Now Simon has his own set, a gift from Cindy and Tim in Boston, and he adores them. He loves knocking down box towers so much that I rarely get a stack more than three boxes high before he takes his first swipe. He also really likes to take the smallest boxes and put them into and then take them back out of a larger box. I’m amazed at how long he can amuse himself playing this way.

Rocking Horse: Another birthday present, this time from his Bubbie. And another huge hit. If he’s in the right frame of mind, we can put Simon on this sucker, hum the William Tell Overture, and watch him hold on and bounce for a good long time. This present is also a big hit with me. Because before it arrived, I was the horsey, and kiddo is getting heavy!

Books: After several months of indifference, Simon has finally latched onto books. Literally. Therefore, many of our old favorites have been shelved while Simon learns that books are for reading and looking at, not eating and teething on. Not that he doesn’t “read” them, too. He does. In the last few weeks, he’s even begun to point at interesting objects within.

Old favorites: None of this is to say that all his old favorites have disappeared. The little guy is still madly in love with two very important favorites: our cats and his grandmothers. See, he’s only 12 months old and he is already distinguished by excellent taste.

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