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Baby to Boy

March LookBabies are funny. For the most part, from my point of view, they either seem to change dramatically overnight or not at all. I mean, one day they sit up and stay up for the first time, and the whole world seems different, and then (in our case) it seems like that’s the last trick they master for the better part of a year. There’s nothing predictable about the pattern except, to be trite and clich├ęd, its unpredictability. Change. Stop. Change again. Stop.

Today, though, I think I saw hints of change-or the suggestion that more change is on the horizon. To be more specific, today Simon gave hints of a tsunami of change headed our way. My forecast might be off, but I have a strong feeling his world is about to transform and mine along with it.

First, there is language/cognition and the use of symbols. Two nights ago, Simon associated the light in a book with the light in our room. Then last night he went one step further. He pointed to the floor light in the book (the one he always points out), then turned the page and pointed to the table light in a second picture, then looked around the room for a table light and pointed to the one on Matt’s bedside table. It was clear to me that he was making the association between different types of lights and understood that the two lights in the room and the two lights in the book are all related. He knows how our light switches work as well, both the traditional toggle switches and the antique push-button ones.

Then there is his Little People Farm. He got it for Chanukah, and for ages now it’s just been a storage game. Put the animals in the silo. Open the door and take the animals out. Repeat ad nauseum. A few days ago he seemed to actually look at the animals, so I began making the associated animal noises. Today it began to click for him. When he held the pig and I oinked, he knew which gate to open on the toy to make it “oink.” When I made a “baaaa” sound, he knew exactly which part of the toy to maneuver to hear it make the same noise. He still puts the animals in the silo, but he also puts them in their stalls and pens, albeit randomly.

We’ve also seen changes on the eating front. Once Simon began to self-feed, he rejected 99% of his baby food and we got into a horrible rut. The last few days, I’ve been even more worried as he’s been rejecting his bananas and mac and cheese, two of the few foods left in his diet. During a snack yesterday, he reached for my Panda black licorice. I broke off a bit and gave it to him, awaiting a horrible “how could you do this to me?” stare. Instead, he reached for more. We ended up splitting the bar.

Later, at dinner time, he threw a fit over and rejected his mac and cheese, only to reach out for my spicy sweet potato, kale, tomato, and corn chowder. He loved it, and I fed him the better part of a bowl. Tonight I pureed it for him so he’d eat more of the veggies, and he not only ate it, but he did so in part with a spoon.

Simon has even debuted a new expression. Matt and I are calling it the “coy smile.” It reminds me very much of the look the late Princess Diana gave in many photos: head down, eyes up, mischievous smile on face. It’s a look that suggests secrets shared and secret intimacy-very flirtatious and hilarious coming from a 16-month old.

Add to all of this that Simon now spends most of his time kneeling, sings a little “laddle little laydl” song to himself, knows how to play ball with himself using the stairwell wall, tried to take off his shirt two days ago, and gave his stuffed frog a “drink” from his cup today, and you have a picture of a very funny little baby who is going to wake up a little boy any day now.

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