Yesterday after your nap, I chased you around your room on my hands and knees. Each time I got close, you squealed in anticipation and then dissolved into giggles. After that game was over, you spent some time examining my mouth, putting first your fingers and then your nose inside it, and finally putting your eye right up to it to see what you could see up close. Then you experimented with a few new sounds. “Gup-gup-gup,” you said, adding a new closing consonant with flair.
You are picking up new skills and ideas and personality traits daily, and it’s a wonder to behold you becoming yourself.
This month you have waved and clapped, but only on alternate weeks. Currently you’re enamored of the two-handed wave above all else, especially if you’re holding something in one of your hands. If we raise both our hands above our head, you mimic us. How big is Ezra? So big!
A few weeks ago, you suddenly announced you were done with spoons. Spoons are the worst. Down with spoons. You will now only eat food you can pick up by yourself with your hands. You are not yet talented at this, but you’re getting better through sheer determination. I have rigged up a tray on the floor under your high chair, and at each meal I wait until the counter in front of you is clear and then lean down, grab the tray, and return your whole meal to the counter for round two. Sometimes we do a third round, though the food tends to pick up a thin veneer of cat hair by that point, and I usually give up.
You love peas and squash and blueberries and chicken and pieces of toast, but your new favorite food is string cheese. You eat it like a popsicle, sucking and licking it until it breaks down in a mushy mess in your mouth. The other day I watched in horror as you stuffed an entire half a string cheese into your little mouth, worried that you would gag on it. Instead, you calmly crawled halfway across the room, sat down in your new spot, then carefully removed the cheese mass from its storage compartment in your mouth and began working on it again. You carry all sorts of stuff across the room in your mouth like a mama cat carrying her kittens: socks, your brush, a bottle by the nipple.
We love taking you to the park these days, and I’m trying to teach you to anticipate something wonderful when I say “One…Two…Three…” I think you’re starting to get it, beginning to giggle in advance of the high push on the swing or the trip down the slide. I see you watching the big kids run around, and know you’ll be stumbling after them soon. Your friend Veronica is already taking her first steps, and we’re sure you won’t be far behind. You sometimes stand on your own for a few seconds before remembering that you don’t know how and sitting back down. Often this happens with a big splash in the bath, but you never get upset. You just flip onto your hands and knees and get back to work corralling and chewing on all your bath toys.
We are working really hard on helping you sleep through the night. One new part of our sleep routine is that we’ve put your favorite stuffed dog, called Proposition Joe despite his svelte frame, in the crib with you. For months, I had tried to get you to cuddle a tiny, hard stuffed bunny, trying to heed the warnings about soft toys in the crib. No more. It’s big gangly-limbed Prop Joe for you, an animal you can hold and hug with all your might. I love coming in to get you up from a long nap and finding you asleep with your whole body thrown over the dog. At night, when you wake up, we help you find your puppy buddy and remind you to hold him tight, and it helps calm you down.
We should have known that you needed a good hugging animal for sleeping, because you are a serious hugger, my friend. You have a kind of radius of hug-itude, and anyone who gets inside it will get a big armful of Ezra. The other night, we were out watching your Papa Syd tell stories, and you just kept going back and forth between me and your Nana, reaching out to hug me, then back to hug her, over and over again.
Occasionally, it’s true, the hugging turns to clinging. Usually around 4 in the afternoon when you’ve stubbornly refused to nap. If I get in your radius, you grab on and won’t let go, whining and crying at my attempts to entertain you in a non-full-body-contact manner. This is the time of day when I frequently sing our clinging theme song, Clingy Town. (“Got to make a move to a town that’s right for me. A town where I can cling to my sweet, sweet mo-o-mmy. Oh talk about it, talk about it, talk about it…Won’t you take me to Clingy Town, won’t you take me to Clingy Toooooown.”)
I wouldn’t trade the hugs for anything, even the clingy ones, even the ones that end with an exploratory vampire bit on my neck, testing your new teeth. You are a cuddler and a lover, and I adore it. Last night, when your papa was putting you to bed, he pointed at a picture of a mother in your bedtime book and said “kiss her good night,” and you leaned in and kissed the book.
You are the sweetest, silly buddy.
Love and kisses and hugs,