This month started out big. On the day of your sixteenth month birthday, you got your first haircut AND you got the news that your new sibling will be a sister — one of those being completely traumatizing and the other not even a blip on your radar. Soon, I imagine, those reactions will be flipped.
Seriously, that haircut. I had heard stories about kids’ almost biological fear of strangers with clippers (which makes a certain amount of evolutionary sense, I suppose), but just assumed you’d be your regular cool self. No such luck. Your chill demeanor shattered instantly and violently as soon as we put you in that chair, where you bawled and bawled, as if we were shipping you off to an orphanage forever. The stylist, bless her heart, was a grizzled veteran of these kinds of battles, dodging and weaving her ways around the flailing arms, snipping whatever she could. Per our instructions, she only cut around the sides; there was no way we were snipping off those lovely curls. (Not-so-secretly, we fear once they’re cut, they’ll never come back.) It was a ten-minute job, if that, but totally professional and totally, it must be said, necessary. You came out of the store a shaken, but much more handsome, little boy.
A few days later we took you to Madison for your first wedding. We dressed you up in a totally rockstar shirt and tie, and you made all the little ladies’ heads turn. It was wishful thinking on our part that you’d stay quiet during the whole ceremony, so Mom took you out to the foyer when you started to babble, just when the vows were about to be exchanged. Your chirps and squeals are a delight to us, but we recognize not everyone thinks so, especially folks vowing eternal love to each other. Then the singing started, and you really got into it and starting clapping, and there was no holding you back. Later reports confirmed that the bride and groom heard your happy squeals and it brought an extra special dose of joy to the whole proceedings. Maybe we’ll rent you out for cute baby services.
You endured your second Halloween this month, wearing your second costume made lovingly by Mom. You are really fortunate that you have such a creative mom, and that your Halloween outfits will forever be the object of much admiration and envy. We ran into your three ten-year-old cousins that weekend, who swept you away and fawned over you like you were their pet. They have already been devising next year’s costume plan, which involves them as Alice, the Red Queen and the White Queen, you as the white rabbit, and your little sister, who will be eight months old, as the caterpillar. As long as she’s not required to be smoking a pipe, it all sounds good to me. I can already see you spending all day hopping around.
The other funny/horrifying/but-mostly-funny thing that happened on Halloween was when you encountered our friend Catherine, who was dressed as a Juggalo, and you LOST YOUR SHIT. It’s not clear to me how you knew to be fearful, given that you’ve never seen a clown, much less a Juggalo. But somehow you knew to choose blood-curdling screams, and I gotta say you chose wisely. I think this reflects well on your upbringing.
I celebrated my birthday last week, and as a gift to myself I took the two of us to the Lincoln Park Zoo. You loved seeing the animals, as expected, but to be frank, you didn’t care if they were live or simply statues. Your favorite part, by far, was the carousel, which we sat and watched go round and round for at least five trips. We never got on, and I actually don’t think you would have liked it. From aboard the ride, you only see the ass of the animal in front of you. You knew the best spot in the house: standing on the edge, where you get to see them all fly by.
You have learned a few new tricks this month, most of them charming, some of them less so. Let’s start with the charm. You’ve been refining your “hi” and “bye” routine, flush with blown kisses. You like to bow, one of the rare tricks you deign to do on command. You love to dance to whatever music we put on. You will often sneak away to the chair in the play area, climb up, lounge against the back, and read books to yourself. You sometimes turn your hands up and hunch your shoulders, as if to say, “Nu?” You are easy with kisses, much to our delight.
The less charming tricks are the tantrums, which Mom and I both feel are a tad premature. We know you like to prove how smart you are for your age, but there’s no need to act like a two-year-old just yet. It’s tough for you, because you only have a few words, and we never committed to the sign language regimen, so you’re stuck with just sounds and tears to communicate. Mom and I are both hoping that language spurt comes quick, so you can tell us what you want, and we can get it for you, keeping us all much calmer and saner in the end.
It’s all part of this new wave of assertion. For much of your life, there was a big circle of things that you enjoyed, and the small circle of things you hated. With every passing day, more objects get moved from the former to the latter. More accurately, objects get moved back and forth, sometimes repeatedly within the same day, or even hour. “No” is your favorite word, and sometimes I think I hear you tack on a little sigh to the end, as if to say, “Don’t be such a tool, DAD.” It makes feeding you and entertaining you a real adventure. Mix in the delightful attitude that’s borne from teething, and I start seriously considering the costs of purchasing a nanny robot. (Additional advantage: it will give us an important ally ahead of the coming robot apocalypse.)
Of course I still love you greatly, like a certain bear loves his honey. You’re my silly little chubster, and when you climb up on the couch and lay your head on my chest so we can read or watch videos of monkeys together, it makes my little heart burst every time.