Life is doing that odd sort of ‘we’ve always had Liam’ and ‘has it been a year and a half already?’ simultaneous perception thing. He’s a year and a half old today. I can’t quite wrap my head around that.
The first major snowstorm of the year left half a foot of snow on the ground, and Liam loved it. When the first snow of the year begins I usually go outside to stand in it, and this year Liam came too. At first HRH held him and Liam looked at the flakes with mild puzzlement on his face, trying to point at them as they fell, and when that didn’t work he tried to take them out of the air to see them properly. Then we put him down to stand on his own and he crunched over the frozen grass, staring at the snow as it fell and landed on the ground. It was perfect, a pure moment of child experiencing the wonder of a new season, and I am so glad I have the pictures to help remind me of it.
Liam sat beside me on the chesterfield this past Sunday morning and dipped a toy spoon into my cup of mint tea, putting it in his mouth and saying ‘Mmmm!’ before dipping the spoon in again and again. He loves to share, particularly if it’s something off your plate or in your cup. He still loves to feed other people his own food, of course; not to get rid of it, simply because he wants you to have some too. He still tries to share all manner of food as well as his sippy cup with Maggie, who remains unimpressed. He feeds his stuffed animals, too.
He’s eating all sorts of things, of course. His latest craze is Shreddies for breakfast (also known as ‘crackers’, like everything else small dry and crunchy is called, as if toddler-speak wasn’t confusing enough). He’s particularly fond of bananas these days, and of fresh blackberries cut up and mixed into applesauce. He loves orange juice and apple juice, and seems to be okay with the cranberry juice he drinks from HRH’s glass too: if the fridge is open he’ll pull a carton of juice out and wander off to find his cup, then bring it all back to us and demand that we pour some for him. He does not like sparkling mineral water, which is fine by me, because it means I can theoretically have a glass of something all to myself (or I would if he didn’t keep trying to taste it to make sure it hasn’t changed to something more palatable). While grocery shopping the other day he reached over and tore the top three inches off the baguette we’d put in the cart, and started chewing it unconcernedly. Lots of crumbs, but a very happy boy. It was a bit too late to stop him, and he had refused lunch other than a big glass of milk, so the fact that he was eating at all was good. In fact over the past few days mealtimes have been a guessing game: Will he eat? If he does, what will it be? And how much? His lower canines have really been stressing him out. I’m assuming things will return to normal once the fourth and last one finally shows up.
If we never hear the word ‘cracker’ again we will be very happy. It’s all he asks for to eat these days, unless he actually spies a banana on the counter.
Liam’s latest trick is to climb on the cedar chest to sit in front of window and watch the world go by. He has extrapolated this ability to climb on kitchen chairs, the coffee table, and anything else he can hoist himself up onto. He managed to climb up onto his tiny child-sized chair the other day and stand up on it, so when I walked back into the livng room with his cup he was standing almost two feet taller than usual, which made for a double-take on my part. The next day HRH sawed two inches off the legs so that the chair would be more stable, because yikes, it was ungood the way it was: fine for sitting (although the seat was too high for him to use without climbing up on it first then turning around — it’s much easier now), but certainly not for standing.
He loves to go out. If we don’t respond to ‘Door?’, he will carry a shoe or a scarf to someone and say hopefully, ‘Car?’, nodding several times as if to answer his own question and show us that yes, we’re going out now. Being in the car is wonderful, but bus rides are terrific too because there are people to watch and who smile and wave at him. Plus he can see cars driving on the road, to which he says, ‘Car go!’.
I finally got around to doing reconstructive surgery on his first copy of the Goodnight Moon board book he had loved into several pieces, and after gluing and taping and pressing it I slipped it back into his crib. When HRH put him down that night he rolled over and saw it, reached for it with a contented sigh, snuggled into it, and fell asleep. His current favourite book (out of the crib, that is) is the My First Touch and Feel Christmas book I picked up for him at a discount place. That’s how he learned to say ‘angel’ and ‘snowman’, and refined his Santa-identification skills. When he’d prefer to watch a movie he asks for ‘Turtle?’, which means Baby Neptune from the Baby Einstein series, which is all about water in different forms. Turtles are a big thing right now in Liam’s world, but nothing will replace Boo the (real) rabbit at daycare who lets Liam alone hug and kiss him, and who will follow him around. (Let me tell you, our cats could learn a thing or two from Boo: if you don’t run, Liam doesn’t grab you by the tail to haul you back so that he can kiss you. Seriously, cats. He stays gentle if you don’t freak out when you see him coming.)
It’s hard to watch him try to communicate something to us and grow more and more frustrated when we don’t get it — or worse, we get it and tell him that it can’t happen. We’ve reached the age where if he’s tired, the way he deals is by sitting down hard on the floor and crying in anger or frustration when something doesn’t go right ( ‘right’ according to Liam, that is). But that’s rare, and happens mainly when he’s tired or irritable because of his teeth. Otherwise, he’s cheerful, attentive, perky, and so damn sharp that his dad is already worried about how he’ll keep up with his son in another half-year. The new words keep arriving, the physical dexterity and strength just keep on improving, and his kooky sense of humour still kills us. Bathtime is still one of the best times of day, playing hide and seek with the ducks and splashing and investigating how cups fill and empty and fit into one another. He loves to brush his teeth, and has to kiss the Nemo on the toothbrush before he finishes and claps his hands. He has become terribly helpful in that he will throw away his dirty diapers for us after he’s been changed as well as using his little broom to sweep the kitchen after his meals. Liam can be so very gentle, stroking my hair once on each side of my face very lightly before taking my head in his hands and kissing my forehead. Or he can go crazy, galloping around whooping and swinging his broom above his head, or run up behind you to dance and giggle madly before dashing off again to make you chase him. I love his all-consuming giggles that he can’t stop when HRH kisses his tummy, or we tickle under his chin. Every day HRH and I are astonished at the new things Liam does, or the new connections he makes. We realised last week that we were being awed by a perfectly natural process, but the fact that it’s natural is what makes it remarkable. The mental, emotional, and physical development of a human being is an extraordinary thing, and it’s the privilege of a parent to be at ground zero to be able to appreciate the evolution of a child from the very first day. I went through Liam’s cupboard the other day and packed away all the clothes and toys that he had outgrown, and I found some 0-3 month onesies at the very back of a shelf. Was he ever that small, I wondered, and then realised that he had been even smaller. We frequently forget, and yet that fact is one of the reasons we can appreciate how much of a enthusiastic toddler he is today. From newborn to toddler, a child learns so very much in such a short period of time. It’s an incredible thing. Plus, it’s a lot of fun. Sure, we’re tired, and we get frustrated too, but I think the pluses outweigh the minuses. Liam is such a terrific kid.