Sorry, Kiddo.

Before Kiddo was born, I vowed that I would never put anything online about his diaper or toilet habits. I will now bend that vow slightly, but (I hope) in a way that will not embarrass him ten years down the road.

(What kind of fool am I being? Ten years from now, anything we do or will have done is going to embarrass him.)

Before Kiddo was born, before our midpoint ultrasound where all the parts were inspected and displayed, I wasn’t sure which sex I wanted our child to be. I had only two concerns about having a boy, and one of them was around toilet training.

(Oh, sorry. I’m informed by the Supermommies Of The Internet that it’s “potty learning.” Whatever.)

I am delighted that he turned out to be a boy. I am excited watching him grow and learn new things. But I’ve known that one day, we’d reach the point that I was dreading, and we’d have to start with the potty training. And it looks like that distant train is much closer than we thought.

Most of the unpleasantness of toilet training applies to both sexes – the wet and messy pants, soggy imprints on the floor and furniture, mad rushes to find public bathrooms when someone has to go “now, Mommy, right now!”

Boys, however, come with an additional challenge. Very few of them are born with perfect aim.


And that’s enough said about that.



Keeping it together

Last night after Kiddo went to bed, I was picking up his toys and tidying the living room and dining room. He’d been playing with a bunch of wooden tray puzzles in the dining room but hadn’t finished putting them all together so I took a shot at it. To my chagrin, I ended up with this.

Twenty-five letters were snugly tucked into their spaces. One was AWOL. (Well actually, four of them were A, W, O and L, but none of those four was missing.) I glanced around and didn’t find it. Picked up the rest of the toys. Looked inside things, under tables, even shook out the playmats. Nothing. And the more I didn’t find it, the greater significance it took on.

After a lot of krawling on the floor and reaching into the krevices of the kouch kushions,  I went downstairs to where my husband was watching TV. “The K is missing,” I komplained.

“OK?” he said, klearly not seeing the koncern. I was not komforted.

“You kan’t spell Kiddo without a K,” I said krabbily. At least I had the meager konsolation that it kouldn’t have left the house.

I don’t like losing things. I know it’s inevitable with a young child in the household, but we’ve made it this far with the loss of only one toy, and a few crib sheets that went in to daycare and never came home. Not one tiny-foot sock lost to the washing machine yet–or if they have been, at least they had the courtesy to run off in pairs.

And I especially don’t like losing pieces that are noticeable parts of sets. I have no doubt that scores of LEGO pieces were lost to the carpet and the vacuum cleaner while my sisters and I were growing up. But as long as their loss wasn’t obvious–a red brick here, a flower there–it didn’t bother me too much.

But a K? That’s an omission that’s obvious at a glance. I know my house will never be worthy of a magazine photo spread, but I like to have it as tidy and put-together as we can manage. Puzzles with missing pieces or trucks that have lost a wheel or two don’t feel put-together to me. It’s like a constant reminder of my inability to keep track of all the things that have been entrusted to my child (and by proxy, to me) over the years. Of course he’s going to lose things; he’s only two. But as one of the adults in the household, I’m supposed to be watching out for that sort of thing, and recovering stray items. If it’s in my power to keep things in playable condition, then I want to do it. It’s this sort of thing that led to me taking Kiddo’s carseat almost completely apart at a rest stop on our road trip after he pulled two of the little rubber wheels off his toy school bus. How could he drive his bus around without a full set of tires?

This morning, Kiddo woke up while I was still picking out my klothes. My husband went in to help Kiddo out of his krib. “Ask him about the K!” I kalled from the bedroom. Husband wisely ignored me. I finished kombing my hair and komparing kardigans, and joined them in the living room, where Kiddo was playing with his kars. I gave him a hug, then pulled out the alphabet puzzle and said, “Do you know where the K is?”

“Hah!” said Kiddo (his kurrent word for yes). He ran all the way into the kitchen and then kame back. Konfused, I followed his tracks. I looked on the floor but saw nothing. Then I looked up higher and spotted the missing puzzle piece.

In the Kitchen.

On the Kounter.

In between the Knife bloK and the miKrowave.

And farther back than Kiddo should have been able to reach. I’m still not sure how it got there. I guess it’ll remain a mystery konnundrum.

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I’ve been busy with my new job, and haven’t had much time to write here lately. And in the meantime, my little guy has been up to so much. Over the past several weeks, he has continually amazed me with the way in which he learns things, and how quickly he picks up little tricks. He speaks in sentences and phrases now, repeats back what we’ve told him, sings Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and counts past twenty with a look-what-I-can-do lilt in his voice.

He’s growing up so fast, and last weekend really brought it home. My husband and I were involved with an all-day puzzle event that we needed to be able to focus on, so we had to find an alternate plan for Kiddo. Our sitter that day was the son of a couple friends of ours; he’s taken care of Kiddo before at their house, with occasional oversight from his mom, and Kiddo has usually enjoyed his time there, once he gets past being upset with us for leaving him behind.

I was expecting the usual tears and clinging when I dropped him off, but this time was different. As I stood in the driveway chatting with my friend, her daughter came outside to talk to Kiddo, and then led him inside by the hand to find a toy. He didn’t even look back.

I was a little taken aback. When I realized what had just happened, and Kiddo didn’t immediately come running back out. I turned to my friend. “I feel bad about leaving without saying goodbye, but it might be easier on him if I just go,” I said uncertainly. She agreed, and I hopped back in my car.

Usually as I drive away from a drop-off, I feel a tiny bit of regret. How could I knowingly upset him, even knowing that he’d be fine again as soon as I was out of sight? Last weekend I felt a different kind of regret. As much as I’d looked forward to the day when I could walk away without the tears and drama, I suddenly missed it a little bit. It was no longer a big deal that Mom was leaving him behind, and my ego wasn’t sure how to handle that.

Objectively I know that this means we’ve done something right. We’ve helped him build his independence and confidence that it’s OK for Mom and Dad to leave him with someone else for a while. He knows we’ll come back and we still love him. Emotionally, though, it was a little bit of a hit to see him casually go off with someone else, as though he was saying “Oh, you’re leaving? Whatever, see you later.”

I’m proud of the big boy he’s becoming. Outwardly I’ll give him all the support he needs to grow into a confident, independent adult. And if I get a lump in my throat now and again missing the little baby whose universe revolved around me, well, I guess that’s just part of growing as a parent.


Words mean things, I think

Kiddo’s turned into quite the chatterbox recently. One article I read a while back about speech milestones said that right around 2, they’ll start talking a lot and you’ll be convinced they’re speaking another language. I laughed at the time. Now I see what they meant.

He tells us his observations of everything: Mom’s coat is green, his own coat is blue and yellow, Dad’s car goes vroom vroom. He can usually articulate his needs and wants: more meat please, water please, Dad read book, light on. He’s started offering his opinions too: cheese mmm, no Mom no sing!

All of these, of course, in his own dialect of toddler-ese. I’m reasonably adept at translating it, my husband nearly as much, and I have to assume his daycare teachers are too. I think he meets the developmental milestone guideline that says by this age, strangers can understand about half of what Kiddo says. But even I have trouble parsing some of the garbled words and phrases. Our smattering of sign language helped for a while but we haven’t really kept it up, other than the basics.

When he says something that we can understand, we usually repeat it back to him so that he can hear (and hopefully pick up) the correct pronounciation. In the car this morning Kiddo said “Gar doh o-peh” and I said yep, I’m going to open the garage door. As we started down the driveway he cheerfully exclaimed “Doin don hih!” and I confirmed that’s right, we’re going down the hill! I can’t always do this–sometimes I’m occupied with things like driving or cooking, other times I simply can’t make it out.

This morning I wondered whether I was overdoing it. Imagine how you’d feel if someone was correcting ninety percent of what you said. Some might find it helpful, but I know if it were me, I might start to feel like I couldn’t do any darn thing right, and might even lose the confidence to keep trying at all. In my attempts to build up the correct use of language, am I actually tearing him down? Am I modeling, or just invalidating?

Then I said to myself, Self, you’ve been spending too much time in online parenting forums. Stop being a dork.

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Making memories

Last Sunday, after spending most of the afternoon at Pike Place Market, we stopped at Marymoor Park on the way home. Pike Place Market is nifty for taller people, but not so exciting when you’re strapped into a stroller. Kiddo had been very patient though, and he deserved some fun time for himself.

The park was the emptiest I’ve ever seen it. The playground itself was deserted. Granted, it was a holiday weekend, it was close to dinner time, and there were ominous-looking rain clouds not far away. But none of that mattered to our boy. He was thrilled that he could play on all the slides and ride on the little rocking tractor to his heart’s content, without needing to take turns or watch out for bigger kids. He’d pause at the top of a slide and sign “More?” and we would tell him, of course you can slide some more! We let him lead, and just followed him from slide to rocker to bigger slide to swing, letting him choose what he wanted to do next.

When it was time to leave we borrowed a trick and pointed to the small berm surrounding the concert stage, about halfway between the playground and the parking lot.  “Look at that hill! Want to run up the hill?” I asked Kiddo, and of course he did.  Off he ran, glee bubbling out of him, with all the speed his little not-quite-two-year-old legs could produce.

As we followed, I asked my husband, “Do you remember anything from when you were two?”

“No,” he said.

“Neither do I,” I replied.

After some thought, he was able to remember a big event that happened shortly before his brother was born, which would have been a couple months before my husband’s second birthday. And I remember the house my family lived in, and meeting another child who turned out to be one of my longest friends. But neither of us could remember much beyond that of those early years. I’m certain that we had afternoons like this one, where there was so much joy in getting to do whatever he wanted, for a little while. We must have had those moments of awe, discovering the secrets of the world that would become everyday facts just a few years later. I’m sure we had many, many moments of delight in learning and repeating new words and phrases, or tasting fresh raspberries for the first time. But memories laid down at this age often don’t stick around into adulthood; it’s not until children develop the ability to put events in chronological order that long-term memories start forming, and most children don’t develop that ability until around age 3 or 4.

In a way, it makes sense. A toddler’s brain is still developing, soaking up all kinds of details and bits of trivia. Mom’s shoes go in the closet; Dad’s glasses go on his face. But the part of their brain that controls emotions (and emotional outbursts) is still very immature. Or to put it more simply: it’s hard being a toddler! Frustrations abound because you don’t understand why you can’t do something, because your limited language skills make it hard to explain what you want, or simply because you’re overwhelmed and stressed dealing with the influx of new data, and you don’t have the mental maturity to cope with it. Who would want to carry the memories of those chaotic times around for the rest of their life? Perhaps the delay in developing long-term memory is a blessing in disguise.

But as the memories of the difficult times fade, they take with them most of the memories of the joyful times too. I saw Kiddo beaming with delight that afternoon and got a lump in my throat thinking that he probably won’t remember these moments. Pictures and video capture the physical activities and the words that were spoken, but his feelings and emotions can only be reconstructed, not retained.

I didn’t take pictures on Sunday afternoon. I wanted to take in the full experience of the fun we were having, of him playing and us watching him play. The little boy grown big may not remember this one afternoon out of so many others–but his father and I will.


I’m bringing paperback

Kindles, Nooks, iPads, even smartphones… it feels like everywhere I look, someone’s got some kind of e-reader. Heck, even my mom got one for Christmas last year! Being the voracious reader that I am, you’d think I would be first in line for the latest device. But this is one geek trend I’m skipping, for now. I’ll take my reading the old-fashioned way.

I grew up devouring books. Most times when I got suspiciously quiet, it wasn’t because I was up to mischief, but rather because I’d gotten lost in a book. And I wouldn’t just read them once–if I liked a book (and I rarely met one I didn’t) I was happy to return to it many times. Even as an adult I get as much pleasure reading a book for the second or third time as I did the first time through. Some people watch their favorite movies over and over, spouting memorable quotes. Why should it be strange that I do this with my favorite books?

So, it seems like a no-brainer.  Electronic readers have all kinds of advantages over traditional books. They’re kinder to the environment than printed editions, they’re easier to carry when you want to take the whole library along, and I could read late into the night without turning on the bedside light. Anti-glare screens make it convenient to read outside, and advances in battery usage make it possible to go for weeks without needing a charge. But I’m still not sold. I’ve got a more important, less personal reason to pass for now: I want my son to love reading as much as I do.

Kiddo is still too young to tell an iPod from a smartphone, and the only difference to him between those two and our laptops is their size. In this little boy’s eyes, all of them serve the same purpose: to prevent Mom and Dad from paying Kiddo his rightful share of attention. If I pull out my phone to take a quick peek at my email, he’ll grab my arm and say “No, mom!”  He’s even reacted that way occasionally to other electronics like our digital camera. So, as handy as an e-reader might be for me, he’s not going to see it as a book. He’s going to see it as one more distraction.

Children copy the behaviors modeled by their parents. I remember playing in the backyard as a child while my own mother sat nearby with a book in hand. To show Kiddo how enjoyable reading can be, we have to demonstrate it with items he recognizes as books, not gadgets. Frankly, it’s not that much of a burden for me. I like reading traditional-format paperbacks.  They’re a good fit for my small hands. I like the feel and sound of fanning a new book’s pages; I love flipping to a random place in an old read and thinking, “Oh yeah, I remember this part!” and diving in.

And there are other benefits to analog versions. It’s easy to purchase a new one without needing any special software installed. I don’t worry about breaking them if I drop them, and I can keep reading on the airplane during takeoff and landing, while other electronic devices have to be turned off and stowed. Sure, they both get ruined if they fall in the bathtub, but the replacement cost of a mass-market paperback is considerably lower.

I have no doubt that a couple of years down the road, I’ll be ready for the latest Kindle or its kin. But for now, I’ll take my dead-tree versions, with the hope that I’m planting a seed for the future.


Little man with a plan

We’ve noticed a change in Kiddo the past week or two.  He’s gotten more assertive about letting us know what he wants to do–and especially what he wants us to do.

For as long as he’s been able to say “No” (and boy, that feels like forever) Kiddo has had no qualms about telling us that he doesn’t want us to do something, whether it’s checking email on our cell phones or attempting to get him dressed. But he generally didn’t take the initiative to tell us what he actually did want to do. Recently, though, he’s figured out that he can show us through actions what he’s got in mind.

In the morning, when either I or my husband is trying to sleep in, Kiddo will come up and grab an arm, trying to pull us out of bed. If I’m at the kitchen table and he throws his new orange ball over the baby gate and down the stairs, he’ll lead me by the hand to where the problem is. He doesn’t wait for us to serve him anymore at mealtimes, if he can help it. If there’s food he wants and it’s within reach, he’ll simply help himself.

This is exciting to me because it tells me that he’s learned he can influence other people’s actions.  He’s long past the stage where he figured out that Mom and Dad are separate people who sometimes have different opinions than he does (for example, whether he should go to bed or not). He has frequently demonstrated that he knows he’s allowed to express his opinion. But suddenly it seems like he’s realized that he doesn’t have to wait for other people to make a decision–that he himself can decide what we should do next.

Obviously, as parents we’re going to overrule him at times, but right now I’m getting such a kick out of seeing how he asserts himself. He’s so confident in his belief that of course Mom or Dad will do what he wants, if he can just show them what it is he wants to do.

My favorite example of this so far happened a few days ago. We’ve got a regular group that gets together weekly to watch the latest episode of Survivor. We’d all taken our shoes off when we arrived at the hosts’ house, and piled them just inside the front door before heading to the viewing area at the back of the house. About 15 minutes before the end of the show, Kiddo plopped down in my lap and handed me his shoes.  I put them on him–after all, sometimes he just likes having shoes on.  He disappeared, then reappeared a few minutes later carrying my husband’s shoes.  Next he ferried mine over as well.  “Mom shoes!” he announced. When he dragged our coats down the hall to us, we finally realized what he’d been trying to tell us: it was time to go home.  Never mind that we were literally about to find out who was getting voted off! When a not-quite-two-year-old has his mind made up, there’s no such thing as a rational appeal.

On our way to the car, we realized something else as well. Every weekday morning, as we get ready to head off to work and daycare, putting on coats and shoes is the first step to heading out the door. That night, when Kiddo decided it was time to go, he didn’t whine or throw a tantrum. He simply repeated the routine he knew from home and expected it would have the same result. From his point of view, his actions were totally logical. They may not be rational quite yet, but in their own way, toddlers actually can make sense.


Reader question: Did changing diapers lead to a change of mind?

Recently I challenged some friends to come up with blog topics for me. My friend Sora suggested this one: how have your opinions about parenting changed since actually becoming a parent?

I have to cast my mind back almost two years to answer this one. I remember feeling very uncertain, especially as the due date got closer. It seemed like there were so many different approaches to parenting.  So many books.  So many philosophies. How would we know we were making the right decisions, especially in cases where we wouldn’t see the results for literally years?

In many ways, it got easier after the delivery.  There were a lot of decisions that became moot, because we went with what felt instinctually right.  For example, when to start solids? We just waited until Kiddo started showing interest. The best guideline I’d heard was that when we started feeling guilty about eating “real” food in front of him, that would be the time. As imprecise as that sounds, it turned out to be spot on. One day not long before he turned six months old, he started showing a different kind of interest in the food we were eating, as though he was trying to figure out why we were putting it in our mouths and more importantly, why we weren’t taking it back out.  A week or two later we broke out the traditional box of rice cereal, plus some avocado for variety. It was important to me that he be exposed to a variety of food, because I’m a picky eater myself and didn’t want to pass along that habit. But as it turns out, Kiddo loves to eat all kinds of things. Last night he was chowing away on chicken curry; one of the fastest new words I’ve seen him pick up was “couscous.”

There were a few areas where I’d been firm about an idea while incubating the boy and changed my mind afterward. The biggest one was Baby Sign Language. I’d written it off  years ago after an incident at a friend’s house. Even when Kiddo was born, I wasn’t planning on trying it. When my mom was visiting a week or two later, we had a conversation in the car about how useful it was for a friend’s family back home, and I found my position softening. A few months later, baby sign language books were on my Christmas list. We only learned about a dozen signs, but I’m sure glad we reversed position on this one.  Having a way for Kiddo to tell us he was all done with his food, or that he wanted more, has been a huge help in reducing frustration at the dinner table. We taught him a sign to use when asking for help and it comes up all the time. Just this morning, after he knocked all his toys off the edge of the bathtub, he turned and calmly asked me for help getting them back, rather than whining in frustration. And contrary to some nay-sayers’ belief, studies have found that learning nonverbal signs doesn’t actually delay or interfere with children’s ability to learn spoken language. Thanks, Mom!

One area where I found myself being less open-minded than I’d expected is breastfeeding. Before getting pregnant, I figured formula feeding was just as good as breastfeeding. Once I started reading parenting forums and other collections of opinions I decided breastfeeding was preferable, but that I wouldn’t be upset if we had to supplement. I was unprepared for how much of an emotional impact it would have on me. While Kiddo and I had a good breastfeeding relationship as far as direct feeding went, I struggled when it came to pumping. At work it was difficult for me to produce enough milk for him, and also a challenge to carve out regular time for pumping. At home I often stayed up late at night, trying to get just another half-ounce or so. Around five months, my husband began laying the groundwork for introducing formula, at least while at daycare. I gave lip service to the idea, but still resisted. The day it finally sunk in that I just wasn’t producing the way I needed to, I sat at the kitchen table and cried. In the long run it probably doesn’t matter when we started giving him formula in addition to pumped milk (for the record: seven months) but it was a surprise to me how much stronger my feelings about it were once I was actually doing it.

If I look back even further, before I’d actually considered becoming a parent, I think the biggest change in viewpoint was that I used to think I didn’t want kids because I’d be a terrible parent. I didn’t think I could measure up to my own parents. And heck, I enjoyed sleeping in on weekends and being able to eat whatever and whenever I wanted. I never believed that being a parent would be an easy thing (having a baby brother born just before I turned 16 cured that illusion quickly) and in part, my decision to be childless was born out of wanting to take the easy path. When my husband and I decided to try for kids, it was a big leap of faith for me. Now I honestly do believe it was one of the best changes of mind I’ve ever had.


Getting the picture

Sometime during the past football season, Kiddo discovered the TV. It was bound to happen; my husband and I are regular TV-watchers, and to cut it out of our lives completely wouldn’t have been realistic for us. We did make some changes to our habits so that we were watching it less while Kiddo was awake, but from September through January, our Sundays are usually spent watching men in tight pants crash into each other chasing a funky-shaped ball. And on one of those Sunday afternoons, Kiddo pointed to it and announced “Dee!”  The age of innocence was over.

It’s commonly claimed in online parenting forums that the American Academy of Pediatrics says children younger than 2 shouldn’t have any screen time at all, be it television, computers, or video games.  I looked up the exact recommendations, and found the following:

“In early care and education settings, media (television [TV], video, and DVD) viewing and computer use should not be permitted for children younger than two years.” (from page 58 of the Preventing Childhood Obesity in Early Care and Education PDF)


“Pediatricians should recommend the following guidelines for parents: […] Discourage television viewing for children younger than 2 years, and encourage more interactive activities that will promote proper brain development, such as talking, playing, singing, and reading together.” (from the AAP’s 2007 policy statement on Children, Adolescents and Television)

In other words, daycares and preschools shouldn’t be letting the infants and toddlers watch TV or computer screens; parents should try to find other activities when possible. But I did feel a little better knowing that the recommendation wasn’t that screen time must be avoided completely at home. We’re stumbling enough already in this parenting gig.

Actually, considering how much time my husband and I used to spend in front of the television, I’m pleasantly surprised at how little screen exposure Kiddo actually gets.  He’ll ask us to turn it on, but then he doesn’t pay much attention to it. While he will occasionally look at it for a bit to point out cars and dog, he doesn’t drop everything else he’s doing to watch it. The only time he’s seen popular kids’ shows like Yo Gabba Gabba was when we visited his older cousins last Thanksgiving. He’s started to recognize characters like Elmo and Mickey Mouse, but he knows them as toys and t-shirt decorations rather than TV characters.  Let me be clear, none of this was from any intentional plan to keep his TV time at a minimum. I suspect that if I were a stay-at-home mom, Cailou and Wubbzy would be a regular part of the day.

Back in our pre-kid years, my husband and I would usually eat dinner in the TV room in front of whatever we’d DVR’d recently.  We could usually make it through three or four hour-long programs.  Usually we’d be multitasking, running laundry during the breaks or working on computer tasks while keeping one eye on the big screen.  These days, the three of us usually eat together at the kitchen table with the TV off. After dinner, we play with Kiddo or read stories until it’s time for him to go to bed.  Usually it’s not until after he’s down for the night that we manage to squeeze in one or two shows, much less than we watched together a few years back. But we’re busy enough now that if I tried to watch more than that, I’d be viewing them from behind closed eyelids.

The shows that husband and I watch together are mostly reality shows with a few dramas and comedies mixed in: The Amazing Race, Survivor, Top Chef, American Idol, Castle, How I Met Your Mother, Hawaii 5-0, Glee. We record Burn Notice, CSI, and reruns of NCIS as well, but often end up holding on to them for weeks and watching them when our regular shows are airing re-runs.  Around Christmastime we add The Sing-Off, and during the summer we record Big Brother and the Tour de France.  I have hazy memories of the first couple weeks after Kiddo was born, sitting up with him watching cycling live as it aired during the pre-dawn hours.

It probably won’t be long until we start recording Sesame Street and other kid-directed programs. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with being able to enjoy a show together, and I have warm memories of weekly Popcorn Nights growing up, when the whole family would get together to watch Dukes of Hazzard and Dallas on Friday night. Television is just a device. It’s up to us to be parents, and to be wise about how we use it as a family.

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Yes sir, that’s my baby

I was dropping Kiddo off at daycare the other morning, carrying him across the parking lot before setting him down inside the lobby.  As we neared the door I heard another mom say to her child, “Look at the cute baby!”  I glanced around to see who she was talking about, and then realized she meant us.  I smiled and didn’t say anything out loud, but mentally grumbled a bit as we went downstairs to Kiddo’s classroom. Baby??

This kid is no baby.  He’s more than a year and a half old!  He’s walking, he feeds himself (sometimes even using the appropriate utensils!), he can tell us when something’s bothering him although, regrettably, he’s not so good at telling us exactly what that something is.  He plays with cars and stacks blocks.  He colors with crayons and only chews on them some of the time.  He’s lost the baby chubbiness from his cheeks and legs.  He’s even managed to grow some hair.

We have to change some of our habits now, because he’s tall enough to see what’s on the kitchen table or the bathroom counter, and he’s got enough of a reach to grab for the things he sees.  He knows about cell phones and laptops and what Mom and Dad do with them, and if he catches one of us attempting to do work when we should be playing with him, he’ll come over and shut the laptop with a firm “NO NO NO.”

When I pick him up in the morning, I’m not carrying the tiny little bundle who once was small enough to snuggle on my chest.  Instead I’ve got a monkey who wraps his arms and legs around me for a big hug, and hangs on to me as much as I hang on to him.  When we walk to the car in the morning, he asserts his independence by trying to take us through the outside door rather than the one leading to the garage.  Oh, he’s still got his clingy moments, like recently when we went to a friend’s new house for a Superbowl party, but it doesn’t take him long now to get comfortable with being in a new place, surrounded by people neither of us have met yet.

So, nope, this Kiddo isn’t a baby any more.  With all the things that he can do, he’s definitely a little boy now.  Every day it seems like we’re finding something new that he can get into.  The babyproofing we did is no longer adequate; it’s time to rearrange the contents of counters and drawers to move unsafe things to better locations.  He hasn’t started climbing on things just yet, but from what I’ve seen lately, it won’t be long now.  Nothing will be safe unless it’s locked down or stowed away.

I kind of miss the little baby snuggles.  But the little boy snuggles are great too.  And I stand by what I told him that first week when we brought him home: no matter how big he gets… he’ll always be my baby.

Kiddo plays next to the couch