Saturday, December 28, 2013

19 Months

1) New words this month:
off = off (demonstrated when he saw me getting ready to leave for work: I put on my jacket, and he started tugging on it and saying "off")
onn = on
in = in
hi = hi
bye = bye
guy= guy
sky = sky
turtur = turtle
anka = hanukkah
cook = cook
keen = clean
et = eat
go = go
gone = gone
com = come
keewee= kiwi
orn = orange
top = stop (with accompanying hand gesture)
dus = bus
gas = eye glasses or grass, depending on context
tar = guitar or star, depending on context

2)  At the beginning of this month we hosted a bunch of relatives for Thanksgivingukkah.  The Pit's mom was here, as well as his sister, brother-in-law, and step-niece.  My sister and new brother-in-law also joined us, and the baby had a grand time playing with everyone for a week.  He only got down two names though - my brother-in-law first - referred to as Noooooom, and then my sister's new name - Dindy.  After everyone left, the baby would point to random people/cars moving past the house, and hopefully say "Nooooom? Dindy?" This went on for weeks, until we actually came to California for Christmas and he saw everyone again.

3)  This month brought a lot of pretend play.   He started feeding various toy animals his milk, with specific emphasis on his pony and his bee. He also received a set of play pots and pans from Noooom and Dindy for Hanukkah, and he immediately got the concept of pretending to cook.  He grabbed a spoon, started stirring, then brought the empty spoon to his mouth, squinted his eyes in pleasure, and said "Mmmmmm!"  Then he made the rest of us try his creation.

4)  Since Fuzz stays home with Maya all day, he hasn't had a lot of opportunities to practice toy sharing.  However, we had friends from out of town stop by for an evening, and they brought their 4-year old (I can't believe I made this kid a quilt four whole years ago) and 6-month old to play.  We stuck the baby in Fuzzy's old Bumbo while the rest of us sat around playing and talking.  When Fuzzy saw this impertinence, he immediately got jealous, and tried to sit in his Bumbo himself - right on top of the baby.  This does not bode well for the arrival of his baby brother.*

5)  Fuzzy is getting much better climbing - we have a large plastic storage container in the basement, and the other day Fuzzy wanted to climb up on it.  Except he had his milk bottle (with straw) in his hands.  You could see the indecision on his face, as he glanced back and forth between the milk and the box - then he decided he could have his cake and eat it too.  He stuck the straw in his teeth, clenched down, climbed on top of the box, and then leapt down at me while screaming with joy - all somehow without spilling a drop a milk.

6)  For the first time this month, Fuzz showed an interest in building block towers.  Previously, he would happily come over and knock over a tower you built, but would not really care to take a stab at making one himself.   Now he can occasionally be coaxed into stacking blocks one on top of the other, although of course, the knocking over remains his favorite part.

7)  Thinking to encourage Fuzzy's social development, I asked Maya to take him to story time at the library.  Apparently, Fuzzy wasn't too thrilled with their book selection though - halfway through the story, he decided to pre-empt things a bit.  He started clapping his hands and saying "don don don," apparently hoping that the reader would take up his cues.

*  Have I mentioned that we are expecting another baby?  This puts me rather in a quandary, as when I started the blog, I did not expect to require multiple peach-themed nicknames. Oh well, I have until late April to think of something.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

18 Months

1) Lots of new words this month, but I think I have most of them listed here:
coo coo = hiding (the equivalent of peek-a-boo in Russian)
appa = apple (no longer buh buh!)
plumpbpb = plum
hooom = home
noon = moon
indy = window or windy, depending on context
issss = ice
gump = jump
dunce = dance
bebe = baby
don = down or done, depending on context
unda = under
in = in
up = up

2)  Fuzzy got the head shake for "no" down pat a long time ago, but previously had no equivalent affirmative gesture, despite The Pit's persistent attempts to teach him to nod.  When asking him a series of questions, we thus had to watch him like hawks until he stopped shaking his head, indicating that he did indeed want whatever item was being offered - either that, or he had stopped paying attention entirely.  This led to a lot of prematurely peeled bananas.  This month he finally got nodding down.  Except it isn't nodding exactly, it's one very emphatic nod.  That is all you get, and woe to you if you happen to miss it.

3)  Unlike last year, when we managed to put him into his costume no problem and then photograph extensively, this year Fuzzy chose not to cooperate on Halloween.  He acquiesced to the body portion of his lobster costume, but the head piece was a step too far.  He was, however, perfectly happy to laugh at me when I put his lobster head on in a futile attempt to convince him that this was a good idea.

4)  Last month Fuzzy conquered the up portion of stairs, and this month he learned the complementary down portion, at least when there's an appropriate handrail.  He grabs on and just - steps down.  Most of the time he doesn't even fall after.

5)  Fuzzy has a new love in his life - it is the moon, which he persistently refers to as the "noon."  He asks after the noon all day, and when it finally comes out in the evening and we can show it to him, he yells its name over and over again in excitment.  If we go for a twilight walk, he likes to always have it in sight, and gets upset if the noon is momentarily hidden by trees or clouds.  At this point, he wails "NOOOOOOOON???" in a heartbreaking and very loud voice.

6)  While not loved quite as much as the noon, he has also taken much more of an interest in his stuffed animals recently, and in particular to a little toy dog that his great-grandmother gave him months ago.  When switched on, this beast walks in circles and alternates very annoying barking with very annoying whining noises.  When we first got it about 6 or 8 months ago, Fuzzy was actually quite scared of it, and thus it has been relegated to the back of the toy bin.  The other day Fuzz pulled it out, indicated that he wanted it on, and then rapturously followed it around the room, smacking it's back (where the walking button lives) every time the thing paused.  I am not nearly as in love with this thing as he is, but it is quite adorable to watch him hug it to his chest.

7)  Fuzzy has always liked dancing, and in particular dancing with mama.  As previously described, this involves me setting him on my hip, grabbing one of his hands in a ballroom pose, and spinning across the room.  Sadly, between mama's growing belly and Fuzzy's ever increasing weight, it's getting harder and harder for mama to keep this up.  Being a baby, Fuzz does not care for my excuses, and this month he really increased his demands - not only did he want constant music and dancing during the day, but when I was rocking him back to sleep after a nightmare, he turned to me with his eyes closed, clearly talking in his sleep. "Dunce," he commanded, "Mama, dunce."    

8)  After figuring out how to say the word "under," Fuzz has been obsessed with a new game.  He demands that mama and daddy both get down on all fours, crouch next to each other, and thus form a human fort.  Then he crawls under us yelling "UNDA!!" repeatedly.   When he gets bored with this, he wants to play "coo coo" - this involves us throwing a blanket over him, and saying "Where's Fuzzy?" over and over again until he manages to get his head clear.  Then he yells "Coo Coo!"and we have to say "Oh! There he is!".

9)  Fuzzy really likes the concept of jumping.  He makes his toy grasshopper jump in the bath, and accentuates this with his new word: "gump!"  Apparently the grasshopper really likes to gump on mama's head for some reason.   Fuzz has also been experimenting with gumping himself.  He stands up straight, then bends his legs, throws his arms back, and says "Gump!" excitedly.  Unfortunately, there's a key component missing - he never actually lifts off the ground.  His form is perfect, but he just straightens up after the leg bending and applauds himself without ever achieving any air whatsoever.  Maybe next month...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

17 Months

This month's major milestone was a haircut given by Mama.  Clearly Mama needs more practice in order not to make her child look like a character in Dumb and Dumber.

1)  New words this month:
ka = crab or cloud, depending on context
na = nuts
na na = tomato (previously this referred exclusively to bananas, but now it can - confusingly - be either)
nananana = running
oh oh = exactly what it sounds like - he says this whenever something is wrong, from a giant spill to his slipper coming off
2)  As I mentioned in my last post, Fuzzy has a highly idiosyncratic way of saying apple - he pronounces it as "buh buh."  This was driving The Pit crazy, and he kept trying to explain to the baby that you say it thusly: "aaaah puuuulll."  Fuzzy listened intently to this explanation, and then when The Pit asked him to repeat, he said "Aaaaah..." and The Pit said "Now pullllll!" and Fuzzy grabbed at The Pit's shirt and pulled for all he was worth.

3)  Fuzz has recently expanded his love of running around in circles to a new game: he holds his arms out and spins round and round until he gets dizzy.  Then he staggers about with a grin on his face until the inevitable crash into either the floor or another immovable object.  Then the grin disappears and he looks at us with a wounded expression, hitting himself in the head to indicate that he went boom.

4)  Fuzzy has really figured out hand holding too - not so much as a sign of affection, but more as an effective technique to lead me places.  He will come over, grab my hand, and drag me to whatever object he wishes to be examined, lifted up, or otherwise engaged.  When my hands are held too high for him to reach, he makes do with a pant leg.  Once, when I was down on the ground with him, he grabbed me by the necklace and started dragging me along like an animal.  When I told him Mama wasn't a doggy, he merely laughed with delight and pulled harder.

5)  The baby demonstrated his reasoning skills when we went out to eat the other day - it was at a Mexican restaurant, where Fuzzy loves the tortilla chips, which he calls cackers.  When he saw the basket placed on our table, he yelled "cacker" over and over until he was handed a chip.  However, after trying one or two, he started playing with them - or so I thought.  First he demanded a drink from my water glass, and then, when I obligingly brought the water close to him, he quickly pushed his hand in the water, chip and all.  I started scolding him for playing with my water, telling him it wasn't there to drop in chips - but then The Pit stopped my lecture by pointing out that the baby was actually not releasing his chip in the water at all.  Apparently, he was softening it.  After a couple of seconds, he pulled it out and happily ate the thing.  How he learned to do that is beyond me - I don't think anyone has actually previously shown him that water softens hard food.

6)  Fuzzy's balancing has really improved this month too, to the point that he can now go up stairs like a real person - he grabs the handrail, and walks up natural as you please.  Watching him do this makes him seem like such a big boy - until you see the lurching disaster that is walking down those same steps.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

16 Months

This month was chock-full of new and cool Fuzzy developments.

1) Several new words this month, with a couple of them doing double duty:
buh = book or ball, depending on context
buh buh = apple
bellalala = umbrella
blablabbala = granola, watermelon, or any other word with lots of L's
ahmmm = arm (said exactly like an elderly Bostonian)
ower = flower, or sometimes shower, depending on context
cunga = corn or acorn

2)  In addition to his new words, Fuzzy came up with several new games.  His very favorite currently involves running around and around an object.  The object in question isn't that important - I've seen him circle me, a chair, our bed, and the coffee table with seemingly equal enjoyment.   This enjoyment is conveyed by laughter, an occasional shriek, and a huge grin when he catches you watching him.  Another new game is grabbing something on a string - again, the actual object isn't that important, and then dragging said object all over the house.  I've seen him do this with several toys specifically designed for it, but also with a heavy paper bag we use to store a lot of his stuffed animals and various trinkets - the bag has thick string handles, and Fuzzy pulled and pulled on one of them until he managed to get the whole thing clear across the family room, dining room, and living room.

3)  In the mornings, Fuzzy often plays with a set of four plastic balls we keep in our room.  He gets great joy out of throwing them all over the place, hearing them bounce on the hardwood floors, and watching them roll around.  Sadly, the balls have a tendency to end up under the bed.  Fuzz knows this, and in the past, he's whined until one of us got the ball out.  However, one day this month, I watched him kick a ball under the bed, get down on his knees to look at it, and then whine for me to get it.  Unfortunately, he had kicked it right to the middle of the bed, where I couldn't actually reach it.  I told him this, and then watched as he seemingly lost interest in the ball and wandered over to my closet, where he started tugging on a hanger and whining when he couldn't get it down.

I thought he just wanted something new to play with, so I gave him the hanger.  He went over to one of the balls not currently under the bed, glanced up to make sure I was watching him, and then hit the ball with the hanger.  Then he handed the hanger to me, got down by the bed, and pointed at the stuck ball.  Lo and behold, I could in fact reach the ball with the hanger.  The Pit didn't believe me when I described this feat of reasoning - so a few days later, I saw the scenario play out again, this time with The Pit in the room, and the ball much closer, under a dresser.  When Fuzz went over to the closet, The Pit said, "I think he just wants something new to play with."  I was greatly vindicated when the baby pulled out a hanger, wandered over to the dresser, and started to waving the hanger underneath until he got the ball out himself.

4)  Speaking of The Pit, he is once again on Fuzzy's favorite list.  As astute readers may recall, in his first few months the baby adored daddy, and was relatively indifferent to mom.  Then things switched, and for months and months I was the only one able to calm him down when he was crying, put him to sleep, or give him a bath.  Now The Pit is resurgent, with Fuzzy calling for him when he's in a different room, crying when he leaves in the morning, and generally wanting to be picked up and held by daddy.  I find this a great relief, as having a baby attached to your hip 24/7 is not the easiest way to go about your day.

5)  However, there are still several activities reserved for just Fuzzy and mama.  One of these is reading in bed in the mornings.   When we have time on weekdays, but usually on weekends, I'll get the baby up, and while dad is in the shower, we will lay together on my pillow, with me holding a book above our heads and reading.  Fuzz will lay still and pay attention to some relatively long books this way, and his current most demanded story is about Elmo.  Elmo is definitely Fuzzy's favorite character - possibly because he can say the name with at least some clarity - when Fuzzy wants to read about Elmo, he yells "EHMO!!"over and over until the book is presented to him.

6)  In other signs that the baby is growing up, he now only wants to feed himself.  This is a bit of a disaster, because many of the foods he likes do not lend themselves well to fingers, and we are only now starting to get the rudiments of spoons.  For example, the other day I watched him assiduously try to pick up some peas with his spoon - only to be thwarted over and over because he was a) holding the spoon in a death-grip with his fist, leaving it completely unmaneuverable, and b) holding the spoon scoop-side down.

7)  Fuzzy has also developed a new laugh - expect it's not so much a laugh as a snicker, and it sounds remarkably like he is mocking us when he deploys it.  In combination with the fact that he now finds pinching people hilarious, the overall impression he gives off is remarkably similar to a tiny, pint-sized school bully.  Pinch - shriek from victim - "heh heh heh."

8) In a more adorable development, he now uses the sign for "more" to indicate not just food, but whatever else he wants - I was doing patygoosingkey, and when I stopped, he signed "more" repeatedly until I gave him more.  Similarly, he was freaking out in the tub for some unknown reason, and I started singing "Wheels on the Bus" to get him to calm down.  A couple of verses later, he had stopped crying and was listening raptly.  I finished, and he signed for "more" until The Pit made up some new parts of the song.

9)  Finally, Fuzz has grown two new teeth - oddly, not the ones adjacent to his previous front six, but instead two lower molars.  Or at least I think they are molars - they are pretty far back, and he won't really let me investigate for too long before he starts to bite.  You can sort of see one in the picture below.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

15 Months

1)  This month did not start out well.  Just two days after Fuzzy turned 14 months, he ran full tilt into the side of the bathtub, resulting in a severely bit lip.   Then, two weeks later, while we were visiting my parents' house in California, I took my eyes off him for a few crucial seconds, and he fell all the way down the stairs.  Fortunately, there wasn't any damage from that fall, but I've never been so scared as when I ran down those stairs to scoop him up.

2)  In happier news, we were visiting California to attend my sister's wedding, in which Fuzzy had a short but starring role.  He did not have a job to do, per se, but was expected to walk down the aisle with two other very small people, all wearing adorable tiny suits.

The other little boys in the wedding were a year or two older than him, and when Fuzzy saw them for the first time, he ran over and immediately tried to hug them.  The older boy was quite receptive, but the younger one got scared, and tried to get away from this aggressively friendly baby.  Fuzz saw his running as a challenge, and proceeded to chase him all over the place to get his hug.  Eventually the other kid acquiesced due to sheer tiredness - it was like watching endurance hunting in action.  Now whenever Fuzzy sees another small person near him at a social function, his first reaction is to run over and hug them, whether they are interested in said hug or not.

3)  The California trip brought other joys as well - Fuzzy met and then immediately tried to feed some real-life cows.  They were not quite as picturesque or as tame as I envisioned them, and once I saw the dairy farm, I expected Fuzz to be a little scared of these giant, dirty creatures and their accompanying mass of flies.  However, my expectations were completely upended when it turned out the cows were actually scared of Fuzzy - I guess they aren't used to small human creatures running at them excitedly waving hay.  In order to get the shot below, The Pit's cousin actually had to lock them in the place so they couldn't shy away.  Once they were forced to confront Fuzzy, they eventually allowed themselves to being fed, so I guess all's well that ends well.

4)  In other hugging developments, Fuzz has also invented a game he seems to play solely with me.  I'm not entirely sure what the point of it is, except he likes to run up to me, pry my legs apart, squish himself through, and then tackle me in a giant hug from behind.  This is all accompanied by shrieks of pure joy, especially if I manage to reach behind and awkwardly hug him back.

5)  Fuzzy has always liked music, and in the past has made movements - well, if one were incredibly generous, and also maybe blind, one could call them attempts at dancing.  However, this month he really upped the ante and made very clear dancing moves, consisting primarily of tapping his feet really really fast when music starts to play.   He also loves it when one of us picks him, holds his arm out in a formal dancing position, and swings him round and round the living room.

6)  In addition to his new-found dancing skillz, for the first time this month, Fuzz started trying to climb on things.  It doesn't really matter what the thing in question is - the back of the couch, the bathtub, mom's legs - he grabs on tight and starts swinging his little leg up, grunting with effort and occasionally farting.  I found out the hard way about his new abilities when I left him alone for a second while running the bath.  He had been cheerfully throwing his bath toys in the water when I went out, and when I came back with his towel less than 20 seconds later, he was sitting fully-clothed in the tub, grinning up at me happily.

7)  There's been some cognitive development as well - Fuzzy is getting better and better at reasoning, generalizing, and extrapolating.  For example, the other day we found a single detached cicada wing laying on the sidewalk.  Fuzz picked it up, fascinated, and I told him it was a wing.  He immediately started waving it around in a flying motion, making a zzzz noise.

8)  This month also brought another milestone - recognizing his new big boy status, Fuzzy started refusing all baby food.  This has made life a little harder, because although we hadn't been giving him jars for every meal, they were a nice convenient option at least once a day.  Now Maya and I have to plan ahead and have real food for him three times a day.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

14 Months

It's a good thing I took copious notes of the child's activities in the first half of this month, because the second half was all a sleepless blur.  For some inexplicable reason the baby just stopped sleeping through the night one day, and then, just as inexplicably, went back to normal a few days ago.  Let us all hold our breath and pray this continues, because mama can't take any more sleepless nights.  Okay, onwards to milestones:

1)  New words in our vocabulary: "cacker," which is cracker, "bubba," which is bubbles, and "gaga," which is paka and the Russian word for bye-bye.  If we count all the random noises Fuzzy uses to communicate as words, I believe this brings us to a total vocabulary of twelve whole "words:"  mama, dada, nana = banana, ado = avocado, haaa = hot, ayyy = eye, da = duck, zzzz = insect, and brrrr = car (or anything mechanical that moves - boats, wagons, etc).

2)  One of Fuzzy's favorite activities this month was picking up a toy cell phone, holding it up to his ear, and then self-importantly marching in circles while he babbled into it.  After seeing him do this a few times, The Pit decided we should probably cut back on cell phone talking in front of the baby.  The image he was reflecting back at us was not exactly flattering.

3)  In addition to his verbal skills, Fuzzy has a few signs that he uses, most of which I've chronicled before.  One that I don't think I've talked about is his "boom" sign.  This involves Fuzzy hitting himself on the head, as in, "I just fell down and my head went boom."  He makes this sign both to indicate that he's hurt himself, and to let us know that a loud noise is happening.  The most comical use of this sign was on the 4th of July.  We decided to show him a video of fireworks to prepare him for what he would see that evening - and like an idiot, as he was watching it, I said "The fireworks go boom, but aren't they pretty?"  Fuzz stared at the video with wide eyes for a few seconds, looked at us gathered around him, and then started hitting himself in the head with great concern.  All attempts to explain to him that his head was in no danger were met with even more frantic gesticulating.  Fortunately, when we went to see the actual fireworks, they were far enough away that the noise wasn't scary to him, and he watched the show quite calmly.

4)  Around the same time as the fireworks issue, Fuzz started to pay attention to airplanes flying overhead.  And once he noticed them, they terrified him.  He would point to the plane, grab onto my leg, indicate that he wanted to be held, and when situated in the safety of my arms, repeatedly make the boom sign.  I thought I could fix the issue by showing him a toy plane we had at home, that he had played with for months and months.  After a walk where he got particularly scared of a low-flying jet, I showed him the toy, and explained that this was an airplane, and nothing to be scared of.  Fuzzy stared at me, stared at the toy in his hand, and then tentatively waved it around above his head in a questioning way.  When I confirmed that this was indeed what planes did, he dropped the toy like it was suddenly hot, made the boom sign again, and started to cry.  For the next two weeks, he would grow very concerned whenever he heard a plane fly overhead - and there are, as it turns out, a whole lot of planes flying over us every day.

5)  Although the previous paragraph doesn't support this assertion, this month Fuzzy did get quite a bit more independent.  He now wanders away by himself and flips through his favorite books without involving nearby adults, he tries to feed himself with a spoon, and just recently I witnessed Maya asking him to help when she was putting on his pants.  He gamely grabbed at the cloth around his ankles and pulled up.

6)  Fuzz has also been imitating adults to the best of his ability - he saw my sister snap her fingers when she was visiting, and he's been trying to do it ever since.  He also watches intently when Maya makes tortillas, and then points at her and uses the exact same hand gestures, flipping invisible dough back and forth between his hands.

7)  I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned it, but Maya does presentations regarding traditional Mayan cooking, weaving, and childrearing at museums and various cultural festivals.  For the latter demonstration, she has a lifelike yet incredibly creepy baby girl doll.  One day she came in after doing a presentation, and Fuzzy saw the doll.  He immediately grabbed it, hugged it, and then started dragging it back and forth across the living room by the hair.  Observing this behavior, Maya exclaimed "He needs a little sister!"

8)  We've been trying to introduce Fuzzy to the whole potty-training concept.  I got a potty several months ago, and it's been sitting in his room, where we will periodically point to it and explain the basics - "You go pssss and 'ah ah ah' in there."  Fuzzy dutifully pointed to it and made the appropriate noises, but did not show much indication of ever wanting to sit down.  When my sister was visiting, she and her fiance brought Fuzzy a potty-training book, which covers the travails of a baby who wants to use the potty.  At the end of the book, there is a picture showing him going on the potty, followed by applause from his family.  Fuzzy grasped the concept right away - he now comes into his room, sees the potty, sits down on it fully clothed for approximately two seconds, then applauds himself with great vigor, stands up, and goes on his way.  I'm not quite sure where to go from here.

9)  Fuzz has always liked music, but this month he developed a new habit - when he hears it, he will clap his hands with joy.  This applies to CDs we play, music he hears from the TV, and music from some of his many toys.  The best though, is when he hears a blast of music from a passing car - whether it be country, rock, or some hard-hitting rap, the baby pauses, cocks his head, then applauds for a few seconds before waving bye-bye.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

13 Months

Fuzzy's 13th month of life brought a little bit of trauma - The Pitt and I left for a one-week vacation in Paris, requiring weaning and a week without mama and dada to cling to.  Undaunted, the baby appropriated a small toy elephant as a replacement, dragging it everywhere with him until we returned.

My mother flew here to babysit him while we were gone, and upon her arrival, he solemnly led her around the entire living room, showing her all his toys and books.  He also pointed to various items of electronics - the TV, the phone, etc., and then shook his head vehemently to indicate that those where no, no, no and off-limits.  Although he doesn't always follow his own advice: it is very humorous to watch him shake his head no, then pause, consider, and reach for the item anyway.

A few days before we left for our trip, Fuzz started saying "mama," but not in a clear-cut sort of way.  From him, it was a deeply guttural "mhhaaaaaa mhhhaaaaa" sound.  Sort of an Igor noise, if you will.  However, by the time we returned, he had sorted the new sounds out, and greeted me with a very refined "mama," along with a huge smile and opened arms.  Hugging him was the best after a week away.

Another sound Fuzzy learned this month has to do with his new favorite friends, the bees.  Early in the month, at my mother's encouragement, we started walking with Fuzz along the sidewalks near the house, and he was fascinated by the bees.  When I explained that they say "bzzz bzzz," he joyfully yelled "zzzzzzz!!!" and has been saying the sound every time we approach flowers.

He's also figured out that zzzz generalizes to pretty much any insect - a fly is a zzzz, a mosquito is a zzzz, and best of all, a firefly is a zzzz.  When he first saw the fireflies lighting up, I explained to him that they were zzzzs.  Fuzz turned to me with a very dubious expression, and said "zzzz??"  Like, "really, mama, that doesn't seem likely."  But then one flew close enough for him to see that it was in fact a bug, and he got very excited.  Now watching the fireflies is the last thing we do before he goes to bed, and actually the only thing that will induce him to come out of his bath.

In addition to buzzing noises, Fuzzy has expanded his repertoire of gestures.  Prior to this month, he could make the signs for "more," "milk," "water," "eat," and "sleep."  These were specifically signs I taught him - but as these exhausted my knowledge of sign language, Fuzzy has started to make up his own gestures, mostly from watching adults around him.  When he hears a noise and wants the rest of us to pay attention, he holds his pointer finger up, and when he's confused about the location of something, he spreads both hands out, palms up.  The meaning of these gestures couldn't be more clear if he was an older Italian gentleman.

Additionally, when he sees a hat or sunglasses perched on somebody's head, he taps his own head to show them that they have something up there.  This also goes for pictures in books - my mother was very confused one day when she was reading a story to the baby, and he kept hitting himself in the head.  Turns out, he was explaining to her that the main character was wearing a hat.  His other favorite book page has been the one featuring tooth brushing - when we read that one, Fuzzy will poke a finger into his own mouth to show us that he knows how to brush his teeth.  He is so intent on this picture that nothing else interests him - any attempt to turn the page further will be met with an indignant wail, and more urgent finger in mouth movements.

In other communication news, Fuzzy will now poke at eyes, grab ears, and pull on hair when asked to show each body part.  Particularly funny is when we ask him where his ears are, and he grabs one in each hand and pulls up.  And here I thought he couldn't get pointier elf ears if he tried.  Turns out, he's trying.

My final bit of development news is related to locomotion: Fuzzy's walking has really improved, and he can toddle along for multiple blocks at time when he's in the mood.  Unfortunately, I would say he's actually falling more than ever these days, as his improved mobility has given him a bit of overconfidence in his own stability.  He's constantly running and tripping over stuff, and has more or less permanent skinned knees as a result.  Fortunately, he's a tough baby, and cries for at most a minute when a fall happens.  I've actually watched him completely ignore a bloody knee as he intently followed a bumble bee from flower to flower, happily zzzzzzing to the bee the whole way.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

12 Months

My little muffin is a year old.  It’s hard to believe that he once used to be completely immobile, staring at us dubiously as he lay on our laps.  These days, you can’t get Fuzzy to sit or lay still for very long.  Though he still falls quite frequently, I’m comfortable saying he’s more or less mastered walking.  The final building block for this milestone was his newfound ability to stand up without assistance right around the week of his birthday.  On occasion, he now even appreciates the concept of obstacles – for example, taking an extra large step to clear the hose laying in his path as he toddles across the backyard.

At the beginning of May, he started copying some of our most common activities – if we stuck a cloth in front of him and asked him to help clean his highchair, he dutifully clutched it in his fists and smeared it around the tray.  And the broom is one of his favorite new toys.  When he sees Maya sweeping, he tries to grab it away from her, and will only be placated when I hand him his own little sweeper.

Also around the first week of May, Fuzzy surprised me with his mastery of the sign for “more.”  I had been futily sticking my fingers together for weeks with no appreciable comprehension from him.  Then, just as I was starting to give up, he made the sign in the correct context, and complete unprompted.  The two of us were sitting in the backseat of the car, waiting for Daddy to run into the store and grab something.  To keep Fuzz placated, I had given him a fistful of Cheerios.  When he ran out, he looked at me and made the more sign as if he had been doing it all his life.

On May 4th, Fuzzy took another leap forward with his first recognizable word.  I took out a banana to feed to him, and he joyfully pointed at it and shouted “NANA!”  There is some debate in our household as to whether nana is in fact his first word, as he has been using “da” to indicate duck for quite some time.  But since da was also the first syllable he could say clearly, it is also his fallback word for everything else in the world too, especially if the object in question began with a D sound.  Much to The Pit’s consternation, daddy and doggy are both dada to Fuzz.

All month, The Pit endeavored to teach Fuzzy the difference between his two favorite bath toys, the duck and the fish.  Although he still can’t say “fish,” Fuzz does know the difference between them, and when asked, will hand over the correct toy.  As previously mentioned, he does quite firmly refer to ducks as “da,” whether they be in the bath with him, pictured on TV, or in a book.  Based on his limited experience, Big Bird is also a da, what with being all yellow, vaguly duck-shaped, and coming equipped with a beak.

Once he mastered the whole fish/duck difference, I started pointing out the fact that both his fish toy and duck toy have eyes.  It took about a week for Fuzzy to go from pointing to the eyes when asked to saying “ayyyy,” the closest approximation of the word to date.  Along with a drawn out "haaaaa" noise for hot, this is now the sum total of Fuzzy's vocabulary - nana, da, dada, ayyyy, and haaaa.  Oh, and he makes a little motor noise with his lips to indicate cars - The Pit is not altogether sure if this counts as a word, but I say if a tribe in Africa can communicate with clicks, Fuzzy pushing along a toy car and "brrrring" to himself is indeed communication.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

11 Months

1)  Right after I wrote my last post for Fuzzy's 10 month birthday, he figured out pointing.  And once he figured it out, he did it all the time.  Which only makes sense - if pointing was the only way I had of communicating, I suppose I would point nonstop too.  So now as we move through the house, the baby constantly points at things he wants to touch and/or eat.  In practice, he mostly wants to touch things with buttons - the phone, the light switches, and the controllers for our ceiling fans.   Everything else, he wants to eat.  As he points, he also deploys his one word/question, "ade?", which can apparently mean anything from "look at that bus" to "I demand to grab this filthy sponge and suck on it."

2)  When I bathe Fuzzy, I sit right on the floor by the tub, and spend some time playing with him.   During this time, he will often stand up and start grabbing my shirt or my hair, so to minimize the hair-pulling, I started putting my hair back with clips.  Well, one day the baby fixated on said clips.  From his excitement, you would think I had gold hidden in there - he grabbed the clips, pulled them out, hooted, shoved them in his mouth, and then took them out and attempted to affix them to my hair again.  Then we repeated the cycle about five times.

3)  Fuzzy also began trying to wash himself.  And when I say himself, I mean his...err, undercarriage.  He will pull himself to a standing position on edge of the tub, bend over, and then start splashing water on his junk - you know, just washing up the important bits, all nonchalant-like.

4)  He is incredibly sweet when I come home.  He sees me, starts grinning and pointing, then crawls over and pulls on my pants to be picked up.  When I hold him, he throws his little arms around my shoulders, nuzzles his face in my neck, and hugs me.  It's really the best part of the day.

5)  However, I am not the only object of his affection.  His grandmother got him an enormous teddy bear for Easter.  And when I say enormous, I mean approximately my height, and at least double my width.  We all wondered what his reaction would be when it came out of the box, but I don't think anyone quite anticipated how much he would love this thing.  He immediately hurled himself at the bear, hugged as much of it as possible, and started to give it kisses.  In the following days, he also began taking more of an interest in his other, regular-sized stuffed animals, nuzzling them to his cheeks and occasionally bestowing kisses.

6) About halfway through the month, he was comfortable cruising from one piece of furniture to another.  When we could distract him sufficiently, he could also stand up unsupported - however, as soon as he noticed he wasn't actually holding on to somebody or something, he would lose his balance and plop back to the ground.  Then, one day while Skying with my mom and grandparents, Fuzz was standing up, leaning against his walker, and holding a toy in each plump little fist.  I scooted two feet away and asked for one of his toys, and in his confusion about which toy to hand me, he actually took three unassisted steps in my direction.  The cheering he received over the computer completely mystified him.

7) Right on his 11 month birthday, something clicked and our boy figured out clapping.  Now when he's very happy or pleased with himself, he gives a round of applause.  This is especially cute when it is combined with his pointing.   Sometimes he'll point, and I'm not sure of what he wants, so I pick up objects one by one and offer them to him.  When I get to the correct thing, he starts applauding with joy.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

10 Months

Two weeks ago, when Fuzz was 9.5 months, I wrote the following two paragraphs and forgot to post them:

The last two weeks have brought the greatest of triumphs - multiple consecutive nights of sleep.  Prior to his 9 month birthday, Fuzzy would wake anywhere from one to three times a night.  Usually because he was hungry, sometimes because he needed to burp, sometimes because his diaper had leaked, and often, for no discernible reason whatsoever.  In his first 8 months, Fuzzy slept through the night a grand total of two times.  Then, on the night of January 24th, he went to bed and didn't wake up until morning.  Then he repeated this beautiful, beautiful trick for 5 more nights.  One the seventh night, he woke briefly at 12:30 am, and went back to sleep after 20 minutes of rocking.  Now, fingers crossed, we are working on another consecutive week.

In other less exciting but nevertheless reportable developments, Fuzz has also sort-of learned to point and wave.  I say sort-of because while he has the movements down, he doesn't realize the correct context for said movements yet.  Thus, I will sometimes find him sitting on the floor by himself, one finger pointed up in a "We're number one!" gesture, quizzically looking at his own hand.  Similarly, no force on earth can compel Fuzz to wave back at someone who is waving at him - but he will randomly start waving his chubby food-covered hands in the middle of dinner at nothing in particular.

1) Now, at 10 months, I can provide a little bit of an update.  Sadly, shortly after I wrote the paragraph about sleeping through the night, Fuzzy started working on another tooth, and sleeping was suddenly the last thing on his mind.  For several nights before the tooth poked through, he woke up every 2-3 hours.  Now that there's a visible nubbin on his top gum, his sleep has improved somewhat, but he's still up at least once a night.  Gah.

2) He still hasn't figured out pointing at something specific, but waving we have down.  We were Skyping with my grandparents, and as always, they spent approximately 95% of the chat randomly waving at him.  Except this time, instead of staring at them blankly and drooling, the kid actually raised up his little hand and waved back.  I thought they were both going to have heart attacks then and there from joy.

3) In other news, we have further proof of Fuzzy's memory skills.  Maya reported the following story to me at the end of February: She was changing his diaper several hours after his last snack of Cheerios, when Fuzzy sat up, shoved his arm down her shirt, and started to grope about purposefully.  Maya tried to pull him away, but he wasn't having any of it, and after a minute or two, he triumphantly pulled a Cheerio from her bra.  Apparently he had thrown one down there earlier when she wasn't paying attention, and now he wished to retrieve and eat his cleverly hidden snack.

4) Fuzzy is quite taken with animals, especially the two highly unfriendly cats that occasionally visit our backyard.  Whenever he gets a glimpse of these guys, he pulls himself into a standing position by our backdoor, bangs on the glass with excitement, and hoots.  The cats glance at him with disinterest bordering on disgust, as cats are wont to do.  This has no effect at all on his enthusiasm, and in fact, he gets even more excited whenever he catches one of them staring back at him with disdain.

5) At the beginning of the month, Fuzzy figured out a little bit about sharing.  We always try to brush his teeth in the bathtub with this rubber thingie that fits on one of our fingers.  Unfortunately, we are always thwarted, because although Fuzz is completely uninterested in pacifiers, he loves to suck on this rubber "toothbrush."  So after a few seconds of brushing, he always pulls it off my finger and shoves it all the way into his mouth, then hangs out like that for the remainder of bath time.   Anyway, one day, he randomly pulled it out of his mouth and tried to shove it into mine.  He patiently waited a couple of minutes while I pretended to suck on it, and then shoved it back into his own mouth with an air of satisfaction.  For a few weeks, this was the only item he wished to share with me, but he did it consistently ever night in the tub.  Now, he's mastered the concept in other areas of his life, and periodically offers us his toys, food, and random bits of dirt he's picked off the floor.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

9 Months

Our nine month picture didn't turn out quite as planned, because Fuzzy wouldn't cooperate no matter what we tried.  However, I think the collage nicely captures the process.

This month had a lot of language-related milestones.  Not that Fuzzy's talking, per se, but we've had some interesting noises being made.

1) At the beginning of February, he started waggling his tongue in in his mouth, and making an adorable burbling noise - "blableablealala."  Mostly this was happening when we changed his diaper, but occasionally he would let loose with it when running around in his walker or while playing down in the basement.  I wish this phase had lasted longer, because I could listen to him burble like that all day.

2) Then, about five days after the the burbling started, I noticed that he would crawl around, and whisper something very very softly to himself.  If I listened in close, it sounded like "da da da."  He wouldn't say it at anything approaching normal volume, but eventually we figured out that it was indeed a "da" sound.  After a few days, it morphed into a "die die die" noise, which was particularly amusing as he muttered it to himself while crawling toward one of us.  Eventually he started saying it somewhat louder, both as "da" and as "die," but almost a month later, his preferred method is still the whisper.

3) At nine months, he now makes three distinct noises - "da," "na," and "arggggh."  If we say these things to him, we can usually get him to say them back.  The Pit is convinced he's taught Fuzzy how to make a "la" noise too, but as I've never been able to get him to say it, I'm dubious.  Despite multiple entreaties, "ma" is still not on the menu.

4) This isn't strictly speaking a language milestone, but it is mouth-related.  About a week ago, he started getting obsessed with his tongue.  He sticks it out, then grabs at it with his fingers and folds it up.  I'm hoping this will lead to him making some new noises eventually, but so far, it's strictly tactile experimentation.

4)  In other non-talking related milestones, Maya and I amused ourselves my testing the baby's memory in an evil way.  I had given him the buzzer out of of the Taboo game one evening in desperation, thinking he might enjoy it while I folded laundry.

Of course he pressed the button, got the noise, and immediately started crying because it scared him.  I told Maya about the incident the next day, and she wanted to know if he remembered the event.  We laid the buzzer in the middle of the floor, and he started crawling toward it excitedly.  When he got close enough to see it well though, he immediately pulled up short, and started studying it uncertainly from about two feet away.

Maya moved it closer to him, and he scuttled over to my legs to get away from it.  So, lesson learned - my kid is at least as smart as your typical lab rat.

5) In a similar vein, we figured out he's also very good at remembering positive stimuli.  Every night I feed him a baby cereal mixed with milk and a little bit of mushed fruity baby food.  One evening, he was being particularly difficult about eating it, and I decided to try for a different texture to distract him. The Pit had bought some tasty-looking strawberries, so I cut one of up teeny tiny and added a piece to each spoonful of cereal.  Fuzzy loved it, and we got dinner done in record time.

The only issue was that the next day, he absolutely refused to eat the cereal until I cut up more strawberry.  There was a great deal of squirming away from the spoon, firmly closed and pursed lips, and arms thrown up to block his face.  Then I got the strawberry out, and he was suddenly all cooperative again.  Now I have to make sure we always have berries in the house.  I suppose it could be worse, at least we're moving into strawberry season.

Monday, February 11, 2013

8.5 Months

To properly appreciate this story, you have to understand the layout of our house - it's split-level, so each of the levels are separated by 5-8 steps. The basement is the only carpeted area, so that's where we spend a lot of playtime with Fuzzy - there's basically no furniture, just all of his toys scattered around. The nearest bathroom is up the first half-flight of carpeted stairs.

Anyway, Maya was playing with Fuzzy in the basement while The Pit and I were at work, and, being human, she felt the call of nature.  She stuck Fuzz into a giant pile of toys in the corner, and ran upstairs to the bathroom.  Suddenly, she heard a noise at the bathroom door, and nearly had a heart attack, thinking that there was an intruder trying to break in.  She opened the door, only to find Fuzzy sitting there smiling at her, and curiously peering into the bathroom to find out why he was excluded.

Granted, it's only 5 steps, but we still found his feat pretty amazing, considering he's only shown cursory interest in the stairs in the past.  Before he could crawl, if left alone in the basement Fuzzy would just wail until somebody returned to play with him.  Once he got the crawling thing down, he would first move over to the base of the stairs, and then proceed to the customary wailing.  And now, suddenly, in one afternoon, I guess he just up and decided that the mountain could come to Mohammed after all.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

8 Months

Much like last month was all about teeth, this month was definitely mobility-oriented.

1)  I put the baby in his crib while Maya and I were putting away laundry in his dresser, and when I glanced around, I saw him grinning at me over the top of the railing, because he had managed to pull himself into a standing position without any assistance.

2) We had felt that Fuzzy was close to crawling ever since our vacation in California a month ago, and shortly after we got back he started doing a sort-of Army crawl: picture grunts in boot camp forced to crawl under barbed wire while bullets are fired over their heads.  That was our Fuzzy, snaking it along the floor without ever pulling his belly off the ground.

Then, a week before his 8 month birthday, he finally sorted out his arms and legs, and started crawling for leg sort of dragged at an odd angle, giving him a slightly crab-like appearance, but nevertheless, it was real crawling, and he was clearly thrilled with himself.

3) In addition to his mobility breakthroughs, this month featured the aforementioned California vacation over the holidays - Fuzzy got to spend his first Christmas and New Years with various grandparents and great-grandparents, being showered with love and presents...oh, so very many presents.

Being close to family gave perks to The Pit and I too - my mom kindly took over Fuzzy's care and feeding for three days while we went to Tahoe for some skiing.  Well, the The Pit went skiing - I spent the weekend gratefully sleeping in, and also calling my mother three times a day to check on the welfare of the child.

4) It was also a busy month for communication - about halfway through the month, I was puttering around in the kitchen, with Fuzzy entertaining himself in the highchair next to me.  Then he looked up, caught my eye and said "arrrrrgggggggghhhh."  So I made the same guttural growling noise back at him, and he got super happy, and made it at me again.  So we went, back and forth, mutually delighted.  The Pit's first reaction upon witnessing this scene was to ask what was wrong with the baby.  He was quite doubtful when I told him that this was a happy noise, and that we were talking to each other.  However, after this had been going on for several days, I caught the two of them chatting back and forth in the same way.

5)  Unfortunately, argh is the extent of the baby's talking so far - although he has figured out that "no" is an interesting word.  I'm not sure that he's fully grasped the meaning, but he's definitely glommed onto the fact that exciting things happen when "no" is shouted at him in panic.  He'll reach for some random inappropriate object - dad's dirty shoe, the sharp and heavy fireplace poker, a dining room table place-mat with a full glass of milk on it - and we will tell him "no, no, no!"  He will pause in his reaching, look around, see if we are still paying attention, and then reach for the object again, but much more slowly, while also staring at us expectantly, waiting to see what happens next.

Friday, January 18, 2013

7ish Months

The baby is nearly 8 months old, but never fear, the 7 month post has existed as a series of notes to myself for weeks.  We shall not miss a single developmental milestone!  So here it is, late but not forgotten:

1)  The single most important happening of the month was Fuzzy's tooth breakthrough.  On December 8th, we attended my boss's holiday party, where the baby charmed all assembled by sucking on any jewelry,  shiny object, or beer bottled that happened to be offered to him...or even those thoughtlessly waved in his general vicinity.  When one of the ladies he was flirting with tried to disengage him from her necklace, she found a hard little nubbin on his lower gum that had gone unnoticed by his stellar parents.  Or I should say, unnoticed by me - apparently The Pit had spotted it several days before, but didn't think it warranted mentioning.

Anyway, two weeks later, when we arrived in California for our winter vacation, that nubbin had expanded to a full one and a half teeth, which the Fuzz promptly utilized to chomp me while nursing.  I was taken rather aback, and in fact screamed quite loudly both times he did it.  Each time I screamed, his expression progressed from surprised to offended to full-on crying in a matter of seconds.  I gathered him up and apologized for scaring him, but apparently as a behavioral therapy it was quite effective - I haven't been bitten since.

2)  In other mouth-related developments, Fuzz also learned to make two new noises - a sort of clicking sound and a lip smacking noise.  I haven't noticed any pattern with the clicking, but he definitely makes the lip smacking sound after eating, which is particularly humorous when he's just finished nursing from the boob.

3) I think I mentioned previously that Fuzzy likes to be lifted high on our shoulders, where he can survey the room from a different angle.  Well, now that he seems sturdy enough, The Pit has also taken to tossing him up in the air and then catching him under the arms - and judging by the squeals of delight, Fuzz loves this activity very very much.  He's actually too heavy now for me to toss him, so the two of them have a fun father-son bonding game.

4) Another recent game Fuzzy enjoys is hiding under a blanket.  We cover up his face, pretend to lose him, and then either uncover him ourselves, or wait for him to sweep the blanket aside.  Each time he is revealed, Fuzzy smiles hugely, clearly incredibly proud of himself for being found.

5)  In less fun milestones, there's definitely been in an uptick in clinginess and separation anxiety.  As Maya likes to say, "his biggest enemy now is loneliness "  And oh, how quickly does his enemy strike.  Fuzz used to be okay playing in his crib unattended for upwards of 20 or 30 minutes - but starting shortly after his six month birthday, he began having trouble being alone.  After 30 seconds we hear crying, and if somebody does not return to the room to pick him up, the crying quickly escalates to heart-breaking wailing, followed by full-on clawing at his face in tantrum within a minute or two.

And after that one great party outing where he took being handed around the room completely in stride, he also began to exhibit stranger anxiety - which was a wonderful development for our vacation, where we had ever so many volunteers willing to hold him, if only he could be induced to let go of mom or dad.