Friday, April 27, 2012

month 16

You can never step in the same river twice, and no two months in your kid's life are the same...but, when I write the book of being a dad, I will probably comment that the pace of change and development and onslaught of novelty slows some in the low teen months.  You do new things, but they are really marginal progressions over the last few months.

The most striking "new" thing that I noticed in April was your ability to understand me and your mom.  We can give you pretty complicated instructions, and you carry them out (if you are in the mood, not distracted by the dog, not hungry, etc...) and that comprehension and ability to act on your understanding is very cool.

In so far as we have family "traditions", one that has evolved over the last year or so is a Saturday trip downtown, with a nice family breakfast and trip to the TN Aquarium.  We've found that getting there at opening time makes a HUGE difference in our collective ability to enjoy the exhibits.  You are not yet 2 years old, and you have probably been to the aquarium 10 times already.  On this most recent trip you showed more active interest in the fish and birds and butterflies, as opposed to just a general excitement in being "out".

There's a little park near our home, and Mom takes you there pretty often.  You have graduated from just swinging and checking out the more mobile kids to BEING one of the more mobile kids.  It's cool to watch you watch the bigger boys and girls  - you seem inspired by their excitement.  And then you try to steal their wheels.

You are obsessed with wheels - anything that you can spin or roll has your attention.  Your late, Great Grandmother gave you a vintage toy truck (a WalMart 18 wheeler with realistic engine sounds!) and you abso-freakin-lutely LOVE it.  And it has vintage features like tiny plastic parts that can break off and or poke you in the eyes.  So we keep hiding it, and you keep going to the hiding spot and pointing at where the darned thing is hidden and doing to "I want that" sign language.

The three of us - me, your mom, you - spend a TON of time together and I can't really imagine it being any other way.  I do not think there is one right way to parent and I don't know how our choices now will affect you later in life, but I really enjoy being involved in your whole day.

I have more and more pictures like this one, and the symbolic content is not lost on me.  You are both capable and comfortable ranging further and further from Mommy and Daddy, and that is bittersweet.  Your parents both want you to be confident and strong and interested in contributing to your community, and we know that means giving you space to develop your independence, but it is a constant battle against the instinct to cushion you against bruises, to insulate you from fear, to protect you from the world - let's just say we are going to do our best to keep you safe but not too safe.
You are my second favorite person in the world, and my best little buddy.  See you next month!

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