School's started, fall is here, my baby's a toddler--wow, lots of changes!
Marcus is thirteen months old now (or will be at the end of the weekend), and he's been walking up a storm since right around his birthday. There'd been steps before that, but when we were in Minnesota he really just started going crazy and walking everywhere, and when he went back to daycare after Labor Day, they said he just got off of Robert's back and started walking across the room.
At his one-year checkup he weighed 20 pounds, 12 ounces, and was 29.5 inches long--that's right around the fiftieth percentile for weight, depending on which chart you use, but very respectable. The doctor figured he has three words--Dada, doe (for dog--he says it almost in a Homer Simpson way, albeit in a higher pitch, and points whenever he sees a dog on the street--or a pigeon, for that matter), and that (no real /th/ sound, but the vowel is right, and he uses it when he points at things as though he saying he wants that). He also consistently uses a sign that looks like the ASL sign for milk as a "gimme" sign--gimme that, or gimme you (if he does it at a person he means he wants you to pick him up); it's funny, because I never used the ASL sign for milk on principle--it's based on milking a cow, and hello, my milk isn't cow's milk--but here he is making what looks like it, and confusing day care providers and nursery workers everywhere.
Marcus nurses just as much but is eating table food (with his six teeth--the two side front top teeth are most of the way down now, though you can't quite see them in the picture above) with more and more variety and gusto. On Saturday, for example, he had two different kinds of Cheerio-type whole-grain cereals in the car, and then a nibble of bagel while we were eating breakfast out. He had some mango-banana-sauce (the kind he can squeeze into his own mouth--he is practically allergic to a spoon and likes to control everything he eats), some pieces of roast beef from Robert's sandwich, and a bite or two of spanekopita for lunch, and then cucumber slices with peanut-miso dip (he loves the dip--he'll suck it off and hand his cucumber stick back for more, but eventually he does actually eat the cucumber too), bits of ground meat out of a pasta sauce, some steamed cornmeal dough from a tamal, and a slice of peach for dinner. He's definitely a meat-eater, but he'll try anything and usually go back for another taste.
Above are a couple leftover pictures from our trip to Minnesota--from left to right, our constant-motion baby plays with the suitcase in the airport; sleeps soundly with dog on the hotel bed; plays happily in the Lego play area at the mall with Grandma Judy (he climbed up onto the table so he could be right in the Legos); and sleeps soundly on the beds at Uncle Frank's furniture store.
Marcus is in 12-18 month clothes now and still in size 3 diapers, though we may not buy any new ones in this size after we finish these. His hair is still curly and getting thicker--everyone asks when we're going to cut it, and I'm not sure; I guess when it gets in his eyes or bothers him or otherwise seems to need it. Still, all the other little boys from our Isis group have had haircuts already!
We started a new Isis class (Sprouts) on Thursday afternoons, and I actually met up with four of the other moms and babies who were in our Great Beginnings class a year ago. They've all been taking classes together ever since, but I was sort of out of sync (I only do the Tuesday-Thursday classes, and I think they had a Wednesday one in there), and it's funny to now see the babies a whole year later. The class is good--lots of activities for the babies, some early arts-and-crafts things even, and still the familiar singing, parachute, and bubbles. Marcus is so much more interested in the bubbles and parachute now than in our last class (back in April)--he just stares and stares and tries to figure it all out.
We've been going to Titus Sparrow Park a lot off Columbus lately--that's apparently my fall playground of choice. Above are two shots of Robert and Marcus from there on Labor Day--I love the belly button inadvertently visible in the shot at right. Honestly, though, I had no idea that going to the playground with Marcus could be so much fun: I'm a total playground junkie now, trying out different ones, considering which ones have woodchips vs. cork coverings (the yuppie side of me beats out the hippee side--I prefer cork), which ones have sprinklers on longer, and which ones have better toys that "live" in the parks (JP Tot Lot on Brewer Street has some good ones, but Titus Sparrow has a respectable assortment of sandbox toys and dumptrucks, and is a lot closer). At the playground I know other mothers (and nannies too) think of me as the Bad Mom--I'm not climbing on the jungle gym along with my baby, or playing with him in the sandbox. I mean, I love playing with my baby, don't get me wrong, but I think it's really good for him to play by himself. It's just like with teaching--Marnie and I are always telling student teachers that our goal is to make ourselves unnecessary--we want to make our students not need us anymore, and we want to give them strategies to function independently. Clearly, other people have made this connection (teaching and parenting) before, but my guess is many go in the other direction--for me, though, I just recently had the brainstorm that hey, parenting is like teaching--I'm not trying to make him grow up too fast, but ultimately I want to make my baby not need me anymore.
For instance, when we celebrated Bob's birthday at Full Moon restaurant in Cambridge with Bob, Ghaz, Alyssa, and Sami (right), Marcus made a beeline for the train table when we came in, and he only trotted back over to us once, to sit up and eat a few pieces of scrambled egg, salmon, and tomato--then it was back to the play area. Our boy is busy--he's got stuff to do, you see. He also had a great experience in the nursery at church this past Sunday--they declared him "perfect" and "Mr. Personality."
When we're in the playgrounds, Marcus spends a lot of time climbing to the top of the jungle gym and then hanging out, while I sit on a bench ten, twenty, or thirty feet away. I can see him, and he can see me if he turns around and looks, but usually he doesn't bother looking. He knows how to get down, and he'll either go down on his own or else summon me for a "baby elevator" if he doesn't want to walk down, but he likes to stand at the top, playing with the built-in steering wheel toys or wind-chimes, or sometimes just watching the other kids. My baby is a people-watcher through and through. The other kids just go around him, and he's never been pushed or knocked down or in any danger of anything. Still, often the parents and nannies (who circle around the jungle gyms with their charges, always only a few feet away) get worried looks on their faces and say things in a pointed way--ostensibly to their kids, but really to me, of course: "Oh my! Look at this little boy! Be careful! Go around him! Hey, bud, do you need help? Are you all alone?" or once, even: "Oh, look at this little baby, all alone! Is he okay, do you think? Where's his mommy?" I wearily flap my hand from where I'm sitting, and in some cases, Marcus takes their scrutiny as cause to get up, toddle away, and go find a different activity to amuse himself with. At any rate, I'm definitely going to miss our playground days when it gets cooler. Recently we checked out the brand-new playground at the Cambridge Common in Harvard Square--wow, this is like Disneyworld and a children's museum all in one. Fabulous sand and water play, great swings and round-abouts, and really fun for all ages. We will go running back next spring and summer. As you can see below, our orange-pantsed boy was right in the middle of things. Also below see a video of him walking around about an hour before this photo was taken, at the church coffee hour.
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Created: 9/17/09. Last Modified: 9/17/09.