Wow, this has really been a fun, action-packed month--lots of pictures and video here for you.
This month, Marcus has been talking all the time. In the evening, he tells stories about the highpoints of his day: "Girl!" he'll say, "Train!" and I'll explain that he saw a little girl on the subway and kept waving at her a lot. His "Help me!" which used to sound more like "Heppy!" became "Hemme!" and then even "Hep-me!" (still no /l/, though). He's become fascinated with cats, and hands Robert his iPhone to call Auntie Tia's cats on FaceTime: "Humm! Hat!" (he says, for "phone" and "cat"--he can say "hat," as in the thing on your head, too; that is subtly different, less aspirated) and then he meows when the cat appears on the screen. He waters the plants assiduously and loves playing with his sand and water table while Robert grills supper on the deck.
Marcus loves it when we grill burgers--once he almost ate an entire burger himself, coating, of course, each bite individually with ketchup (Feh-fuh). Ketchup is his friend. He suggests it for a snack, sometimes, going straight to the fridge to get it out. We allow it on burgers and even on steak, but I (strangely) draw the line at ketchup on its own, eaten with a spoon or licked up off the table or squirted into his mouth (my creative son has attempted all three of these).
When Robert comes home after work, Marcus greets him eagerly, with cries of "Shoes! Shoes! Away! Bag away! Away!" as our baby's innate love of order (everything in its place, after all) makes him nag Robert to put away his shoes and backpack immediately upon entering. Robert, who would normally dump everything near the front door until I either put it away myself or else complained at him to do it, complies with his baby's requests.
On weekends, Robert's been playing in the softball league (his team is so far undefeated), and Marcus and I go to his games. Once, they played on the Common and we brought Taiwanese buns and slushy drinks to meet Robert, and Marcus tried his hand at a bat (he loves hitting the ball, then running after it, trailing the bat behind him). Another time, they played in East Boston and Marcus and I spent the game-time at Constitution Beach, across the parking lot from the field. It was a really nice beach--fairly warm water, no waves at all, lots of families and kids, pretty clean sand, and a nice playground at one end. Marcus had a great time attaching himself to a few groups of kids, borrowing their sand toys while they borrowed ours (because someone else's stuff is always better than your own), and watching while they caught jellyfish and tiny crabs.
We took a field trip with the daycare to the Children's Museum on their free day (a madhouse, in case anyone was wondering) and had a great time. Marcus knows many of his classmates' names--Bebe (Beatriz), Nina, and Gigi--and then calls the others a generic "Baby!" (sometimes modified with "Hat!" if the baby is wearing a hat, or "Feet!" if the baby is shoeless at the moment). We also saw my midwife, Kelley, with her two boys eating lunch at a table outside the museum--it was so nice to have her see Marcus, and for us to see her, particularly since she's expecting another little one of her own any day now.
I started this month trying to write down Marcus's sentences, but they became too common to record. Some of the early sentences/phrases this month were:
He also tells jokes; while waiting for Robert to leave his office and head to the airport with us for the Fourth, Marcus had kept saying, "Daddy! Daddy!" really excitedly. I told him Daddy would come down soon, through that very door (we were standing across the street in a good cab-catching spot). Then I said, "Oh, Marcus, look, look at the door, what do you see?" because now finally Robert had emerged. Marcus looked at the door and said, "Suitcase!" then laughed and said "No. . . Daddy!" and indeed, it was Robert with a suitcase. It's probably just the proud parent in me, but I feel like that joke plays with expectations in a more clever way than you might expect from a less-than-two-year-old. Needless to say, I laughed. Other jokes include using a hairbrush on his feet, and calling it "feet brush!" gleefully, and sitting on Robert's lap in the nursing position, facing Robert's chest, and saying "wuh-wuh-wuh-wuh" as though he were asking me to nurse, then laughing hysterically at this.
Marcus and I are taking a once-a-week summer music class at the Community Music Center of Boston, a 100-year-old South End music school. It's very nice--older woman with an autoharp and folk-style songs, and other babies. Until the very end of July, he's still at daycare three days a week, and I go into school once a week and work from home on papers and classes the other two days. We do the music class on Thursdays, walking down Columbus to the gym at Club Cafe where it's held, and on Tuesdays we go to Jamaica Plain--we actually take the stroller to JP, and we have a great routine of playground (no sprinklers--Marcus would rather climb this month than cool off, sigh), lunch at City Feed, farmer's market behind the bank for our CSA share, ice cream at JP Licks ("How!" Marcus announces, wanting to pet the cow. "Moooo! How!"), then subway home and a nap on my back as I carry baby, stroller, and veggies and fruits up the stairs.
Marcus loves the strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and tomatoes from our farm, plus the kale if I make it crispy. He also liked these zucchini cookies I made when we got eight zucchini in one week, and he spent a long time choosing his favorite color frosting.
Below, you see the "wave goodbye to Marcus's daddy" game Robert plays with the kids at the daycare sometimes when he drops Marcus off, and one of Marcus's recent daily sheets. On this particular day, they took the kids to the Green Street sprinklers as a change, instead of just the Christian Science fountain. Another day, when I went to pick Marcus up the teachers seemed like they really wanted to tell me something. "So, we took a walk today," one began, "and we saw a mailman." "Oh, that's nice," I answered vaguely, getting Marcus adjusted in the mei tai I use for pick-ups. "And the mailman knew Marcus!" she finished excitedly, "And he said, 'I know you, Marcus Michaud!' and Marcus said 'hi!' to the mailman too!" I like that knowing the mailman, and vice versa, at daycare made Marcus a sort of mini-celebrity. And we really do have an excellent mailman (with a baby just a week younger than Marcus and another now a newborn)--what's that old saw about the city not having a neighborhood feel?
This month we went to a first birthday party for Garrison, a 38th birthday party for Paul, a second birthday party for Ellie, and a Frog Pond meet-up with my friend Heather from high school, who I'd recently reconnected with online by chance. Heather has a son who is exactly, to the day, one year older than Marcus, and the two boys had fun together. Marcus demanded his shirt off because the older boy (who had just come out of the water when we got there) was shirtless; Heather's son demanded milk because Marcus was nursing; Marcus admired the monkeys on the older boy's exciting new underwear; and then they both got up on our backs, sleepy and happy, after running around for a couple hours. Below you see me our babywearing foursome, plus Marcus in two other parks on different days--the Alexander Kemp playground in Cambridge and the Green Street one (he's on the spider web thing).
We did another three studies at the BU Language and Learning Lab. Marcus must seriously be the worst test subject ever. Out of four studies so far, he gave them useable data for 1/2 of one study. He would rather turn the monitor on and off than watch the video and have it track his eyes; he would rather play with the tripod and camera cable than do the task it's supposed to video him doing; and he would rather walk back down the hall to the orientation office toys than play with the study toys, no matter what they are. It's fun, though, and as long as they keep calling me back, I'll keep bringing him.
The month has been filled with lots of playgrounds, outings, library days when it rains, and general fun. I can't believe "Baby," as we still call him, is almost two, but doesn't think he's a baby still. If we slip up, though, and call him "Baby" in his hearing, he swivels his head from side to side--wait, did someone say there was a baby here? He's checking.
Below, video from the month--playing at a playground with a ball, while Jef's son looks on, and then eating birthday cake while Miriam's son (his birthday!) does the same.
Playing with a (clean) trashcan from our bedroom, and then eating soup on my back one afternoon (note: while Marcus generally likes feeding himself and being in control of what goes into his mouth, he was riding around on my back one afternoon as I made zucchini and summer squash and roasted garlic soup with some of our CSA bounty, and he decided he'd like some of the soup. I kept asking if he wanted to go down, but he would say no, so I kept passing spoonfuls of soup over my shoulder. I eventually recorded it just to document this fabulously easy way to eat soup: have someone wrap you up, carry you around, and yeah, feed you the soup on demand):
Below, you see our little budding sports fan: he loves grabbing anything even vaguely bat-shaped (whether these pop-beads, or a percussion stick in our music class) and making it into a baseball bat. He then demands that we pitch to him, and occasionally he actually swings. Not often, though--he's got his batter's stance down, and is clearly waiting for the absolute perfect pitch. At right, Marcus playing in a small inflatable ballpit at a friend's second birthday.
Below, playing with the 4.5-year-old son of one of Robert's softball teammates, behind and under the bleachers on the Boston Common, and then eating a cheeseburger and asking for "more-more" ketchup ("fee-fee," affectionately, for short):
Finally, one last series of shots for the month--I decided my babywearing journey wouldn't be complete without dyeing a wrap myself, so I got my hands on a cheap (because someone had spilled something on it, but actually that stain came out while I was pre-soaking it for my dyebath) part silk, part cotton Didymos Nino wrap and a lot of Kool-Aid (mango and cherry). I did mango first, sort of low-water-immersion-style, then a semi-tie-dye with the cherry. Then I cut the wrap in half and left half a mottled peachy color and soaked the other half in more cherry, for two separate short wraps in different looks, which I then had made into slings. Because the Kool-Aid dyes the silk fibers, but not the cotton, you get a really nice contrast with the woven design. And hey, Kool-Aid makes great nail polish and arm dye--I was cherry for about four days.