05.08.09 :: 9:14 am

It’s in his nature, his misbehavior, his misdemeanors…

Dear Oliver,

Today you turned 10 months old. Bravo, little man! You’ve been movin’ and a groovin’, rockin’ and a rollin’ on the outside longer than you were cooking on the inside!

We’ve been having a really fun time with you lately. The sleep thing last month? Yeah well, you’re an old pro at teething now and you can handle it. And speaking of, I see you’re working on a front tooth there, all big and white and pokey and this I believe will make you look like even more of a cartoon baby than before.

You are too much this month, sir. Just really the height of too muchery. You’ve discovered peek-a-boo full force and you love to bust it out with your towel after bathtime every night.
You’ve also discovered throwing things. I should say HURLING things because that’s more like it, but you’ve figured out that both your father and I (and sometimes Grandma) are total suckers and that if you toss something off your high chair or out of your crib, we’ll actually retrieve it for you time and time again. It’s freaking HILARIOUS to you. Look at Mommy contorting her arm under the couch! That looks like it hurts! Awesome!
Laugh it up now, pal, because you have no idea what I’ve got in store for you once you’ve mastered basic commands and walking.

Your seemingly infinite curiosity floors me. You must know what everything is. You must touch and put into your mouth everything that crosses your line of vision. I’ve peeked in on you playing in your crib and the way you turn your toys over in your hand, over and over and over, inspecting every inch like a scientist … it’s amazing. What goes on in your brain when you look at the same monkey doll for the 5,000th time?

Your burgeoning personality has made more of an appearance this month as well. When we go to playgroup or the playground, you seek out other babies and love to watch them do whatever it is that other babies do. Finesse is not your strong suit yet, however, and we’ve got to work on this whole grabby/spastic patting thing that you do with other kids and also the dog. Because it’s not polite. I can’t believe I’m entrusted with teaching you manners because on a good day I’ve got so few, but I think there are books about this sort of thing and I’m sure I can get you to a point where people won’t think you’ve been locked in a basement your whole life or feral.

Oh, the dog? Yeah she’s over you.
Again, it’s the violent patting. She’s not a fan, what can I say? To her credit though, she’s held it together remarkably well. Better than we expected. Only on a few occasions she’s given you a warning bark and then she sulks off to her corner and we block the way so you can’t get to her and eventually she forgets why she was so annoyed and she comes back out. Only to start the cycle again. You are killing her softly. Don’t sweat it, though. She’s had ten years to relax before your arrival.

Food is becoming less of a mushy thing and more of actual human, solid pieces affair and we are just thrilled. Cantaloupe chunks are by far your favorite, but you will tolerate celery sticks, green beans, banana slices and apples. Good for you, kid.
We’ve even taken you to brunch and you’ve eaten a French fry! It was awesome.

Yes, we can take you places. It’s crazy! We go to your girlfriend Julia’s house a bunch. She’s got twenty times the toys you’ve got and who doesn’t love new crap to play with? You even tolerate the other babies and do your own, wacked-out, loner routine thing. I sort of like that you can amuse yourself, though. Just don’t grow up to be the next Unabomber.

Oliver, your motor skills are improving quite scarily this month. The second you take your first waddling steps, I am positive you will break out into a full run. Full speed, away away away. I will lose you forever at that moment.
For now you’re kept quite confined by your inability to do anything but pull up to standing via the coffee table or the couch or the (poor, poor) dog.

And you do this thing where you have to be holding at least one thing in one hand as you pull yourself upright so you can place it on that surface only to whip it down onto the ground. Oh it’s great fun. Nothing like the corner of a book getting flung into your shin to remind you you’re alive.

My little man, and you are such the littlest man, your will … IT HAS BEEN MADE KNOWN. There is no taking something from your itty bitty hands for you will shriek into the heavens until the earth splits open and people clinging to the sides of the crevasse will cry WHY WHY WHY IS THIS HAPPENING and the answer is my darling, my light, my life, because Mommy didn’t want you tearing apart the J. Crew catalog before she had a chance to look at the cardigans.

You communicate via a piercing burst of sound and sometimes to spice things up you switch between that and the extended remix which features that same piercing burst of “EEEEEAAAAAAH!” except (and obviously) looped into infinity. And what do you want? I often ask you, mid-howl. “What is it?” And you look at me, smile briefly as if the cloud of dementia lifts momentarily, only to darken your face a nanosecond later as you shriek once more.

Today, I took you to Barnes & Noble to celebrate my surviving under your Benevolent Dictatorship for ten whole months by buying you more board books that you can destroy.
I let you out of the stroller in the little kids’ area and you happily crab-crawled off, flinging books down along your path.
You must have gotten far enough out of my sight because all of a sudden, over the din of other happily playing and babbling babies I heard your telltale “EEEEEEAH!”


A woman looked over at me, like “What the heck?” I just smiled and said “Yeah, that totally belongs to me.”

You’re crazy and I love you, my little homing signal. Your round belly and your bowlegs. Your Alfalfa hairdo and your nuzzles. Your grasp of how the remote works and how to jingle the dog’s collar. Your unabashed, unadulterated giddiness with page-turning and zerberts. My little Mr. Potatopants, I love your world and being a part of it.


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