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New achievements

Theron has started to roll himself over consistently and effectively (as opposed to the awkward, haphazard way he was doing it earlier). This is, as I understand, the first stage of real mobility. He will go from rolling to crawling to toddling to walking to running. This will signal the end of life as I know it.

In other developments, his gurgling is becoming increasingly communicative. He has a wider range of sounds, and he’s starting to attach them to specific situations. Since these are obviously the first preludes to speech, I’ve tried getting him to use real words like “pachyderm,” “cutlass,” and “mononucleosis,” but so far he won’t repeat them.

I think he’s holding back, just to annoy me.

He spent most of last Saturday sitting on my shoulder as I walked around Cottonwood Art Festival. In order to protect his eyes from the sun, we fitted him with a pair of baby sunglasses which he enjoyed tremendously. In fact, he eventually tried to fall asleep in them. A hat might have been a better investment, but he doesn’t seem to have gotten any sunburn. Besides, I stand by decision: sunglasses look much cooler than a hat, even on a baby.

It starts to sink in…
Some combination of these things has caused yet another obvious fact to finally sink in through my (admittedly) thick skull. One of these days, Theron is going to be a person.

I don’t remember much of this morning’s dreams, but one of them involved being at some sort of bus (or maybe train) station, and calling after Theron to make sure he made it down to his stop on time. It was the first time that my brain had really looked at him as a person, someone I’d eventually have to negotiate with. It also made it pretty clear that, emotionally, I’ve been treating him more as a project. A very time-consuming, energy-intensive, difficult long-term project, to be specific.

And, to be honest, I haven’t really made the change yet. I still see him mostly as a project. At this point, I think that’s actually a pretty fair assessment of our relationship.

Life lessons for baby
Being the sort of person who likes to lecture others, I’ve been thinking about what sorts of things I want to tell my child. Some of them are simple pieces of advice, like: Never trust credit card companies; they want to make you a perpetual debtor. Or, on a related note, If someone offers you money that you didn’t have to work for, be very, very suspicious.

Others might require a little more explanation: Communication is not a good basis for a marriage. Sometimes it really is okay to hit someone else. Logical arguments are only useful up to a point; you have to understand that people are fundamentally irrational.

It bears repeating (in case I come back and read this later) that one of the other great lessons of my life is that people have to learn from their own mistakes. Life would be a lot easier and more pleasant if we were capable of taking advice, but in practice everybody has to screw things up really badly a few times. There are certain lessons (different for everyone) that have to be learned that way.

This, by the way, is one of the reasons that I generally don’t talk about religion. If human beings really were designed, then I think I can safely conclude that we’re still in Beta testing. Hopefully they’ll fix most of these bugs before they release the final product. (And in that case, I’d like to see a patch for some of the more egregious flaws in the existing models…)

So while I hope that Theron will be able to benefit from my experience, I’m not really holding my breath.

Another way to tell that I’ve started thinking of the Podling as a real person:

I’ve actually started referring to him by name.

And now, the requisite helping of baby pictures:

   

Amused baby in baby seat Theron in the arms of one of his aunts
   
Theron and his grandfather

This is why we call them "chipmunk cheeks"