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Theron attended a birthday party for four other boys. He really, really liked the ball pit. (click for video)

Theron is now eleven months old. That means, among other things, that we have successfully kept the baby alive for almost a full year (an achievement which, in my mind at least, borders on the miraculous). He'll be celebrating his first birthday on Memorial Day weekend (a little early), and so far everyone we invited seems to be coming.

He has essentially given up crawling, and walks pretty much everywhere he wants to go. As a result of his increased confidence, he actually falls down more than he did when he was first starting to walk. Another result of his walking is that he can pull things off the tops of tables, counters, and other places which were formerly safe from his depredations.

He has returned to letting us feed him, though. He's working on feeding himself, and sometimes even gets the right end of the spoon in his mouth, but at least he lets us put food in him. He gets fed, we don't get covered in glop, and he gets to practice using a spoon. Everybody wins.

Baby jokes
Theron now has baby jokes. The sense of humor isn't new - he thought Peek-A-Boo was pretty funny several months ago - but he's developing new ways of interacting with us. In the process, he's developing new jokes.

One of the funniest ones, to me, is that he figured out how to blow a raspberry. So we now have conversations that sound like this:

Me: "...And that's how my day went."
Beautiful Woman: "Yeah, mine was pretty busy, too."
Theron: "Phbphpbphbphbt!"
Me: "Phbphpbphbphbt!"
Beautiful Woman: "Phbphpbphbphbt!"
Theron: (giggles, then) "Phbphpbphbphbt!"
Beautiful Woman: "Phbphpbphbphbt!"
Me: "Phbphpbphbphbt!"

...Etc. Actually, I guess it's not that different from most of our conversations. Fewer words, though.

Theron will also play chasing games, which basically involve having his father (me) crawl around after him. This is about the only time he still crawls; I think it's because he doesn't trust his balance when he's trying to run away. So basically, I start after him. He takes a few steps and falls over. I make giggling noises and keep following him. He crawls away, also giggling. This continues until the baby is laughing too hard to crawl.

And now I am smart
Intellectual development is a bit hard to measure, mainly because the baby is still too young to explain why he did something. However, he's definitely working on his skills. He can pick up Cheerios and put them in a cup. He can take them back out of the cup. He can turn the cup upside down and pour cheerios all over the cat.

He can climb over a wall of pillows and escape from the living room. He can pry up the drain cover from the floor of the shower. He can also stuff a rubber toy down the (now open) drain.

Best of all, he can now... Well, let me back up a bit. Earlier this week, my mother-in-law (the Podling's grandmother, who has been absolutely invaluable in helping us with the baby) reported that Theron had started saying, "Uh-oh." I'm not sure that this actually qualifies as a word, since he doesn't seem to use it in any specific context. (Until it has a meaning, it isn't a word; it's just a series of sounds.) And it certainly isn't his first word; that was 'kitty-cat' ('gee-gah' - as reported in a previous chapter), which he really did use to indicate one of the cats. Nevertheless, as soon as he figures out what 'uh-oh' actually means, I'm sure he'll be getting a lot of mileage out of it.

Apparently, on the same day that he started saying 'uh-oh,' Theron also went into another room, took off his pants, carried them back into the kitchen, and threw them down at his grandmother's feet. Coincidence? Maybe, but I find it very suspicious that he learned to say 'uh-oh' on the same day that he learned to remove his pants. I suspect that these two skills will be used in association with each other for most of the rest of his life.

Baby's first polearm
Yesterday, I was cleaning up the kitchen at my parents' house. This was because a certain baby - who will remain nameless - had made quite a mess while eating. I was using a broom and a whisk pan, and while I was dumping the crumbs into the trash can, Theron stole the broom. He then proceeded to march around the kitchen and into the living room while carrying it. Naturally, this involved a certain amount of whacking things with the broom - most of it accidental, but some (I suspect) deliberate.

He missed the back of his grandfather's head by less than six inches. Grandfather remains blissfully ignorant of this.

Being a responsible parent with a clear understanding of my priorities, I immediately went for the camera. This was mainly because I don't really expect anyone to believe me unless I provide visual documentation. Here it is:

(Click the picture for video.)
(Or, click here for a larger version of this picture.)

He really, really didn't want to let go of the broom, either. So, obviously, it's time to start his Kung Fu training.