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The Amazing Dancing Zombie Toddler

We have now reached fifteen months. (That's 1.25 years, or one year and three months in non-parent speak.)

Theron has grown (I think) another three inches in the last two weeks. This is most notable in two areas: first, I have to actually reach up to shampoo his hair; and second, he can now pull even more things off our shelves and counter tops. This has also made him clumsier than usual: his hands, feet, and center of gravity aren't exactly where he left them.

Partly as a result of this, Theron has managed to bite both his upper and lower lips. (The first was a simple matter of slipping on a wet floor, while the second was on a playground. Apparently one of the older kids bumped him, or pushed him, or something.) Theron is remarkably good natured about this sort of thing, and he seems to have inherited his parents' pain tolerance: he cried briefly and then went back to playing. Occasionally he sticks his lips out, which makes him look a bit like a duck.

At the pediatrician's advice, the Beautiful Woman bought Theron some popsicles. The Podling thinks this is great: it tastes good, makes his lips feel better, and creates a huge mess - all at the same time.

So, I came home to find Theron toddling around, with a puffy face, and sticky red stuff all over his mouth and shirt. He looked just like something out of a zombie movie. Naturally, I think this is adorable, so I took pictures.

(Remember to click
on these thumbnails
to bring up the full
sized images.
)

(Actually, these were taken later. The first time he did this, I couldn't find the camera. This is a pity, since the first time he looked all tired and battered and zombie-ish. When I took these pictures, he looked entirely too chipper to be undead.)

Time to start taking over the world
Theron has started daycare, sort of. He's only going one day a week, the program is more of a mothers'-day-out arrangement at a local church, and he's in a class of five (three boys and two girls). His first day was yesterday, and apparently it went just fine. He had a good time playing alone or with others, and even took a nap. (This last is mildly amazing; Theron is not the world's most nap-oriented child.)

This is not, to my mind, a particularly significant development. He's had play dates, attended parties, and played with other children before. This is just another step in the progression. After this we'll have kindergarten, then school, college, and some sort of career. Eventually, of course, he'll create an army of genetically engineered monsters and take over the world.

...Well, a dad can dream, right?

Theron, dancing.
(Click for video)

The amazing dancing toddler
I recently purchased the first season of The Muppet Show on DVD. I was not, at the time, thinking about children's programming; I'm a Muppet fan from way back, and I was buying it for myself. Not that that really matters, because Theron loves it.

He's particularly fond of the opening music. When it comes on, he stands in front of the television and dances (in that inimitable toddler fashion that mostly involves moving his hips around). Then he rushes the screen and tries to touch Kermit.

He's developing an attention span, too. He will actually sit and watch the show, or at least part of it. Anything that buys us a few minutes to clean up is fine, really.

Calling Daddy at Work
Theron loves telephones. (He gets this from his mother's side of the the family. The Beautiful Woman and her mother and sister are all compulsive telephonists.) It started innocently enough, with his mother holding the phone so that Theron could hear whoever was on the other end (usually myself or his grandmother). Theron has now taken to demanding the phone, even when nobody is using it.

Yesterday the Beautiful Woman called me at work. After we finished making our dinner plans, she hung up and I went back to whatever I was working on. Within twenty seconds the phone rang again, and a quick glance at the caller ID revealed that it was coming from the same number.

So I picked up the phone and said, "Hello again."

What I heard on the other end of the line was a certain amount of toddlerish giggling, then the beeping sounds of buttons being pushed. Apparently Theron had found the redial button.

I figured what the heck and kept talking. Eventually the Beautiful Woman picked up the phone and was quite surprised to find me on the other end.

Theron has now placed his first real phone call. He has called his father at work.

Children's Toys are a waste of time and money
There are a great many toys on the market. Even if you limit yourself to toys appropriate for Theron's age, there are still a lot of toys out there. Some of them do neat things (rolling, making noise, assembling/disassembling); others claim to be educational (the table which sings the alphabet, or anything by Baby Einstein); and others are just meant to be fun (like the giant rubber ball).

Regardless of their selling points, toys for toddlers are a waste of money. (I say this in the full knowledge of my own hypocrisy: our living room is full of them.) As far as Theron is concerned, toys are no different than any other object. The little toy phone that beeps when you push the buttons is no more or less interesting than the remote control for our television. The shaped colored blocks that fit into shaped holes in their box are not any more compelling than the pots and pans in the kitchen cabinets. Squeaky rubber toys are no more captivating than, well, running water and beer cans.

Let me explain.

My parents have been extremely good about helping us out with Theron. I usually take him over to see them on Sundays, which allows them to show him off at church (with or without me; doesn't seem to matter). Mom likes to swim during the afternoon, so they usually take him outside with them.

This provides me with a precious few hours to work on my own projects. It gives my parents time to interact with the baby on their own (i.e. when he's not distracted by his own parents). Plus, it gives Theron a chance to play outside - an activity he approaches with great enthusiasm. So it's really a good use of our time all the way around.

Last weekend, Theron spent nearly three hours in my parents' back yard. Despite the availability of numerous toys, he spent most of that time filling an empty beer can with the water hose and then emptying it out with a stick.

Toys are overrated.

 

Theron lairs in his fortress. The fortress consists of two chairs in the corner of the living room, with a sleeping bag thrown over them and a pad underneath.

New and improved communications
Possibly as a result of his time at daycare, Theron can now blow kisses. He does this for his grandparents and for his mother, both with great abandon. He won't do it for me at all. I'm sure there is some way to interpret this to mean that he likes me better; I just haven't found it yet.

Here's one last picture. It was just too cute to leave out: