Our little chubby-cheeked Wolverine
Theron is a few days away from
being sixteen months old. (Actually, by the time I
publish this, he probably will be sixteen months old.)
For the unenlightened, that is one year and four months,
or 1 and 1/3 years. That also means that I'm not too far
from being able to give his age in years, a milestone
which I eagerly await. (Math is not really
The main development of the last few weeks is that
Theron is trying to talk. He only has a few words, they
aren't enunciated terribly well, and he hasn't started
stringing them into sentences, but they're definitely
words: he points at specific items and uses specific
words for them. ("'Ight" = light, for example.) He will
also repeat words back to us; "baby" is a perennial
favorite. He's still using sign language (well, a dozen
or so signs) to supplement his communications, though.
His first actual phrase (i.e. more than one word) was
hot tea ("'od-tee"). He points at my mug (a
big ceramic thing that came from a renfaire) and says
it. One night I left a used tea bag where he could find
it, and he spent the next morning running around with
the bag in one hand and the little paper tag in the
other. ("'Od-tee! 'Od-tee!") Eventually, his mother put
him up on the bed with me. ("'Od-tee!") Once there, he
tore the tea bag open and scattered tea leaves all over
the comforter ("'Od-tee!") and giggled.
There are better ways to wake up.
"He's like Wolverine, but with chubby cheeks and a
Theron, can you say, "baby"?
Theron's running and climbing skills have improved,
though it's an incremental process. His manual dexterity
has definitely improved; he can manipulate
buttons, open lids, and disassemble things that were
previously immune to his destructive powers. Then, once
he's disassembled them, he likes to throw them in the
bathtub. Or the toilet. My alarm clock is a favorite
target, and I guard it carefully. (Perhaps not carefully
enough, though - he managed to pull the
battery out and throw that in the bathtub last week,
which was a bit of a surprise; I found it by sitting on
it, in the water, while I was getting ready to bathe
My wife, in one of her Eeyore moments, comments:
"There's nothing I can have. Nothing I can keep.
Everything I value must be destroyed." This was mainly
prompted by the breaking of a cute little reading light,
but she does have a point. Sooner or later, Theron will
attempt to touch (then grab, then manipulate) anything
he can reach. Since he has no idea what to do with the
things he grabs, a surprisingly high percentage of those
items end up broken. Cute as he is, his one real skill
This prompted his father (me) to compare him to the
X-Men character Wolverine. Short and stocky? Check.
Rapid healing? Check. Indestructible bones? Close
enough. Half-feral, and prone to berserker rages? Ohhh,
yes. So, Theron: very much like Wolverine, but with
chubby cheeks and a better haircut.
The illusion of control
|Theron practices his table manners.
In a pathetic bid to keep up with him, we have acquired
and installed a new baby gate. This one is taller than
the wooden gate we were using -- the one he knocked down
-- and much more solid. It's really a gate, too - you
can lift the latch (actually squeeze a sort of handle
near the top) and swing it open, allowing the adults to
walk through. When it's latched, it's a very effective
Theron's response was to claim the gate for his very
own. He swings it open and shut, and throws a major fit
if we actually latch it. He moves stuffed animals and
then closes them behind the gate. He sticks things
through the bars. Sometimes, if I ask him nicely, he'll
swing it open for me and let me in. Other times, he sees
me coming and closes the gate before I can get there. It
is, he seems to feel, his gate. We, his
parents, should never question his right to do with it
as he pleases.
This is problematic, since the whole point of having the
gate where it is (between the living room and the
kitchen) was to confine his destruction to a smaller
area of the house... at least some of the time. On the
plus side, if he's occupied with the gate then he isn't
off breaking anything else -- and the gate seems to be
solid enough to take the abuse. So it works, sort of,
after a fashion, maybe.
Toys are overrated, part II
My parents have created a playhouse for Theron. It has
two doors (front and back), two rooms, two windows, and
a sort of skylight which allows the Podling to look out
from under the edge of the roof. I have no idea what the
retail price of something like this would be, but I
imagine it would be quite expensive. Come to think of
it, a store-bought playhouse would probably be made of
molded plastic, and weigh half a ton.
This one, on the other hand, was made from a large
cardboard box, and cost essentially nothing. (The box
came from a water heater.) It weighs very little, and
when the Podling isn't using it, it can be moved up onto
the glider to get it out of the way. If Theron breaks
it, it can be repaired with white glue and a bit of
extra cardboard. When he (inevitably) outgrows it, we
can get rid of it quickly and easily and totally without
guilt: it's recyclable.
Plus, it's really cute.
||(Click for larger images)