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Growing Boys
October 20, 2010

We have more news on Roland than Theron this month, but that shouldn’t be especially surprising. In the first year, babies go through a rapid series of radical changes in their abilities. They start as infants, helpless, immobile, and (hopefully) quiet. By the end of the first year, they’re walking around, grabbing things, and only occasionally falling over. After all the time they spend learning to crawl, most abandon the skill as soon as they can manage to walk. The time they spent learning how to move their arms from left to right, how to close and open their fingers, has become a fluent, unified movement of reaching-and-grabbing.

Roland is... not quite there yet. But he’s reached the stage where he really wants to be in control of his body, and he gets absolutely furious that he isn’t. It won’t be long before he’s crawling; he’s already working through the movements that become crawling when you combine them correctly. And last night (29 Sept. 2010), he managed a brief commando crawl. Oh, it was clumsy, and he only went about two feet, but it worked.

He's also practicing standing up by holding onto things. He doesn't come to his feet by himself, but if you set him next to the little light-up table (the same one Theron used), he can hold himself up with it. He can get from laying down to sitting up quite reliably, and he's starting to try to stand on his own. (Update on October 18: Yes, he can pull himself all the way up to standing, now.)

...There was a point in Theron's development when we thought that he might skip crawling entirely, and go straight to walking. He'd pretty much quit trying to crawl, and was working on standing and cruising instead. That was... I think... a few weeks before he started crawling. So I think we're about at that same point with Roland.

It's been a very full month (...or two, by the time I actually get this up).

Time flies when you're on the run

Grandfather tickles Roland (Video)
Okay, I started writing this entry back on September 15, with an eye to putting it on the site around the beginning of October. Obviously, the project has gone badly astray, as it's now the eighteenth of October, and I'm just past the intro. So, in the interest of getting the firk ding blast thing onto the Internet before everything I've written so far falls completely out of date, I'm going to add a couple of high points, throw the images and videos together, and consign the rest to the void. In other words, this isn't a complete entry, or anything like one, but it's the best I can do at the moment.

If there's one thing we learned from Theron's first year, it's when to cut our losses and either ask for help or declare that a given project is Good Enough. With Theron, we did an awful lot of bloody-minded soldiering on, with the result that we wound up exhausted, sick, and useless. With Roland, we know that a certain amount of inefficiency is actually more efficient in the long run.

Roland Has A Theme Song
Yes, we've been filking again. This one is sung to the tune of "This Land Is Your Land", with apologies to... well, pretty much everyone, actually.

This lad is your lad
This lad is my lad
We had a baby
And we are so glad
From his little toesies
To his baby nosey
This lad was made from you and me

Incidentally... if you find yourself in the uncomfortable position of having that tune stuck in your head for days on end, I highly recommend that you listen to the Muppets sing "Mahna-Mahna". This is a time-honored method for driving out other earworms.

Theron At The Wedding
Part of the reason that recent weeks have been so full is the juxtaposition of two major events happening on adjacent weekends. The first was the wedding of one of my wife's cousins (on October 2), which would not have been a serious effort except that it was up in Little Rock, Arkansas. That's a bit over a five hour drive, and Roland - unlike his older brother - does not like riding in the car. So we went to some real effort to make it there and back without having him scream the entire way. That's no mean feat; he managed an unbroken thirty-five minutes just the other night: twenty minutes to get home from my parent's house, and another fifteen after we were home.

Theron was exceedingly well behaved, especially given that he had to sit in his car seat for the entire trip. We went up on a Friday, and came back on Sunday; Theron was a bit cranky on Saturday, but he was so angelic on the trip up that I was prepared to cut him some slack. He'd earned it.

The wedding was... I'm trying to find a suitable adjective, but I'm not coming up with anything that summarizes it fairly, so I guess I'll take it piece by piece. The Beautiful Woman attended the rehearsal dinner on Friday night, had a wonderful time, and said the food was excellent. On Saturday, we slept in and did our best to exercise the boys; I took Theron down to the hotel pool, where he swam a little and discovered that beetles tickle if they walk on your hand.

The wedding itself was Saturday night, and it... well, to me it struck just the right note: long enough to be meaningful, but not long enough to drag; traditional, but not claustrophobic; and very well suited to the couple getting married. Theron had some trouble sitting still and being quiet (which was understandable, since he'd spent the previous day sitting still in the car), so the Beautiful Woman took him out into the main hall about halfway through.

The reception took place at a nearby park; we stopped to pick up some Tylenol for Theron (being cranky and uncooperative is a very good indicator that he isn't feeling well) on the way. The layout was... a little hard to describe, actually. The area was a sort of sunken garden, with paths running through it; the main paths, and the pavilion where we spent most of the evening, were raised, wooden affairs. Beyond the pavilion, another set of stairs led down to an actual building, where the food tables had been set up. (I didn't see much of that; I spent most of my time up on the pavilion, where the band was set up.)

The Beautiful Woman went to get food, while Theron and I stayed at the pavilion to claim a table. Theron did some jumping around, and climbing up one of the vertical metal poles that supported the canopy. (It was significantly wider at the base, which made a very appealing ledge about a foot up; Theron would put his feet on the ledge and hold onto the pole.) After a while, I sent him over to ask if one of his cousins would like to dance with him.

...That was a mistake. He came back in tears, and told me in a tone of abject misery: "She doesn't want to daaance!" She later came over and tried to get him to dance with her - even brought him a flower - but Theron wasn't having any of it. "I'm too sad to dance," he told her.

He did dance a little, though, with a girl in a polka dot dress at the next table. She was a little older, and I think she was more amused by him than anything else. Theron's idea of dancing is a bit... idiosyncratic. At one point he was essentially orbiting her at a full sprint, grinning manically the while. She rotated as she danced, to keep up with him. So all in all, I think he had a good time.

An unexpected impact
Theron, as most of you know, is pretty solid. At one point - and I did not have the camera ready, more's the pity - one of his cousins had climbed up on the pole I mentioned earlier. That put him about a foot above floor level.

Now, this particular cousin is a bit older than Theron, and substantially taller; both his parents are quite tall, and relatively thin. Theron stood, at a guess, roughly shoulder high on this cousin. The cousin was, as I've said, hanging onto the pole with his feet a foot or so above the floor. When he was ready to dismount, he predictable jumped backwards - and, perhaps equally predictably, he failed to look back first. So, in the midst of leaping backwards, he ran smack into my son.

Theron... 'staggered' is too strong a word for it. He swayed with the impact. His cousin, on the other hand... bounced. And landed on his butt on the floor, looking comically surprised. Theron looked around, grinned, and went on with whatever he was doing. I'm not sure what that was, as I was laughing almost too hard to breathe.

And they're growing up faster than I can type
Roland is now crawling. Really crawling. My wife set him on the floor at Half Price Books, and he crawled over to the children's books and started pulling them off the display. (Apparently he also made a mess of the videos.) So now we're really, really doomed.

So, at this point, I'm going to mention the second major event that I alluded to earlier: my parents celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary the weekend after the wedding. I won't go into much detail about that, but it went off very well. They had an excellent turn-out, including a number of people I hadn't seen since my childhood.

And having said that, I'm going to stop typing.

Finally, as promised...
Pictures and videos:

Roland playing at his seat

Roland with his own bib

Roland Standing at his table

Theron with his Lightsaber
Plano Balloon Festival

Theron makes Lego Guys

Theron as an alien
Done with Nerf darts

Roland protocrawling

Roland grabs his car seat

Theron Play with a balloon

Roland Crawls

Theron Climbs the Pole
At the wedding

Theron Dancing... poorly
At the wedding