Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Creepy crawler

Batten down the hatches, folks -- Milo has become independently mobile.

Yep, that's right, the boy is crawling. The world is no longer safe -- the world up to eighteen inches off the ground, at least.

He'd been working up to it for a few weeks before he figured out how to make all his parts move in the right direction. First, he learned to push himself backwards, grunting with frustration as he moved away from the toy he was trying to reach, instead of moving closer to it. More often than not, he ended up wedged beneath a footstool or sofa, a sight that never failed to make me giggle and him squawk loudly at the indignity of it all.

Then he learned how to get up on to all fours. Once he felt stable enough, he'd begin to rock back and forth on his hands and knees, looking as if he were revving himself up to make the big leap forward. Either that, or attempting to do something lewd and unspeakable to the floor.

After that, he started experimenting with his limbs. He'd move his hands forward, but his legs would refuse to follow, and so he'd flop on to his belly and start howling with frustration. Or he'd move his legs but not his hands, and end up pitching forward and landing on his face. Again with the howling.

A couple of weeks ago when we were down at a kid-friendly cafe on the Drive, he finally put it all together. We were sitting at the edge of the stage at Cafe Deux Soleils with a mom friend (hi, Niki!) and her little baby, when Milo's eye was caught by a toy at the back of the stage, near the wall with the chalkboard. He moved a hand forward, and lo and behold, the opposite leg followed! He moved his other hand, and the other leg came up behind!

We watched, amazed, as Milo painstakingly made his way across the stage to the toy, falling to his belly a couple of times in the process, but determinedly lifting himself back up on to all fours and continuing the journey until he had reached the toy. He turned to look back at me, as if to make sure that I had witnessed his mind-blowing trip. Then, satisfied by the stunned look on my face, he turned back to play with the toy.

A few moments later, I look over at him and noticed something odd about the drool dripping from his open mouth.

"Am I seeing what I think I'm seeing?" I said to the other mother, as I got up to cross the stage and check on Milo. Sure enough, the boy was dribbling sky-blue drool down his chin. Seemed like he'd gotten his hands -- and then his mouth -- on a small piece of chalk.

Later that same day, I also pulled an elastic band from his mouth. And then a fridge magnet. And then I had to pull him off Nell dog's bed just seconds before his mouth closed around the dog tags hanging off her collar.

Ah, the joys of independent mobility. Looks like Milo's well on his way to living up to his ancient hunter-gather heritage. Guess I'm going to have to make sure the only forms of prey within reach are those that won't poison, choke, cut or maul him.

Now, if only the boy could learn how to roll over.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Looks like Nell has a rival for Milo's affections. He has fallen deeply, irrevocably in love with someone else -- namely, himself.

It all started when he began to realize that the gorgeous little creature he saw every day in the various mirrors around our home was actually him.

I was there when the epiphany struck. He was sitting on our bed, staring at the mirror, entranced by the moving figures he saw in it (i.e., him and me), when all of a sudden he started waving his arms wildly in the air, clearly watching his own reflection.

He stopped waving his arms, and the figure in the mirror did the same. Started waving them again, and his reflection followed suit. Stopped -- ditto.

And then commenced much leg slapping and shrieking of glee. I could almost hear his thoughts: "That's... ME! It's me it's me it's me it's me it's me! And I'm MARVELLOUS!!!"

If that boy knew how to crawl, I swear he would gone right over the edge of the bed in his hurry to get closer to his newfound love.

Since the first moment of infatuation, Milo's love has continued to blossom and grow. Whenever he's upset about something, all I have to do is plunk him down in front of the mirror in our living room and his tears are instantly replaced by smiles and laughter.

His image doesn't even have to move to enchant him. If he catches sight of himself in a photograph, more high-pitched shrieking and flailing of limbs ensue.

The other day, I was holding him in my arms and dancing to the Scissor Sisters and Fat Boy Slim while watching Rob upload a bunch of photos from the camera on to his computer. When Milo noticed that most of them were photos of him, he went nuts -- waving his arms, kicking, and shrieking with delight every few seconds.

There's a photo we have of him at three months that he particularly admires. It's standing in a frame on an amp in the living room, close to his play mat. He'll spend many minutes in his Jolly Jumper swinging toward it with his mouth wide open and his eyes filled with hilarity. He looks like he wants to swallow the picture whole and knows how hysterical it would be if he ever actually managed to do it.

(Point of fact: Milo wants to eat all the things he loves. When he wants to show affection for me, he bends toward me with his mouth open as wide as possible and lowers his head so that his forehead touches my lips. I'm not sure if he's presenting his forehead for a kiss or trying to eat me but fortunately has really bad aim.)

The only thing he likes better than seeing himself in a mirror is seeing himself in THREE mirrors, which he does whenever we go into the bathroom together. I pull out the mirrored cabinet doors to the left and right of the center mirror and position them so that Milo and I are able to see all three of our reflections at once.

The first time he saw his own image in triplicate, he almost lost it. He'd been focusing on the foam tropical fish on the wall beside the counter when he caught sight of himself in the nearest mirror. That made him happy.

Then I tapped on the center mirror to draw his attention to it. When he saw his reflection there, he literally (and I mean that in the literal literal sense, not the marketing literal sense) jumped with joy.

When he saw himself in the third mirror, he started making these little high-pitched excited sounds at the back of his throat, like the sound a dog makes when she knows there's a treat coming.

His gaze kept flitting back and forth between the three images: to the right -- then the left -- then the center -- then the left -- then the center -- then the right again. He kept patting his image in the closet mirror, as if needing to constantly confirm that something so wonderful could actually be real. I finally had to get him out of there because I was afraid his brain might explode.

That kid, he'd be perfectly happy playing patty cake with himself all day long, if only I'd allow it. But I'm his mother, and I think he's far too young to spend all his time with just one person. I'd like for him to, you know, play the field a bit before settling down.

Geez. I thought his obsession with Nell was bad.

(Another point of fact: I always knew he'd get involved with a self-centered bitch at some point in his life, I just didn't expect it to happen so soon. With our dog.)

But this! The way he leans toward the mirror, bending his head and pressing his forehead against its cool glass -- it's as if he's giving the mirror a kiss, just like he does to me.

I think he's really fallen for himself.

And the truth is, I'm happy for him. Honestly, I don't think he could have found a more wonderful person to love. I hope he and himself are very happy together for many long years to come.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Great Leap Forward

Milo has started to hold his arms out to us when he wants us to pick him up. It took us a while to catch on to the fact that he was doing this -- that he was communicating a solution to a need he was experiencing. But last night, there could be no mistaking it.

He was sitting on his foam play mat, batting away all the toys we were offering him and squawking impatiently, wrinkling his nose and making a face that clearly said, "I'm SO not pleased with the manner of entertainment you're providing for me," when all of a sudden he turned to me and lifted his arms in the air and said, "Eh! Eh!"

Rob and I looked at each other with goofy smiles on our faces. Milo was speaking to us! Okay, so he had the wrong vowel sound, and he didn't properly enunciate his "p", but we got his message. His arms very easily conveyed the meaning his mouth couldn't yet express.

Our boy is growing up, all right. At seven and a half months old, he's right on the cusp of becoming a cruiser. He's always on the go, wiggling and flailing and twisting in all directions, whether he's in my arms or on the floor. And he's becoming increasingly frustrated by his inability to move from point A from point B without a little help from mom or dad.

When he sees a toy he wants to play with, he throws himself toward it. Holding him, I'll let him follow through with the movement and will lower him on to his belly right in front of the desired toy. But as soon as his belly hits the floor, he starts kicking and flailing his arms, pushing himself away from the toy instead of towards it. And then, of course, hysterics ensue.

He no longer enjoys lying on his back for more than a minute or so. It's obvious he'd rather be crawling or walking. The only problem is, he doesn't know how to crawl or walk, and it's seriously beginning to piss him off. I try to help him out by getting him on to his hands and knees, but as soon as he makes a move, his arms and legs shoot out from underneath him and he ends up flat on his belly, doing the jellyfish.

Needless to say, this does not please the young master. He has discovered gravity, and it does not amuse him.

Part of me is hoping that he learns how to crawl fairly soon, so he doesn't end up being one of those kids who doesn't figure out how to do it until they're like, eleven or twelve months old. Oh, I know, I shouldn't be comparing Milo to other babies, they all have their rate of development that doesn't typically mean anything in terms of their future physical and intellectual capabilities, blah de blah de blah blah blah.

It's not like I think he's a slow learner or anything (I tell myself over and over again as the ghosts of ingested substances past come back to haunt me). It's just that I've seen lots of babies his age or younger that are doing things -- cool things, nifty things, things that are engineered to bring tears of pride to a parent's eye -- that Milo hasn't yet shown any interest in learning. And I'm just so freakin' excited to see him do these things.

Yesterday, for example, when I was at the local parent & baby drop-in class, a little girl just two days older than Milo was clapping on command -- and the command was being issued in Hebrew, no less.

I'm not even sure that Milo is able to recognize his own name yet, let alone comprehend directives being issued in a foreign language. Sure, he sometimes looks up at me after I've said "Miiiiilo! Miiiiilo!" several times in a sing-song chant, but I rather suspect I could recite the day's news headlines and get the same rate of response.

And when I try to show him how to clap, he blinks and looks at me like I'm clinically insane. "Why are you making that sharp cracking noise right in front of my face, boob lady? I like not the harsh sound of it. Cease it at once!"

Of course, we are making progress in other areas. I recently started keeping Milo awake longer in the mornings in an effort to get him down to two naps a day instead of three. I know, I should have done this months ago. *I* was the reason for the boy's slow development in this instance -- I just thought he'd be more obvious about no longer needing to go down so early. You know, I figured he'd say something like, "No thanks, mumsy-wumsy, I'd rather sit here and play with my toys" instead of continuing to get all cranky and impatient like he always does when he's tired.

Well. After a few days of keeping him up an extra hour or so and then putting him down, his naps are now well over an hour long. Take this morning, for example. I put him down at 10:15 and it's now 11:42. Gasp! This, coming from the 45-minute catnapper, is nothing short of a miracle.

The whole "solid food experiment" seems to be coming along quite well, too. Milo has made the transition from eating random assortments of mush to eating something that more closely resembles "real" food. He likes chopped-up fruit -- cantelope, kiwi, and banana -- in his oatmeal. He really digs overcooked fish & pea "stew." Chicken rice soup has been a big hit, too.

It's weird... Before we started feeding him solids, I thought I'd be sad to no longer be his sole source of nourishment. But when he's sitting in his high chair, kicking his legs and making little whimpering sounds as he strains to bring his open mouth closer to the spoonful of food I'm holding, I feel more than ever like a mama bird feed her chick.

And just like all mama birds, I'm eager to see my baby fly with his own two wings. Yet the thought of kicking him out of the nest fills me with utter horror.

So it goes... the further he gets from me, the louder I cheer, and yet the more tightly I want to clasp him to my chest. And that's why, I suppose, Rob and I had such goofy grins on our faces when Milo held up his arms in order to be picked up. Here's hoping he keeps on wanting us to pick him up for many more years to come.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Milo, meet peas

Peas, meet Milo.

...Pea green is a pretty good colour on him, don't you think?

Friday, February 03, 2006

Funniest baby video EVER

Seriously. You've got to check this out.

If Milo learns to walk like that, he'd soon find himself an orphan. Because I would LITERALLY die laughing watching him do it.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Milo in the moment

Milo just turned seven months old last week. He cut his first tooth the very same day.

Yes, that's right. He has a tooth, people. A tooth. A razor-sharp little cutting tool poking up from his gum. I'm simultaneously proud and horrified. Proud, because my little boy is growing up. Horrified, because my little boy is growing up. Natch.

In other new developments, Milo has finally figured out how to bring his toes, those beloved objects of desire that until last week seemed to be so far beyond his reach, up to his mouth to suck on them. At last! Victory is his!

And yesterday, for the first time ever, he rolled over from his belly to his back. We'll see how long it takes for him to repeat this mind-defying feat.

He's recently become obsessed with our dog, Nell, and shrieks with delight whenever she enters the room. When he's on the couch with me, he'll keep his eyes glued to the far edge of the family room table as he waits to catch a glimpse of her lying on her dog bed on the floor beyond the table. He knows she's there. He can hear her deep doggy breathing. When she finally does lift her head off the bed to look over at us, he shouts with laughter, his entire body shuddering with glee.

He's now able to sit up by himself and play with a toy for long stretches of time. He reaches for things and passes them easily from hand to hand, examining them curiously from all angles before stuffing them into his mouth to discover what they're really like.

He's also stuffing his mouth with some actual edible items these days. His favourites are peas, bananas, and oatmeal, but he also likes rice cereal, carrots, split mung beans, and sweet potato. Barley cereal is considered tolerable, but only when mixed with something tastier, like peas. Avocados are NOT considered even remotely edible, and should not be brought within a five-foot radius of Milo for any reason -- except for making mama giggle, of course. (I've discovered that there's a direct inverse relationship between Milo's fondness for a particular food item and the extent to which I enjoy seeing the facial expression he makes upon tasting it. I'm trying really hard to refrain from sadistically manipulating him for my own amusement, but sometimes it's difficult.)

Speaking of food, I'm overjoyed to announce that Milo no longer needs his 11:00 p.m. "dream feed." He's now sleeping from around 7:30 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. without waking for a boob fix. This means that I no longer have to stay awake until 11:00 p.m. every night. For the first time since I got pregnant, I've actually been able to sleep for eight unbroken hours at a stretch. And the heavens opened and choirs of angels sang...

(The downside to my liberated evenings is that I haven't been compelled to blog quite as often these days. Sorry folks, but when my choices are: A. going to bed early with my man or B. staying up late in front of a computer, option A definitely strikes me as the sexier of the two options -- as much for the extra sleep as for any other possible bedroom activities, alas.)

We've even launched Milo down the slippery slope of scheduled activities by signing him up for swimming lessons. First infant swimming... then baby sign language... then Mother Goose story time at the library. Next thing you know, he's going to be learning karate while playing baseball at violin practice, all the while performing sleight-of-hand magic tricks while riding on a unicycle.

Okay, so babies don't come with an off switch. I've been forced to acknowledge the truth of this. But wouldn't it be nice if they had some kind of toggle switch that allowed us to vary the speed at which they grow up?

It feels to me like Milo was shot from a cannon seven months ago and has been hurtling down the baby Autobahn at a gazillion miles an hour ever since.

It's all happening way too fast.

Could someone please tell me where the off ramp for the scenic route is? Please? Now that my mat leave is more than half over (NOOOO!), I'd like the following five months to meander along as slowly as humanly possible. The windier the route, the better. I know we'll get to our destination eventually -- I'm just not willing to hurry the journey. I don't want to miss a single moment of it.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

He like to move it, move it

I'm pretty sure that Milo thinks he's a lemur. A lemur on crack, that is.

Whenever I change him these days, as soon as I get his pants off (a difficult feat made even more challenging by the fact that he likes to rapidly kick and cycle his legs as if he's trying to do the back stroke across the changing mat), he grabs on to my nearest arm with both hands and pulls it down to him so he can chew on my sleeve. Then he proceeds to wrap both his arms and legs around my arm and cling to it like a marsupial hanging from a tree branch. He gets the most hilarious expression on his face when he's doing this, as if he's thinking, "Ah-ha! Victory is mine! Now, if only I open my mouth wide enough, I'm positive I can swallow this entire branch in one go, orange cotton leaves and all..."

Admittedly, he looks pretty darned adorable when he's doing this. However, with one arm basically out of commission, I do find it a lot more difficult to finish the job of changing him. What with the boy's mind-bending strength and incessant penchant for wiggling, what should be a simple two-minute job can stretch upwards of fifteen minutes these days. Good thing I don't have anything better to do.

Truth be told, playing with Milo on the change table is one of my favourite things to do. Unless, of course, I'm trying to get him ready to go out and we're in a hurry. Then it's torture. Or an exercise in patience, which usually amounts to the same thing.

I'm just glad the boy didn't come with a prehensile tail... Otherwise, he'd spend all day swinging off the rafters butt-nekkid. And that could make for a rather messy situation.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Milo's First Christmas (1)

Here's a brief recap of what we did during the holiday season. Enjoy! We sure did...

On December 23rd, we stopped by Milo's Great-Nana's place to drop off some presents and enjoy a cup of tea. Milo and Nana had lots of fun checking each other out.

Then it was off to my folks' place, where we stayed from the 23rd until Boxing Day (the 26th, for all you non-Boxing-Day-celebrating cretins out there. I mean, really -- who in their right mind would say no to an extra paid holiday?)

And YES, we did make Milo wear his Santa suit as often as possible over the holidays. Hey, it cost me a whole $16!!! I had to make the most of it.

Christmas Eve was a special day -- Milo had his first taste of solid food!

We gave him organic brown rice cereal for his first meal. He seemed to like it just fine, though half of it ended up on his bib. That was mostly my fault -- trying to stick a spoonful of food into the mouth of a wriggling baby proved to be about as easy as threading a needle while drunk on a roller coaster.

Christmas morning rocked, of course. Not only was it the Big Day, it also happened to be Milo's six-month birthday! As freaky as it is to believe, he's actually a full half-year old now.

The lucky boy had not one, but two stockings waiting for him on the hearth. Apparently Santa thought he was twice as good as all the other little boys and girls. I guess the ol' geezer wasn't aware of the many times Milo has pulled his mama's hair or waited until his diaper's off before letting loose with the firehose.

Not surprisingly, Milo's parents and grandparents tended to be more impressed with his presents than he was. (Give him a year or two...) However, there was one toy that definitely caught his attention.

Thanks to our new friend, Shinosaurus Rex, the poor kid's probably going to have dinosaur stalker nightmares for years to come. The fact that Rex plays Mozart tunes will only serve to heighten the horror, I'm guessing.


Milo's First Christmas (2)

The perennial BC coastal winter rains gave us a break in the afternoon on Christmas Day, so Rob, Milo and I took Nell dog on a walk around the park right behind my parents' house.

Milo's sporting one of his new Christmas presents in the photo; apparently, my mother and I share the same love of goofy hats for babies.

After a quick overnight pit stop at our place on Boxing Day, we packed up our bags again and headed to Rob's folks' place on Vancouver Island.

Milo had a great time on the ferry. He was fascinated by everything he saw -- the other passengers, the designs on the seat cushions, the other little children playing in the kids' area, even the raindrops streaming across the window beside us.

At least one of us was able to derive some enjoyment from the rain...

Milo's Gramma and Poppa were very happy to see him.

Make that, **REALLY** happy to see him.

And of course, Milo was a perfect angel the entire time we were there.


Milo's First Christmas (3)

While staying at Rob's folks' place, we took advantage of a break in the rain to take a walk through Miracle Beach Provincial Park, which is right up the beach from where they live.

Unfortunately, we forgot to bring the Baby Trekker, so Milo had to go off-roading in a stroller.

We spent the rest of our time there mostly just hanging out and looking good.


Milo's First Christmas (4)

On December 30th, we left Miracle Beach and went to Hornby Island, to visit with our friend Cari, who runs a bed and breakfast there together with her son, Kaie. She'd shut down the B&B for the holidays and invited a whole bunch of her friends to come hang out for the holidays.

We joined up with our friends Tallulah and Chloe at the Buckley Bay ferry terminal. Chloe was really happy to get to the B&B and roast some marshmallows in the open fireplace...

... and hang out with her friend, Kaie, who she hadn't seen in a while.

On New Year's Eve, we all went for a walk down to the beach. It wasn't raining, but was extremely windy and cold.

Did I mention it was cold?

Despite the weather, some of us still decided to pay homage to baby Jesus by imitating his "walking on water" trick.


Milo's First Christmas (5)

Milo was absolutely fascinated with the big kids, which helped when it came to feeding him. At least when he was staring at Kaie or Chloe, his mouth would usually remain relatively stationary and I wouldn't end up painting his eyebrows with rice cereal.

Milo was a very good boy and went to bed nice and early on New Year's Eve.

The rest of us, of course, stayed up partying. After we'd counted down the old year and cheered in the new, the big kids went outside and played with giant sparklers.

The next morning, Milo was the first one awake. Of course he was.

We took the 11:00 ferry from Hornby, just to make sure we'd make the 3:00 boat from Nanaimo. Milo played cutsey with the girls in the backseat for most of the trip.

All in all, we were amazed at how great he was, being carted around from place to place like that. Still, there was no denying how excited he was to find himself back at home that evening. He sat in his bouncy chair for what seemed like hours, squealing with delight at the familiar surroundings.

And of course, he was most especially excited to become reacquainted with the giant glowing boobie.

The kid's like his Dad, I tell you. He's got a one-track mind.

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that 2006 has fabulous things in store for each and every one of you.