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.