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.