Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Social Butterfly Who Weighs a Ton

The New Little Guy is many things.

Physically, he's a big boy. He's also a smiler. He's a talker. He's a crawler. He's an eater. He's an adventurer.
When he's not talking or laughing he's
practicing good oral hygiene with
his Mom's toothbrush. 

Above all, he's a social creature.

But when he is alone, entertaining himself on the living room floor for instance, he doesn't remain in silence as he's often providing a soundtrack of sorts.

And that's great for Mrs. Blackwell and I because, even if he's out of sight for a moment, there's usually a chorus of noise to announce his precise whereabouts.

There are the squeals, squawks, yelps and laughs — lots and lots of laughs, including one that sounds like he stole it from one of Bevis or Butthead.

And, because I can't leave him hanging, I'll counter his laugh in similar fashion. And because he's apparently seen Bevis and Butthead, he'll counter my laugh with another of his own.

So, we'll go back and forth, offering each other laughs that sound as if we're both mentally deficient.

He enjoys all manner of back and forth, not just laughter. Sometimes he's content take a passive role. He'll sit on someone's lap (usually Mrs. Blackwell or myself) while two people have a conversation. But it usually doesn't take long before he requires a heavier level of engagement.

He'll turn and attempt to pull himself to a standing position. Once achieved, he'll move his face directly in front of his mom's or mine, before opening his mouth and drooling on one of our noses.

He could likely do this for hours. Unfortunately neither I, nor his mother, have the stamina, or tolerance for someone else's drool running down our face.

So, oftentimes, we'll put him on the ground and just as often he doesn't like this and he'll let us know by beginning to cry the moment he's set down. This cry isn't one of pain, discomfort, hunger or any of life's necessities going unmet. Nope, it's a clear, cogent and potent demand for hands-on attention.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like this every time he's set down. It's whenever he decides he's interested in us.
In one of his parents' arms. AKA right where he belongs.

To that end, he frequently tries to keep up with Mrs. Blackwell or myself, to be part of whatever exciting adventure we're partaking in.

So if one of us is walking toward the kitchen pantry, he's crawling and shuffling behind. If we're heading back toward the kitchen counter he's right on our heels.

But it usually takes just a few back-and-forth trips before he decides he's had enough and demands to be picked up.

I'll offer up the disclaimer that, yes, Mrs. Blackwell and I both know this is how babies start manipulating and training their parents. The jury will be out for the next 18 years or so as to whether we're handling this right.

So, yes, a big part of his being social also means being directly held or otherwise handled.

At this juncture, it's also pertinent to remember what I mentioned at the top here about the boy being heavy. It's been a while since he's been weighed but suffice it to say, he's a load. After about 3 minutes of holding him, my arms start turning to jelly.

So, I put him down which, as previously mentioned, is frequently met with instantaneous crying.

Now of course there are times when we let him voice his displeasure for a few minutes while we wrap up whatever it is we're working on.

Like I said, he's open to conversation with anyone. 
But sometimes, you just don't want to hear a baby cry. Sometimes you need to be able to hear yourself think.

So, for us, sometimes the only answer is to hold onto him while we go about doing whatever it is we need to do, usually it's something fun like putting groceries away or cleaning up a spill on the kitchen floor before running out the door late for work.

All the while, we're holding the little guy and all the while, he's invariably satisfied to be held.

As I mentioned before, we're well aware of the perils of this arrangement. One can easily flash forward a few years and see a spoiled, corpulent, 12-year-old throwing his dinner plate across the table demanding that his mother or father "make more food!" or some equally disturbing scenario.

For now, this arrangement works — most of the time. Eventually Mother Nature will take over, he really will be too big for us to hold onto and we'll have no choice in the matter.

And, come to think of, maybe it's that thought that makes picking him up worth it each and every time.

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