<< Bush Extended Family Photo | Business Week's Best Of The Web Poll >>
Squirrelly 1.5

The Squirrelly is eighteen months in age, and continues to grow like early Spring Lysichitum americanum in low- to moderate-elevation temperate wetlands. (Marrying a botanist has really Increased My Simile Power.) These days he sort of fluctuates between two quantum states: one moment he's a baby, sitting on the floor and playing with some blocks, then you glance away for a second and, when you look again, he's a full-on little boy, sauntering around the house in pursuit of a cat like he's been perambulating since day one.

I have mixed feelings about his getting older. While I feel no small amount of pride when The Squirrelly hits some new developmental milestones, it is always tinged with sadness. Not sadness that has youth is ebbing away or anything like that, goodness no -- I can't wait for this kid to up and get himself toilet trained -- but sadness that yet another line in our babyproofing defenses is about to be breached. Last year we had him confined to the livingroom, but then he got big enough to push the chair we had blocking the entrance to the kitchen out of the way. So then we let him roam in the living room and the kitchen, but then he figured out how to subvert the babygate in the mouth to the hall. So we decided, well, it's okay if he goes down the hall so long as we keep the doors to the bedrooms closed, but now he's figured out how to push those open. By October he'll be frolicking about in the crawlspace. He's like the little Katamari Damacy dude, barreling around and accumulating mass until he's big enough to crash into areas that were previously inaccessible.

Also, he is now so tall that, when I carry him around, he can further his Sibling Prevention Program just by kicking his feet, if you catch my drift.

(When I mentioned this to The Queen last night she rolled her eyes and said, "You've been complaining about this kid kicking you in the nuts since the day he was born." "That's my point!" I cried. "A few times I could chalk up as accidents, but this is clearly an orchestrated campaign!")

One thing that's cool to see is how things The Squirrelly has been instinctually practicing for months are suddenly clicking into place. Like, he's sort of shuffled around to music for months, but now all the sudden he's dancing. And remember when he was five months old and I posted this pitcure of him?

I mocked him for trying to fit an object the size of a cantaloup into his piehole. Well, as with many of the things babies do that adults dismiss as "play," it appears that The Squirrelly was actually engaged in The Acquisition Of Valuable Life Skills. In this case it seems that he's been systematically working to increase the size of his mouth so as to better shove thirty-seven cookies in there simultaneously.

(Of course we would never give our toddler "cookies." These are, in fact, "Sesame Street Banana-Flavored Crunchin' Blocks." Which are, in all respects, identical to cookies, except they are (a) slightly smaller, and (b) endorsed by Elmo.)

The Squirrelly's still not much of a talker, though we've long since stopped worrying about it. We've noticed that he'll try out a new word for a day or so and then, when he's bored of saying it, file it away in his little mental dictionary. Apparently he's just going to save them up and then, one day when I'm out in the family room guffawing to "America's Funniest Home Videos," he'll come strolling out in his shark pajamas and be all, like, "honestly, I'll never understand why you fritter your time away on this puerile tripe"

Until then he's adopted his own, invented language, which consists entirely of the word "kitty" spoken with varying degrees of intensity.

Me: Are you done with your snack?

Squirrelly: Kitty!

M: No? Then do you want some more applesauce.

S: Kitty.

M: Okay, then: how about some Veggie Booty?

S: Kitty!

If he feels that some statement is ambiguous, he will occasionally add, by way of clarification, "Pooh."

Oh, and hey: while we're on the subject of adorable lil' boys, did you know The Squirrelly has a cousin? A robot cousin??!

This is my nephew Pogo, two weeks younger than The Squirrelly, who had the audacity to be born on what was formerly known as "my" birthday.

We have since made up. He is hard to stay mad at, though I tried my best.

Posted on August 30, 2005 to The Squirrelly


Don't worry, once those youngsters lose their "cute" around age 13, you'll once again be able to bask in the birthday spotlight.

Posted by: Jack on August 30, 2005 7:22 PM

Aww.. he's such a cutie! He must take after his momma.. ? j/k :)

Posted by: theinsider on August 30, 2005 8:23 PM

That kid is the CUTEST EVER!!! But don't you dare let him become a child star (with a likely eventual drug problem).

Posted by: Jennifer on August 30, 2005 9:03 PM

Uncanny. Jasper at three months does the exact same thing with the exact same toy (and I mean _the exact same toy_) that Monsieur Squirrel did at five months. He tries desperately to jam the whole thing in his mouth and is endlessly frustrated that he can't--it's like there's a force field around the center, at least as far as he's concerned. He gets all agitated and grunty, to the point that we think he's upset and take the toy away, but then he cries to get it back. We call it his Nemesis, and expect that this epic, unresolvable battle between good and evil will continue the rest of his life.

Posted by: James on August 30, 2005 9:06 PM

The nut kicking thing gets worse. There is probably some formula that includes your height, his height, the length of your torso, and the child's current mental state that could accurately predict it so that it would be possible to avoid, but so far I haven't managed it. Every time it happens I think "Where's my cup!?" but between the time I'm in the fetal position on the floor and the next time it happens I've forgotten.

Posted by: Jack on August 30, 2005 10:36 PM

In the battered chest you find the complete works of Shakespeare. While equipped, this item gives you Simile Power +2. This item takes up 87 spaces of your luggage.

Posted by: Sparticus on August 31, 2005 12:55 AM

Be happy it's just 'kitty.' With my kid it is 'boobie.' And now when we sing songs and let her fill in the words she just says 'boobie.'

That robot picture cracks me up. He is amazing. I love his face! It's like you can almost see the grown up in there.

Posted by: miel on August 31, 2005 3:00 AM

What an adorable little boy! Thanks for sharing the stories and cute pictures... they brighten up my day!

Posted by: Rachelle on August 31, 2005 6:15 AM

Please tell me you didn't mean to say "I feel no amount of pride when The Squirrely hits new developmental milestones..."

Posted by: MadMonkey on August 31, 2005 6:19 AM

I always thought that the little hospital goodie bag that you get when you give birth should include a protective cup for dad. Hang in there, it stops after a few years, but man!

Posted by: Ken Beer on August 31, 2005 6:38 AM

I used to get into so much trouble running around the neighborhood naked when I was a kid.

I miss my kids being that age. Good times, man. Good times.

Posted by: Used Hack on August 31, 2005 8:11 AM

Now, this is important if he's fluctuating between quantum states. DO NOT OBSERVE HIM doing this. That way, he will be both a toddler and baby simultaneously and enjoy 2 lives at once, developing twice as fast. Seriously, read up on Schroedinger's Child, it states this.

Posted by: Edward on August 31, 2005 8:18 AM

The little boy (almost 1 year now) of my good friend is getting taught other things besides words and kicking Dad in the balls. We are training him to hiss like a vampire (with scary claws held up) and howl like a werewolf . These are vital life skills, after all, Halloween is just around the corner, and besides, who the hell would kidnap a baby who hisses and howls?

Posted by: Mars on August 31, 2005 9:50 AM

Oh man, this has got to stop. I'm almost starting to like children, and not as a snack. No seriously, the only thing I can't fathom beyond why people have kids, is why I would ever like them. This is making me crack man, you've gotta do something!

Posted by: Walt Shawlee on August 31, 2005 10:56 AM

Has anyone ever told you that you look oddly like Keifer (Kiefer?) Sutherland? Especially in that last pic with your nephew.

Posted by: Marianne on August 31, 2005 4:37 PM

Man, those Costco wipes come in handy for everything, don't they?

Posted by: Jan on August 31, 2005 10:08 PM

I love that in the photo of the Squirrelly eating the "Crunchin' Blocks" he's giving you/the camera this look like, yeah i shoved a buncha cookies in my mouth, what are you gonna do about it?

Also, your boy and your nephew look quite similar with their coloring and eyes, but your son so totally has the same head shape as you do.

I'm havin a cuteness overload

Posted by: camille on September 1, 2005 12:47 AM

The balls kicking eventually turns into a header to the groin. As he gets a bit more sure on his feet, and a bit taller, each time you enter the room he will give you a charging hug -- and forhead to the cookies.

Posted by: delmer on September 1, 2005 8:41 AM

Yeah, watch that running from accross the room, head to the groin happy to see daddy after a long day at work, who consequently can't react because he is holding his jacket in one arm and his satchel in the other manouver.

I clean everything with Costco wipes.

Posted by: Wolf on September 1, 2005 1:52 PM

I'm sure he will like reading what you say about him on your blog in a few years time...

Posted by: Somebaudy on September 4, 2005 2:38 AM

I recomend a gentle hip-check of the hugger, until you can drop your burdens and assume a loving crouch to welcome him. And the crouch prepares you for years of playing "catch".
Also, beware of how you sound-off in the car about the lunatic drivers all around: this is an amazingly fertile learning-ground for unwanted childhood language development

Posted by: Marty on September 9, 2005 3:09 PM