Today you turn ten months old. It’s your first day in the double-digit months; I should have comemmorated your last day in the single-digits last night, but I was distracted by the extraordinarily daunting task of keeping you from eating power cords. Seriously, I know we’re a digital kind of family, but I wish the taste you have acquired for all things plug-in-able were metaphorical instead of literal.
But, as is typical of kids your age, you chew first and think later. Your dad was feeding you dinner last night, and you bit him, accidentally but very hard. You see, you will no longer eat mushy food from a spoon. Oh no; you’re much too advanced for that. You’ll only eat Big Boy Food (e.g., chunks of fruits and vegetables, as well as the omnipresent Teddy Poofs and Star Poofs). You also prefer Big Boy Water to water out of your sippy cup, and it’s pretty hilarious to watch and listen to you slurp out of a regulation-sized glass. But anyway, the reason your dad got bitten was because, while you prefer to feed yourself chunks of food out of your little fist, sometimes your accuracy is a little off, and you’ll deign to take food from our fingers.
As he is wont to do, your father made a loud yelp, which scared you and launched a truly sad cry-fest. I’ve known your dad for quite a while, and if someone had asked me a year ago whether he was a person prone to shrieking and hollering, I would have said, “Pish, posh. Goodness, no. He is even-keeled and soft-spoken.” You should feel proud of yourself, Miles, that you have influenced your father to such a degree that he now shouts rather often. It’s not out of anger, it’s more out of shock at the amazing (and sometimes disgusting and/or painful) things you can do. You’re an empathetic little fellow, and anyone’s dismay becomes your dismay, so before the bite marks had even faded from your dad’s fingers, we were working on making you feel better.
Today we went to Book Babies, a weekly storytime at the library for kids your age, and after it was over, the leader came over and complimented you on how engaged you were and how much fun it was to watch your facial expressions. You are definitely an expressive little dude.
You really love all the songs and games we play at the library, and you are crazy about books. You’ve started to respond consistently (though sometimes inexplicably) to the books we read to you. We have a book about animal sounds, and on the last page, the author asks what noise you make. At that moment (or a little before; I guess you just get excited), you let out a shriek. I don’t know if you really understand the question/answer nature of it, but it’s fantastic to watch you learn and develop.
This may be the one and only Halloween in which I get to choose your costume, so I picked one of my favorite crustaceans, the lobster. You had fun visiting some neighbors and watching the big kids come to our door, and the next day you and your cousins visited Grammy and Pop-Pop and showed off your costume to them and the other residents of their assisted living complex.
I would be remiss not to mention the most important event of the last month, arguably the most important event of the decade: the 2008 presidential election. If you and your empathetic nature noticed your dad and me nervously chewing our cuticles early last week, it’s because we were worried about what the next 4 years held for us. As it turned out, America made the choice we hoped it would, and we’re very excited and optimistic about the future.
I’ve always cared about politics, but never before has it seemed so crucial that our nation make a good choice. It’s not just about me anymore. It’s never been just about me, of course, but this time around I really, viscerally understand why we need a leader whom you can respect, who will lead our country and the world in a smart, sane, and kind-hearted way. Right around your first birthday will be President Barack Obama’s inauguration, and what a wonderful gift that will be. Sure, you have plenty of presidential role models already, what with being a white male and all, but I hope you understand that President Obama (oh man, it makes me smile to type that) represents more than just a person of mixed ethnicity. He represents a changing world, a world in which people are willing to put aside their prejudices and fears and move forward.
I hope that’s a value you embrace as you grow up, Miles: just because something is different doesn’t make it bad; it just makes it different. Without difference, there is no growth. New things can be scary, but they can also mean the difference between a staid, dull life of the status quo and a life worth remembering.
Now, will you please try another garbanzo bean? They’re really very tasty.