I know I've implied that the Monkey has already spoken his first word (and doesn't he make "dah!" do a lot of work??), but really, for truly really this time, I think we might have a genuine, actual first word.
It is .. (drumroll please!) ... "dzzzzzzzz" or sometimes "thzzzzzzzz" /ðzzzzz/ for you linguini types.
The Google translate page for Monkey > English was down, but Hubs was on the ball. Houston, we have "juice". I repeat, we have "juice"!
Lately, it seems that the Monkey has been a bit keener to imitate us. We can now get him to make a greater range of sounds than his favourite "dah!" simply by making the noises at him. We say "beebee!" and he does his best. We say "maamaa" and so does he. It's interesting at this point to see that while he can confidently point to a whole bunch of pictures, and while he can imitate a limited set of sounds, he doesn't yet have the idea of bringing these two concepts together and actually using the different sounds to identify different objects.
I think this is probably almost as frustrating for him as it is for me, as he stands pointing up at the bookcase. "Dah!", he says. I look up. "You want a book?" I pull one out and hand it to him. "Nanana!" he says, waving his hand impatiently, then points again. "Dah!", a little more insistently. "The ribbons?". Again, I'm rejected with "Na"s and more hand waving. Several "Dah"s later, and he's almost on the verge of tears, before I finally realise (through a process of elimination) that it was the crayons he was after all long. I suspect he thinks I'm being purposefully obtuse - and as much as I'd rather not have crayon decorations all over the walls, I promise that this doesn't factor into my lack of Monkey language understanding.
Anyway - we have put his new found penchant for mimicry to a good purpose at meal times. He's not too fussy an eater, for which I'm thankful, but he's much keener to eat food he sees us putting away. The other night, Hubs was picking up broccoli florets, and biting the heads off the trees, so to speak. The Monkey watched this procedure for a little while before reaching out to our plates and whining to have his own broccoli tree to play with. So we obliged.
Well, I think in the end there were little bits of broccoli all through everything, but he did seem very pleased with his destruction of the foliage, and that's all that matters, right?
It's been a while between posts, and much has happened. So much, that I shan't really bother to recount more than just the highlights .. Soooooo ..
The monkey is now officially a bipedal creature. It started around the end of July (at about 13 months), was consolidated in the first week of August, and after a short period of preferring to crawl rather than walk, he now walks everywhere - provided "everywhere" is "some place outside" where he can get his hands on leaves, earthmould, twigs, and random bits of dog poo. He's also a very keen hand-holder. At first, I thought this was due to a lack of confidence in his new style of perambulation, but I now figure that he just wants to ensure that an attentive parent is on hand at all times to "ooh" and "aah" at his latest accomplishment. The hand-holding also means we don't need to resort to the leash. Not that I mind using one, but he's not particularly cooperative - particularly when I don't want to go in a direction he does (middle of road, muddy ditch, into neighbourhood houses). At these points, he shows all the cooperativeness of a tethered cat.
He has 6 teeth now - top 4 incisors, and bottom 2. As yet, he uses these almost exclusively for food. He has only - so far as I can tell - accidentally bitten into living flesh, but it doesn't make it any less painful, I can tell you!
He can understand quite a few words now. Really useful ones, I might add, like "rhinoceros" (which I had to spell-check), "giraffe", and "tortoise" (notice a theme?). But he still doesn't produce anything recognisable. Whether it's due to an immature vocal tract or sheer bloody-mindedness, I couldn't say. Either way, we are finding new and exciting ways to interpret "dah!" (cat, star, door, daddy, ipad, phone, lights, mandarin... the list goes on!).
What else do you talk about regarding babies? Oh yeah, sleep. Well, in that department we have been lucky. Exceedingly lucky. SUPREMELY lucky. So far, at least. He's been a great sleeper - and in the last couple of months, we've been putting him in his cot wide awake for naps and bed, and he goes down like a lamb. Did I mention luckiness?? I'm certainly not putting it down to any rigorous sleep-training habits on our part - we went totally against all the literature, and he still worked it out. Hooooo-boy. Lucky, lucky, lucky.
There are days when I feel like a champion mother: I'm inspired to entertain him with walks or playing in the garden, or going for a swim, or splashing in the kitchen sink, or - I feel I've really made it as a SAHM here - squashing about some home-made playdough. Those are also the times when I've managed to feed him to my satisfaction - a breakfast of weetbix and fruit of various kinds, a lunch of home-made broccoli soup and fish patties, snacks of fruit & yoghurt and rice-cakes, and enough of whatever we happen to have for dinner. Those are the days I feel like supermum, and sadly, they seem to eventuate maybe once a month. Perhaps once a fortnight if I'm really lucky.
The more standard days go like this: It rains, so we're trapped inside. The Monkey is feeling frisky and chases the cats, trying to pull out their fur (sometimes getting a clobber for his trouble), or throwing things at them, producing supersonic ear-drum-rattling shrieks all the while. I follow the Monkey alternating between bellowing at him to leave the cats alone, and trying to distract him with some other activity. He brings me several books - I read about the first 2 pages of each before he runs off to fetch the next. I check my watch every 10 minutes wishing that it was his naptime. When it's time to eat, he systematically rejects any food which he's previously yummed down, either by throwing it on the floor, or by extruding it from his mouth so it lands with a nice sclop! in his lap. Occasionally if he's self-feeding, I'll think he's doing really well as the food disappears from the tray, only to find that he's been burying it under his bottom or between his legs. When you're buying a high-chair, I implore you to think just how easy it will be to clean after meals like this. The little sod will also choose these days to wake up early from his naps, ensuring that we have an extra long afternoon of the both of us going stir-crazy bored till dinner-time (forget about actually MAKING dinner - if I leave his side to go into the kitchen on one of these days, he'll stand at the gate red-faced and howling, and producing great resentful fat tears as if to show me just what a terrible mother I am). Man. Those are the days when I am exceedingly happy when his bedtime finally rolls around!
Did I mention how lucky we are that he sleeps so well? It surely is his saving grace on days like these.