Anselm Ioan turned twenty-one months yesterday.
I missed his last monthly update (mea culpa!) and a lot has happened since October. For one thing, he walks!
He walks! And oh, does he walk. It was something of an ordeal to get him started–it involved Mama basically forcing him to practice walking on his own. One step, two steps, four and five steps…once he realized he could do it, and that falling wasn’t really a big deal, he was unstoppable. Now instead of silent Ninja Baby scooting, I can usually tell where he is by the soft pit-pat-pit-pat of his little feet over the tile. This has been good for my nerves, and not only because I could finally tell his pediatrician that he was walking.
The boys were as elated as I was at Anselm’s newfound skill. “Mama, he’s walking!” Ephraim would cry out in glee, and Clive would add, “Good job, Missa MO!” (That’s Mr. Mo in Clivese.)
After walking came, naturally, climbing. This means climbing onto furniture, attempting to climb the ladder in the library, and, of course, climbing the stairs. That induced quite a bit of anxiety in everyone for a while, but just this week he has proved that he can go up and down without missing steps or slipping, and we took the baby gate down. He spends quite a bit of time on the stairs, and when I can’t tell where he is by his quiet pit-pat, the sound of toys hitting wooden risers usually clues me in that he’s on the steps. Because, really, there’s nothing better than carrying toys up the stairs and then watching them bounce all the way back down to the bottom.
The one place he can’t climb is the playground at our local Chick-fil-A. He can get to the second platform on his own, but then he is stopped by the rather large gap between the second and third platforms. So he will sit on the second, and watch the older boys climb past him and slide down the slide, and when he catches me looking at him he whines and crabs in the hopes that I’ll give him a boost. (Which I won’t, because the last thing I need to do at six-months-pregnant is climb up into the Chick-Fil-A playground structure and bring him back down again.)
But oh, the drama! He catches my eye, then flings his head down into his arms and wails. Then he peeks at me to see if I’m watching. I have always said he is clever–his quietness masks the fact that he is incredibly clued into what’s going on around him. He is quite calculating. Of course it doesn’t work, and he goes back to watching his brothers before noticing I’m watching him still. Then he starts the performance again. Oh, Anselm. I’m onto you, buddy.
He is still very reticent, though he has his few favorite words he doesn’t mind bringing out. It’s completely on his own terms, though–he and I struggle over that. But he follows up our prayers with a murmured ah-maw (amen) and gleefully points out every dah he sees (that’s star.) He uses mama interchangeably for both myself and his prized blanket, and I usually am able to discern to which he is referring by noting whether he already has his blanket when he says it (if he has the blanket already, he’s probably talking to me.) He still eagerly tells everyone bye-bye and will sometimes even say “hi” if prompted (though he hates to be prompted.) He is currently obsessed with Ma-Moh (Goodnight Moon) and all books with bears, as well as his stuffed bear, the word for which he says very clearly and proudly.
The one word he says the most, though, is the one we just can’t figure out. JAH-ja. He says it emphatically and repeatedly, but in the most bewildering of contexts, like while pointing to his sleeve after he gets dressed, or while pointing out the window at nothing in particular (trees? Birds? I have no idea.) He is always smiling when he says it, and I wonder sometimes if he knows he has utterly baffled everyone with its repetition. I wouldn’t put it past him. It reminds me of the word Ephraim obsessed over at this age: ah-YI-gah. I never did learn what it meant, but if I ever repeated it back to him, he would laugh uproariously.
I discovered this month that when Anselm refuses food, it’s mostly a ruse. If I insist, he will eat it. This was a wonderful revelation, as he’s a fairly picky eater. Or, he was a fairly picky eater…? At any rate, it has made things much easier.
Yesterday, on his actual twenty-first-month-birthday, he sat in a doctor’s exam room with his brothers and listened in captivated awe to his unborn Baby Sister’s heartbeat. The look on his face was absolutely priceless; I wish so badly I had been able to capture it. This little guy is giving up his prized position as Baby Of The Family, and I am so excited to see how he steps into the role of Big Brother.