Anselm Ioan is twenty-three months old today.
Typing his middle name this morning made me smile. People frequently read that “I” as an “L”, and wondering why we would name a child Loan.
His whole name is difficult, I guess, judging by the number of people that still call him “ans-lum” instead of “ans-elm”. In a way, I guess it’s appropriate for him. Not that he’s difficult, himself, but he is a little unexpected and incredibly unique in our little family. What I mean is that Ephraim takes very much after me, and Clive is his father made over, but Anselm still puzzles us. Who does he look like? Where did that personality come from?
Anselm turned twenty-two months yesterday, the seventh.
Twenty-two months, and two months away from two years old! What a bunch of twos yesterday brought us.
It means he has two more monthly updates after this one, and then he and I are off the hook. I post updates on the boys monthly until their second birthdays. It also occurred to me this morning that, once Miss Elvie is born, it will be the first time I’ve had a new baby and won’t be posted monthly updates for two children simultaneously. I’m still not sure how I’m feeling about the wider age gap this time around!
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!
Nineteen months for Mr. Anselm!
Guess who’s walking? Not Anselm! He is close, though, getting braver (because that seems to be the major obstacle.) He spends a lot of time on our bed, standing and holding his balance for as long as he can. On solid floor, he tests himself by letting go of whatever he’s holding onto, then quickly checks to see if I’ve noticed.
Clive was 19, nearly 20 months before he walked, so Mr. Mo is right on target with his brother. But unlike Clive, Anselm seems to really, really want to walk. Here’s hoping that he’ll be a walker by his next monthly update.
He suddenly became enamored with saying “bye-bye” this month and, when before he had to be cajoled a bit, he will now say it to anyone and everyone, whether the situation calls for a farewell or not. He tells his reflection “bye-bye” when we leave the bathroom after washing his hands; he waves and murmurs it to the cars leaving the cul-de-sac. Every morning, when I go to get him up, he drops his blanket and bear out of the crib, wishing them a fond farewell as they hit the floor.
He is also fond of car trips (“Go go, go go?”) and punctuates his request for his “my” with a sweet little lilting hum. (“Ma-ma? Hmmm. Ma-ma? Hmmm.) That one’s hard to describe; I need to get a video of it before he stops doing it.
And yes, he still calls the blanket “mama”, and no, he doesn’t call me that (he doesn’t call me anything.) He DID give me a kiss today, so I’ll call that progress. Of course, everyone else continues to have names.
He is preoccupied with imitating his brothers. Whatever they are doing, Anselm must be involved as well. If they are playing cars, he must play cars. If they are finished eating, he is finished eating (whether he’s actually finished or not.) If they are reading, he must also sit and read. If they go outside, he must go outside, or else a full-on hissy fit is bound to ensue. He does fairly well on keeping up with them, and I’m sure that, once he’s walking, they’ll find it excessively difficult to keep him out of their games and activities. They are good with him, but he of course has a knack for disrupting their intentions without knowing it. It’s the privilege of being The Baby.
He has a serious love of the washer and dryer. The laundry closet is just outside his room and across the hall, so that when his door is open he can see the machines from his crib. He likes to tell you that they go “round and round” (he has a sign for this) and loves to help me put clothes in and push the buttons to make it go. It’s his special little chore, and he’s not too bad at it.
He finally had his haircut this month, but folks still ask if he’s a girl. I noticed while taking these pictures that he’s already due for another (crazy bangs!) This child and his hair. He seems to have grown a year in the last month.
Slow down, Mr. Mo, while I still have the right to call you “The Baby”.
Anselm turned eighteen months on September the seventh.
My poor little son. His hair is so long that he is consistently mistaken for a girl while we are out. At least, I assume it’s his hair that confuses people; the older boys each have a very short haircut (because summer in Kentucky = ticks, and I wanted to be able to spot them quickly) and even when Anselm is dressed in the same clothes as the older boys, that incongruence of hairstyle makes people automatically assume he’s their little sister. Every. Single. Time.
I am planning on cutting his hair soon. I am just trying to work up the nerve to do it. He’s not exactly a still-sitter.
In fact, Anselm’s gift of moving quickly and silently is somewhat renown in the house. He still doesn’t walk alone, but on the tile or wood floor his bum-scooting is lightning fast; his continuing reluctance to talk means he does it with the stealth of a ninja. This is how Anselm has become the very first child of mine to successfully play in the toilet. And how big brother Ephraim learned that snitching on the Ninja Baby is actually a fairly clever way to remain in Mama’s good graces.
When he’s not quietly getting into mischief, Anselm amuses himself by making his will known with exaggerated shrieks and squeals. I say exaggerated because he is perfectly capable of communicating with words and/or sign language, but prefers not to. This is how Anselm because the very first child of mine to repeatedly hear the phrase “use a WORD, please”.
He does enjoy talking to random people, like the waitress at O’Charley’s or the entire staff at the pediatric dentist. In a similar fashion, he will give kisses to the teacher in Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See, or the monkey on the cover of Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb, but will not kiss Mama when asked. He also will name everyone in the family, but “Mama” is reserved for his favorite blanket. I am choosing to take that as the highest of compliments.
Like the other boys, he has a great love of books and music. The piano is a favorite of Anselm’s, and when I play he scoots from wherever he is in the house and screeches at me until I pick him up and let him play. He touches the keys very delicately and loves to lean way over to each side to play high and low notes. He does not like it if I try to play while he is “playing”.
I say he is reticent to talk, but he really is far more communcative (and properly so, not just with screeching) than I give him credit for. He has also started trying to tell me things in his own special tongue (which I haven’t named yet. Anselmese? Mo-ish?) He’s made huge leaps in the past two months.
Here’s hoping that the next month will bring a burst of new vocabulary, the courage to walk alone, and the willingness to give Mama a kiss for once.
Anselm Ioan turns fifteen months today.
A year ago this month, he was finally starting to sleep longer stretches at night–up to nine hours, I think–until summer traveling threw him for a loop and he reverted to every 3-4 hours. And napping for 45 minutes at a time.
Now he sleeps 12 hours at night, and takes two two-hour naps a day. He’s the first child to still be taking two naps consistently at this age. Thank goodness! Although I’m looking forward to the days where we can be out all morning without being concerned with missing naps, it is nice to continue in our months-old routine for just a little longer.
He’s a funny little guy. Our bedtime routine consists of a change, a book (Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is his FAVORITE right now. He watches intently while I read, quietly popping in his thumb near the end of the book, and quietly murmuring “zhe enn” after I declare it “The End” and offer the book for his perusal. He flips back and forth between a few pages before tossing the book to the ground (unless I catch it on the way down.) Then he leans against me, cuddling his “my” and sucking his thumb, before I lay him down in the crib. Once there he immediately kicks himself in a circle and protests. By the time I am out the door, he’s over his complaining and quieting down to sleep. It’s almost like he just has to throw that in there.
This month he added another form of mobility to his repertoire: The Bum-Scoot. It has changed the way he sees the world. I have no idea how I have ended up with two very unorthodox movers (crawling? what’s that?) but Bum-Scooter #1 has turned out OK, so I try not to be too frustrated by it. At the very least it’s cute, and at the most it means he’s much more content than he has been these past few months.
Along with this mobility, he has encountered the truth that not all things are available to his touch. Through these encounters, I have learned that he is more strong-willed than Ephraim but not as stubborn as Clive. Thank goodness.
Another jump forward this month was his relationship with Clive. Clive was nineteen months old when Anselm was born, and was not too terribly concerned with The Baby except to find out what happened when he poked The Baby in the eyes. While he’s never been totally disinterested, because of his age Clive wasn’t as fond as Anselm as Ephraim was, and has been, since his birth. But now that Clive is nearing three, he’s taken a special interest in his baby brother, wanting to be with him, to make him laugh, to tickle him, to show him things. It means that Anselm now has two very adoring Big Brothers, and a major highlight of our day is first thing in the mornings when I get Anselm up first and bring him into the boys’ room to get them up. There is much joy and excitement on the part of all three boys when they are all together again for the first time that day.
He is keeping up his noodly-loopy-squealy-sounds, but now punctuates them with a growl.
He can say everyone’s names, but ONLY when he’s in the mood. He is a lot like Clive in his perfectionist refusal to speak until he is either perfectly capable of saying the word he has in mind, or at least until he is feeling congenial enough to talk to you. He has started a gravely-growly self-narrative, though, which he brings out when he’s playing alone or is just not aware he’s being watched.
He himself is endlessly observant, as if the whole house atmosphere is endlessly intriguing and worthy of very close inspection; he will spend an hour or more scooting quietly from room to room, looking at this or that. He watches his brothers very closely, and is eager to be entertained by them and entertain them in turn. On the whole, he has the air of someone who knows very well that he is The Baby Of The Family: that his snaggletooth grin is dangerously disarming; that Mama melts when he sucks his thumb (that little finger on the nose!); that The Cat finds him irresistible; that his brothers think he is the best baby brother anyone could ask for.
Anselm, Anselm, Anselm.
How can I describe this little man who is now three-quarters of the way through his first year? He is a one sweet, silly, crafty little bird.
He started waving and clapping this month, but only after I quietly confided in Jeremy that I was a little concerned that he wasn’t waving or clapping or shaking his head (like Clive loved to at this age) or anything yet. Of course, the next day he started doing it. At first he only cared to wave at the pictures of Ephraim and Clive I have hanging over his changing table. I would wave and wave and wave at him, only to receive a blank stare in return. Then I would lay him down to change him, and he’d immediately start in on the waves. “Oh hey, guys! Long time no see! Look what I can do!” Little Stink.
Now he will wave at family members and occasionally Other People, but only after the Other People have been trying to get him to wave for at least five minutes and have given up and turned away.
Our little Anselm turned eight months on Friday. To demonstrate how poorly I am keeping up with how ridiculously fast time is flying, I initially typed “seven months” as the title of this post.
Eight months? How can that be?
He is right where his brothers were, pretty much, at this age. No teeth, no mobility, no chance of him being on his belly without fussing now that he’s sitting up steadily. He is more like Clive in that he doesn’t babble much (Ephraim babbled incessantly) and more like Ephraim in his eating (he enjoys quite a number of things, unlike Clive, who liked NOTHING.) Stand Up, Sit Down is a favorite game*, and he likes being in the walker, though it frustrates him that he pushes himself into corners that he can’t escape.
He’s started sort-of-waving and clapping this month, really enjoying doing it himself, but pausing and looking at you weird if you do it back to him, as if you’ve somehow encroached on the coolness of it.
He’s already an elitist.
He greets nearly everything interesting with his gummy grin and chipmunk laugh. If he finds you especially amusing, he’ll suck his breath in to make this odd, low squeal. (I can’t think of how else to describe it.) Belly laughs are almost exclusively reserved for Ephraim, who has nearly become Favorite Family Member, save Mama, I think, but only because I feed him. He erupts in a flurry of squeals and flailing when Daddy comes home, presently finds Clive more than tolerable, but doesn’t particularly care for the Cat, much to her chagrin.
He and Ephraim still share a very special relationship, but Clive has really entered the picture more in the past month; he’s taken a new interest in his Baby Brother, and is generally concerned with his entertainment. He’s found that saying “Oooohhh, WIGGY!” gets quite a good chipmunk chuckle out of Anselm. I’m not sure where that came from, but who can profess to know the mind of a toddler? I’m just glad there’s no more eye-poking attempts going on.
*To play Stand Up, Sit Down, hold the hands of whatever grown-up is willing to play. Use their hands as leverage to pull yourself up while they say “staaaaaaand up!” Once you are standing, sit down purposefully and forcefully as they yell, “sit down!” Then giggle and repeat.
On October seventh, Anselm Ioan turned seven months.
We were out-of-state and, since my laptop bit the dust several months ago and has not been replaced (so that I have no portable means of photo editing) I took pictures of his seven-month birthday, but just got around to writing this post today.
Also late was his six-month appointment, which we had today. He is 16 lbs, 9 oz., and 27 inches long (though I think he was measured incorrectly again.) He charmed the nurse and doctor, as is his usual way with people.
Big Brother Clive, who heretofore has shown little interest in his baby brother, has also felt the effects of Anselm’s charming personality; he has begun to show special attention to him, saying his name over and over in his sweet two-year-old voice. He has stopped trying to gouge his eyes out.
Despite all the athletic strivings of his early months, he remains immobile, only flailing his arms and legs while on his tummy as of he were frantically outswimming a crocodile. (It’s a good thing he isn’t, as he tends to go backwards when he does this.) He has mastered the walker at an earlier age than his brothers, though. Or the general idea of it, at least.
He started sitting this month, placing him slightly later than Ephraim but earlier than Clive in mastering this skill. This excites The Cat, as it means she can begin to push him over, which apparently is a favorite pastime of hers where sitting babies are concerned. The rest of the time she contents herself with sitting by him, sitting on him, drooling on him (yes, we have a drooling cat, and it’s gross), distracting him from nursing and just generally invading his personal space.
He began imitating sounds this month–chiefly bah-bah-bah sounds (which means Mama can start teaching him “The Whiffenpoof Song”!) He is also very intrigued by waving. He doesn’t quite do it, yet, but you can tell the mental wheels are turning.
And he said his first word:
He’s enjoying his Real Food, and doesn’t seem to mind that he hasn’t gotten the same treatment as his brothers where solids are concerned.
He’s become a 90% Thumb Sucker. Occasionally he’ll settle for a pacifier, but only rarely. But anytime he gets ahold of one of his crochet blankets or anything that’s made of yarn, he pops his thumb right in his mouth. Sometimes he hooks his index finger over his nose. I love it.
I love him, too.