Here it is: his last monthly update as a one-year-old.
What can I say about my sweet, lovable Clive? He is my gift from God.
Almost seven years ago, I lost a baby who should have been born in July. On the fourth anniversary of my D&C–on the exact day–I discovered that we would be welcoming another baby into our home. He was supposed to be born in August, but he came in July instead. What a blessing.
Right away I knew this kid was something else. While Ephraim’s sleepy newborn phase lasted a good seven weeks, Clive’s lasted about one. He had two settings: Happy and Unhappy. And when he was Happy, he was very, very happy. And when he wasn’t, he wasn’t.
You never had to guess where Clive stood on things.
Only a few months into my career as Clive’s Mama, my own mama sent me a copy of Dobson’s The Strong-Willed Child. Good thing, too.
From the beginning he has been direct and exact. Waiting to do things until he was sure he’d do it well. Attentive and pensive. He is our thinker; he has learned much from his careful observation of his parents and his big brother.
At his twelve-month appointment, his pediatrician commented on how engaged and interactive he was for his age. He would say something unintelligible to me, then stare me down until I responded. I’ll never forget the first time I corrected him for touching something he wasn’t supposed to. At that age, Ephraim would have backed off immediately, though he would have complained about it. Clive just looked at me like I’d grown horns. It took several minutes of power struggle for him to accept that I was serious. I called him my little bulldog. And I prayed that he would always have that kind of tenacity for Truth.
His determination is evident also in his affection for his family. While Clive may not be more tender-hearted than his big brother, he is quicker to show it, really loving to cuddle and content to just sit with us, sucking his two fingers in his characteristic way. When he feels the need to be close to someone, he will not back off until he gets what he’s. And I love it. Except when I’m trying to cook.
He’s become the little mockingbird of the house, echoing in particular anything his Big Brother has to say, which can be a good thing and a bad thing. Verbally he is way ahead of where his brother was at 23 months, and he is gaining ground on his gross motor skills. He has just learned to hop with both feet at once, which is not too shabby for a kid who couldn’t walk just a couple of months ago.
It’s been a great twenty-three months, almost two years, with this little guy. Next month he turns two, and these monthly updates will change to quarterly ones. I can hardly believe it–but there it is.
On the 30 of May, Clive Louis turned twenty-two months.
On that day I was also doing laundry, cleaning, and packing like crazy in anticipation of our trip to see Grandfather and GranMaggie.
I think it was raining, too.
At any rate, there wasn’t much time to take pictures and go someplace with wi-fi so I could share about Clive’s month. I decided to wait until we were in Kentucky, as (I figured) pictures there would be more interesting anyway.
I was right.
We woke up this morning to slightly cooler temperatures after yesterday’s rain, and Jeremy took the boys outside, barefoot, to run around in the grass. Clive, however, decided it would be a better idea to climb into Maggie’s washtub and sit in the very cold water. You know, just for fun.
The kid likes water. He is always asking me if he can get in the tub (“Baff? Baff?”) And shrieks with joy when he hears the faucet turn on. It is also a constant struggle to keep his chubby little toddler hands out of the Cat’s bowl, though I’m sure she wouldn’t mind chubby toddler fingers in it if she knew they were his.
He loves to pour water from one container to another, watching it cascade through the air.
Oddly enough, “water” isn’t one of his regularly used words. It’s likely that he’s still practicing it, mentally, in the car or as he is falling asleep at naptime. He generally will not say a word until he feels he can say it correctly. His “correct” vocabulary is far beyond what Ephraim’s was at this age–which is saying something, since Ephraim was one serious chatterbox. Clive is still the quieter of the two, but he is easier to understand–that is until he gets excited and spouts off some great long sentence in Clivese. Those are generally unintelligible. And often about water. Or cars.
He’s 100% walking, now, which he does with a somewhat stiff gait and his hands held out–his fists clenched, if he’s excited–he makes me laugh to see him.
He is enamored with everything his Big Brother does. If Ephraim is finished with playing cars, Clive is finished, too. (“No car!”) If Ephraim is done eating, Clive is done eating, too. (“All done all done all done? Pease pease pease!”) If Ephraim falls down and hurts himself, Clive finds the nearest surface and whacks his head against it and cries, too. I’m not joking.
I’m not sure how he really feels about Anselm, though he is excited to see him from time to time. I believe he is secretly thrilled for another chance to poke him in the eyes or stick his finger in his ears. When he catches me watching him closely, though, he gently strokes Anselm’s chest. “Nice, nice.” he grins. Whatever. I’ve got my eye on you, mister.
So many leaps were seen this month. For one, he finally, finally have abandoned the butt-scoot. It’s all walking, now, with the occasional crawl, and the more-than-occasional attempt to run. It’ll make our nightly run-around-the-staircase sessions more interesting with another body in the mix. Ephraim will be happy to not have to dodge a scooting Clive while he runs.
His vocabulary is expanding rapidly, with words both intelligible and unintelligible, and things that you think are unintelligible until you realize you’re just not listening closely enough. He still refuses to say “thank you”, though. We’re working on it.
It’s such a pleasure to hear him talk, with his voice that is so soft and sweet and quiet–except when he’s shrieking “MINE, MINE, MINE!!” while “playing” with Ephraim.
He has this little ritual chant that he made up about his Baby Brother. I’m not sure where it came from. But he starts with a high pitched “Baaaay-beeee!” which is then followed by the even higher pitched sequence of staccato ah’s: “Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah!!” Each ah is punctuated by a double hand flap. I have no idea what exactly the story behind it is, but I love it, and I do my best to encourage it.
He is still nurturing his love of books. Every now and then during the day he’ll go missing, and I’ll find him in his room with a pile of books, methodically going through each one.
We’re working on counting; he can count from two to five. I’m not sure why, but he will not say “one”. He’ll say “broccoli”, though, while singing the Veggie Tales theme song. I’m not sure how he arrived at the conclusion that “broccoli” is manageable while “one” is not, but then again he did do that weird scoot for months before even attempting to walk (which is much less physically taxing) so maybe it’s some weird perfectionist over-achieving thing. I have no idea. He’s just Clive.
Master Clive turned seventeen months yesterday. This was a milestone for me, because Ephraim was seventeen months old when we brought Clive home, and he suddenly felt so huge. By default, seventeen months feels like all the difference between baby and toddler.
Because Ephraim at seventeen months is firmly branded in my mind, this birthday (anniversary? Month-iversary?) really highlights the differences in their personalities. While his big brother was enthusiastic, independent and talked a blue streak, this little man is affectionate, reticent and undeterred. He generally will not engage in activities that are not directly and immediately beneficial. He’s not interested in repeating words unless he wants to, and we realized recently that he is perfectly capable of walking–he just won’t.
Of course, I realized recently that his names mean “Cliff” (blunt?) and “Famous Warrior” (not a recipe for docility or compliance) so it’s no wonder that he is the way he is. Mea culpa.
He enthusiastically says “bye-bye, bye-bye!” to the check-out lady at the grocery store before leaning over and trying to give her a kiss. He still will not do that with Mama. Trying not to take that one personally as that was basically his not-so-subtle hint that he was ready to leave. Can we leave now? Bye-bye. Mwah. Thanks.
His interests are simple–Music; things that growl/roar; things with wheels; books; food; climbing the stairs; putting on his shoes so we can “Go!”; Daddy; Ah-hum (Ephraim); the things he is forbidden to touch, such as Mama’s phone (which he calls the “no-no”) and the open dishwasher.
He has a fabulous belly-laugh that he unleashes at very predictable times (like when big brother toots or when the Swedish Chef is on) and very unpredictable times (like out of nowhere in the car, or during very silent and reverent moments of a Christmas Eve service.) His internal monologue must be beyond hilarious. It’s hard not to laugh when he does.
He’s his own little man–stubborn and direct and daring and silly and loving and unbelievably sweet. Next month brings a real milestone–the official step into toddlerhood–and he only gets more interesting from here on out.
Has a definite list of “People Who Are OK” and “People Who Are Not OK”
Spent this month becoming more chatty and expressive with the People Who Are OK.
Will say “da-da” purposefully to Daddy, “khhhhheeeee” to Kitty (with much guttural enthusiasm), and “na-na-na-na” to Mama.
That last one isn’t a mistake. I remember it from when Big Brother was this age.
It means “feed me”.
The good thing about the lists is that you can become OK simply by remaining quietly outside his personal space for, oh, 15-20 minutes before saying “hello”.
The bad thing is that, sometimes, you think you’re on the OK list, then he goes and gives you the evil scrunchy face for no reason whatsoever.
Finally has a tooth (and a half).
Loves to zip, zip, zip around the room in his walker.
Doesn’t exactly walk in the walker–takes three or four strides, then pulls his feet up and coasts.
Also is fond of running over Big Brother in the walker.
Still likes to stick out his tongue.
Still investigates new objects by poking them with his index finger.
Still is quick to laugh, quick to cry. (Depending on which list you’re on.)
Has begun to have breath holding spells when faced with frightening or painful situations.
Like Big Brother pushing his walker into the buffet at high speeds.
Or getting his shots at the doctor’s office.
Or a little too rowdy a round of “This Little Light of Mine” at the dinner table. (“Hide it under a bushel…NO!”)
We’ll tease him about that when he’s older.
Is every day becoming a little more Himself, and I couldn’t love him more for it.
Lists and all.