Sometimes, being Taj's parents feels like running a marathon. I'm guessing that one starts a marathon kind of like that Greek god who had to push a boulder up a mountain every day. That's how it feels when I have to get out of bed. Then you get warmed up and you feel pretty good. Get the teeth brushed, baby changed, get going. You start to feel some optimism for the day. "Twenty six miles, no sweat." It's when three o'clock comes, you've done 18 miles, but it feels like 40. You think, "I can't do this. I'm too old. Can't we just lie down for a while?" But the Tajalator is like the energizer bunny. So you keep going. To the beach, to the park. I feel like I've crossed the finish line once Michael has gotten home, but I'm deluding myself. I'm only at mile 20. There is dinner to make, dishes to do, stuff to put away, work to catch up on. When I finally get in bed I've crossed the finish line. Ahhhh.
But unlike a marathon, which you probably won't do again for a few months or years, I'm like that damn Greek god, and I've got to run that marathon every day.
Ok, ok. It's not that bad. Taj is way more fascinating than a boulder! And he's finally sleeping (sometimes) through the night, so at least we get a rest. I think Michael and I have been feeling a little worn out lately, is all.
What I really should have started this blog with is the fact that Taj took his first few steps all by himself yesterday. We were at Occupational Therapy and his OT said "I think Taj is going to be walking within a month." And then he took his first 5 steps. And then he took some more. Since he knows he can do it, he's been practicing a lot. I hold his hand and we show off for everyone who will watch.
Taj has been talking a lot, too. I can't really say what his first words were. I know he's said "dog" and "leche" and "cracker", and he did an amazing job of mocking our cat's meow. Perfect inflection and everything. He is catching the inflection of words and some of their consonants. He does a lot of rhythmic soundmaking with lots of variations. He really is a tease! He's learned some sign language, and he'll do a word in context, like "light", and then he won't do it again for a month. The only sign he does repeatedly is "more", even when he really should have used the "all done" sign. Oh. And he does the milk sign over and over while we wait for his milk to heat up. Kind of like the rest of us push the walk button over and over again. It works faster if I'm redundant, right?
He started a morning playgroup 3 days a week and I think he's loving it. There are tons of groovy toys, delightful kids, and a couple of very toddler-savy women with big hearts. Some kids are older and some are younger. I've noticed that Taj is much more social with other children in the last few weeks. He used to be interested in kids, but now he crawls over and starts conversing with them. They don't understand what he's saying, and most kids just settle on touching his irresistable hair.
Taj is obsessed with lights and light switches and buttons. He stands at the bottom of light switches and stretches as much as he can and wimpers a lot until I pick him up and let him turn the lights on and off. We do this for a good twenty minutes a day. Do you hate car alarms like we do? I think they are the most annoying things! Almost as bad as bad drivers. Taj and Michael were in Taj's room when someone's car alarm started going off. And then it stopped. And then it started. Half an hour of this and Michael was getting really annoyed at whoever's stupid car was going off. Then he looked down and saw that Taj had gotten hold of his keys and was, with much joy, pushing the red emergency button over and over again. Yea. Our neighbors like us!
Taj loves to eat many different things now. I sometimes wish he would wear a sign at mealtime that says "Now accepting_____" so I would know what he was into eating. The only things we can always get him to eat are bananas and cheese. I frequently make him really healthy food and sometimes he'll gratify me and eat it, but sometimes he spits it out and starts coughing so vigorously it would make a drama queen proud. When he is done he either swipes his hand back and forth across his tray and dumps everything onto the floor, or he'll turn to the side and drop one piece of food at a time over his tray very carefully and precisely. He'll even lean over to more closely examine the effects of his will mixed with a little gravity. We figured out that when he leans over like that, he is also getting his feet under him so later he can spring up and stand or kneel on his tray. He's only gone head first over his high chair once, but that's not for lack of trying.
Taj tries a lot of dangerous and ill-advised things. He doesn't really have that self preservation instinct that many other, older people do. When we are at the park I watch him carefully. He gets that you have to go over edges feet first on your belly, but somehow doesn't get why he can't go over a six foot drop like that. He is fearless about the slide and bops up and down it without hesitation, which is fun. I've heard a lot of other mothers say that it took their kids a long time to lose their fear of the slide. Taj never had it.
The other day it was cold and I was tired (yep, 3 o'clock) and we were in Taj's room. I closed the door and tried to lie down for half an hour while Taj played with his toys and read his books. Taj decided he was going to practice climbing, so he got the top of his torso over the seat of the rocking chair, then proceeded, for half an hour, to try to get the rest of his body into the chair. From my position on the floor I could just see his little froggy legs flailing and trying. But he is so persistent he did it! The he climbed up the back of the rocker until he was kneeling on the top. The rocking chair, being top heavy, started to fall backwards, and just before the point that Taj realized that he can't fly, I pulled him down. And then I pulled him down again. And again. And again. And then I changed the position of the rocker so it was against the wall and Taj started trying to pull a framed picture off the wall. So I decided to take him to the park, where there are structures made for climbing, and at the same time started to panic that the rainy season is coming and Taj starts climbing the walls within a mere half hour. I need to get Taj some rain gear so we can still go to the park, and also find some indoor climbing places for the days that I just don't feel like being in the rain myself.
We have been going to the park or the beach or both every day. Taj has eaten his fair share of kelp and sand (accoring to me... he feels assured that he could eat a lot more). He crawls straight for the waves and I wisk him away at the last second. We make lots of sand castles and practice poking a pointy piece of kelp in the top. Taj likes to check out the dogs and they like to french kiss him. So fresh!
My parents were here for a couple of weeks and helped us do a lot of home improvement projects. My mom sewed Taj a bunch of polar fleece overalls with footies that he wears over his cotton jammies. He's sleeping a lot better and so am I knowing that he's warm. He looks just like Thing One and Thing Two from The Cat and The Hat. My mom and step dad have a joke that my mom isn't a human being, she's a human doing. I guess Taj takes after her.
Well, it's finish line time. Bedtime for bonzo.
Here's some pictures of Taj and papa, and of Taj at the recent harvest festival, where he rounded out his diet with some good, healthy, organic dirt.