Today, Eoin was sixteen months old.
I suppose this post is a bit incongruous: I should really have waited until he was eighteen months old, and then done a full round-up of the last year and a half. However, it’s my blog, so I’m going to be as incongruous as I like. Besides which, we have had some big developments in the word of Eoin recently.
Firstly, he’s mobile, and in no uncertain terms too. Having spent the first 14 months of his life pretty much stationary, he learned to stand, walk, crawl and run in the space of about ten days. Since mastering going from nought to sixty in the shortest possible time, he is now working on escapology: he has managed to break out of his playpen already, and it can only be a matter of time before he’s vaulting out of his cot several times a night. He’s already mastered the first stage (taking his sleeping bag off), so I assume he’s just waiting until he has built up some more strength in his legs: it’s quite a big vertical leap, after all.
As far as words go, well, that’s moving more slowly. I think most of his brain-power is being taken up with all the running and climbing he’s doing, leaving little time for becoming more verbal. However, we have been learning vocabulary relating to our more pressing concerns: 50% of his speech is food-related, and he has just learned how to say “blackberry”. He has also taken to pointing other foods out in his picture book, to indicate what he wants (usually grapes). Based on the way he learned to walk, I’m hoping that more fluent speech comes in a rush sometime soon.
He has also become much more interactive and playful all of a sudden. He loves playing hide and seek, for example, and is particularly good at seeking. His delight when he finds you hiding behind one of the kitchen cupboards is infectious and marvellous. I do wonder, though, if this cuteness is karmic payback for the horrendous, screaming tantrums to which he is even more prone than usual: the last one, which involved hitting both me and himself in the face repeatedly, was because I wouldn’t let him eat some dirt off the sole of his dad’s shoe. I know, I know: I’m so unreasonable. My parents told me that I had a tremendous temper as a toddler, but apparently I was nothing in comparison to Eoin. I’m holding out hope that he might just be getting the terrible twos out of the way early…
It’s rather dizzying to look back on the changes of the last sixteen months, particularly as a lot of friends have just recently had new babies, are pregnant, or are in the process of trying to become so. It’s hard to believe that Eoin has become so big, so strong and so capable in such a short time, and that, in the future, we may be watching the same process unfold with another small person. As you know, it hasn’t always been easy. It’s often still very hard, today being a case in point (the aftermath of a long weekend with lots of attention for Eoin and help for me has entailed a serious emotional hangover). Part of the reason, though, that I write these posts, incongruous though they may be, is to try to preserve the good times. The lovely things that he does, the way you feel when he says a new word, the times when he hugs you spontaneously, every moment when you can think, “yes, he actually does love me”. This may sound terribly trite or saccharine, but isn’t intended to be so: there are times when everything looks very dark, or, more commonly, very flat, grey and pointless, and it’s awfully hard to remember the good things. For myself, then, as much as for you, I’m going to end on this picture of a calm, thoughtful Eoin, quietly and competently figuring out how the lamp works. No rage, no misery: just fascination.