Friday, August 11, 2006

Matthew, It’s Time to Peregrinate!

There’s no prouder a moment than the completion of one step in a march toward progress, and Matthew’s now marching and stepping his way around the house with relative easy. All-fours suits him well, as crawling is the new trick he likes to show off any time he can (and he let’s us know when he’s sick of hanging out in this Exersauser and he wants to get out and move around).

Here are a couple of pictures of him on the move (Yea! While she was complaining about spiders, I scooped Kara with these exclusive photos!)

So, now more than ever, we have to up the ante on our watchfulness as he gets more and more mobile, explorative and interested in the various things within his grasp...and now, gait. Turn your back on him for five seconds, and he’s up and toddling down the hall, all the while, much like a newborn colt first up on its feet. I think if Matthew were able to speak, he'd be saying a lot of "whooooaaaa" and "looook oooouuuutttt" as he teeters back and forth on unsteady arms and legs.

Yesterday was Kara and my ninth anniversary, and you can tell we’re getting older, as the romantic gift she wanted on this special day was that I call an exterminator for the black widows in the back yard. Ah, how I do swoon with love. Maybe, as the spiders whither and die, little popping hearts will burst above their bodies as a symbol of my undying loyalty and love to my wife on our anniversary.

So, oour anniversary, did I take her out to a quiet, candle-lit romantic dinner—just the two of us, arms linked in a warm embrace, eyes gazing longing into one another's from across a table—to a restaurant where the lights are low, the quartet is blindfolded, and the little pats of butter are served on a doily-covered plate and stacked up neatly like a pyramid of cannonballs?

Uh, well… if you think Chili’s is romantic… and if by candle-light, you’re okay with a dim 40-watt bulb above our booth, and the only arms that were linked were mine under a Matthew's carrier and Kara’s through the baby bag. I had a hamburger, and I gazed deeply into… Matthew’s eyes while he sneezed sweet tender peas all over me as I fed him. And Natalie sat in Kara's lap most of the time.

Romance dead? Nah, it’s just on holiday. Then again, apparently the exterminator's Cupid.

Anyway. Where was I? Yes, of course, little Matthew ability to perambulate. Since he’s now moving about more than ever, there are inevitable accidents, and especially since now that he is pulling himself up on his knees (and he tries to get up on his feet even, but that has disasterous results), oh boy are there accidents. The other day, he was balancing himself on his knees with his hands on the glass entertainment cabinet, and he just let go. Crash, face first into the cabinet door with a thud. It was odd, but he started to laugh after he realized that he didn't need to cry. Sure, he laid there for a second thinking about it, but he instead chose laughter. I rushed over there thinking that I was going to have to stitch up his forehead with some twine from the garage, but he was rolling on the floor full of giggles. I think the laughter was his body’s way of telling him that he’s going to now forget most of what he’ll learn in the second grade.

So, that was a good fatherly moment, wasn’t it. Let’s see what happens to a baby when he balances on a glass window pane… a seven month old. But wait! That’s not all, folks.

Before you award me my Stupid Father plaque, get a load of this one. While we were eating at Chili’s, I pass Matty one of those cardboard drink coasters to play with. Undoubtedly, everything he touches ends up in his mouth, and why wouldn’t this? He’s got teeth; I’m sure he wants to sink them into something, and if you suck on a cardboard coaster for any length of time, it gets quite soggy, I discovered, and easily munchable. This only occurs to me now, as I write this, but say that coaster wasn’t new and the last person who used it was a drunk with poor depth perception and kept spilling their drink on the coaster. Couldn’t you argue that the coaster might be permeated with alcohol, and now he's just sucking it right back out and into his blood stream? Now that I think about it, he did sleep well that night… Hmmm.

So, when it became time for him to eat his mushy peas, I pulled the coaster away from him and I discovered, to my horror, that there was a corner missing, a sizable chunk of the coaster had been bitten off. Then, this is the scary part, Matthew starts to make these silent gagging faces… you know, the ones from the Heimlich posters in the lunchroom at work. His eyes get wide and his mouth is moving like a fish out of water. Just before I am about to roll up my sleeves and plunge my hand deep into his throat to retreive the coaster corner, he opens is mouth, sticks out his tongue and the corner of the coaster is plastered with spit to his tongue.

Sighs of relief all around. I learned infant CPR many many years ago and that was the first time in my life that I thought I just might have to use it. Scary. So, good safety tip: coaster and babies, bad.

Let them play with a steak knives instead.

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