Mmmm, Mmmm Good
I feel like monthly updates are just not frequent enough to document Austen's development anymore. Perhaps they never have been, and I've just convinced myself over the past few months that I have to save everything up for the end of the month. Well, no more: I can't let another minute go by without detailing some of the amazing things I've seen in the past couple days. (Of course, they will be amazing to no one else, but I will relate them anyway.)
Mmmmmmmmmmm ~ When Austen started playing with pots, I would occasionally stir the pot for him and bring the spoon or spatula to my mouth, pretend to taste what was on it, and then say, "mmmmm, good!" He thought this was SO COOL and would occasionally poke me in the mouth with the spatula to get me to make the slurpy tasting sound. Within a few days, he was tasting the contents of the pot himself. When I said to him, "what are you cooking? Can Mommy have a taste?", he'd bring the spatula to his own mouth, chew on it for a second, and then say, "Mmmmmmmmmmm". It was a short leap from that to saying "Mmmmmmmmmmm" every time he ever ate or drank anything (and sometimes even just when sitting in his car seat, in an effort to engage me).
Tonight, Austen graduated from "Mmmmmmmmmmm" to "áhh!", which he correctly identified as the appropriate noise to make after taking a sip of a particularly refreshing drink. It's not that "Mmmmmmmmmmm" is wrong after taking a swig of milk or fizzy water or homemade chai eggnog latte (which we shared while playing on the floor after dinner tonight); it's that "áhh!" is more specific.
Bottle skillz ~ Remember how I said we weren't sure whether Austen could hold a bottle by himself, and how relieved we were when he finally figured out how to use a sippy cup? Well, he's now drinking out of 25 oz. sport-top water bottles all by himself. He even knows how to close the tops so they don't spill (though he doesn't always do it). It's a sight to behold... which of course means I don't have a photo of him doing it.
Push-ups ~ I noticed yesterday that Austen is finally using the technique I saw Miranda employ way back in early April last year when he falls and needs to get back up: Namely, he pushes himself up into a sort of downward dog pose and then stands from there. Previously he'd been shuffling over on his butt or knees to the nearest wall, toilet, bed, or other stationary object and using that as leverage to pull himself up. This, it strikes me, is progress.
It was interesting just now to read the first paragraph of the April post I linked to in the previous paragraph and realize that Austen is now the same age Miranda was then. At the time, I hadn't wanted to think of Austen at this age; now it's hard to remember a time when he wasn't walking and babbling and telling me in his own version of sign language and grunts that he's hungry or thirsty, that he wants a different pot, or that he's ready for bed.
He actually did this on Saturday night, incidentally: He ASKED to go to bed. He got Al to pick him up and then led Al, by swaying his body, to the stairs, where he rubbed his eyes and reached upward with both arms. The signal was unmistakable—as unmistakable as when he clapped his hands and then rubbed his eyes, clapped his hands and then rubbed his eyes again as I finished changing a poopy diaper at 11:15am yesterday. He'd obviously been postponing nap time—which is usually between 9:30am and 11:00am—until he could get a poop in, and now that the poopy diaper was taken care of, he wanted to go down asap. "MORE SLEEP, Mommy! MORE SLEEP!" (He was out cold by the time we got to the end of the block in the stroller a few minutes later.)
I'M FRUSTRATED!! ~ One of the other unmistakable non-verbal communiqués Austen's been sending us lately is the one that means, "I'M FRUSTRATED!!" (It can also mean "I'M ANGRY!!") He squats, balls his hands into fists and shakes them, and grunt-screams. He'll sometimes do it repeatedly, turning redder and redder each time. We're trying various methods to break him of this habit, including ignoring him, asking him to tell us what he wants, explaining that temper tantrums are not acceptable, or whatever seems appropriate at the time. We're hoping that as he acquires more vocabulary (currently we're still on "mama", "dada", "uh-oh", and an occasional "Hannah" and "nana"), he'll also have less need for such a simultaneously hilarious and annoying gesture. [I just totally cracked Al up by imitating the "frustrated" gesture in an attempt to accurately describe it.]