Summer is holding on longer than usual, though the evening crickets us tell us that fall will soon have its way with the world. Today and yesterday were late-summer beach days, with lots of splashing and swimsuits full of sand. Sam sets out to taste every rock and shell on the beach and grins with a sand-encircled mouth. He loves to feel the waves break over his feet and is curious about the undertow that pulls sand out from under him. He would crawl out to sea after his mermaid older sister if we let him.
Last week, several milestones. He showed that he can stand unsupported for at least a few seconds at a time. (This week, he even repeated the feat by standing in the ocean by himself, despite the water's movement.) He climbed three steps at Grandma Carolyn's before being stopped by his father, and he tried to climb the open ladder at home, too - and could probably make it to the top if he tried. (He wasn't allowed to try beyond one step.) On Friday, he also said Anna's name, clear as a bell. He has called her "ayayayaya" for weeks, but the other morning, he was playing in the early morning light in the living room and heard her wake. He bounced excitedly on his bum, and then when she called out "Hi, Sam," from her bedroom, he exclaimed, "Anna!"
He has four words, which he uses on whims rather than on demand, but which he uses meaningfully. He says "Ha-a" for "Hi" and then "Dada," "Mama," and "Anna." He has no word for Moonlight the cat, but that does have designs on her. He sets out to catch her often, but she has been through this baby thing before and always manages to get away. Sam would settle for a chance to squish his fingers through her catfood and dip his fingers in her water, but he gets scooped up by his mom en route to the cat's dish every time he gets close.
Sam continues to love to sing - he and Anna sing together loudly quite frequently - and he today discovered to his delight that he can reach up and play the piano.
Sam is beginning to be interested in food he has to chew and loves to gnaw messily on corn cobs. He has started eating yogurt, his first dairy food. Well, I say "first," but there was the incident at a cousin's wedding in mid-August when I heard him sucking particularly noisily on what I thought was his soother. It was actually an almost-but-not-quite-empty plastic container for a butter pat. And then there was the day he stole my chocolate dip ice cream popsicle. Cow's milk, here we come.
When he is on his own and not being hauled around by the armpits by his sister or having playthings snatched from him (also by his sister), Sam loves to play with toys. He will sit contented for whole dozens of minutes just figuring out how to flip the pages of books (and rip out the title page, if possible). He loves to play with Anna's princess castle, which has lots of little triggers for sounds and lights. He turns the knobs on Anna's play stove. He loves to talk to Anna's hobby horse, Beatrice June, and poke her plastic eyes. Today, his sister went to the park and as soon as she was gone, he lit out for her bedroom to explore her treasures. He hid under the play table and sucked on the beads of one of her necklaces and tried to flip through her books and was so happy and quiet that at one point I lost him completely. Next week, he will have mornings to himself when Anna goes to playschool. It will be an unaccustomed quiet time for all of us. (Possibly for Anna, as well, since we keep her pretty active and engaged.)
What Sam does not wish to do is go to sleep. The dastardly fourth tooth that plagued him for a month finally popped out of his gums, and he has been exploring and testing it with his lips and his fingers and his crackers. Since then, he has had a few better nights' sleep, but he still does not sleep through the night (by anyone's definition) and he now does not want to go to bed at bedtime. He wants to jump in his crib or explore the living room or sing along to lullabies or just arch his back and cry. He wants to chase the cat and see what Anna's doing. But not sleep.
In the daytime, he is down to two naps. Since he was born he was on a fairly regular routine of three cat-naps of about thirty minutes each. Now, he has two naps, and usually one or the other is an hour. When he is awake, he is always moving, exploring, playing. And soon - very soon - he will be walking, too.
It is amazing to think that he has only just past the threshold of being out in the world longer than he was brewing in my belly. What another nine months will bring...