On August 13th at 5:00 PM, William James discovered that he had a body.
You should have seen the kid. He was crawling as fast as he could to one couch, pulling up to it, grinning, getting back down, grinning, crawling as fast as he could to the other couch, pulling up to it, grinning, getting back down, grinning, and crawling back to the first couch. When he tired of that, he took to rolling madly back and forth on the rug like a hot pig in cool muck. I think we got more motion out of that kid in a three-hour block than we've had from him in the first 18 months of his life combined. And he was loving every moment of it, you could tell.
Liam has kind of had a sudden burst of development overall during the past month. He switched from belly-crawling to hands-and-knees crawling. He figured out how to pull himself to a stand while holding onto furniture for support. He's even started to cruise a bit.
This is ironic because last month I finally got worried enough about Liam's development to take him to the doctor for an evaluation. The doc said he didn't think there was anything wrong, per se, but that Liam did seem a bit behind on his gross motor skills, so he referred us to the Idaho Infant-Toddler Program. The Infant-Toddler people sent a very nice lady out to our house to do an assessment. The completed evaluation read something like this: "Liam is ridiculously cute and charming. Also, he has a big head. Also, he is behind in all areas of development. Way behind. I recommend him for physical therapy and developmental therapy."
When I mentioned this to a friend of ours from Ecuador, she just snorted. "You Americans. You want all the kids to be exactly the same. Always on the same page at the same moment. Kids are all different! There is a large range of normal!" Which is basically what Abe has been saying all this time. And I also suspect that Liam is simply a take-things-at-your-own-pace kind of a guy and he'll be just fine. I certainly don't want to be one of those pushy parents who are obsessed with their child's academic performance, who follow their toddlers around with flash cards, who won't be satisfied if their kid doesn't read at 2, solve algebraic equations at 3, and compose orchestral scores at 4. I think it's a bad idea to push kids into doing things before they're ready. A very bad idea. But still.
I can't shake the worry that maybe there's some underlying issue that a physical therapist will pick up on while working with him. Some sort of neurological issue. Or cardiovascular problem. Or allergies. Or something. And in the meantime, I don't think it will do him any harm to have some nice person coming to play with him once a week. And while I don't want to be a hyperactive parent, I also don't want to be the parent who's like, "What? My kid's autistic? What? Early intervention would have made a big difference? What? But it's too late now? What?" (And no, in case you were wondering, I don't think that Liam is autistic.)
Liam got his first haircut this month. This was a shockingly sentimental occasion for me. Soren's first haircut? I callously buzzed the hair off, swept it up, and threw it away. Liam's? Liam's I reluctantly trimmed. And I saved the leavings in a Ziploc baggie. And I labeled and dated the baggie.
I've heard moms say that they hate to give that first haircut because it makes their baby look like a big kid. By the time Soren was ready for a haircut, he already seemed like a big kid to me. He was certainly already getting himself into big kid trouble. Giving him a big kid hair cut just seemed sensible. Having our little perpetual baby reach this milestone, however, was a little more heart-wrenching. How could I possibly be cutting off these wispy soft tendrils of sweet baby tenderness? But I did it. And he looked quite handsome. Briar even styled it into a faux hawk for him.
Abraham tries to read to Liam once a day, just to see the grin that immediately lights up his face when he sees a book coming his way. He also likes to look at stories when he's alone. He'll happily babble out his own made-up words as he turns the pages.
One evening Abe was watching a movie on his computer (earphones on, because the crib is in the computer room) when he happened to glance over at Liam's bed. And there sat our naked-except-for-a-diaper baby, glowing in the dim light of the computer monitor, smiling quietly, looking for all the world, according to Abe, like a "little happy baby Buddha."
And he certainly is our little happy baby Buddha.
I sure love you, Liam.