The latest installment of the Daddy Chronicles: My knee-hugging, pinching 16-month-old gets his own “office.”

Nate.16months

Two quick thoughts before I get into my self-indulgent (but hopefully entertaining!) post about my little guy: 1, The Academy Award nominations, once again, a disgrace. Not ONE person of color nominated in any of the acting categories; “Creed” and its star, Michael B. Jordan, were absolutely robbed. 2, Another GOP debate last night, and another example of all those wimps on stage afraid to go after Trump (except for Cruz, truly, the fireworks between these two egotistical blowhards was the only exciting part of the debate). Are they all aware they’re about to lose to Trump, and bring their entire party down with them? Sigh.

They say that babies/toddlers change every day, and man oh man, that’s so true. I haven’t written about the foibles/adventures of my 16-month-old bundle of joy in a while, and since he’s changed so much in the last few months, I felt it was time. My best friend is looking more and more like a boy and not a baby every day, and that partly excites me, partly saddens me (because he’s not a baby anymore), and partly terrifies me, since he can reach so many more shelves.

It’s been a really fun age to watch him; here are some highlights of what’s been going on in his life the last few months:

— We have to start with the squeal. It’s maybe my favorite thing he does right now. When my wife comes home from work after a long day, as soon as he hears the key in the door and the slightest glimpse of her, Nate runs toward the entryway and squeals with delight. Then three seconds go by, and he squeals again, louder and longer.

He does it for me sometimes, too, when he’s with our part-time nanny and I come back from a day of teaching or running errands. It’s just the best sound.

— Speaking of sounds, though, he’s not talking yet. Which surprises me and everyone who knows me, since I basically learned to talk as a baby and haven’t stopped yet. He says “Da” and “Da-da” when he’s looking for me around the apartment, but that’s about it. He babbles and expresses himself in other ways (throwing his milk cup down, gesturing wildly for the remote control and the cordless phones), but no real words. Not worried yet, but I kinda thought he’d have a vocabulary by now.

— He’s become obsessed with books. When he wakes up from a nap now, instead of immediately gesturing for us to take him out of the crib, he points to the books on his bookshelf. We give him 5-6 books, and he happily plays with them for a good 15-20 more minutes. But his favorite “book time” is when he goes to what we call his “office.” There’s a 2-foot gap between his book shelf and his crib, and during the day he loves going over into that gap, sitting down on his “Nate” stool, and just poring through his books, taking some out, putting them back. Seriously, he spends so much time there, we’re like two weeks away from getting him a coffeemaker and a fax machine.

My genes are definitely in this kid.

Nate.cribbooks

— We are so incredibly lucky that this guy is so friendly and affectionate. He now walks around giving “knee-hugs” to us, his grandparents, and sometimes strangers. He waves, he smiles, and all of this great except I know that if we ever have a second kid he/she will be a monster who bites the head off live rats. Just to, you know, even things out.

— It’s not all rainbows and puppies, though. He’s started pinching us, really hard, the last few weeks. He thinks it’s a game but sometimes it freaking hurts. We’ve tried reprimanding, we’ve tried ignoring it, so far nothing has worked. Hope it’s just a phase like everything else.

—  Finally, I find it so fascinating how he’s got certain games and habits that he loves for a while, forgets about, then suddenly loves again. Peekaboo was a big hit when he was about 6 months old, then he lost all interest for eight months, now it’s back. He’s constantly putting his hands over his eyes, then giggling like a hyena when we ask where he is. He’s also rediscovered his love of ripping toilet paper off the roll and carefully placing it in the garbage, and his other big favorite: throwing his toys out of the playpen.

— He’s growing up so fast. I just want to stop it. Just for a little while. I wanna say “OK, no more growing for two weeks! We need you to stay the way you are!”

But that’s part of the fun. Every day is a wonder. I’m trying hard to enjoy and remember each stage of the journey.

Each stage seems to get better than the last one.

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