As we approach our son's eighth month of life on this planet, the speed at which he is learning things is increasing, much to my amazement and joy. But beyond just figuring out the world around him, his physical features have changed drastically. My wife and I were flipping through pictures of our son over the past eight months, slowly working our way back to the time he was born, and to sum it all up, he is hardly recognizable from early pictures to now. Of course you can tell his basic features have remained the same like his eyes, hands, and feet; but his face has grown and developed beyond recognition. What used to be a squishy little face with puffed out cheeks and over sized lips has grown into a handsome little boy with well proportioned features. Most notable about his face and head is that his face has elongated, drawing his cheeks in somewhat, and the top of his head has filled out, both with hair and brain mass. Looking at him now makes us wonder just how he developed so quickly. But I guess that it is just nature taking its course, our little man growing into his body, slowly but surely. The other fantastic part about his growth goes beyond the physical aspect to his psyche. What used to be a squirmy lump of flailing flesh has grown into a more coordinated human with a personality; one that laughs, responds, and shows intrigue at anything new introduced to his life. To say that watching the growth of a human is amazing would be putting it mildly. Nothing that I watched or heard could have prepared me for the excitement, joy, and awe at watching my son grow, nothing.
Perhaps the most exciting part about watching our son grow, despite the changes in his physical appearance, is watching him figure out the world around him. It goes beyond the simple exploration of every little nook and cranny that he can access without our intrusion. Now it has grown to encompass watching him figure out his own body in relation to everything around him. He is gaining an awareness it seems of his own body, not in the sense of what parts are what, but more about how it functions and what he is capable of doing with his body. Just yesterday he tried climbing the stairs in our house at not even eight months of age. To me, that is quite amazing, but maybe I am just overly excited about what our son is capable of doing. According to my wife who witnessed the event, our son started by crawling over to the stairs, grabbing hold of the first step and raising himself up to his knees. From his knees, he was able to grab a hold of the second step and raise himself to his feet. Finally, before he was whisked away by my wife, he started raising his right leg to put his knee on the first step. We didn't want him to get too far because he is still working on his balance and there is a part of us that is just not quite ready for him to be climbing stairs. Its amazing what happens when you let babies figure out the world on their own. Its not like we let him go and leave, but if he is involved in the exploration of a certain part of our house or is intent on playing with the pots and pans he drags out of our kitchen cabinets, we let him go and don't interrupt him (unless of course we perceive an imminent danger in something he is doing). While he is involved in his exploration, we usually explain verbally what he is playing with and what it is used for. Just can't wait to see what is next with our little man.
He is also starting to draw different associations between my wife and I. This difference really started presenting itself over this past weekend while we were camping. Perhaps the best way to succinctly put this is that he looks to my wife more for comfort and to me more for play. Whenever he would get overly tired or agitated over this past weekend and I would try picking him up, he started looking around for his mommy. When he saw her, he started fidgeting and reaching out his arms to be held by her. Amazing to see what connections he is making in that little head of his. Its not that I don't comfort him, but when he really needs it, he searches out his mommy for it. Conversely, he does play with my wife, but whenever he sees me, he breaks out in a big smile and starts babbling away. We also developed a little game over the weekend that he plays with no one else. It is called the screaming game according to me. It all starts off one of us opening our mouths wide and making the "ahhhh" sound. We go back and forth until at one point, he starts increasing the pitch as high as he can before his voice cuts out, all the while wide eyed and with an enormous smile plastered on his face. I find it cute and adorable although his highest pitch gets to my wife a little bit. Oh well, such is life. On top of the screaming, he is slowly increasing the number of consonants he uses in his persistent babbling. I have said it before and I will say it again, he is such a joy to have as part of our family. While I am enjoying every minute, I wonder what it is he will figure out how to do next.