Friday, June 28, 2013

Michael in the Middle

I worry sometimes about the hard road that Michael has ahead of him, being the middle child. Apart from his teething difficulties, in some ways he's also become the easiest child- not as aggressively defiant as his older sister, and not so dependent as his younger. In the hustle and bustle of it all, I fear that he is forgotten at times, introspective and quiet as he is (except when he's trapped in a chair at the table- you can't miss him then).

Even on the blog, I feel that he gets snubbed all too often. I probably don't mention him now nearly as much as the other two. He's not yet verbal, so I can't quote him on a near-daily basis like I do Abby, and at over a year old, I felt that documenting him on a monthly basis like I do Amelia would be excessive (and near-impossible to execute, anyway).

However, stuff has been happening with him, and I don't just meant the usual mischief that he gets up to every minute. He's growing and changing like the others, but in his own quiet, subtle way.

The most exciting development has, of course, been his recent foray into verbal communication. However, like everything that he sets his mind to, he's taking it at his own pace, and adding words slowly and steadily every couple of days. As of today, I've heard him utter Mama, Dada, read, more, bye-bye, Papa, kitty, and yeah. He's only used half of those more than once, but he's gaining confidence and has been willing to at least attempt the pronunciation of a new word here and there.

All the while he never ceases to impress me with his capacity for comprehension. My transition-easing heads-up to Abby that we'll be eating lunch soon sends him running for the gate. Verbal commands and requests are frequently heeded. And as we read books together, he's beginning to be able to point out objects on the page, upon request. Just this afternoon he blushed deeply amid his private standing ovation for successfully locating the newspaper that Big Bird was holding in Murray's First Book of Words.

Add to that his creative use of non-verbal communication, which he is constantly improving upon. He regularly shakes his head to indicate disagreement, a cue that Abby did not pick up on until she was much older. He also points and gesticulates, and will sometimes go so far as to grab a hand or finger to place it where something needs doing. He also claps, high-fives, and has just begun to blow kisses.

However, he's making strides in other ways as well. He's become an expert climber, and though he can't jump yet, is quite the little dancer. His signature move is a stomping of one leg against the floor as he giggles and waves his arms around. He's also taken a liking to the rocking toys that he previously shunned, particularly Rody the pink horse.

He's also been (mostly) expanding his palate. Though he can be quite the picky eater, depending on his mood, he's an adventurous one as well. He may not be willing to eat a known quantity that he's tired of, but he'll almost always give a never-before-seen morsel a try.

Recently, he's taken a liking to corned beef, so I made him a sandwich for lunch one day. Of course, he elected to eat the meat out from between the slices of bread.

Additionally, ever the independent eater, he's taken an interest in mastering the spoon. I caught him the other day, doing a not-half-bad job of it.

He's still having trouble getting the food onto the spoon, but- I have to say- he has very good form when it comes to bringing the spoon to his mouth.

Oh- and in case you didn't know- he's also a super hero in training.

He may be stuck in the middle, but he certainly can't be overlooked for long. Not my little man.