Monday, June 15, 2009

Blake at one.

When I first met Blake he was a little lump of flesh that cried, ate and slept (peed and pooped goes without saying). It was not love at first sight, it started out as sheer awe and fascination. As he started growing and slowly developing his unique personality that was when I started to gradually fall in love with him more and more. Now at one year my heart is on the brink of bursting with love and yet I find the capacity to love him more and more every single day.

So at one year, who is Blake? What can I say about my son? How do I describe him to someone who never met him?

Blake is a wonderful creature. The first thing you notice about him is how gorgeous he is. I know all babies are the most beautiful to their own parents but with Blake I can safely state that he is objectively the most beautiful boy in the entire known universe. He has a heart-melting smile with eight beautiful pearly white teeth, one of which was chipped a little a few days ago in Barbados, but ended up only adding to his charm. He has soft flowing brown hair that glides perfectly into place at the slightest touch. Big gray eyes just complete the tiny little package of perfection.

Blake is an easy baby. I never had any other baby to compare, but I heard the war stories from other parents. Blake is a delight. He sleeps through the night since two months and one week with the odd exception for when he’s feeling off for whatever reason (teething being the most common reason - thank God for Calpol). He’s very good at keeping himself entertained with toys and by exploring the house. When we put him to bed he might cry for a couple of minutes, but will soon be out for the night. He’s well behaved at restaurants, though nowadays it helps if you distract him by placing him facing the door or window so he could watch cars passing in the street outside.

At one year he’s now off baby food altogether with the exception of formula. He eats whatever we eat: eggs, bacon, steak, chili, pasta, fruit, rice, fish, shrimp… Anything with the exception of small hard things he might choke on and extra spicy stuff. Medium spicy food makes him giggle. His spice tolerance is already higher than my husband’s… Liking adult food and being able to walk means that I can no longer snack or eat in front of him without sharing. Especially if I eat something sweet… Blake would come over, lean forward with his hands on my knees and get a silly little smile on his face, his eyes saying to me “go on, give me some”. I’d start putting bits of snacks in his mouth and his little smile will turn into a big grin as if to say “good stuff!”. This is actually good. Since I wouldn’t want Blake to snack too much, I’ll have to cut down on snacking myself now that he expects me to share. Well, it's far more likely that I'll just end up doing midnight snacking when he's asleep...

Blake loves watching Baby Einstein. He watches a program after every meal (unless he dosed off by the end of it and then he is carried up to his bed). By now he’s old enough to watch all of them, but he has his favourites. If he disapproves of a certain program he makes a lot of noise until it is changed. As soon as he finishes his food his highchair is turned towards the laptop in the kitchen and the fun begins. We travel with the laptop so Blake could watch his Baby Einstein wherever we are in the world. As soon as the show ends, during the credits even, the protest starts. Blake naturally dislikes sitting in front of a switched off screen. Sometimes, Windows being Windows, an application will launch itself to the front of the screen and interrupt the video, but Blake will be very resourceful at getting someone to come over quickly to sort it out for him. I tried showing Blake other cartoons: from classic Disney and Loony Tunes shorts to Dora and Diego. He shows interest in those, but it lasts only for a couple of minutes.

One of the coolest things Blake does is something I’ve seen no other baby do and I have no idea where he got it from. When he is excited by something, like a good Baby Einstein session, he makes an adorable pout and start twirling and twisting his little hands as if he dances some exotic east European dance. He’s being doing it from five months and I dread the sad day when he would suddenly stop doing it.
Blake been speed crawling for months now. He quickly learnt to stand up by pushing himself up using his hand and then to get up just using his legs. Just before our holiday in Barbados we made it very clear to him that if he doesn’t start walking before Barbados, he’s not coming. So he started walking just before we left. His record his twelve steps. He still feels more comfortable to crawl the big distance and then walk the last few steps, but it’s a step (ha!) in the right direction. The split between crawling and walking is now almost a 50-50 split and he walks faster and more confidently every day.

Blake doesn’t speak yet. At nine months he said “aba” and we wondered if it was the Hebrew (we speak it between us) word for daddy/ papa, or just a noise. We assume it’s just a noise and that none of his random sounds were actual words yet. His vocabulary so far includes “aba ababababa bwaaaa”, “eeeee” and “ppfffffft”. He loves razzing.

Since coming to London with us at three months, Blake always had two Great Danes with him (not the same two, sadly Kato passed away in February). So Blake must think that every baby has two giant dogs to hang out with. Leo is a bit jealous and wary of Blake and keep his distance. Dexter the-almost-seven-months-old-puppy is far more in sync in Blake and loves giving him big wet slurpy kisses. Blake, on his part, loves pulling and tagging at the dogs’ faces and crawling over them.
Like most babies, Blake loves going out. I take him in the stroller to Tesco for quick shopping or to our nearest playground where he adores the toddler swings. In Barbados we went splashing in the clear water twice a day, but alas that’s not an option in London. We’ll probably look for some nearby swimming pools, but after having your first ever dip in clear Caribbean water, nothing else is good enough, certainly not a mixture of chlorine and urine. Car rides are also welcome, especially now that he sits forward and has a better view.

Blake recently developed a fake cry. He would look and sound upset, but as soon as he got what he wanted or was efficiently distracted, he’d get a silly grin on his face.

What else? There must be a million other things. When Blake is contemplating he sucks his thumb and twirls his hair. He loves grabbing my hair and pulling or sticking his fingers in my mouth and scratch my teeth while he likes trying to eat Miron's nose. He can win wet t-shirt competitions when drinking from his sippy cup, but he’s perfect when drinking his bottle. He’s obsessed with phones, keyboards, gamepads and mice and would grab any as soon as he sees them (I wonder how many of our friends god international calls from Blake). He dislikes clutter and will throw every item off the table one by one. He knows how to hold a 360 controller properly and turn on the machine – or any other machine that is remotely operated for that matter. Dexter managed to destroy some of Blake’s toys, there’s a learning curve there… But Blake has repaid the dogs by taking over their big chunky rubber tire. He loves picking it up, standing up and then letting it fall to the ground, bounce and roll.

This can go on forever. If bothered to write all year I would’ve probably been able to expand on many of the things mentioned here in more detail. That’s what I’m going to do from now on. For all I know, Blake has already changed and some of the things I mentioned in this long post are probably no longer relevant anyway.

Stay tuned for more Blake!


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