M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Wednesday, June 29, 2005  

Let's Give the Boy a Hand

When Trash and I left M. Tiny at home with his Grandma for a few days earlier this month, we were terrified that he was going to something for the first time and we'd miss it. Like crawl (which he'd been trying to figure out) or walk (which he'd also been trying to figure out) or eat his Intellitainerâ„¢ (another ongoing goal). So we left the video camera with them with orders to record the entire long weekend in real time. Which they did. Fortunately, he didn't do anything new while we were gone.

Or while I was gone, at least. I came home a few days before Trash did, because she had a librarian conference in Toronto right after the New York TWoP summit. As such, she had to go almost a whole week without seeing him at all when I got to see him again three days before she did. As such, her fear that he would do something new eventually became supplanted by the fear that he would entirely forget who she was. So she talked to him on the phone every day, and had me show him pictures of her at every opportunity, and say "Mom" a lot.

He didn't do anything new while I was home and Trash was gone, either. And of course he was beside himself with excitement to see her when she got home. Which is pretty uncomfortable when strapped into a car seat, as I'm sure he'd tell you.

The end of that very same week, I had to leave town again for a day and a half, on business. When I got home, he'd learned how to clap in my absence.

How is this fair? I was gone for less time total, and yet I was the one who missed something? We were all in the kitchen shortly after I got home and I noticed he was happily swinging his arms in wide arcs to bring his hands together in front of his chest, over and over, and I said, "Oh my God, he's clapping!"

"Yeah, he started doing that last night," Trash said nonchalantly.

I was aghast. I was agog. I was agawp. Clapping was something we'd been working on with him for weeks, figuring he'd get it any day. Turns out we were right. And as with any baby (or human, really) excited about having just learned a new skill, he kept doing it over and over. Mocking me with the fact that I'd missed the first time. And had that occasion been taped? Of course not.

Over the next several days, he clapped at any occasion. When he saw a favorite toy, or a favorite person, or one of the cats, or food. And also for less appropriate occasions. You know what's funny? An angry baby applauding. "Goddammit, I don't want any more peas! I want out of my feeding chair RIGHT NOW! Also, bravo!" Or sometimes he even does it completely stone-faced, and it's a little tiny person doing the sarcastic slow-clap without even realizing it.

He still hasn't figured out how to crawl just yet, and lately there's less incentive for him to do so now that he's figured out how to roll everywhere he wants to go (or, more accurately, everywhere we let him, which is a considerably more restricted subset of travel paths, seeing as how it excludes options like "off the sofa" and "off the changing table" and "under the bookcase"). So I don't know when he's going to take his first real "steps" on all fours.

With my luck, though, I'm pretty sure it'll be while I'm at work.

Today's best search phrase: "Use wal mart as an instrument of domination." Like it's good for anything else.

posted by M. Giant 5:23 AM 9 comments


I happened to be home when my boy walked for the first time, but my wife was still at work. She had already missed several firsts, so when she came home I said nothing and pretended to be surprised when he stumbled across the living room. She bought it, and three years later I still haven't told her since it was such a great moment.

One thing about crawling: when babies crawl for awhile before walking, they develop reading skills easier. I know, I didn't believe this either at first, but apparently crawling therapy is accepted practice for young children with a below-average reading level.

I really enjoy your writing, both here and at TWOP.

By Anonymous brian, at June 29, 2005 at 10:52 AM  

I wouldn't wait so much for him to crawl, some babies don't. I was a roller myself, and I turned out just fine!

By Anonymous Quinn, at June 29, 2005 at 6:22 PM  

"Goddammit, I don't want any more peas! I want out of my feeding chair RIGHT NOW! Also, bravo!"

I love the *also, bravo!* touch.

By Anonymous Anna, at June 30, 2005 at 7:01 AM  

Angry Baby and Sarcastic, Slow-Clapping Baby crack me up!

- JeniMull

By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 30, 2005 at 8:04 AM  

Oh my god. The third paragraph from the end is the funniest thing I've read all day. You crack me up.

By Anonymous TB, at June 30, 2005 at 11:37 AM  

The sarcastic slow-clap image is hilarious! Babies are wonderful - the more they learn, the more you have to mock.

My toddler went through a scooting phase, which we didn't figure out for quite awhile. We would put him down in one place, turn away for three seconds, and then discover him displaced by several inches. Or find a toy previously out of reach suddenly in his hand. We thought he was telekinetic and were ready to alert the media when he finally let us see him scoot.

By Blogger Nancy, at June 30, 2005 at 2:01 PM  

My nephew, who is now 7, never crawled. He scooted, he rolled, he scooted some more, then walked. He reads like a fanatic and loves books. I also never crawled, couldn't be bothered. I rolled and walked, have been reading since I was 4.

Slow sarcastic baby claps, even better when the make a face and it's like, Stupid tall people, what are you thinking.

By Anonymous Libragirl, at June 30, 2005 at 3:49 PM  

Pictures! I demand pictures! I want to see his clap-and-scowl bit myself.

Or video -- can you do video?

By Anonymous Katie, at July 1, 2005 at 8:43 AM  

Hello! I am student in Japan. I want to see his pictures.I think he is very cute.I like children!

By Blogger eri, at July 4, 2005 at 9:57 PM  

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