18 months, give or take a couple of weeks. We have reached the age of high maintenance.
There has been little progress in Munchkin’s verbal ability. Every time we Skype with our parents, they listen to him prattle on in his baby-talk and exclaim how he must be on the verge of speaking. From where we’re sitting, he’s been “on the verge” for several months, and at this rate he’ll likely hit two before he starts saying recognizable words.
On the other hand, Munchkin has no difficulty communicating his desires to us. He grabs us by the hand every minute or so to lead us somewhere. When a door impedes his progress he says, “a-go,” and if we don’t comply immediately he starts whining. We’re happy with his non-verbal cues, but the whining we definitely can do without. It has grown exponentially, both in frequency and pitch, and is beginning to test the bounds of our patience.
Watching him grow up (a year and a half already! we can hardly believe it), we regularly find ourselves thinking one of two conflicting thoughts: “Oh my, I can’t believe he’s figured out how to do this!” or “He’s been at this for ages; how is that he still can’t quite get it?”
Feats of strength and balance fall in the former category. He has a tall step stool in the bathroom. Instead of ascending it one step at a time, D recently caught him climbing up the back of the stool. It looked precarious, but somehow Munchkin managed to pull himself all the way up. He then slowly straightened his legs — as if he was standing on the ledge of a skyscraper. He was grinning the whole time.
Feats of dexterity, on the other hand, take much longer to master. He has a toy consisting of colored wooden rings that sit on a plastic pole. After months of trial-and-error, he finally figured out how to put the rings back on their pole. But he still only gets each ring on about half the time. Every time he fails and the ring rolls away, he emits a loud squawk of displeasure, and if he fails too many times in a row, he gives up with a loud cry.
And then there’s his toy car. First he learned to push it, then to ride it, propelling himself with his legs. Of late, he has taken to lifting it up the steps in our backyard and then driving the car back down the steps. As with his other less-than-safe activities, he seems to derive an enormous amount of pleasure from this stunt. The challenge for us now lies in dissuading him without precipitating major meltdowns — a skill of dexterity we have been practicing for many months without quite getting it right.