Congratulations, my boy. You've now been out as long as you were in.
Aiden is rapidly becoming more "boy" than "baby". It's really surreal. For so long I wasn't sure how much of what I was seeing was his personality and how much was just "generic baby", but now there's no doubt that I am seeing a fully-fledged (okay, fully-fledgeling) unique person!
Some of his recent achievements include climbing stairs (and falling down them) with great alacrity, turning pages in a board book, craning his head to look around and behind things, babbling with increasing intent and conversational contour, and pulling himself to standing on just about anything. He can even stand unsupported for increasing numbers of seconds at a time.
This month I've also begun leaving him for chunks of time (4-5 hours) on a semi-regular basis, which has been working out decently. While he's still extremely attached to me, he has been showing more signs of affection to lordandrei and elocinnuala, and no stranger anxiety whatsoever. (He is a complete flirt even with strangers; *so* his father's son. ;)
He's shown some interesting cognitive feats of late - I can't really tell if they're advanced for his age or not, but it's still amazing to see these processes out of someone who six months ago could barely pick up an object.
A couple of weeks ago we were in the kids zone at the zoo, and there was a plastic log there with a mirrored floor that you could crawl through. I sat at one end with Aiden at the other end and encouraged him to come to me. He looked at the mirror, decided he didn't trust it, and then crawled around the side to get to me.
Then this weekend we were sitting with him on the grass with his stroller nearby. He climbed up on the stroller until he was standing on the seat and reached over the top to grab his toy. It may have been a chance discovery once he was up there, but it certainly looked like a deliberate process of going to get the toy from the ground up!
I chronicled earlier the case where he pulled a box of mancala stones out of a bookcase, pulled the hair tie that had been holding it closed off, and spread the stones all over the floor.
He is fascinated with one of the seedlings on our front porch, to the extent that if he's anywhere on the lawn, even with the plants out of sight, he will make a beeline for it and try to uproot it.
He's also been taking great glee in spreading the contents of our recycling bags all over the room, and as a result has earned the new nickname of "Chaos Bomb".
Nuit is impressively patient with him (as I type this she's purring on my lap and he is gleefully stuffing her tail in his mouth), but has developed a very recognizable "oh shit" expression when he comes for her with that gleeful shriek that usually seems to mean "kitty!"
Let's see. We've tried him on a few solid foods in the last week or two - some applesauce, baby rice crackers. The universal reaction seems to be skeptical curiosity, then a yucky face, then a medicine face with lips sealed tight if we try to give him any more! Of course, he still has no teeth, so I'm not exactly in any rush to wean him.
He's still about 22-23 pounds, and around 30 inches tall - we'll get exact measurements at the pediatrician on Wednesday. Even though he hasn't been getting much heavier, we still see 12-15 month olds all over, walking and waving and clapping, who are smaller than he is. It's bizarre.
And curls! His wispy blond hair is growing into curls over his ears!
When Aiden was first born, so many people told me how difficult, how life-altering and self-annihilating it would be, but that it was all worth it. And for the first six, maybe eight months, it was not worth it, but I clung to the belief that it would become so.
I now can say with conviction that It has become worth it, undoubtedly, completely. Every sleepless night, every scream and spit-up and chomped-upon piece of electronics, worth it for this experience of getting to watch a new person discover and become himself.