Boy with stick

It’s Spring, the season of growth and ripening, and Hugh is no exception. As the pollen thickens the air and purple flowers appear in our newly landscaped yard, Hugh is sprouting new words, new curls, and a whole new sense of self-determination.

It’s hard to keep track of what words he “knows” because they come and go almost daily. One day, he definitely says kitty, but then not again for days. Another day, he says WOW when a big truck drives past, and then Good GOD (don’t know where he got that).

Sometimes I worry that he’s not saying enough, but that’s only when I get on the internet and BabyCenter.com tells me that he should have 50 receptive words and 20 spoken words. Then Tasha tells me to stay off the internet and that one day we’ll be wishing he only had 20 words.

And he’s finally getting hair. A tangled web of fine curls in the back and still not much in the front. When I bathe him at night and his hair is wet, he still looks like a baby to me.

Hugh made a soft landing into this world, i.e. in a birthing tub of warm, gentle water. But after that, he’s been nothing but a kinetic ball of energy. Life force, Tasha calls it. There’s nothing placid in his mind or body, and as he grows bigger, that life force becomes even stronger.

A fierce shake of the head means NO. A hard tug on your finger means GO THIS WAY. A shrill scream means FRUSTRATED (and happens multiple times a day). My personal favorite, though, is CLOSED EYES which means I-am-not-seeing-what-you-want-me-to-do (such as put on shoes, get in the high chair to eat, get in the car seat). “Nothing Will Contain Hugh,” he thinks and just closes his eyes. There. Fixed it.

This weekend, we are taking Hugh, Dowell and another teenager to the Lake Eden Arts Festival (www.theleaf.org). We’ll sleep in tents, listen to live music, dance, eat, drink coffee, canoe across the lake, play in the children’s village, maybe leave Hugh in the all-organic child care center for a few hours. It’ll be our first all-family trip, and I feel like we’re breaking new ground.

Hugh is getting bigger, and there are more things we can do together. Festivals, road trips, airplanes, vacations, national parks, beaches are all in our future. For 16 months, it’s been a challenging, loving, exhausting and fairly contained life focused on raising a baby.

Now we’ve got a toddler, and the adventures just continue to grow. I’m ready for it.

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