If you could proclaim anything from the rooftops right now, other than the ever-popular and good-for-all occasions exclamation "Quack!" you would announce that this has been the month of solid foods. Your oral fixation knows no ends now that you've discovered that, lo, you have teeth (seven or eight of them to be exact), and that, lo, these teeth can chew foods which taste much more exciting than Gerber's 2nd foods peas or Gerber's macaroni and cheese (which your mommy thinks resembles in both texture and smell soggy rawhide bone after the dog has chewed on it or dropped it in the waterbowl). Yesterday at Grammy's birthday brunch buffet, you finished off your own piece of bacon crumbled into tiny bits, and several spoonfuls of scrambled egg, and an English muffin, and some bites of cinnamon roll, and some hash brown potatoes. It was a feast. And you carefully mouthed every last bite and banged your hands on the table for more (or rammed your fists together in the sign language equivalent of "Dammit, woman, get me something else to eat.") Tonight you apparently finished off the local Italian restaurant's signature spaghetti and bread. I have yet to see you turn away food.
However, this oral fixation, this newfound fascination with different textures has also extended itself to gnawing on your mother's arms as you balance carefully when she sits on the floor. I now have tiny teeth mark bruises on my upper arms and neck. I'm reluctant to wear short-sleeved dresses to work, lest anyone think your father is grabbing me viciously around the arms and leaving fingermarks. Of course, that bite on my clavicle came dangerously close to turning a deep maroon and before long the neighbors are going to start whispering that your father is marking me with love bites (Note to your high school self from your mother: Grayson, hickies are not cool. And if you ever start wearing turtlenecks unexpectedly in your teen years I will figure it out, and the excuse that you just burned yourself with a curling iron will be refuted in a New York minute. Not that I would know anything about that paltry excuse.) I've been working on giving you the "mean face," when you bite and saying, "No! Ouch! That hurts Mommy!" Your face usually crumples and then I feel like a terrible parent and have to refrain from rushing in immediately and offering you my forearm to gnaw on to make up for it, "I'm sorry, baby, here...there's a nice raw spot right there below Mommy's elbow, show Mommy what strong white teeth you have..."
You are standing like a pro, balancing carefully and learning the laws of gravity. You remain a cautious baby, afraid of falling, afraid of landing anywhere with a thud. I love that about you. You're not a daredevil. This provides comfort to parents who wear their seatbelts even when driving to the mailbox and who always drink a full glass of water with their vitamins. That's the nerdy family you were born into..."Safety First!" we proclaim, as we adjust our pocket protectors and pack our Star Trek lunchboxes.
I continue to stare at you in slack-jawed wonder as I remember the baby you were just a short year ago. I sense I'll do this for the rest of your life; watch you with wonder and awe.
I love you, sweet boy.