Ten months ago from this day a little Clark Rice was born unto the world. Ten months. Double digits. Wow. People keep saying it is time for me to start planning for his birthday party and I shrug it off because I think I have plenty of time, but I guess thats not the case anymore. The last month or so has been a ridiculous amount of fun for the Rice household and that has 100% to do with the pre-toddler toddling around in our lives. His personality continues to boom and when I think he couldn't possibly get any cuter, he goes and learns how to stick his bottom lip out and blow like an elephant. Y'all, I almost die every time he does it. Its the cutest thing you will ever see.
There are so many developmental milestones he hit in the last month that makes me wonder if maybe I gave birth to a genius baby. For example, when chilling in the bathtub on one random evening with a smorgasbord of toys and tupperware, he started perfectly stacking bowls on top of each other, and then taking them apart, and doing it again and again. I'm not even sure Aaron can do that. He's also mastered the art of opening and shutting a door and it has definitely become his favorite past time. He will entertain himself by opening and closing a door for at least thirty minutes and it just never gets old to the little guy. Its great fun to him when he shuts a door in your face and locks you out of the room and stands on the other side of the door so you can't open it without knocking him over. I have yet to figure out how to play this game without giving him a huge goose egg on his dome.
He's also started doing a little Clark jig and I could shoot myself in the foot for not getting it on video yet. The Clark jig basically consists of bending his knees and getting low to the ground and then popping back up and showing his big eight toothed grin when he's back to standing position, repeating this move over and over again. Its dadgum cute. He's also started hanging on to the side of his crib and jumping which is also so dadgum cute I don't know what to do about it. And when I have him in the buggy at Krogers (I realize its really Kroger, but my mom always adds an 's' to it and I think its funny), he holds on to the rail in front of him and sways from side to side and then stops and waits for me to do it. And then we repeat this game over and over again the entire duration of our shopping adventure. I'm sure I look like an awesome fool swaying myself around The Krogers but I'll do anything these days to make Clark laugh.
Also in the last month, Clark has become really attached to Aaron. It is really sweet. If I'm holding him and he sees Aaron sitting on the couch, he will lunge himself toward his dad without warning. It takes some mad hand-eye coordination because we have less than a second to make the handoff or Clark would be flying. I'm extremely envious of the fact that at very random moments throughout the day, he will stop what he's doing, allow Aaron to pick him up and will rest his head on his dad's shoulder for a couple of seconds. He would never do that to me or any other human being on planet Earth. There is a noticeable difference in Clark's behavior and disposition around me and when he's with Aaron. When Aaron is holding him, Clark really likes to just stare at him and smile. When I'm holding him, he is busy looking at the world around him or trying to do the Clark jig in my arms, which is not an easy thing to do. Some of the biggest smiles you'll ever get out of Clark is when he sees Aaron walk through the door after being gone all day.
We've been trying to teach him how to wave bye bye but so far all we get out of Clark is a Nazi "Heil Hitler" salute. He will just raise his arm in your general direction and expect you to do the same. Hopefully soon he will learn a simple wave and won't continue this into his adult years because the Hitler salute is probably not the most ideal gesture to greet somebody with.
He is still eating like a madman and will inhale anything we put in front of him, except whole tomatoes. He's a big fan of spaghetti, barbeque, pork tenderloin, chicken, cheese, pasta, yogurt, bread, ham, lima beans, black beans, corn, potatoes, blueberries, and I'm going to stop there because I think I could keep going for at least three more paragraphs. I give him whatever we are eating for dinner and I don't skimp on the seasonings for him. He eats the same seasoned food we eat, which includes a lot of rosemary, basil, oregano, black pepper and garlic and he doesn't seem to mind one bit. One thing I have to admit is I feel I have completely failed in the sippy cup department. He shows zero interest in drinking out of one and I have spent the equivalent of one month's mortgage payment purchasing every kind of sippy cup on the market. He will gladly chew on them, bang them around and throw them across a room but turns his nose up at the thought of using one to properly hydrate. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. On that note, Clark started drinking formula at eight and a half months and he love, love, loves it. I was scared to death to start formula because I didn't know how he would handle it after nursing for so long but he made the transition so easy for me. He might just be the best baby in the history of babies.
Perhaps Clark's biggest accomplishment of the month was his newfound ability to walk. It came out of nowhere, really. It was on a Saturday afternoon that Clark and I were just hanging out in his ridiculously gigantic sized playpen in the living room and he stood up by himself and stayed there for about ten seconds. I swear it wasn't an entire two minutes later that he had taken two steps towards me, and by the end of the night he was walking back and forth the length of the playpen. Now he pretty much toddles around the entire house, albeit very wobbly and uncomfortably scary for anybody watching him, but by george, he can do it. His favored mode of transportation is definitely crawling at this point and will really only walk when we pick him up and put him on his feet, so our lives really haven't drastically changed yet, but I can foresee in the near future a whole new definition of the word mobile.
He's really started some making crazy noises and laughing hard and loud all the time and its making for some great memorable moments in our house. He laughs really loud when we tickle his neck and feet and play tug of war with him. His sweet personality is simply out of this world. One of my favorite things he does right now is mimic our laughter. When he hears us laugh, he will try to copy us but puts zero effort into his attempt to laugh like us. Its hard to describe in writing the way he does this, but trust me on this one, its hilarious. My next goal in life is to capture this on video and put it on YouTube just to make the world a shinier place. I mentioned earlier the elephant noise he makes when he pokes his lower lip out and blows as hard as he can...well, you have not lived until you have heard this noise. It sounds like a little bit of heaven when he does it, and he does it a lot. Like, every three minutes of the day.
He's such a sweet little guy and it would be impossible to put letters together to form sentences to describe how much we love him. We get compliments everywhere we go on how content and happy he is. He smiles at strangers makes grown men baby talk to him. We love every second we get to spend with him and I know I can speak for Aaron when I say it is truly an honor to be his parent.
I'm definitely looking forward to the month ahead of us because its bound to bring with it some great times and hilarious memories. He will eat his first Thanksgiving turkey and will get some awesome and much needed time with his aunts, uncles and grandparents. His parents will celebrate six years of marriage. His dad, uncle and grandfather will drive to Texas for their annual manly hunting trip. He will most likely become a consistent walker, probably sprinter this month. He might do some early morning Black Friday shopping with me. And he will probably continue to amaze us and do new things everyday that makes us wonder what the heck we ever did to deserve him and what the heck we ever did without him. Cheers to you, Clark Rice. You are the man.