Gidders the Wonder-Baby

I’ve written lots about our two oldest boys, who are constantly cracking me up and/or making me mental, sometimes in the same instance. And I’ve told plenty of stories about Maliah’s extraordinary journey in coming to be part of our family. But of course we have a fourth child who commands his fair share of our attention. So this is a post entirely about Gideon—who just may be, with all due respect to the other nine-month-olds out there, the most amazing nine-month-old currently alive.

I know everybody thinks their baby is the cutest/smartest/most fragrant. We’ve fawned over all our kids when they’re in that adorable, pre-walking, can’t-talk-back-or-destroy-the-furniture stage of life. But Gideon (a.k.a. Gidders, or Iddy Biddy Giddy) really is unusual.

For one thing, he’s hilarious. Often all you have to do is look at him and say his name, and he’ll crack up laughing. Once he’s laughing, it’s impossible not to laugh too. And when other people laugh, he laughs more. He also has a very boyish sense of humour already. When he was two months old, he laughed out loud when Xander shoved beans up his nose like walrus tusks. When he was seven months old, all Xander had to do was yell “POOOOP!” and Gideon would lose it.

(In fact, he thinks just about everything Xander does is hysterical.)

He’s incredibly engaged with the world around him. Practically from the time he was born, he’s been trying to have conversations with everyone he sees. When we take him out, people always comment on how neat it is that when they say ‘hi’ to him, as strangers often do to cute babies, his whole face lights up. He will also go out of his way to attract people’s attention. I was preaching in church about two months ago and Shawna actually had to take Gideon to the nursery, because he kept yelling out to me as if I was only talking to him.

He’s also incredibly strong. We’ve never made soft, doughy babies; all our boys have been lean and wiry. But Gideon’s practically ripped already. He’s got abs like a high-school jock. He’d be an international contender in the 40-yard crawl, and trying to change his diaper could pass as a rodeo event. Drop your guard for an instant and he’ll arch his back, pivot his hips and flip over to his hands and knees in half a second flat—which is a major hassle if you’re trying to clean his dirty bum.

Basically, he’s in denial that he’s a baby. He thinks he’s one of the big kids. He follows them around the house, inserts himself into their games, and wrestles toys away from them. This is slightly problematic, because Shawna and I aren’t ready for him to grow up yet.

Of course we’re all wistful and nostalgic, because he’s our youngest and almost certainly our last infant. I love the way he hangs onto the baby gate at the top of the stairs and smiles and giggles at me when I get home from work. I love how he instantly tucks his thumb into his mouth and snuggles down into your chest as soon as you give him his favourite stuffed bunny. I love how he can communicate exactly what he means in single blurted syllables, usually with his tongue sticking out. I kind of want to freeze him at this age—not forever, but for at least another year or so.

But we’d also like to preserve his babyhood because we’re a little nervous about what comes next. If he’s this much of a high-speed class clown when he’s NINE MONTHS OLD, what’s he going to be like when he’s three? Somehow I don’t think it’s going to be all that hard for Xander to convince  him to, say, attempt a flying leap from the kitchen table.

“Can you imagine him when he’s walking?” Shawna asked tonight as we watched him surf along the edge of the couch and yank a plastic hammer right out of Oscar’s hands.

I shook my head. “I don’t want to think about it yet.”

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