Part of the joy of parenting is watching your kids grow into who they are

The little man in our house is becoming rather insistent on getting his way. His non-verbal confidence occasionally grates on everyone else in the house, except the dog, Suzy.

James will turn 14 months old next week, and although the number of words he can actually articulate can be counted on a single hand, we’ve quickly learned the diminutive man knows what he likes and when he likes it.

The once docile child, almost angelic-like at times, has become a bit of an insistent bear.

At his six-month pediatrician visit, we were fully prepared for a ferocious reaction to his shots. Gripping him tightly as the nurse popped one thigh and then the other, the silence was deafening.

Surely, I thought, James is so pained, so incensed that he’s about to let out a cry of biblical proportions. This was the calm before the devastating storm.

Then nothing.

He didn’t flinch.

He didn’t whimper.

And he didn’t cry.

He looked at his leg and the strange new bandages and then at the nurse.

Then he started looking around the exam room as if to ask, “What else have you got?”

Now, he will bawl if you take something away from him, change his diaper or generally do anything he isn’t interested in doing.

His communication on his likes and dislikes can be crystal clear.

He discovered the amazing goodness of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers recently.

Daddy takes the blame for that one.

Now, if you pick him up he will often angrily gesture toward the cabinet and get fussy if you don’t walk in that direction.

You’ll get a grunt and the full weight of his body — approximately 25 pounds — thrust in that direction so hold on with both hands.

Once in front of the cabinet he smiles widely as he opens the cabinet door and sees the box of orange goodness inside.

A few days back, I’d picked him up around dinner time so to no surprise, he motioned and grunted toward the cabinet where the Goldfish are kept.

No sooner than the door opened did I see his hand fling upward to the top of the cabinet. That’s not where we keep the Goldfish.

“Julie, do you know what James might be motioning to at the top of the cabinet? He seems to be pointing a box of … Ritz Bits?”

“Um, I may have given him part of one the other day.”

Busted.

Both of us were guilty. I started the Goldfish and Julie ramped it up a notch.

He still eats plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables, but even there his once easy-to-please mannerisms have become touchier these days.

He’s quick now to ignore something he doesn’t like on his plate or throw his body around in his high chair in frustration if he sees something he wants to eat on the table that hasn’t been offered.

But of late he’s begun throwing — bits of food, sippy cups, whatever.

This is a double-edged sword for Suzy, who at 15 or 16 years old just doesn’t have the physical dexterity to dodge flying sippy cups.

But, and here’s the best part for her, Suzy knows that James being put in the high chair means all sorts of food will soon begin raining down around her, and it’s utter heaven for her.

This of course has led to James’s dog fascination. He currently gives a low, double-grunt for the word dog, which is an attempt, we think to say “woof, woof.”

Words will come soon enough, but for now we’re enjoying seeing his little personality come out and see his likes and dislikes, Ritz Bits and all.

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