Good Job, Roman

I am afraid that Roman has become a victim, at least in terms of blog attention, of the cruel realities of birth order, with circumstances exacerbated by overly adventurous parents. When Elena was this age, I reported on and analyzed each and every new development; for Roman, the aging list of most recent posts bear record to my deficiency. New capabilities appear quickly, then become old news as he learns another new trick, and seem hardly worth writing about because I see him every day, but I forget that there are grandparents (and others) who rely on this blog for updates, now more than ever.


For instance, today I set Roman down on his feet in the middle of our living room, and he stood there for more than a minute. I was impressed and called Jenny in, but she thought it was no big deal, nothing she hadn’t seen before. He’s still unsteady–he looked like a novice surfer or skateboarder trying to maintain balance, but it won’t take much more practice before he’s rock solid, and pretty soon he’ll be taking his first steps.

Roman’s baby babbling is evolving through a proto-language stage. He has some favorite phrases, but it’s hard to know how much meaning he attaches to them. The first one we noticed, which is still by far the most common, sounds a lot like “good job.” He often says it in between bouts of clapping. He’s probably just parroting something that he hears us say, but even in that case I feel pretty good, because it means that he hears us say affirming words on a regular basis. More recently I noticed a new addition to his lexicon. Roman loves to laugh, and that means that he loves being tickled. After a solid bout of tickle time, as soon as his laughter subsides, he sometimes asks “tickle, tickle” because he wants more. In this case, he has me and Elena as examples, because we both say that when we tickle him.

Despite those examples, most of what Roman says is still intelligible only to him, and maybe the birds that he talks to while out walking. We’ll never know what he’s thinking about and saying; by the time he can actually talk his thoughts will have been changed by the very mental processes that enable his speech. The loss makes me sad, because his voice is already filled with emotion and expression.

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