Thursday, May 29, 2008

The baby can clean

Somehow I keep omitting Owen milestones on the blog as they come and go. He started crawling on hands and knees a few weeks back, for instance, and it was a Friday and I just never got around to documenting his leap from snaking around the house to powering along on all fours. He was, after all, nearly 10 months old – about two and a half months behind Will on this mark (which I attribute partly to the fact that he sleeps so much more than Will that he has less time for learning new skills, partly to the fact that he is generally more content with life as it is and so was less eager to move away from wherever I plopped him down, and perhaps partly to the fact that as second child he suffers from more parental neglect and received less come-on-and-crawl-to-me cheerleading than Will did).

In any case, sometimes it’s the smaller milestones – the ones we make up together and that you can’t look up in a book -- that get me more excited anyway. Yesterday, for instance, Owen learned to clean up. (This was partly because, with Rob away for the night, it was the first time in a while that I’d really invited Owen to join Will and I for our nightly clean-up ritual.) Owen took great joy in throwing blocks or puzzles or small plastic animals back in their respective bins while Will and I cheered him on. And it was an infectious joy – I haven’t enjoyed cleanup time that much in months. Will, meanwhile, did some of his most industrious cleaning ever.

It is so useful having a little one for Will to “teach” and model for. In his quest to be a big boy and show his little brother how it’s done, Will more and more frequently falls into compliance with my parental desires without my even having to ask. (Makes me think back to this June 2007 story about elder brothers having higher IQs -- with researchers hypothesizing that this was due in part to the learning elder siblings do as they tutor, model for, and act as surrogate parent to their younger siblings.) Maybe, in the interest of general household cleanliness as well as Owen’s IQ, I ought to rent a younger sibling for Owen once he’s a bit older so that he can act as tutor/model/surrogate parent too. Or maybe a puppy would do?

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