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Hanging on to the babbling baby phase
Babbling Baby Bopper
WAYLEE-BOPPER is still at the phase where he expresses his feelings and needs in an increasingly complex but still pre-verbal fashion. This contrasts with his big brother Thatcher who has definitely mastered ‘the gift of gab.’

GAYS MILLS - I spend a lot of time discussing the comical personality styling of Thatcher in my column. Often, I also share his commentary on Facebook and with my coworker in the form her daily ‘Thatcherism.’ His legacy grows stronger with every passing day. He even says charming or comical things in his sleep sometimes.  

Not to be outshined, his little brother Waylon, aka Bopper, is developing his own personality at an accelerated pace. I shouldn’t be as surprised by this as I am, because, after all, the little thing is already almost a year old.  But, it seems as though he’s finally blasted out of the wiggly-potato-with-no-personality state and full on into a funny little guy. 

Bopper has marked this special occasion by what we dare to believe might have been his very first official word, “HEY!” 

He has for a while now been doing the adorable baby-babble thing. His favorite phrase being “bah bah bah” with the occasional distressed “ma ma ma!” mixed in. But, he usually gets his point across with affectionate raspberry blowing, lip smacking and the occasional dissatisfied I’m-hungry-feed-me-NOW shriek.  

Sunday morning, he was the first of us to rise and shine, up before the sun. He happily played between his mom and dad, likely relishing in the calm that resulted from the Big Brother still snoring softly in his own bed.  Bops bopped between Chasca and I, playfully cooing and gurgling as a happy baby does, pulling on our hair and grabbing at our sleepy eyelids. 

Using my head for balance, the brave baby pulled himself to a standing position. Happy with his accomplishment he began to bounce gleefully. Just as he was bopping with joy, his dad playfully reached and pinched at his adorably plump thigh. No sooner did Chasca release his grasp on the baby than did Bop squeak out what clearly sounded like ‘HEY!’ to two overtired parents. 

Eager to hear our baby repeat his single syllable exclamation we immediately began harassing him for more. “Waylon, Waylon! Say HEY! HEY! WAYLON!” We pleaded with the child, our tone hungry with desperation and excitement. 

All of this hubbub and chatter soon woke up the self-proclaimed “Big, big, biggest, big brother ever,” and he climbed aboard the big, big bed.  “Your brother just said HEY!” Chasca told Thatcher with excitement. “Awwww little tuutie brother ham ham on the slam you’re talkin’!” Thatcher praised Waylon before commencing to neigh in his face (“Like a horse fly!” Thatcher explained.) In response, his brother made a squealing lunge toward him and attempted to suck on his chin, I can only assume in an effort to show his affection. 

Doing the mom thing now for nearly three-and-a-half years, I know it was probably a bit of a fluke; but exciting nonetheless. A glimpse into the next phase, as my last baby slowly moves out of infancy and into toddlerhood.  How can this be happening already!? Chasca and I made the decision with ease that two is most CERTAINLY enough kids for us. But, staring into the end of our time with a sweet, chubby, gibberish-speaking baby in the house will forever be bittersweet.  Having a second baby has taught me to enjoy the milestones as they come and try not to rush them too much. Try not to worry about them, and try just to catch them before they’re old hat. 

I saw one of my nephews this weekend, who will be turning two on the publication date of this column. He’s entering the next phase of toddlerhood, a step past Wayls, but not quite up to Thatcher or his brother who is five. Somewhere between baby talk and being able to articulate clearly like a big kid.  

His limited vocabulary (in proper English instead of babble) doesn’t stop him and his mom from having full on conversations though. I watched as they engaged in a full discussion on which of the four door options he should use to go out and play with his brother. I didn’t understand a word he was saying, but his mom clearly caught every bit.  It was a sweet and special moment to watch, as I knew that was where I was heading. Lil em colmn 10-24-19

As fun as wild, crazy, big kids are, know it’s no time soon for sweet little Wayls, and that we still have a long blissful time to spend enjoying the last baby in our house.