Secret Diary of Benji Ferguson: One Year

Yesterday I turned one year old, and this reminds me that some months have elapsed since I’ve had the opportunity to update this log. In times past, I would have felt some concern on account of my responsibility to report in, but now, I confess, that life — the training, the exercises, the very worldview — they all seem hazy, someone else’s dream. My life has moved on. I no longer expect to return to secret organization to report back, because Mommy and Daddy have shown me the truth. Now I have more important things to do. For example:

  • I’ve mastered Army crawling, this mode of locomotion has served me well for months and, indeed, allowed me to progress beyond the rather crude rolling with which I began my independent locomotion career. However, one can only move so fast Army crawling. That is why, in the last two weeks, I decided to adopt hands-and-knees crawling. This provides me with the notable benefits of traveling faster than Mommy and Daddy over short distances; keeping my bare tummy from getting rug burns when I’m not wearing a onesie; and allowing me to look around and see things higher up more easily. It also is much easier to transition to and from sitting from this position.
  • Of course, crawling only gets a baby so far. I’ve noticed recently that Mommy and Daddy have been holding out on me for some time: They keep all sorts of fascinating stuff up high, in areas out of my reach. Or at least, what used to be out of reach, because once I saw the fun blinking lights, breakable objects, and spillable liquids kept above my head height, I immediately decided to start working on standing up. Right now I still need to pull up and hold on to furniture (including mobile furniture like whichever of my caretakers proves convenient), and I haven’t yet figured out how to move side-to-side (“cruise” is the term I’ve heard used), but I’m working on that. I have at least achieved enough stability to stand balancing only with one hand. Mommy and Daddy follow me around very carefully now; they seem to think I’m a hazard. Can’t imagine why.
  • Food! Oh, I do love solid food. That is, I love it most of the time. Sometimes I don’t really feel like it at all, actually, and then I pick it up and hold it over my head and then drop it, massage it into my hair or face, or smoosh it around on my tray so that Mommy and Daddy don’t feel bad that they took it out and I don’t want it. Okay, I admit, I’ve not yet turned down cheese. I love cheese… except for the brie Mommy gave me one time. That, I spit out. Who would voluntarily expose their tongues to such flavors? But Mommy says babies can’t live on cheese alone, so I eat beans and avocado with avidity. I like raspberries, apricots, nectarines, peaches, blueberries, and strawberries when I can get them; not so much applesauce, which seems to puzzle my parents. I also like eating whatever the grown-ups around me are eating, and by actively begging, I have received lunch meat, pasta, rice, salmon, halibut, potatoes, very soft carrot bits, banana, honeydew melon, tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich (a combination surely invented by a genius)… I forget what all. Eggs make my tummy itchy, though, so I don’t eat those.
  • Oh, yes, I almost forgot to mention talking. Mommy and Daddy constantly make noises at themselves and at me. It’s taken me some time to realize that, beyond the entertainment factor of watching their faces contort amusingly and hearing the absurd squeaks and grunts they produce, these sounds seem to actually have some kind of meaning. I’ve been working on reproducing those sounds, but so far to no avail. My parents mimic the sounds I make back to me, but they don’t seem to understand that I want them to do something. Hello, I’ve been in my car seat long enough! No need to spend more time in here! I’m all done and ready to get out! –they don’t seem to get the message, and sometimes I get so frustrated, I just have to yell! Sometimes I yell anyway, of course, just for fun. I do know how to tell them “all done” by waving my hands a certain way, but that only works sometimes. I’ve tried telling them “all done” when they’re changing my diaper or when I’m in my car seat too long, but it doesn’t work then. Is this language thing contextual? I don’t understand the nuances, and clearly more research is required.
  • I’m having fun playing with toys like pot lids that spin on the kitchen floor, drawers with pulls that open (and sometimes bite my fingers – oww!), the tags that seem to appear on every object, oh and of course all the actual toys provided by grown-ups. I don’t really have any favorites, although I spend quite a bit of time playing with the pirate ship great-Pop pop made for me… and I do enjoy putting lids into and out of the lid bank (a yogurt container with a Medela-bottle-lid-sized hole cut in the top, and a half-dozen Medela bottle lids). I like books, too, not so much to read in standard left-to-right page-by-page order but to flip the pages randomly back and forth. I’m not so patient with reading stories as I was; there’s just so much to learn and explore. I also like other babies, but they aren’t very tolerant about my exploring by pulling hair, poking eyes, and grabbing skin.

In short, I’m too busy to worry about subverting Mommy and Daddy. I’ve got things to do, places to go! Yesterday I turned one year old, and my new motto is “Go, go, go!”

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Benji making a pot lid spin.