Ian took his first steps this week. Three of them to be exact. For his first ones, they were actually very stable. It was like he had been practicing somewhere when we weren't watching. Grandma and Grandpa's maybe. Or knowing Ian, maybe in his crib at night after he conned us into believing he had gone to sleep for the night. Clearly, his motive wasn't to walk, it was simply to erase any doubt in our minds that he could. He hasn't taken another step since. Why would he, he made his point.
Ian does that a lot these days; he makes his point. From an early age, Elliott always seemed to be driven to please. He wanted to make people happy. But Ian, Ian is driven to be pleased. He wants to be made happy. Don't get me wrong, I believe both boys are on their own roads less traveled to greatness. At the moment, though, one of those roads is winding along the Blueridge Mountains taking in the fall colors, the other is bouncing along one of our nation's growing number of pothole-filled interstates that sit on a federal funding list somewhere below mandatory health care for German Shepherds.
Grandma, in so many words, claims Elliott's sweet demeanor is born of the Almond genes. And Ian's orneriness, well, it must be swimming full stream ahead in the Cartwright bloodlines. I'm afraid that a jury of my peers would support my mother-in-law.
I do wonder, especially as I write this update, if I'm not guilty of creating what Elliott refers to as "The Ian Monster". After Elliott was born, we doted on his every milestone. There are certificates of achievement laying around our house that honor Elliott's first tooth, sneeze, smile, wave, and burp. There is video of his first dance (to the Notre Dame fight song). By the time Elliott turned one, he had had 12 birthday parties, one each month, with cake, ice cream, invitations and the works. Ian will turn one in a couple of weeks and I'm not sure if he has even seen cake. He might be searching for his own airtime.
I'm not confessing to some form of neglect. Not at all. My confession is that I realize I wasn't recognizing Elliott's milestones at all, but my own. All of the cool things a dad got to see for the very first time called for a celebration. But now, when poor Ian reaches the same milestones, I've already seen them. Oh, there are still tons of pictures and we make over his feats, just with less fanfare. I mean, we still celebrate New Year's Eve in Times Square, we've just decided to quit dropping that stupid ball.
In the end, I think Ian will appreciate it. I believe our laid back approach to him reaching milestones will lead to less stress. Unlike his brother. Elliott was picking out a sticker earlier this week for sleeping through the night. In the middle of his search, he began to do the potty dance. Wriggling and squirming around in obvious discomfort. He got up off the floor and darted for the bathroom. Halfway there, he stopped like he had run into an invisible wall. "My train," he said, "It came apart." He dropped to the floor and began to put back together the one piece of track that had separated from the rest of the engineering masterpiece from the night before. When he got it back in place, he leapt up again and resumed his sprint to the toilet. I stood there in a blank stare. "We've created this, haven't we," I thought.
I suppose I have a need to be concerned that Ian will detect this preferential treatment and come up with his own milestones and accomplishments. It's possible. I mean, if Elliott ever runs to me and tells me that Ian has just launched himself into the air aboard a flying saucer shaped hot air balloon and is now sailing in the skies above central Virginia, I'm getting the camera. I'm getting a camera and a notepad and when he lands, we're celebrating. In the attic.
Keep our kids, and all kids for the matter, in your prayers. Elliott has been down sick this week. Supposedly not the flu, but he had a fever over 104 for a couple of days. Thank God, grandma and grandpa kept little Ian to protect him. Of course, while they did, he dismantled their dishwasher and refrigerator. Grandma swears Ian is in line to be the next Maytag man. I think that will be cheaper than college and we'll be able to replace their appliances. It is frightening though, to hear about so many families dealing with the flu. We pray God will have his healing hand on them all.