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At 11 months

At eleven months, my son has learned that, if he claps his hands and laughs, then all the adults around him will do the same. He has also learned to extend a morsel of food to your mouth, thereby inducing chopping and slurping sounds from the otherwise serious and self-controlled.

He has decided that he is too big for a bottle. He began taking his mother’s pumped breast milk in a Sippy cup. Just recently, he has concluded this is too juvenile as well and now will only drink with the top off.

He has taken an active interest in our dog’s nutrition. He magnanimously drops care packages from his highchair above.

At eleven months, he looks at books with studied concentration, deciphering those squiggly lines and brightly colored pictures. He subtly and craftily informs his father that the book is finished by promptly tossing it across the room.

Speaking of that, he seems to think that all objects have been placed on tables in order for him to re-arrange them on the floor below. He is quite the interior decorator.

Most of all, he likes to walk. Well, he likes to be walked, by which an adult supports him by holding on to one hand. He motors around and around and around the room until your back starts to hurt, especially if you are six feet and three inches tall; and so, you let go – gently of course – and he plops down on the ground on his padded behind. He’s fine, just fine thank you, but so, so mad that he starts to cry until you relent and allowed yourself to be walked again.

I’m sure it is occasionally frustrating for him to know exactly what he wants all of the time and occasionally have to put up with such uncooperative parents, but I think that he is training us pretty well. After all, he’s only been on the job for eleven months.

Today, I walked to the office as I have done so many months previously. But after eleven months of learning, I noticed a butterfly flittering back and forth along the gravel road just ahead. I was aware of the freshly fallen leaves crunching underfoot, a song in time with the rhythm of my footsteps. I observed the sunlight sparkling magically through the empty spaces in the trees where those leaves had been. At eleven months, I am thankful for all that he has taught me.

About Andrew Taylor-Troutman

I am a pastor and a preacher, a writer, a husband and a father. My professional and personal lives are deeply involved with story-telling: stories that are silly and poignant or profound and commonplace. Stories that are tear-jerkers and belly-shakers. Stories about my son, Sam, and the congregation I serve, New Dublin Presbyterian Church. Each in its own way, these personal narratives shed light on the great story that God is writing with humankind and all of creation.

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