The boy amazes me because everyday he finds a new way to slam the phone. He doesn’t slam his play phone. He pushes it until it scrapes or scoots across the floor but he won’t slam it. No, he slams the real phone. Everyday for minutes and minutes and not quite hours he slams the phone.
He started right before we had to buy a new one. We had two handsets. One broke months ago. When we replaced the whole phone system, the second, now unused, real cordless phone became his latest delight. It joined the ranks of teethers and remotes and sits in his basket of favorite things, waiting for him to tip it over so that everything from books to toys spills on the floor to offer a personal joy-filled greeting to the kid who came back to play.
He takes the phone, pushing it in front of him as he crawls. In between pushes, he’ll glance up or to the side. He’ll look for me or his mother. He’s getting clingy, as Dawn says, so he wants to know where we are. He’ll moan and whine and pretend to cry until he sees us. But there he is with the phone. He’ll stop crawling, sit up and lift the phone to his mouth.
I remember when it mattered what he put in his mouth. I remember pulling boots from his hands. I remember running in front of him to remove purses from his path. I remember taking the soft rubber covers off the bathroom doors so he couldn’t pull them up and try to taste them. They still wait on the bathroom counter, hoping to find their homes again, and Dawn reminds me to be careful because the tub and walls can get scratched easily.
It still matters that the boy wants to eat shoes. That’s my limit. I mean, they are shoes. But it matters less since he puts everything in his mouth. Everything. I’m told it’s his way of learning the world. Part of what makes this stage so funny is that it makes me remember some of the stuff my family said I ate. Which you couldn’t pay me to post on a blog.
Aside from his diet of all things reachable, he lifts his phone, beating it on the floor in general and on the concrete slab at the balcony window sill. He pounds it against the fireplace until the mounting echoes a hollow tone, contrasting the slap and scape of the phone against the wood floor. He’ll pull it and clap that thing in his hands like a tambourine. He’s making music already.