Baby J has gotten increasingly more vocal, but, of late, his favorite sounds are extended grunting (in frustration, such as when he tries to pick up a box bigger than he is, only to realize too late the laws of physics) and high-pitched squealing (in glee, such as when he sees puppies or pandas, his two new favorite animals, or when daddy comes comes home). His vocal stylings are still primitive, but his lungs are certainly developed. The other day at Mommy and Me, he was the loudest of all the children there, though the youngest by several months (excluding one baby baby who was silent the whole time) and by years in most cases. He was also the only boy (again, besides the littlest baby), as is often his lot here, where all but a tiny minority of our friends have girls and only girls.
Having one of the only boys around results in a daily confrontation with the question of nature vs. nurture and the definition of gender. Is J the loudest because he's a boy? Because he's my child? Because his dad has already taught him to love music and sound? Does J get into things, the amount and fast and furious rate of which out paces many of the girls around his age because he's a boy? Because he inherited his parents' curiosity? Because we have few locks on cabinets and he has free range of the house? Is his love of mechanical, moving parts (like his current fixation with staplers and pliers) gender-based or the result of being his father's son? There are no answers to these questions, only more questions, daily more questions.
In the meantime, we have situations like this one: Baby J loves to close doors, especially when Mommy and Daddy are on the other side of said door. The other night, he was busy closing us in, and we were protesting loudly at our imprisonment, to his endless delight. We would open the door back up, and he would close it right away, giggling the whole time. All was well until he closed us in, and somehow an unused baby gate lying against the wall on his side of the door got jostled in such a way that it got wedged up against our door and kept us from opening it more than a crack. So here we are, pushing as hard as we can to get out of our room while Baby J is wondering what is taking us so long and trying to help by pushing his little fingers into the tiny open crack. Only we couldn't keep the crack open for very long, so soon his fingers were squished in the door, we were still trapped inside, he was wailing in pain on the outside, and we had no idea how we were going to escape. The husband hurriedly put some muscle into shoving open the door while at the same time trying not to trample an already screaming Baby J. Luckily, the husband was able to break us out so we could console J and remove the offending baby gate. We are now reconsidering the value of this particular "game."