Thursday, September 21, 2006

Equinox Eve

Happy Equinox; I can't beleive it's only been a quarter of a year since we signed the papers on our new house. We're mostly in and living out of boxes. Not all of the paint is done and we still have some trim to finish. The old place still has some minor things in it that we'll have to taxi over to the new house.

On the Arthur front...

Arthur can walk -- sort of -- have I mentioned that yet? The last three weeks are sort of a blur. In any case, Arthur and I have a game where I'll help him stand, and then I'll say, "Ready? Three, Two, One!" and let go. He'll take a few steps and then more or less fling himself forward for me to catch. Sometimes I don't always get there in time and he tumbles onto the grass.

We also take walks to the local stores. Arthur can push his stroller about the length of a block. He's also acting like a boy; he really likes trucks and today he was very excited to find a tether-ball. And while he likes birds, airplanes seem to be better. He's climbing everything he can get to -- like the chase lounge, and most recently, the kitchen table chairs.

He's also quite the computer geek. He really wanted to play with the computer at the doctor's examining room, and he was very happy when he got a chance to bang on the keys of a Eugene Library Computer. He was very dissapointed that a spare monitor that was on the bedroom floor wasn't plugged in.

Oh, yes. At fifteen and a half months, he's figured out that electrical appliances don't work unless you plug them in first -- we have a select comfort bed and Mark says that Arthur plugged in the little air pump so he could hear it wheeze as it inflates our bed to rock hardness.

The cat is here in the new house, and she's been using her powers of gravity control for evil. I don't know how an eight pound cat can sound like a herd of elephants at 3 AM, and I suspect that she's figured out where the most resonant spots of the house are. That, and she continues to take delight in stepping on our heads. I slept much better the week she was still at the old house, and I've come to the conclusion that a good half of the bumps in the night that used to wake me up in the old house convinced that raccoons, tramps or theives were trying to get into the house were in fact Muriell.

As if that wasn't enough, I'm pretty sure that she's been teaching Arthur how to whine. We've been working on that one. When Arthur points and grunts at something -- usually food -- instead of just giving it to him we ask him if he would like more of whatever it is and we use the sign language for it. I think we're having pretty good luck using Skinnerian opperant conditioning to reward him with what he wants when he signs for it.

When Arthur isn't whining, he's saying some words. Probably his favorite word is 'no.' When he's just saying no to say no, I do try to turn it into a game by saying 'yes', and it usually goes back and forth with no and yes for a few rounds and then we switch to 'Daaad' and 'Arthur.' Arthur also says the word 'hot', which he combines with 'ouch' -- so he sounds a little Scottish and says, 'hoouch'. I've been playing a lot of Rex Harrison singing 'Why Can't The English Teach Their Children How to Speak;' we'll see if that has any effect.

The latest word I've been trying to teach Arthur is 'Gollum'; he thinks it's about as funny as I do.
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