gourds!Zeke is so delighted with himself.

Lately he loves to careen into my office, which doubles as our guest bedroom or the bed where Zeke sleeps with one of us when he won’t go back to bed during the night, and scramble up onto the bed and throw himself onto a pillow. He grins this huge grin like he has gotten away with something amazing. Then he pats the pillow next to him, indicating that you are supposed to lie down there with him. Then he pulls the covers up over himself and grins some more. He also loves to climb up on his sister’s bed, using the Lego bins or the dress-up bins as a stool. If there are objects sitting on the bins he will fling them away so he can climb unencumbered. If you move the bins away so as to discourage him from climbing onto Zoe’s bed, he will move them back or find some other way to scale the foot of the bed, perhaps channeling his inner Spiderman.

For an 18-month-old boy, Zeke is remarkably committed to good hygiene. For example, if the bathroom door is left open he will climb up to the sink and wash his hands with some frequency and plenty of glee. He loves turning on the water. He will also sit in the bathtub and play long after you’ve drained the water out. I don’t know why he enjoys this or how he doesn’t get cold, but sitting wet in the empty tub with his toys seems like nothing less than paradise to him. He loves the tub so much that one day when he and his sister were both driving me a bit batty, I stuck him in the tub with his clothes on. (Naked he tends to slide around some). I retrieved from a kitchen cabinet an enormous metal bowl that I have only ever used for food when I once made a huge quantity of salad for a picnic for people who were homeless. The bowl is now primarily used as a musical instrument or for science experiments. So I put some water in the bowl and threw some bath toys in and let Zeke play in the tub fully clothed until he was soaked enough to be uncomfortable. It bought me some time. We’ve recently resumed our efforts to brush his teeth because he has some now, but he prefers to do it himself. I think he is mostly brushing his tongue, but that’s important too, right?

Whether he is gathering and distributing or cuddling with gourds, or trying to scoop Chex cereal out of a snack cup with a small pasta ladle, pasta ladle!or turning on Randy’s clock radio so he can dance, Zeke does things his own unique way. He loves the co-op preschool where he goes two mornings a week. After a few mornings of crying when I dropped him off he now runs (as best he can) for the classroom and tries to scale the baby gate to get in as fast as he can to investigate the sensory table or squish playdough between his fingers. Last week I co-oped in his classroom and they were painting pumpkins with acrylic paint (the kind of paint preschoolers usually use doesn’t stick to pumpkins well, I guess. Or maybe it washes off too easily). Zeke had a paintbrush and a cup of black paint. He painted a bit on his pumpkin. Then he carefully painted the palm of each hand and all his fingers. Then he gestured for his teacher’s hand and painted it black as well. Then, as any creative genius would, he ran his fingers through his hair. Then, after washing hands, he wandered over to the book corner and laid down on a blanket and pillow and rolled around, adding his black paint touch to the pillowcase (I’ve since washed it and you’ll be relieved to know the paint came right out after being soaked in Oxi-clean.

When we drive by a playground, he squeals and claps in recognition. Yesterday at Zoe’s soccer practice he walked across the field on his own to reach the playground and did what all the four- and five-year-olds were doing. I sprinted in pursuit. He loves to carry Zoe’s rolling backpack and was rolling rolling backpack!it up and down the track around the field. Eventually he abandoned it and it sat there on the track with young cyclists and grown-up joggers maneuvering around it until I had a chance to move it at a moment when I didn’t think Zeke was going to leap from a 6-foot high play structure.

I would estimate that his sleeping through the night is up to 50% to 75% of the time. His tantrums run about five to 10 per day, particularly when you’re strapping him into his carseat or changing his diaper or taking away something that he wants but isn’t supposed to have. But when he’s not shrieking in protest, he truly is delightful, to himself and to us.