I swear to you, he changed overnight.
He's like a total walking, talking (okay, blabbering), responsive child now. After so many months and endless hours of crying upon crying (have I mentioned he's been our crier?) and us not really knowing how to console him, his frustrations are seemingly dwindling away little by little. He nods his head yes and no when asked his opinion. He follows directions when NZ tells him to go lay on his pillow for bedtime milk. He knows where his blankets are and grabs them when he's tired and finds his favorite pillow to lay on all the while, never losing that thumb of his.
He gives kisses. Big open mouth slobbery kisses.
He also hits. Like, hard. We've already started reprimanding him for hitting and other unfavorable behaviors, and he really doesn't like getting in trouble for that! He has the cutest bottom lip pout I have ever seen.
Gino loves the park and the beach. He loves our yard. Often times after he wakes, he wanders out back in our dew covered grass and plays in the kids' play kitchen for what seems like an eternity (or just long enough for me to get beds made and breakfast served). He can climb our retaining wall and knows how to get down from the second level of it, but still needs help when he gets to the very top level. And yes, it still makes me nervous watching him climb. He spends time digging up Sal's buried treasures (aka bottle caps) and playing with our fleet of Bruder trucks.
He hates diaper changes and his high chair. He loves snacks. He loves emptying our snack cabinet onto the floor and stepping on everything that's crushable. I remember Sal going through the same phase at this age and am ever so thankful that we have cabinet locks in America.
My favorite thing about my big boy are his cuddles. While it's exhausting to parent a high needs child, I think it would be exponentially harder to parent a child who didn't want anything to do with me. He loves to climb into my lap and sit with me while we watch tv or read a book. He loves to pull on my pants until I pick him up. As soon as he is in my arms, in goes his thumb and down goes his head onto my shoulder. It's clear to me that I am his safe place. What better honor could a mama have?
He's just making sure that no matter how old he gets, he will always be the baby. My baby.