- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 1, 2000

Something about having a birthday party must have given Jeremy, my younger son, the impression he is all grown up.
He turned 1 on June 22, and almost overnight, he changed from baby to toddler. He became Hurricane Jeremy. He brushes his Cheerios off his highchair tray onto the floor if he doesn't like the way they look, taste or lie on the tray. He pulls himself up everywhere he can the coffee table, the dining room chairs, Mommy's or Daddy's legs.
Worst of all, he climbs stairs with a maniacal giggle whenever he gets the chance. We have gates at the top and bottom of the stairs in our living room, but every once in a while, we'll take a gate down to sit on the bottom step to put on older son Sean's shoes or our own. The second Jeremy sees that gate go down, he's there, trying to squeeze by and get upstairs.
I misjudged Jeremy's floor speed the other day. We were downstairs. I was checking e-mail in our makeshift home office and had left the door open so I could see out into the recreation room. The boys were watching a "Veggie Tales" video, or so I thought.
I walked out into the rec room. Sean, enraptured by his video hero, Larry-Boy, was on the sofa. Jeremy was nowhere to be seen. I panicked. I had been watching the room the whole time. How could he have vanished into thin air?
"Where's Jeremy?" I asked.
"He went upstairs," Sean said.
"He what?" I turned to see the back of Jeremy's diaper and the soles of his feet churning across the carpet to the foot of the stairs. I raced over to cut him off at the steps. He giggled with a tone that suggested, "You may have foiled me this time, Mr. Big, but we'll meet again."
We should feel lucky, actually. Sean's big developmental month was his 10th month, when he learned to walk, crawl and pull himself up. Yes, in that order don't ask me how. Jeremy, on the other hand, floated along peacefully in infantland his entire first year. His only form of mobility was an awkward tummy crawl in which he pulled himself along with his hands and forearms. It would take him forever to make his way along the carpet.
Now, everything has changed. He crawls; he stands; he pulls himself up and maneuvers sideways around the coffee table and along the sofa. He is fascinated by staircases. And, like Arnold Schwarzenegger in "The Terminator," he will … not … be … stopped.
If you stand in his path, he'll go around you. If you take a toy away, he'll go after it and latch onto it with a death grip. Sean, three years older, has had to struggle sometimes to pry a toy away from him.
Ah, yes, Sean. I think back to the blissful days of Sean's infancy, when Lisa and I had to push Sean through just about every developmental stage. He didn't want to crawl. He didn't care if you took toys away from him; he would find something else to play with. He was so sweet, so compliant, so stationary.
He, too, got over that phase somewhat, and today, on the verge of turning 4, he likes to run and play and throw balls and swing bats like any other little boy.
But Jeremy still has one thing Sean never had: that laugh. That mischievous, glint-in-the-eye giggle. There's stubbornness in it, a refusal to yield. A timbre that says, "Somehow, someway, I'm getting up those stairs." Next month, he will have a different, more ambitious goal.
Something tells me our adventures with this little guy are just beginning.
Mark Stewart, a staff writer for the Family Times, is the father of two boys, Sean and Jeremy. He can be reached at stewar@twtmail.com.

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