Duncan continues to be a bright and verbally precocious child. He's sweet and affectionate, and when he isn't fresh from creating some new and interesting gigantic mess he absolutely melts my heart. His latest thing is to throw both his arms around my neck and declare, "My love you so much!" He's also a great kisser, and I am treasuring every single one because once he gets out into the wide world of peer pressure I am sure that kisses for Mama will start getting scarce. Right now he screws his eyes shut, puckers hard and kisses me full on the mouth. It's funny and sweet all at the same time.
Duncan is still very interested in horses and the riding thereof. I'm tempted to try to find a place for him to ride ponies, but I think he likes the concept way more than he would the reality right now. Actually, the reality would probably freak him out right now. The boy's survival instincts are very intact, and at only just over 26 pounds he has a fairly well-justified caution about large animals. He adores them from a distance, but he does not want them in his personal space. We had a good example of this at the Stone Zoo recently, specifically at the wolf habitat. He was happy to be looking at the wolves through the double fence, but then the kids got to the plexiglass window, and a few seconds later a wolf came up to that window ans was nose to nose with Duncan through the plexiglass. Duncan let out his familiar predator alarm cry and jumped back, quite understandably because there was a carnivorous animal four times his size just an inch away from his nose and looking at him, and I worked hard not to laugh because while it was funny to watch I prefer that he keep a healthy respect for predators.
Duncan is also very interested in fencing. Several dozen times a day he will ask to "fight swords". We have foam boffer swords at home for this very purpose, but if those aren't handy anything even vaguely phallic will do. Sticks are popular for outdoor use. I am enforcing a chivalric code: no fighting unarmed people and no head shots. Be warned that if you pick up a sword in our house you are Fair Game. No doubt many of the neighboring Cambridgevillians are appalled that my child not only has weapon toys but that I'm encouraging him in this. Personally I think his interest in the knight-in-shining-armor training package is not only adorable but healthy.
Like his big sister, Duncan loves climbing just about everything. Combined with his relatively small size, large hands, good upper body strength, precocious gross motor skills and the complete lack of fear of heights that both kids inherited from me this can lead to some nerve-wracking situations. I do let them climb, though, because I think the exercise is good for them, and frankly I have neither the energy or the heart to stop them most of the time. I remember wanting to climb rocks and trees and whatever was handy as a kid. I have noticed on the playgrounds that the local parents do seem a lot less upset about my lack of helicoptering of my climbing boy than they were when it was my girl doing similar things at the same age. Much as I'd prefer to believe that this reflects a positive shift away from helicoptering in the local community, I suspect that it is more likely do to subconscious gender stereotyping. Grrr.
Duncan has always been a bit more easy-going and flexible than his sister. Lately, though, Duncan is showing some emerging talent at manipulations. He likes to promote and strengthen his relationship with Daddy. Specifically, he prefers to do this once Mommy has made it clear that it is Bed Time, and there is no way in heck she is staying up any longer. This is when he will declare that he wants Daddy, and Daddy frequently falls for it, which is just fine with me because I still get what I want, which is to go to sleep. It's a good thing my parents don't read my blog because they'd be tsking with disapproval over our lack of a firm bedtime. Growing up it was an article of faith that bedtime was 8pm whether we were sleepy or not. Of course I also remember my parents complaining about me getting up before 6am and waking them up ungodly early. Right now we generally have nowhere to be in the mornings and if Duncan sleeps from 10:30 pm to 8:30 am I don't see how that is functionally any different than sleeping from 8pm to 6am.
I've been writing this post over the course of two weeks. No doubt I will think of many more Duncan specific things I should have mentioned as soon as I publish it, but I'd better just post it now or it won't ever happen.