There are a few little happenings and developments with the cubs that don’t really fit in with any other blog post subject ideas I’ve had recently so I thought I’d round them all up and stick them together here in an update post. However, I started writing about Bear and it went on much longer than I anticipated and with my brother and his girlfriend coming to visit tomorrow on my usual blog writing day, I don’t think I’ll get chance to write any more even if I wanted to. So, this is Bear’s update and – unless anything so amazing happens that I can’t bring myself not to blog about it immediately – the next blog post will be Tyger’s update.
‘Baby’ Bear is certainly no longer a baby! He can climb. He can really climb. Bear is more like a…goat. You know, like in those viral photos of goats in trees and on the sheer side of a dam? Or he’s like a squirrel or a monkey or…well, a bear, I guess. Black bears, in particular, are very good climbers I think. Yup, Baby Bear is like a bear!
He scales chairs to get onto the dining table, he climbs from the sofa to a coffee table to a shelf of CDs and if a chair is left along one side of the dining room it affords him opportunity to climb onto the kitchen work surface via a serving hatch between the two rooms. He has even managed to open and empty the biscuit tin on one such excursion. It’s not quite a paw in beehive for honey but he and actual bears obviously also share a sweet tooth (I’m pretty sure real bears eat honey and it’s not completely made up by A.A. Milne…pretty sure). So, going to the toilet, making a cup of tea, putting away washing, anything involving leaving the living room/dining room/hall area Bear has access to is…hazardous.
If falling from a great height due to his own error in judgement was Baby Bear’s only threat it wouldn’t be too bad. I mean, it would still be both annoying and stomach churningly alarming for me but he’d be unlikely to actually do himself too bad an injury. There is another threat, though. A loud, unpredictable, often violent threat. If Bear is a bear, Tyger is a tiger. Wild, unpredictable, prone to displays of intimidation (he screams in poor Bear’s face a lot) but will attack if necessary (you know, if you class ‘necessary’ as he gets annoyed…or excited…or tired…or angry…upset…hungry…bored…).
A couple of weeks ago Bear climbed onto one of the dining chairs and stood playing at the table. For once, he didn’t climb onto the dining table so I left him to it (watching as I made lunch). Then there was a tiger attack. Tyger ran up to Bear and pushed the chair away. Bear managed to grab the table and was left clinging on to it with his top half as his leg kicked the air like a cliffhanger in a TV show. One of those literal cliff hangers with someone actually hanging off the edge of a cliff. Luckily, at my scream, Mum ran to the rescue and grabbed Bear from the metre or so drop (which doesn’t sound like much…okay, it isn’t much but it’s still taller than poor Baby Bear). And this is the problem with Bear’s bear-like climbing. It would perhaps be bearable (ha…see what I did there?) if it weren’t for Tyger grabbing at Bear, pulling away whatever he’s climbing on, shouting at him and generally distracting him. This extra risk makes Bear’s climbing much more nerve wracking.
Climbing is not Bear’s only recent achievement. He has also started communicating much more. I don’t mean talking. Bear does not really recognise the necessity of speech. He is often able to do things for himself – if it involves retrieving something from somewhere high up, for instance – or he has started pointing and shouting. Not shouting words because, as I said, he doesn’t really do the whole speaking thing much, but shouting…noises. Bear likes vowel sounds so he can do ‘aaahhh’ and ‘oh’ and ‘uh’ and makes these noise to get attention. When he actually tries to form words he tends not to bother with consonants. ‘Hello’ becomes ‘ah-oh’ and ‘thank you’ is ‘ah-oo’ (he likes ‘uh oh’ for obvious reasons). But he can make himself understood surprisingly well with the pointing and random noise technique. He can also bring things to you, shake his head for ‘no’ and flap his hands for ‘yes’. Considering the sort of information he’s generally trying to get across is ‘I want a breadstick’ or pass me Fergus’ or ‘put this toy in this other toy’ and not…quantum mechanics, he gets by pretty well.
The other exciting news with Bear – although, this may only be relatable if you have a couple of children who have/possibly have ASD and even then I’m not convinced other people would be excited by it – is he might have his first ‘special interest’!
Tyger’s obsession is vacuum cleaners and Henry Hoover more specifically.
I wanted to show off and add a photo of the Henry Hoover cake I made for Tyger for his third birthday because he was insistent he wanted a Henry ‘Vooger’ (what he called hoovers – though, alas, he can actually say ‘hoover’ now so I think I’ll use ‘vooger’ as a term for an obsession because I’ve always thought it’s so cute) rather than anything else and despite never doing anything more complicated than butter cream icing before I was quite proud of my efforts. However, after finding a picture of said cake I remembered it has Tyger’s real name on (in place of ‘Henry’) and that would sort of defeat the whole point of using pseudonyms…
Anyway, I wrote about how Tyger’s obsession with vacuum cleaners began here in my ‘What’s Your Favourite Animal?’ post. Basically, he started out terrified of them and gradually became enthralled. The reason I mention this is because something very similar seems to be happening with Bear. The Wolf’s lovely parents bought Tyger a pack of plastic dinosaurs that make a noise when you squeeze them when they visited recently. The noise they make is pretty scary and loud and to start with Bear was terrified (possibly not helped by Tyger trying to shove all four dinosaurs in Bear’s face whilst setting them all off making noise at the same time). He stamped his feet and shook his head any time they were near and if someone (i.e. Tyger) sneaked up too close with one Bear threw it away and cried.
But he was still fascinated. He kept pointing at the dinosaurs and even though he was still scared when anyone squeezed one, once the sound had stopped he’d grin. And he started to get closer to them… It wasn’t as gradual as Tyger’s conversion to hoovers but then I guess they’re not as big or noisy. I got Bear a dinosaur book and he loves pointing to the pictures and making roaring sounds. He’s not as taken with the soft dinosaur I bought him, which makes an even more terrifying sound when it’s squeezed, but then he seems to think any fraternising with cuddly toys other than Fergus is some sort of betrayal. No other soft toys are allowed. In general, dinosaurs seem to be of great interest right now.
I wonder…will dinosaurs be Bear’s voogers?