At this stage in his development, Tony is more of a pet than a person.
Now, this may cause some of you humanists out there to gasp, but before you flog me for a violation of baby rights, let me assure you that we certainly don't treat him like a pet...he just fondly reminds us of one.
Tony spends most of his day crusing around the house independently, much like an enthusiastic puppy, visiting room-to-room to see who is where and what is going on. Tony doesn't walk yet but is a very proficient crawler, so instead of hearing approaching footsteps, we hear a shuffle-shuffle sound, like the scraping of paws along the floor.
Joey and I, in particular, enjoy this approaching sound when we are in the middle of lessons, and usually stop what we are doing to await his appearance in the doorway. We are generally rewarded with a huge smile and a distorted "hi" when he sees us.
Tony spends a few minutes in each room he visits, tossing items out of drawers, emptying the trash can, generally making a mess, and then moves on to see who is in the next room and what they are doing there. It is impossible to describe what a joy this is to us all.
Jay will be in his office, typing away on his computer, when he is happily distracted by his small visitor. After a hug and some slobbery open-mouthed Tony kisses that only a parent could love (and tend to remind one of dog kisses), he is off again, on his endless rounds of exploration.
Each day, Tony finds me in the shower, where his routine consists of coming into the bathroom, pressing his lips against the glass door, turning the water on in the adjoining tub (wreaking havok with my water supply), spreading my various toiletries across the floor, and joyfully moving on. It is almost as if he considers it his guard dog duty to be sure everything is as it should be and all things happen in their proper order.
He never fails to find me when I am unloading the dishwasher, and often travels long distances to be sure I never engage in this task alone. He loves to "help" by removing the silverware and spreading it around the kitchen, so that it needs to be put right back in for the next cycle. The way he comes at breakneck speed when he hears the dishwasher door open reminds me of how cats come sprinting through the neighborhood when they hear the can opener.
Tony is lightning fast down the stairs when he hears the refrigerator open, so he won't miss an opportunity to unload the ketchup and mustard bottles. A bit like a dog runs to the door if he hears his leash rattle.
And don't forget the laundry rotations, where, for whatever reason, he finds the placing of the lint ball in the trash can offensive and promtly removes it for me, as a cat goes after a ball of knitting yarn put away in its bag.
Tony moves through the house with the innocence and joy of a dog, and the independence and assuredness of a cat. He doesn't yet speak, motors on all fours, and greets us with the baby equivalent of a wagging tail. He is delighted to discover a ball to bat around, and chews on things he can get his hands on with the relish of a shoe-eating puppy. And, he looks just as guilty when a passerby identifies contraband and promptly removes it from his mouth (for instance, the lollipop he pilfered from his sister's party favor bag that she foolishly left within his reach).
Before we know it, Tony will be a walking and talking toddler. Until then, I am enjoying the pet-like person that he is right now. For no dog or cat I can imagine will ever delight me half as much with their pet antics as Tony does with his.