The baby has found a cassette tape. After much work, he manages to take the tape out of the case. He opens the case, examines the little spindles that hold the tape in. Now he wants to close the case, but he's pressing the sides around the wrong way. He presses and presses, to no avail. He begins to grunt, and his arms are shaking with effort. I come over to see what's going on. He hands the tape case to me. I close it for him. He examines the closed case, opens it, and tries to close it the wrong way again. He hands it to me again; I close it for him again. He opens it again; struggles again.
I get the camera and try to take a picture of him struggling with the tape case. Before I can get a good shot, he drops the tape case and comes after the camera, covering the lens with his grasping hand. He takes the camera from me, stops to take off his diaper, then stands up, leaning against an armchair, to examine his prize. Thinking that the removed diaper was a pee-sign, I bring the potty to him and hold him over it. He squirms out of my grasp, irritated, and leans against the chair with the camera again, but he's unsteady, and he falls over. Surprised, though not, I suspect, especially hurt, he begins to cry.
I pick him up and comfort him. I bring out his new alphabet-block-wagon in its box. Immediately distracted from his tears, he helps me pull it out of the box, then takes it to the corner of the room. He sits in the corner, his back to me, taking blocks out of the wagon and throwing them over his shoulder. For some reason - has he hit himself with a block? - he begins whimpering as he does this, and in a few minutes, he is back to crying again, crying and throwing alphabet blocks over his shoulder.
I pick him up again and comfort him again and set him down again, and he is off to push buttons on the stereo. He turns the radio on, then off, on, off, on, off. This has been only a few minutes. This does not include the part of the day when he put his fingers inside the dog's ear; this does not include the part of the day (the many parts - this is a favorite activity) when he climbed onto the back of the couch to push the intercom button, thus broadcasting his yammering to the sidewalk; this does not include the part of the day when he hit himself in the head by pulling out a kitchen cabinet drawer; this does not include the part of the day when he dropped his bowl of yogurt on the dog; this does not include the part of the day when he flushed the toilet so many times in a row that it went on strike and wouldn't flush again for a good half an hour. This has been only a few minutes of toddlerhood; according to what I've read, we have two more years to go.