One of the neatest things about being the father of an 18-month-old boy – has it been that long already? – is the landmark.

By landmark, I mean all the little achievements you see your kid make as he piles on the days, weeks, months and year(s) – first walk, first smile, first laugh, first cry, first bath, first fall, first scratch, first blood, first snot, first pee on carpet, first poo on floor (yes, it’s happened), first every so on and on and on and on.

And recently, he’s started to talk. Not quite full sentences yet – he’s basically at the Sly Stallone monosyllabic level of conversation. When I say something to him, he’ll go “YEAH!” “UH!” “DA!” and so on, and that’s enough to tell me that he knows what I’m saying to him. A dog walks by and he says “DOG-gie!” “DOG! Gie!” while pointing at it. This always elicits huge smiles from the dog’s owner who thinks it’s the cutest thing on the planet. I also venture to suggest that perhaps they realize that yes, there is indeed a difference between having a pet and having a child. Some people – childless ones – don’t seem to know. Trust me, I know.

So all this started happening in the last two months. He’s also learned to say “Ball!” and also point at his eye, ear, mouth, nose, etc. and say the words connected with each. X is a Portuguese speaker, so he’s learned to say some things in Portuguese – “Agua!” “Naris!” “Olha!” And so on.

But the best bit is the way he says “HI!” and “BYE!” with fervent energy, while waving his hand at whoever or whatever he’s saying hi and bye to. In fact, when I think about it, I think “BYE!” is his first real word. It happened at the daycare, when we picked him up from his very first day there, and he said “BYE!” while waving. My jaw dropped when he did that. I was just stunned, and proud.

I’ll stop right there. There are zillions of landmarks, but talking is one of the very best of them. I’m really realizing that I’m interacting with our boy more than ever, and starting to enjoy my time with him much, much more than ever. That’s a topic for another blog post.