You met a huge milestone this month. No, you didn’t say your first word or start walking. You had your first Altoid–cinnamon flavored. The box fell open and, quick as a flash, you grabbed one of the spilt Altoids off of the floor and popped it in your mouth. It was curiously strong, as advertised, yet you resisted all of my attempts to fish it out of your mouth. From the look on your face, you didn’t enjoy it much, but you kept sucking and chewing on it until it was gone. That’s my persistent little boy!
This month you became newly enthralled with how things work. For example, you will spend five full minutes concentrating on putting the lid on the water bottle. You love the water bottle so much, in fact, that it is my go-to method of distracting you away from unsafe objects and activities.
But your interest in mechanics doesn’t stop at the Nalgene. You also run your finger across the tread on your stroller tires and examine how they spin. When I chew my food, you try to cram your finger in my mouth to investigate how my teeth grind. Recently, you learned to turn the light switch on and off. And every time we walk through the door, you insist on opening and shutting the mailbox. All of this spatial awareness gets Daddy excited…Lego time must be right around the corner!
It is fascinating to watch you probe your environment, discovering new pieces of old ground every day. You crawl around the room, pull yourself up on the furniture, and poke at knobs or push buttons. Your toys are fun, but you are clearly interested in mastering every part of your territory. More and more, you play independently for longer stretches of time, secure that we are in the vicinity.
This month you have made two new friends in the neighborhood—Calvin and Noah. Both are about 15 months, walking, and saying a few words. You love playing with them on the playground, and it’s fun for us to have new parent friends, too. We are doing a trial run of a babysitting co-op with Noah’s family. It is a relief to have that type of support in the neighborhood, since most of our family is so far away.
We have also seen our LLL pals–Cora, Griffin and Ben this month, though we’ve missed baby Shannon. Hard to believe you all are going to turn one year within the next month!
As a result of all of these play dates, plus a little help from good old mom and dad, you’ve also developed some new social skills. Though you don’t talk yet, you are a great mime. You laugh loudly whenever we do, happy to be part of the fun. And you loudly babble in a conversational rhythm. You wave goodbye, though not always at the appropriate time. And, finally, after months of effort on our part, you have begun to sign. You sign for milk consistently, though it seems like you use the sign for everything. We think you’ve made the sign for daddy, too—at least the spread fingers part of it.
This week has been a rough one and I am sad to report that you were sick as a dog on your eleventh month birthday. You had your first ear infection, and with it several days of fever. Then, yesterday, you sprouted a red, angry rash—a reaction to the antibiotics. You were a miserable, clingy baby. And I was a miserable, sleep-deprived mommy.
Still, I can be having the crappiest of days, walk in the door and see you beaming at me—genuinely overjoyed to see my face. No one has greeted me so enthusiastically and consistently in my life. The power of this guileless greeting sets me right and reminds me of my priorities. It is contagious and nearly impossible for me to remain unhappy when you give me hug after hug, all the while smiling that toothy grin.
Your innocent, wide eyes make me want to do more and be better for you every day—whether that means taking you to the library, learning sign language, continuing to breastfeed into your toddlerhood, or even managing my work-related-stress better so that it doesn’t spill over into our home life.
When I was pregnant I had all kinds of ideas about what parent I wanted to be. The day-to-day parenting reality doesn’t always live up to my ideal. Sometimes I am crabby or short-tempered. Dad and I snap at each other because we are sleep deprived or stressed. Sometimes I feed you sugar or salt, even though you are not supposed to have either before your first birthday. I let you play with BPA-ridden toys because we have them and you like them. But I like to think we get it mostly right most of the time. How’s that for a parenting motto? I’m not sure how to measure the success of our parenting. But gosh do we love you. Don’t ever doubt that.
P.S. It is getting harder and harder to capture you on film because you are always on the move. I’m including this last picture, even though it kinda looks like you are pooping, because your curls slay me with cuteness, and I have to document them. Feel free to retaliate when you are old enough to understand or feel embarrassed, but until then…