Little boy, you are 11 months old today! And while these monthly letters always focus on the past month, let me just take a moment to point out that you will be a year old in a month. ONE YEAR OLD. Did someone fast-forward the last six months? Because they have flown by.
This last month has been your craziest yet. You've accomplished so much and been so many places, it's hard to know where to start.
Of course, we'll start with the big one. This month you learned how to walk. When we were on vacation in Lake Tahoe, I put you down on the floor and all of a sudden, the past five months of walking holding our hands and along the furniture all came together and you took your first steps on your own. We were so proud of you and the family was there to witness it and everyone clapped and yelled for you. You looked so proud of yourself and loved being the center of attention.
You kept practicing and now you can walk about eight feet on your own, when you really concentrate on it. For the most part, you take several steps from person to person and when you feel really daring, you will let go of the couch or table and toddle on over to another toy or person. You fall really gracefully, though, plopping down on your butt or putting your arms out to stop yourself.
The walking was preceded by the emergence of your very first tooth earlier in the month. Finally! You were biting and drooling, your cheeks were bright red and you were so fussy I took you to the doctor, thinking you had another ear infection. But you were sent on your merry way and the next week, the bottom right tooth cut through.
Last week, your second bottom tooth made its appearance, with as much drool and biting, but a little less fuss. That's not to say you weren't fussy. Oh but no. But this was just slightly less shrill and whiny.
Your love of waving hello and goodbye has continued unabated. It's especially funny now because you will people to see you and wave back. You'll wave at random strangers in airports and restaurants and keep waving until they acknowledge your adorableness with a smile or a wave of their own. And once they do, you laugh and smile as if to say "Ha, my cuteness wins every time." It's impossible to resist your chubby little fist opening and closing. You also enjoy waving during mealtime, so we often have to stop and put the spoon down so we can wave back, and you've also snuck a few in while breastfeeding. My favorite, though, was a few days ago when you were waving in your sleep, with your hand tucked up near your chin while I was rocking you.
Your sleep has vastly improved this month. While we were on vacation, we enforced the Cry It Out policy once again and after one night, where you woke four times, you were back to sleeping 12 hours overnight with a brief feeding around 5 a.m. And that makes everyone in our house happy. You are more pleasant to be around when you get more sleep, and you take better naps when you are rested. Your naps are generally around an hour twice a day now, which allows everyone to catch his or her breath for a little while each day.
We're trying to transition you off baby food and it's been slow going. You love the stage 2 pureed foods, and want nothing to do with the chunkier stage 3 offerings. But we're gradually getting you to eat a little more people food. You can eat a cut-up turkey sandwich now, and actually seem to enjoy it, and you inhale the chicken noodle soup we get for you at a neighborhood organic food store. You definitely want to eat whatever we are eating now, though, as evidenced by your begging and crying whenever we sit down and eat with you in the room. It's still easy to trick you, though, by putting your cheerios on our plate and feeding them to you.
Your play has really changed this last month as well. You now like to roll trucks and cars back and forth and crawl along while pushing them. You also got a few push-toys for Christmas and Hanukkah that you like to tool around the house with. Your new favorite thing to do is empty the toybox of all the toys, leaving them all within two feet of the toybox. It's a wonder you can even move around in the piles you create.
You also have an amazing memory now. You will root around the toybox until you find just the item you are looking for, throwing things out until you find the object of your desire. Sometimes, it can be as small as a purple linky. And when you find what you're looking for, you turn it over, inspecting it, before placing it your mouth. Apparently, all toys taste different and you must be preparing for your eventual role as "toy taste-tester."
For the last few months, you have done the cutest thing and I need to mention it before I forget. When you get excited about something, you will wave your arms up and down super fast and either laugh or do this crazy inhalation noise that sounds like you are sucking the life out of something. It's hilarious and I crack up every time.
This month we dragged you all over creation for the holidays and vacation. We spent parts of Dec. 23-26 in five different houses and we logged 13 hours of driving. But you were a trooper and when we left for Lake Tahoe on the 27th, you acted like a seasoned traveler. You were well-behaved on the plane and didn’t miss a beat exploring a new house and new surroundings. We could have done without the 5 a.m. wakeups due to the time change, but you did sleep through the night while we were there, so we can’t complain too much. You saw snow for the first time, but you weren’t too excited about going out in your sled or hanging out in the snow. You did, however, seem to enjoy a gondola ride to the top of the mountain.
You are such a happy baby, and I have so much fun just hanging out with you now. I also love watching you and Daddy play together. Just the other day I could hear peals of laughter coming from the living room and I looked in to see Daddy rolling around on the ground with you, and you trying to run him over with your push toy. You also have a game you play with Daddy when he's wearing a baseball hat. When you see the hat on him, you book over to where he is and grab it off his head. Then you chew it and try to get it back on his head. You could play this game for hours -- it never gets old -- and is always accompanied by Daddy saying "Oh no! You got Daddy's hat!" and then you squeal and laugh.
But it's not all loud and rough and tumble play with my little boy. You love to look at books now, and will sit quietly while we turn the pages, or you'll "read" them by yourself, turning the books over and over and opening to random pages. Just this morning, you took every book in your toybox out (there were 17, I counted) and spread them out on the floor. At some point during the day, you had looked at every one of them. But your favorite, by far, are the ones with real pictures of babies and people in them. You also love a picture book you got for Christmas with photos of our whole family -- Mommy, Daddy, Grandmas, Grandpas, Aunts and Uncles -- and you inside. There are lots of kisses given to the pictures and you are fascinated by the images of yourself.
The only downside of all this independence and learning is that you can't be bothered to stop what you are doing for the lowly diaper change. And since there's so much to look at and do, you try to roll off the changing table or squirm your way out from under our hands. Diaper changes had become a rather unpleasant fight with you for a few weeks, coinciding nicely with our holiday travels. There's nothing like changing a kicking and screaming baby in an airplane bathroom. Or in a crowded airport bathroom, where the single women are giving Mommy looks of death and the other mommies are saying a silent thanks that they have outgrown this stage.
But even with the Diaper Changing Olympics, I would have to say that of your last 11 months, this one had to be my favorite. You learned so much and changed so much. It was also your first Christmas and Hanukkah and everyone from both sides of the extended families loved celebrating with you. I can honestly say I have never experienced the joy of Christmas until I had you in my life. Watching you eat the wrapping paper and bows was hilarious and seeing you come downstairs with Daddy on Christmas morning to open presents in front of our tree made our family feel complete. We took pictures of it, but I won't need a camera to remember you coming down and seeing the presents under the tree. And while you will look back at those pictures someday, our first Christmas as a family is a memory I will always hold close to my heart.