Dear Baby Genius,
You are one year old. One! I knew this day would come quickly–and it has–but it also seems like a lifetime ago when you were a sleepy, wiggly newborn who couldn’t so much as control his hands.
It’s remarkable the difference a year makes, and what a glorious year it has been. In your twelfth month, you really have started to emerge as a toddler, and what an adventure it has already been.
For some time now, you have been perfectly content with your little army crawl, but right after your eleven month birthday, you started getting up on those knees of yours, and within days, you had perfected your cross crawl. You now resemble a little bull dog roaming from one room to another–and you’re fast! This has made life a little better for you now, for you can follow us easily from one room to another, and you do. Sometimes you even decide you’re going to go off and explore on your own. This is rare, but when you do, you always look back to see if we’re coming. You love it when one of us chases after you, and you giggle and giggle until we catch you whereupon you explode into laughter. Oh how I love that laugh!
You have a lot to laugh about too–from Mama’s crazy sound effects to cats jumping over you in hopes to escape your tail-pulling, you laugh and laugh whenever you can. Your favorite jokes have to do with us finding things disgusting, like your feet. We were alarmed when you were quite young to learn that baby feet smell like feet, so we have long made faces and gagging sounds when you have put your feet in our faces. Now when you’re nursing, you will often throw a foot up to my nose just to get me to make my crazy sounds, and you giggle and giggle. I positively love your emerging sense of humor.
You are learning to communicate more as well. Your favorite phrase (yes, phrase) right now is “want dat!” Previously, you would point at things and shout “dat!” but your new phrase gets you things that you want. It is powerful, and you use it often, whether for expressing interest in a morsel of food or a cat walking by. We are sure to hear this at least ten times a day. You have other words too, like “waterbottle,” which sounds more like (wabababuh). You decided that you preferred this to “cup,” probably because you see me drinking out of mine (and as a result covet mine), so we started calling your sippy cups water bottles. Yes, we’re tricky that way.
Your favorite thing to say though is “buhbuhbuh.” Not many people will know what this means, but Mama and I do. You see, Baby Genius, you have a favorite book: Bye Bye Big Bad Bullybug. You have begun asking for this book multiple times a day, and we can’t help but oblige. One day, I was working in the office section of your room, and you stood by my chair yelling “Buhbuhbuh! Buhbuhbuh!” You were pointing wildly to the upper level of the bookcase where we keep this book, and I had to stop and read because how could I deny you something so lovely as a book? You do have other favorites as well: A few Dr. Seuss books including Oh, The Thinks You Can Think, A Wocket in My Pocket, and Mr. Brown Can Moo. Can You?, the Mem Fox book Whoever You Are, and the lovely little book Mommy, Mama, and Me. You love your books so much, and you can sit for quite long periods of time leafing through them. What is more impressive is that you can pick your favorites from piles of similar books. Mr. Brown, for example, is one that you know by simply looking at the spine. We love this about you. Your love of books is something we’ll always enjoy–and while Mama and I do find it alarming that we often quote Dr. Seuss over dinner these days, we couldn’t be happier that we have a little reader on our hands.
You do have interests in lots of other things now, and you’re getting into things quite a bit more with your increased mobility. We decided to give you a few special Baby Genius spots–one in each room really–that you can raid. There is a drawer in our bathroom that you rifle through for long periods of time. It contains all kinds of fascinating items like pedicure sandals, old eyeglasses, a travel alarm clock, and even some wildly inappropriate baby toys like unused plastic speculums. You love to rummage through things, pull items out, examine them, throw them over your shoulder, and move on. Once in awhile, you do find a treasure, and you find it necessary to share. One day recently, you insisted on nursing while holding a day-of-the-week pill dispenser, which you pressed against my face from time to time. I do find all of this amusing, but I do hope you learn the finer art of putting things away soon. But then, I guess you are learning this in some ways because one of your new favorite activities is placing things “in.” You have multiple containers because these are your favorite toys–everything from coffee bean cans to former cheese containers and travel mugs. You love taking the lids off and placing other objects in these containers, shaking them about, removing the objects, and playing with the lids. You have an assortment of complex games associated with these containers that impress me to no end.
There are times now when you start to get into things that you shouldn’t. Mama and I often respond with a simple shake of our heads or an “uh-uh,” so at times when you know you’re doing something you shouldn’t, you shake your head and stop yourself. Other times, you follow through with the act, grin, and then shake your head. Yes, we see a little bit of an impish streak running through you, which is charming for now, but I have a feeling I may change my mind about that later! Once in awhile, you want to do something you can’t do, or you want to hold something that is either dangerous or not Baby Genius resistant, and when this has happened, we have begun to see your first tantrums emerge. Mostly they involve high-pitched screams, which are alarming and honestly not my favorite sounds I’ve heard from you. You have many charming behaviors too though, including a desire to give kisses, meaning you open your mouth wide when one of us is trying to kiss you. You also hug now. Oh, do you hug! You give the BEST hugs, Baby Genius. You hug your animals, puppets, and most importantly your Mama and I. It melts our hearts. You have spent more time with your older cousin B this month too, and as a result, when you see her photo, you love to hug and kiss that too. You have to say hi to B at least once a day, and it is very endearing.
You’ve still been working on getting your next two teeth, but we’re trying to give you more types of foods to gum. You are eating quite a bit of goat cheese and goat yogurt these days (we’ll try dairy again soon, but for now, you love these alternatives). These are some of your very favorite foods. You also have fallen madly in love with polenta, tofu, and veggie burgers. You still eat plenty of fruits and veggies, but we’ve all but stopped making your mashes and purees since you really prefer to feed yourself these days. With this newfound independence comes a need to take care of your moms as well, so during every meal you try to share your food with us. You used to be content if we just pretended to eat what you were offering, but now you insist on placing your little hand in our mouths and opening to release whatever you are offering. One day I was the lucky recipient of a piece of peach coated in refried beans. This was a culinary experience I will not soon forget! You have also taken to putting your foot up on your high chair. This started when you were trying to get leverage when you were having some diaper difficulties, but I think you discovered that having your foot up was fun, so now your foot is involved in every meal.
This has been such a big time with you, Son. You helped Mama and I celebrate our birthdays, you met your brand new baby cousin, and best of all, you had your very first birthday party (and cake!). Your twelfth month has had us saying goodbye to your infancy and welcoming in a whole new set of experiences with a toddler. What an awesome and beautiful and positively life-altering year this first year with you has been though. You have taught me and Mama so much, and you have shown us what it means to love bigger than we ever knew we could with every cell in our bodies. You are everything to us. You have brought us so much light and joy, you precious, precious boy, and we are so very happy you are ours.
I love you my sweet little baby, my big one-year-old, my beautiful Boy Genius.