eleven months old
With just over two weeks away until his first birthday, I suppose it’s time to post this!
Dear Baby Genius,
Another month has passed, and Mama and I have found ourselves with less baby and more little boy every day. It has been a remarkable month with you, son, just as every month has been thus far. Mama and I are fairly astounded that in just one month you will be a whole year old. Let’s take this last month of your first year a little slower, okay?
our big boy
This month seems to have been your language month. Your signs are becoming more frequent, more relevant, and more self-initiated. You have beern signing “more” for quite some time now, but this month, you learned “eat,” and most recently, you began to sign “milk” for nursing. You love to nurse so much that you sign this with both hands. We look forward to you learning more in the months to come.
Your oral language is coming along too. You melted our hearts when one day you reached for Mama, and clear as day exclaimed, “Mama!” You also have a word for nursing (of course), which is “nanana.” I believe this is also the name you have currently chosen for me, which does make some sense. You have said a number of things just once. One day, for example, you looked up at your string of elephants and said “essassun,” which we’re pretty sure was “elephant.” Another day, we were getting you ready for a bath, and you said, “Ba!” Once in awhile, you will say “anana,” which refers to bananas. Another time, you were eating your oatmeal, no bananas in sight, and you said to Mama, “Anana! Anana!” We had no ananas at the time, but we loved that you were making your very own unprompted request. Your most frequent and favorite words now are “uh-dat!” which is “cat,” and “DAT! DAT!” which seems to mean “I like that” or “Look at that” because it’s also accompanied by pointing and wiggling.
One of the primary objects that you talk about daily is the microwave. You see it in the kitchen, and you get so excited, yelling, “DAT! DAT! DAT!” You love it when we use this thing, and you’re mesmerized by its whirring and beeping. Most of all, you like to close the door, but you like to close a lot of doors. If one of us is holding you while opening the refrigerator, you will often close it before we’ve removed our hands. If a cabinet door has been left open, you reach to close that. I hope this is a sign that you’re going to be a tidy boy.
So much of your development lately has happened in your high chair, so it’s no surprise that this is where you have made your first good friend. For a few months, your poor Ugly Ghost has sat in various locations around our home just waiting for your attention. One day, you spotted him sitting in your jumper, and he joined you at the table for lunch. You hugged him and tried to feed him, and you threw him on the floor.From that day, Ugly Ghost became your meal companion, and he gladly eats with you at each meal. There are times when you get a little stubborn about taking another bit, but if Ugly Ghost takes one, you will too. Sometimes, you just feel such love for Ugly Ghost that you have to stop mid-meal and hug and kiss the poor guy, after which, you promptly fling him to the floor. That’s okay. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t even care that you smear food all over him because we discovered that he cleans up very well in the gentle cycle of the washing machine. Lately, you have even helped Ugly Ghost sign “more” to get him more food. It seems he’s almost as hungry as you are. He really is the best of friends.
Ugly Ghost signs "more"
Your foods this month are very similar to last because you still have only two teeth! We have met several other babies your age and a little younger lately, and they all have so many more teeth than you! We’re fairly convinced that the first two hurt so badly coming in that you decided the others could hold off. Unfortunately, that means you’ve still got to gum all of your food, and that limits you sometimes. This month you did get to try tofu for the first time, and you couldn’t get enough of the stuff! You just kept stuffing piece after piece into your mouth. It was a little surprising! You still adore all of your veggies, but your favorite thing to eat at dinner time is what we call “froggy surprise.” It’s a green chunky mash of potatoes, sauteed leeks, peas, zuchinni, and sometimes basil and other veggies. You never seem to tire of the stuff. You also discovered this month that you really dig tomatoes. They’re just now in season, and they are so tasty and sweet. Sadly, though, we found that your skin was sensitive to them, but now we’re giving you yellow tomatoes (less acid), and all is right in tomatoland.
Your top food this month, however, is watermelon. I am fairly certain you could eat one that outweighs you. At first, we just gave you small bites, but we discovered that since you’re constantly teething, you really enjoy having a nice cold piece still on the rind, so we nibble down to about an inch above the rind and give you the rest. At our recent family reunion, you chomped down six pieces! You cleaned all the melon off of the rind and were hesitant to give it up until you had another piece in your hand to replace it. You subsequently drenched yourself and me, but it made you so very happy. Now we strip you down to your diaper, put you in your high chair, place towels under you, and let you go to town. You are always so very happy when you’ve got your watermelon.
We did try yogurt with you a few weeks ago, and you LOVED it, but your poor little body still doesn’t like it. It looks like we’ll be taking a few more months to bring that back. We’re also taking our time to give you wheat since that was likely the other problem food in my milk when you were younger. That’s okay because you love your fruits and veggies and grains so much. We kind of like having a little vegan.
This month you really picked up the crawling, and although you’re still army crawling, you’ve gotten very fast at it! In fact, it is nearly impossible now to change your diaper without you making a great escape. Occasionally, you manage to escape with no clothes on at all.
"Just try to catch me!"
The poor cats often don’t know what’s coming when you sneak up on them and pull their tails. We have to remind you to be gentle, that they’re old, but that doesn’t seem to stop you. You love them so. You even tried some of their food recently, but it wasn’t up to your standards, so you cried and let me pull it out of your mouth. We hope you won’t try this again. You are also pulling yourself up and cruising along the furniture. Your favorite, though, is when we help you walk. You make cute little sounds, almost like you’re humming, as you take each step.
walking is serious business
With your increased mobility, you’re also getting into so many things. You’re always teaching us to put things away, and now we’ve got lots of safe spaces for you to enjoy. Your favorite places in both your room and the living room are the bookcases. In your room, you love to pull down all of your books and look through the ones with interesting pages. Since you share a room with my office, you also like to pull down a few books from my shelves.
Your favorites are the German books, and your very favorite is an anthology of German lyric poetry. I have tried reading it to you, but you find my accent deplorable, so you now just read your Goethe and Rilke on your own. In the living room, you enjoy the more spiritual books. Right now, you are reading Be Here Now as well as the Tao Te Ching.
a boy and his books
Perhaps the best thing about you right now is that you are learning to show your love. You hug us, and you hug your bear and your Ugly Ghost. You would hug the cats if they would just sit still long enough. Your embraces are the sweetest thing I know. We will always enjoy your hugs, so don’t hesitate to hand them out freely.
You also love to play, to be thrown into the air, to swing, to spin. And you absolutely love to laugh more than anything.
You are always trying to make us laugh by blowing on our bellies, mimicking funny sounds, making funny faces, and more. And we love to laugh with you, sweet boy. You bring so much joy to our lives, and each night when you go to bed, Mama and I spend time reflecting on what funny or amazing or heart warming things you did that day. The list is always long, and we always find ourselves loving you more and more. You are such a bright light in our lives, and we’re so lucky that you’re ours.