Yesterday you turned 11 months old. I started this then, but I had some memory issues with the computer, so here we are a day late. I had to work, and usually you’re up from your nap before I leave the house, but you didn’t wake up before I left to give me big hugs and kisses and waves goodbye yesterday morning. I got them all when I got home though, and there’s nothing quite like one of your big old hugs after you’ve missed me all day, too. Your smile is gigantic, and you squeal with delight. Sometimes on the days that I work, I swear, I come home and you’re bigger than you were when I left. Heavier. More substantial. It almost makes me wonder what your father’s feeding you behind my back. But not really. It’s just perspective. Absence and the heart and what not.
You have been busy. We went to see our families, and once again, you impressed the heck out of everyone you got to see. You are learning what words mean, and you are very focused on figuring out how various objects work. It’s not just your toys, but the buttons on the remote control, telephone and the television itself. You know to point your index finger now and press, that this will make something happen, even if that something is just Dad saying “no” as you turn off his ESPN for the hundredth time.
You are mostly content to play on your own while I have things to do in another room unless you are already tired or hungry. I check on you regularly, but every once in awhile if you catch me looking, you’ll remember that you need to be next to me or climbing on me or tugging on my face. You talk to yourself, and you laugh at things that are funny instead of just when we do funny things directly to you. You have continued to climb, and you have learned enough about the art of scaling furniture to move objects around in order to use them to get higher up. You like up.
Your walking has improved– just in the last couple of days it seems. You manage to take those first few steps, but then instead of flopping forward to crawl when you start to lose your balance, you pause and reset and continue with a few more steps. Just last night, in fact, you made it from the TV to the couch without even falling down once.
You have been hitting and biting some, especially now that you have two top teeth that can clamp down against those two bottom ones. You also have a fifth one that we can see coming. You don’t bite a lot, and we are trying to nip that behavior in the bud. I know it’s just because you don’t understand that your actions can hurt other people, but I hope that telling you no and helping to redirect your attention will be enough to teach you not to do that and what it means. You have noticed and touched my eye without poking or smacking, so it is possible to feel and learn without bruising or scratching. You have also discovered the moles and freckles on my skin, which was adorable because you tried to pick them up and eat them. Then you offered me some, too.
You’re still not sleeping through the night on a regular basis, but we have had a couple nights of straight sleep. If we could get more of the seven hour stretches than of the three or four hour ones, I would probably be a better mommy to you, but as it is, those late night wakings only take me away from my bed for a few minutes at a time, so it’s really not anything to fight about for now. At bed time, however, you sometimes feel the overwhelming need to resist and resist. I understand that there is so much more to explore, but you don’t seem to understand that everything will be there in the morning just waiting for you to have another go. You shake your head, you slap your diaper or my chest, you stretch out your legs and arch your back just as you feel yourself slipping off to dreamland. It can be frustrating for both of us, but guess what… I’m the grown-up in this relationship, so I usually win, even if it takes a little help from Dad.
You are learning so much. Have I mentioned your learning? You have figured out how to open cabinets and drawers. And most of the time, you avoid pinching your fingers in them. You have discovered the roll of toilet paper in the bathroom and how to tear it off even though I turned it around so that it won’t all roll out as you slap at it. Like I said, you are starting to understand certain words. You know nose, ear, mouth, night-night, bye-bye, no, brush, pooh bear, belly button and probably a few others I can’t remember right now. You point at things as though asking for their names, and I try to tell you as much as I can. You’re becoming more interested in photographs, pointing at faces and waiting for me to say “grandpa,” “mama,” or “Zach.” I am in awe of your fearlessness, your focus and your curiosity. You love books, you are fascinated by things like screws and hinges, and you seem to be drawn to technology. You’ve started to practice feeding yourself, which has led to some hilarious blobs of food over your face and everywhere. But I really love watching you discover all these new things, even the messes and dirt. It really helps me see the world in a different way, and I’m so lucky that I get to share all these amazing experiences with you.