I wasn’t sure I was going to continue these letters. My goal was to write one each month until you turned one, then create an album that you (more likely, your future girlfriends) would cherish forever. Task, accomplished.
But you’re so dang interesting right now that I can’t help but want to record everything. So let’s make a deal – I’ll keep writing as long as we both want me to. I may skip some months here and there, but I’d like to continue this tradition when I can. My memory is so terrible; I get great joy out of remembering our adventures.
And, boy, have we been having adventures! Since your birthday, you’ve said your first word (“dada”) and taken your first steps (on June 12, when we were playing with Baby Charlotte). You point at things that you want, you shake your head at things you don’t want, and you’ve even begun signing a few words (“all done,” “dog,” and maybe even “more”).
It’s probably just a coincidence, but it feels like your development skyrocketed after you finally got over being sick. Perhaps your body was so busy trying to get well that it didn’t have time to develop language and mobility.
You’re also becoming quite the cuddle bug (::insert exuberant cheering from Mom::). You love to climb into our laps and be held. You put your head on our shoulders. Last Saturday, you and I snuggled in the rocking chair for 20 minutes after you finished your morning milk.
Notice I didn’t say “bottle,” since we’re 95 percent off of them! We sometimes give you one in the morning, but that’s only because your Dad and I are too lazy to wash your sippy cups the night before.
You’re completely on table food now; no more mushy baby veggies. If you could, you’d eat anything coated in hummus or soy yogurt. Sometimes you giggle when you taste new food. It’s so much easier to take you out to eat now that we can feed you bits of what we’re eating – pieces you can pick up on your own!
Your Dad and I won the Sleep Lottery with you, kid. And, believe me, we appreciate it endlessly. The other night you slept for 10 hours straight even though you were soaked to your arms with urine and had a nasty poop when you woke up. You rarely fuss when we put you down for the night, even when you’re wide awake. You just seem content to hang out in your crib. You’re an angel.
Nap time? Not quite as smooth.
1) The Happy Wiggle. This is what we call the little dance you do sitting in your high chair, or on the floor with your toys. Out of the blue, you’ll start wiggling back and forth for about 5 seconds, as if you’re dancing to some secret soundtrack.
2) You love to share experiences with us. When you make a toy do something interesting, you look up at us with a huge smile as if to say, “See this amazing thing I’ve done?”
We’re desperately trying to teach you not to stand up on the couch. You think it’s a game when we tell you no, and move you to another spot in the room. You just climb back up, stand, and smile at us as if to say, “Come get me!”
You’ve started to develop stranger anxiety. In fact, we noticed it the day after Grandma B said it would probably be starting soon. Not our kid, we thought. He loves everyone! The next day at a work picnic, you refused to be held by anyone but me. As soon as I plopped you into a coworker’s arms (and even Dad’s arms for part of the night), you cried and lunged back for me. I think I held you for three hours straight. I’m not going to lie – it felt awesome for you to need me so badly. I half-joked that it was the best day of my life.
The best day of Dad’s life was probably when you said his name for the first time. He was dropping you off with Grandma B at school for the day, and you lunged back for him while saying “dada.” They didn’t think much of it since you’d been rattling off “dada” and other consonant sounds for a while. But then you snuggled into Dad’s chest, took a deep sigh, and said “dada” once again. Your father said it made him weak in the knees.
Now, I have to make a confession about something I did that really hurt your Dad’s feelings. And I feel really bad about it.
I had doubts that you really meant “dada” in context. I mean, at that time, you’d say “dada” when I held you, or when you saw the cats, or when you sat in your Bumbo chair. I was so happy that your father was there for that experience, but did you really mean “dada”?
Fast forward two weeks and I was still unsure. I was also getting concerned that you hadn’t said or signed anything yet, hadn’t walked, and wasn’t pointing or waving. The two babies closest to you in age that we know could do cognitive and physical laps around you. Were you developing OK?
So, in worry, I raised the issue – do you think he really knows who “dada” is – and completely deflated your father. Even just asking the question forever diluted that experience he had with you, and I am so sorry I was the cause of it. I wasn’t there; how can I even doubt the authenticity of that moment? I should have shut my mouth.
Now, I’m 100% convinced. Today you pointed to a picture of Dad and to his physical self in the room and repeated “dada” over and over. When he went into the kitchen and I asked you where “dada” was, you immediately turned around to look at him.
Awesome job, my boy.
Now, time to work on “mama.”