Letters to Jack: Month 10

IMG_3420Hey baby,

You’re going to be a year old in just two months. Do you know what that means? CAKE! (Don’t worry, you’ll get some, too.)

I picked you up from inside your crib the other day and remarked how big you’ve become. You’re not a chunkster like Charlie was at this age; instead, you’re long and lean, with a large head (with some hair, not lots) and giant feet. I bought your first pair of shoes last week and had to bring home a 12-18-month pair because the smaller size was too tight.

Why do you need shoes, you ask? Because you’ve begun walking! We always knew you’d be quick to walk; you’ve been trying for months. Recently you became quite good at balancing without holding anything. On a whim while picking you up from Grandma B’s house, I encouraged you to walk from her to me. Step…step…step…step – four steps and you were in my arms. Our mouths hung open. I believe I squealed. Within the past few days, you’ve become even more confident on your feet, shoes or no shoes.

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I feel as if we’re on the cusp of being able to communicate. Just in the last two days, you’ve begun to sign “more” to a point we’re fairly confident you know what you’re doing. You’re starting to clap (which looks similar to “more,” hence, the uncertainty), and you love holding my hands and making them clap. You still shake your head “no,” though this seems to be more for fun than anything communicable.

Still no “mama” or “dada,” but you do squeal each time you see our family portrait in the living room. Awww, you love us.

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I told Charlie I was writing your letter tonight and he asked if he could help. I explained what I do every month, and asked him to type what he thought I should say about you:

Biting very bad he likes to grab things

Yes, the biting continues. Any time you bring your mouth close to Charlie, he flinches and yells, “NO BITING, JACK!” You usually giggle. I saw stars when you took a chunk out of my arm last week.

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You’re much improved at the pincer grip, and at figuring out how to eat with eight teeth. You especially love frozen peas and puffs. We gave you blackberries at Grandma Z’s, which stained your fingers for three days and ruined a chair. Sorry, ma.

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We’re giving you iron drops twice a day because your 9-month blood work came back with low levels of iron. This has been going fine, but I’ve noticed your teeth turning gray. I’m hypersensitive to this because of your brother’s gray tooth. Turns out, it’s from the iron, so now you’re also getting your teeth brushed twice a day. The gray may be permanent though. Meh.

I think we’re personally bankrolling Desitin. My gosh, I never knew what sensitive skin was until you came along. You sit in a dirty diaper for two minutes and –BAM– painful, bright red rash for days. I can’t imagine how painful that is.

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We’ve stopped that awful sleep training (see Letters to Jack: Month 8 and Month 9). It wasn’t getting any better and I just couldn’t handle that crying. Instead, we started a routine where I put you in your jams, curl up with you in the rocking chair in your dark bedroom, and feed you a bottle. Most of the time, you either fall asleep on the bottle, or finish then snuggle into my chest while I rock back and forth singing Gershwin’s “Summertime.”

This is my favorite time of day, now. It’s quiet, your room is dark (thanks to the black-out shade we finally bought) and the rain machine purrs. There are nights I know you’re asleep, but I continue rocking. I breathe in the smell of your sleep, knowing these moments are finite, and feeling so thankful they are – at that moment – only ours.

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