Friday, November 27, 2009

Thirteen Months

Dear Peeper:

You are lucky-thirteen months old today. I guess that means that I have to stop telling people that you, "just turned one," doesn't it?

At the moment, you have a bit of a cold, which totally sucks. You don't seem to have fever, nor do you seem to feel particularly yucky, but you're sneezing a bit and your nose is running like a Kenyan marathoner.

You started with the sneezes and sniffles just as we got home from Texas last week, and I was very worried that we were going to have to cancel our plans to attend the La Leche League conference, but after two days, you'd not gotten any worse, and in fact your nose had pretty much cleared up, so we went.

On the way home Sunday, I noticed your nose running again, though, and it hasn't stopped all week.

You've handled it pretty well, though; it's only really seemed to bother you when you lay down and try to nurse to sleep, but that's to be expected.

Of course, you really hate when I try to wipe it or suction it out, but a Mama's gotta do with a Mama's gotta do, and you always seem to forgive me afterwards.

This has been a really big month for you, with lots of milestones and big developmental leaps.

You've gone from finally "really" cruising to just damn near walking. "Toddling," perhaps?

The day after we got home from Texas (sorry, Anonyfamily!), you started letting go and taking steps, with much encouragement.

Over the past nine days, you've gone from that to voluntarily letting go and taking several steps when it suits you - like when Mommy moved the dog food into the middle of the room, to keep you from it!

It's always on your terms, though. If we try to coax you to let go and walk to us, you hold out a hand and ask (whine) for help!

As you move around, you are still mostly keeping a hand on something for balance, but often taking hands-free steps between objects, and then occassionally taking a few steps on your own.

And you quite often stand on your own, usually when you're holding something in both hands, and concentrating on that, rather than the standing.

Today, I even saw you drop the toy you were holding, bend down to get it, and then stand back up - all completely on your own!

I know I've said things like this before and had to eat my words, but I'm quite confident that next month's letter to you will start off with something like, "You are now walking everywhere!"

You've also learned more signs in the past month. You now know:

  • more - This one is still hard to tell apart from "all done" sometimes, and now that you're clapping, you also might mean "Hooray!"
  • all done - See above.
  • doggie - One of your favorites. This was the first sign you would do on request. You also use it spontaneously when you see or hear the dogs (or cats).
  • milk/goody - You usuall yonly use the sign when you're not close enough to me to just try to help yourself.
  • hello/bye-bye - You wave when you hear the words, "hello," "bye-bye," "good bye" or - get this - "see ya later!"
  • gentle - You do a good approximation of the sign and definitely associate it with the word. (When we tell you to "be gentle," you make the sign.) We're not exactly sure what you think that word means, though. You do it in reference to animals and other babies (that's when you hear it the most) but also at other times. Sometimes I think you're telling us to be gentle with you (like when you signed it as I was in the middle of putting you in the wrap!) but I'm really not sure about that.
  • flower - This is another one that you do "on command," and will also often do when you see a picture of a flower, or a real one. The "sign" is just to sniff, like you're smelling a flower. It was an easy one for you to learn because you already liked to sniff sniff because we think it's funny.
  • "hooray" - You started clapping open-handed while we were in Texas. Sometimes it's hard to tell if you're meaning to clap or sign "more" (or "all done"), but sometimes it's definitely "Hooray!"

You've also just started using your index finger to point with, and last night was the first time that I saw you point to something far away.

You've been "pointing to" (hitting or thumbing) pictures in books for a while (usually thdoggie), but last night, at Eena and Papa's house, you pointed to some pretty lights that were hanging a few feet above your head.

Then, earlier today, when I asked you "where's the kitty cat" you ignored the picture in your book (which was what I meant) and pointed at BoyCat, who was sitting next to us.

Well, duh, Mama. He's right there!

You're also verbalizing more and more, and we think you're saying a few words.

You definitely say "Mama/Mommy" - or something that sounds like Mama or Mumumum or Ama, which can refer to either of us.

However, we've decided that when you're eating, and you say "mumuh mumuh" that you aren't talking to us, rather you're saying "yum yum" or - as we prefer to think of it - "nom nom nom!"

If we ask you "Is it yum yum?" you will say it back to us, so we're pretty sure that's what it means.

It does sound pretty much identical to what you call us, but it's all about the context.

You're still saying something that could be "kitty cat," on occassion, too, but that's much less obvious.

You make lots of other very intentional sounds that are probably "words" to you, but we've not quite managed to match up your sounds with the objects yet.

That's one reason that we are so glad that we're teaching you to sign, because it's just amazing to be able to "hold a conversation" with you, and if we were relying on your verbalizations, we'd be screwed.

Between the signs and following simple directions, it is obvious that you understand so much of what we are saying, that it's a bit frightening!

Recently, you've started handing things to us, both spontaneously and on request. In the past week, you've gone from putting everything that you pick up directly into your mouth to, oh maybe half the time, picking it up and handing it to one of us, and when you get hold of paper, you'll tear off pieces and hand them to us, one by one, instead of eating the whole thing.

That's a big improvement!

A couple of days ago, you were "helping" me to put away laundry in your room, taking things out of the basket and handing them to me.

At one point, I said, "Can you please pick up that blue outfit that's on the floor by your feet and give it to me?"

Granted, it was the only outfit on the floor by your feet, but you picked it up and handed it right to me!

Then, I put all the grownup clothes back in the basket and asked you to push it into the bedroom (directly across the hall from your room) for me.

I had to get you lined up aiming the right direction, but you took off, and pushed it all the way in there!

What a big helper-girl you are!

You've also made some big changes in your napping and sleeping habits, going to bed and waking up earlier, and staying asleep in the bed all by yourself for naps and from the time you go to bed until Mommy and I are ready for bed.

I do feel guilty about this sometimes, because it just seems wrong to leave you all alone, but the fact that you can stay asleep or even rouse up a bit and settle back down to sleep tells me that you must be ready for it - you couldn't do that a few months ago.

Now that you're usually having one nap a day on your own (and one in my lap, because I'm not ready to give that up), plus being on your own for a while at bedtime, Mama's running out of excuses for not having her shit more together.

I think I'll make a New Years resolution to try to get back to cooking at least a few times a week, and to grocery shopping more efficiently, making a plan and using coupons and buying ingredients rather than stuff-in-boxes. Maybe.

You've also been doing very well hanging out with Mommy when Mama goes away for a little while. I feel even more guilty about that one, but again, you do seem to be ready for it - at least for short periods.

When you turned a year old, it didn't seem possible, because you were still so very much a baby but, now, it's suddenly very, very hard to avoid admitting that you just might, indeed, be a toddler.

You communicate (sort of), you follow simple directions (sort of), you're getting that awkward-stage toddler hair (definitely), and you, well, toddle (more and more every hour).

But you will always be our baby.

And we will always love you, little big girl. More than anything.


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