As of 1AM this morning, you turned 11 months old. Thankfully, this month has been far less eventful than last month was. If I had to guess your weight as of today, I’d estimate that you’re around 20 pounds (based on my biceps, anyway). You’re almost exclusively wearing clothes sized 12 months and — you guessed it — are still in size 3 diapers. You finally outgrew your infant car seat carrier: Day 310 saw you graduate to your official big-girl car seat, which is in our new car (a second big-girl car seat will be here soon for your poppa’s truck). You’re also so incredibly happy — you’re a delight to be around, smiling easily and making us laugh through your actions and facial expressions. And you are just gorgeous, with a full head of curly, fluffy hair, eight teeth (still), chubby little fingers and toes, awesome arm and thigh rolls, and a perfect, round belly.
This month, you’ve turned into my crazy, silly little monkey. You can stand up unassisted for several seconds at a time, and can walk several steps on your own before stopping and sitting down. You rarely fall these days, and when you do, you cry more out of surprise and frustration than actual injury. Although you occasionally do bonk your head — you’re lucky you seem to have your poppa’s thick skull. Basically, you never want to stop moving. You almost never want to stay in your play yard anymore, and you rely less and less on your dinosaur to walk, preferring instead to hold my or your poppa’s hand(s) as you parade around our house. You also love taking “wind sprints” along the length of the couch, jumping up and down, screaming with delight, and biting the cushions when you get to either end.
You first walked holding only one of my hands on day 314, going on to walk between your poppa and I around the basement for the first time, holding onto one of each of our hands, later that night. That was also the same day you seemed to purposely turn your dinosaur instead of going in your usual straight line. The next day you went on to stand unassisted for almost 15 seconds, a new record. You also cracked up your poppa that night by rolling around like Scrooge McDuck for a full five minutes on the downstairs dog beds (I was upstairs taking an online class at the time). I enjoyed witnessing your first true solo walk, from our ottoman to the couch, on day 316: You held your arms out Frankenstein-like and made it a few steps before falling. For some reason, later that night you did what can only be described as a Spider-Man crawl on the basement floor; your poppa and I found it quite amusing. The following day, you walked/ran on tippy toe (a habit of yours) from the ottoman to the sofa, then from the ottoman to me, then stood on your own while you drank from your sippy cup. That night we enjoyed a birthday dinner for your Auntie T, at which your cousin Elliott played peekaboo with you, cracking you up in the middle of the restaurant.
As the aforementioned rolls and round belly would attest, you eat very well. You weren’t crazy about your first taste of baked chicken (day 304), but now you love it. That was also the day you last had breastmilk; I’m happy I had enough stored to last until you were 10 months and 1 day old, since I never thought we’d make it that far. That night you demonstrated that you knew what “kiss” meant when you kissed both your poppa and I on request. You later made us laugh when you gleefully grabbed our cat Buster, who was trying to relax on the couch, and when you refused to go in the play tunnel we bought you, preferring instead to go (far) around it. Two days later (day 306), you waved when we asked you to. You really enjoyed — and still do — showing off that skill to whoever asked. Going back to new foods, you liked your first taste of cooked spinach, which you sampled from your poppa’s breakfast (day 313), as well as corn, which you tried the next day.
Your baby talk has finally evolved into a few discernible words. Your first word was “up,” said to your abuelo and verified by your abuela (day 309). That was also the day your abuelo let you try some ice cream; he said you wanted some since your cousin Stephen was having some. I’m sure you’ll love it someday, but right now you’re not a fan of how cold it is. You said “dada” (day 317) before you ever said “momma” (ouch). While your poppa swore he heard you say “momma” (day 324), I didn’t hear it that first time; I did hear what you said, but it didn’t sound like “momma” to me. I think your poppa was trying to humor me so I wouldn’t feel left out. It wasn’t until a few days later, when we picked you up from your abuelo and abuela’s house, that I finally heard you say “momma” (day 329). Your abuelo said that not only had you been saying it all day (yay!), but you’d been saying “poppa” for about a half hour before we picked you up. We find it funny that you said “dada” first since we always refer to your poppa as, well, “poppa.” But you’ve obviously heard other people refer to him as “daddy,” so we know that’s how you made the connection.
Proving once again that you are indeed your poppa’s daughter, you “played” Jenga (day 312) one evening, successfully getting six pieces out — the lowest piece being six rows down — before the tower fell over. During your second round, you got a piece in the ninth row down out before the tower fell over. All in all, not too shabby for your first time playing. You also appreciate how our game shelf is organized, trying to put back a game you’d taken out (day 325) before your poppa could do it for you.
As is typical, you have enjoyed many visits with family and friends. When your grandma and grandpa came over (day 318) to see you show off your walking skills, your grandma brought you her beautiful antique baby doll cradle, which you promptly squeezed yourself into. At dinner with them that night, you tried cucumber for the first time, which you liked. (It’s worth noting that cucumber came from your abuelo’s garden.) You tried ground beef for the first time (day 322) and LOVED it. To the point that you started eating it so quickly you ended up getting sick because you crammed too much in your mouth. At least I know that we can look forward to trips to a local burger joint when you’re bigger.
You continually amaze us with your cognitive skills. It really is wonderful watching you learn new things and figure out things all on your own. For instance, your poppa used a cloth napkin to play peekaboo with you at Little Bangkok restaurant (day 323). Once you had the napkin in your own hands, you would drape it over your head, then quickly pull it off, smiling and laughing as you played peekaboo back. You learned how to back up your dinosaur on your own (day 324) when you got stuck. You mimicked me pointing out words during bedtime stories (day 331), and even turned the pages of your books when I asked you to (day 334). You also figured out my iPad very quickly, which I knew you would. That night we enjoyed some quiet time together, watching YouTube videos of hungry kittens and giggling babies (day 329) with you nestled into my side, sucking your thumb. Halfway through a kitten video, you turned to look up at me and flashed me the biggest smile. I love those sweet, stolen moments we have together.
Along with you learning new things comes you learning not to do certain things. You understand when we tell you “no” and “stop.” Of course, you didn’t listen too well one night and ended up dousing yourself with a glass of cold water because of it (day 327). We couldn’t help but laugh at your stunned expression before you started wailing; we dried you off and you calmed down pretty quickly. You’ve also taken to exploring the kitchen, trying to eat every cabinet doorknob within reach. You don’t like when Troubadour is crated for a time-out, working hard to figure out the latches to spring him from his canine hoosegow. You’re quite interested in a hole in one of the basement doors. When we tell you “no” to keep you from touching it (lest you get a splinter), you give us this look as if to say, “What? I wasn’t going to actually touch it,” before turning your attention to a door hinge or the door itself, acting as if that old wood is the most fascinating thing in the world.
I can’t believe that in exactly one month you’ll turn one year old. Where have the last 11 months gone? You’ve gone from my tiny, 6-pound, 7-ounce newborn to a little walking, somewhat-talking dynamo. It’s such a privilege and blessing for me to watch you grow and learn, especially since you seem to be developing leaps and bounds every day now. I look forward to many more fun times with you, as well as our little stolen moments — I live for those hugs you give me when you walk into my arms, you know. I can’t wait to celebrate your birthday with our family and friends next month, and to experience all that your toddlerhood will bring. Until then …