You’re almost a year old! Not a little baby anymore, but not quite a toddler yet.
Every new month is full of new milestones, and this month was no exception. You really got the hang of pulling yourself up onto the furniture, and you became quite the speedy crawler, so Mommy and Daddy bought baby gates to keep you corralled in the living room.
With the kitchen, dining room, and stairs blocked off, your new thing is beelining for the four corners of the room, where we don’t want you to be. Now all the end tables are clear of books, magazines, remotes, devices, mail, and pretty much anything else. All power cords are tucked away safely out of reach and outlets are covered. The only thing left is Mommy and Daddy’s CD rack; you love to lean up over the box-fan blockade we have set up and start pulling out all the CDs on the third shelf.
You’re also doing quite well in the past week or so just standing up on your own and not holding onto anything. We expect that you’ll figure out how to put one foot in front of the other in no time.
Your hair was getting a little shaggy around the ears and in the back, so Mommy and Daddy gave you your first haircut this month! Just a trim, really — but Mommy had never cut boy hair before, and you’re quite the squirmy dude, so it felt like quite an accomplishment! As we discovered, though, it’s hard to get pictures of a first haircut without somebody around who isn’t a haircutter or a babyholder.
Mommy and Daddy bought you some more toys to keep your growing brain and hands occupied: a shape-sorter barn, an activity ball, and a set of stacker rings. You love to bang the shape blocks together to make noise, and you’ve discovered that the best way to get all the blocks out is to turn the house upside down.
BabyCenter says, “At this age, your baby can probably imitate word sounds and inflections. He may be able to follow simple one-step directions, such as ‘Please bring me the ball’ or ‘Pick up the spoon.'” You do this, but you’re like the cat: you seem to have selective understanding, and only obey when it’s convenient for you at the time. You understand common words and phrases, like, “Come here for a bottle,” “Do you want to eat?” “Let’s go for a ride!” “Want to play outside?” and “Bananas!” You tend to ignore phrases like, “No,” “Drop it,” and basically anything with a negative tone of voice.
You do mimic Mommy and Daddy’s inflections, especially when you’re playing with your board books. You love them so much, even though you have no idea what they’re about. You’ll page through one (while holding it upside-down as often as not) and make noises like, “Bwa bwa bwa!”
Sometimes, you’ll use sign language to try to communicate with us. You’ve only done it a few times now; you signed “eat” a couple of times, and “all done” once. Daddy thinks you’ll be speaking before you’re signing, but maybe we can get you doing both, so that Mommy and Daddy will understand what the heck you mean by “bwa.”
You’re settling into a mealtime schedule, eating solid food for lunch and dinner, and a bottle for breakfast and snacks. Avocado and bananas are your favorite foods, but you don’t really reject much of anything (if you’re in the right mood).
Teeth! You have five now, and your last top front tooth just popped through the gums yesterday. It makes eating solid foods easier, although you still need practice at getting finger foods from the high chair tray to your mouth. You do like your Gerber Graduates Apple Cinnamon Puffs for dessert, but nothing else (avocado, egg, banana) actually makes it into your mouth yet.
Since you’re used to sitting in the high chair at home, and since you don’t really fall asleep in your car seat in restaurants anymore, Mommy and Daddy have been putting you into a high chair when we go out. We don’t feed you a meal while we’re at a restaurant, but you enjoy seeing what’s going on around you, and banging on the table, and having little tastes of Mommy’s food.
This has been a Very Long Letter, but there’s one more big thing to mention.
Once you discovered how to pull yourself up to standing in your crib at night, everything changed. You were also teething, so you were cranky, too. Mommy or Daddy would rock you and sing you to sleep, tiptoe you upstairs to bed, and as soon as you woke enough to realize that you were going to your bedroom, you’d cry bloody murder until we brought you back down and rocked you some more. One night, Daddy rocked you for four hours to get you to stay asleep.
Mommy started a bedtime routine with you: bath, baby massage, book, bottle, and bed (modeled after snowdeal’s Four Bees). The bottle part of the program also comes with some rocking and singing, but those don’t start with B.
Since you were crying before you even got to the crib, all we could do was let you Cry It Out. Mommy felt so bad about that, especially after letting you cry for 90 minutes on the first night (Mommy did check on you to make sure you were OK, and not hungry or stuck in the crib bars). The second night you cried for 20 minutes, the third and fourth for about 15, and you seemed to figure it out after that. You still don’t like when Mommy (or Daddy) leaves you alone in your bedroom, but you get over it in a matter of a minute or two now.
The routine definitely helps you know when bedtime is coming up soon, and it’s something familiar (after a week or so). You’ve also learned how to soothe yourself to sleep, though. You snuggle up with your Eeyore blankie and whimper for a few minutes, but you get to sleep relatively easily, and you sleep for a solid ten hours until Mommy gets you up for breakfast.
On top of all that, we were afraid naptime would go all topsy-turvy when the swing motor decided to give out. You’re almost too heavy for it now — 22.2 pounds, and 25 is the max limit — but you still love the swing. Luckily, you seem to be OK with sleeping in the swing even when it’s not moving! Mommy’s working on getting a replacement motor, so that we can use it for just a little while longer, then trade it in at Once Upon A Child.
One more thing.
Mommy was rocking you to sleep, one of those nights before we started sleep-training you, and she was trying to think of new songs to sing, because the standards were getting stale and boring. So, Mommy started to sing Puff the Magic Dragon.
(The above video actually isn’t Mommy’s favorite live version of the song — that’s this one from the somewhat overproduced Christmas special in the 80’s — but the preamble on the above video is awesome.)
You fell asleep by the second verse, but Mommy kept singing. And then, looking down at you, fast asleep in Mommy’s arms:
A dragon lives forever
But not so little boys
Painted wings and giant’s rings
Make way for other toys
Mommy started to cry, and had to stop singing.
Almost a year old. Not quite a baby anymore, but not yet a toddler.