Oh Jack, I wrote this on time. Really, I did. I wrote the whole post and I stayed up late to do it. But then I hadn't finished the photos and it was too late. So I decided to wait until I could add the photos... and then the month got nuts and now we're halfway to your next month-day, and... well, OK. I'm just going to have to put this post up without photos. Sorry. I'm a little OCD in the Pattern Making department, and having a month day post without photos is just unacceptable to me. This is tough. Pretend I put this post up, complete with photos, on June 18th. I'll go back in later and add the photos in, 'k?
Jack... you are 11 months old! You are becoming such a big boy. The three of us have been so busy lately. There's a lot going on these days.
First of all, you've gotten really good at standing up in these past two months. Now you are cruising around your world, holding onto things and stepping your feet where you want to go. You love to push your walker wagon. Pushing your wagon is pretty much the best thing ever (especially because the wagon holds your toys, too). In the beginning, the walker wagon was a huge challenge. You knew you wanted to stand up with the wagon, but every time you tried to stand up, the wagon would scoot away from you. Pretty soon you figure out that you had to keep your body straight (upright!), and then there was no stopping you. In the beginning, you squealed with happiness while you walked. As soon as you hit a wall, you would bounce up and down for one of us to come rescue you. Then we would turn around the wagon and you would go in the other direction. Now, you're getting so good at the walker wagon that you are starting to learn how to back it up and turn it. I love watching you walk with the wagon and wish we had a bigger space for you to play with it.
Since you stood up at 9 months, we sort of all thought you might be close to walking by now. But it seems that crawling serves your needs pretty well and you are not interested in walking on your own yet. You crawl everywhere, and you are fast, Jack. Sometimes it is a challenge for me to catch you. You really like racing towards the back door when I let Tori outside. You are a bit of a dust mop, and we have to be careful to keep the floor safe for you to play.
Now that you are so mobile, you have had tons of tiny spills and bumps. We always feel bad when you get hurt, but, truthfully, some of it is a little funny. We watch you from afar and see what happens: you make a bad face, and if you see us, it might turn into a huge meltdown. Sometimes, though, if you don't see anyone watching, you put back on a normal face and keep playing.
Things you love: crawling after us, crawling after Tori, bouncing up and down to music, spinning the spinners on the activity cube, pulling all of the books off the shelf, pulling the toys out of the bins, moving the drawers back and forth, swinging cords around, playing with the phone, pointing at things and saying "duh! dog! door!", crawling in the grass in a way that your belly doesn't get tickled, sitting in the kitchen while I make dinner, trying to eat the dog toys, getting to the water bowl before I can take it away, splashing in your play pool, eating when we eat (and what we eat), grabbing Tori's fur, cuddling with your dad and I, going for walks, watching the cars go by from the front window, playing peekaboo, growling, and making new sounds. OK, that's just some of it.
You are a great eater, Jack. You eat everything at the moment and it is so much fun. I am just waiting for you to start getting picky. You like seafood of all kinds, but right now, your favorite food is sardines. I ate so many sardines when I was pregnant - this does not surprise me. What does surprise me is that you like lemons and chili powder. Your teachers at daycare could just not stop talking about how much sweet potatoes and beans you ate after I put chili powder in it. One of the other things I ate a lot of while I was pregnant was incredibly spicy food from a restaurant called Swagat and spicy mexican cart food with extra hot sauce. During all that time, I wondered if of all of these super spicy flavors were getting to you; perhaps your interest in chili powder is some indication, but really I'm not sure.
You've been traveling a lot. You and I flew to Phoenix for a week, and then your dad and you and I flew to Barcelona for 10 days. It's challenging having you on the plane: you have a tough time sitting still when everything around you is so exciting. This meant that I (or your dad and I) had to work very hard to keep you in one place. It helped that you charmed everyone in a 3 foot radius. People have been very nice on the flights, and everybody loves to play with you.
You do charm people, Jack. I have no doubt this quality will stay with you as you grow. Sometimes it seems that all you want to do is get people to watch you or to see what you see. You smile so easily, and your smile is contagious: it is a huge grin that fills up your entire face. Your eyes get squinty and you scrunch up your nose like I do, and you smile big just like your dad. (The funny thing is that neither your dad or I have very nice smiles, but in you, everything adds together and it is just perfect). You love meeting new people. You want to see new things all day long. You are a very social little guy. I love this quality in you.
Spain was great. You were fairly sick for part of it, but during the non-sick parts, you had a blast. You just loved seeing all the new stuff. That is your favorite thing, above all else: seeing things you haven't seen before. You saw people, buildings, cars, lights, subways, and big open spaces. You got to eat a lot of interesting new foods (surprise, surprise - the sardines in oil were a hit). And you heard new things, too. There was a Spanish lady who kept poking you in the belly, saying, "Muy guapo! Muy guapo!" It is a complement, though I'm not sure how much you liked getting your belly poked.
I think you must have an inside voice now. You can anticipate things, and now you know all about comedic timing. You are so funny. You do things that you know will make us laugh. Now you like to duck behind something, like a curtain, or a chair, or the coffee table. As you hide and get ready to jump out, you start giggling. You know exactly what will happen and you wait as long as you can before popping your head up so that we will shout "Peekaboo!".
You are just the funnest thing ever. We hug you and cuddle you and tickle you every chance we get. We show you new things and watch your reaction. We see you grow and change, and we are inspired by your determined soul. You are funny, smart, and eager.
Guess what -- I saved the best for last -- you started talking a few weeks ago. It all began with "Uh-Oh", then "Mama", and now we can tell you know a few words. You don't say too much spontaneously, but you will repeat words that we say to you. So if I say, "Where're my eyes?" you will point to my eyes and say "Eyes". You love the S sound and drag it out: "Uuuheeesssssssssssss". Here are some other words you will repeat back to me: nose, mouth, maybe dog (everything is "dog!" to you, so I'm not sure about that one), Mama, Dada, hi, and night-night. We are trying to teach you how to say "more" with your hands while eating. You can do it sometimes, but mostly you just get frustrated and yell for more food instead. You did learn the sign for milk, and in the last few days you started making it when you want to nurse.
Just the other night, we kept you out late and you were so, so tired. When I brought you inside the house, you started frantically making the milk sign. I nodded and said, "Yup. Night-night, Jack, milk, as soon as I can", and then out came "Nigh-nigh, nigh-nigh, nigh-nigh! Nighnighnighnigh! Nigh Nigh Nigh!", and all the while you kept making the milk sign frantically. It was very sweet
Oh, I have to share something really funny. Before the whole "milk sign", you had a "milk sound". You would put your lips together and make "horse lips" in short little bursts, like one second each, a whole bunch of them in the row. You only ever do that when you want to nurse. Not for anything else. Just nursing, and only when you're *super* hungry. I have no idea how you came up with this sound. I just know that we both understand what it means.
When you want something but we don't understand what, you tend to yell. You get pretty loud. I think you will always be loud. We can tell you are frustrated and we wish we could understand you better. It seems like you are talking to us, if only we had the right translator. Recently, your babbling has turned into little sentences. It's as if you are expressing volumes in the tiniest space -- a whole thought, an adult paragraph. It is awfully cute. I could listen to you talk all day. A part of me wonders if it is more fun because I don't know what you are saying! I can't wait to hear what you think about your world.
You are still exclusively breastfed and we are nursing lots, but I can tell that you are drinking less and I am producing less. The less I produce, the less interested you are in nursing. Call me sentimental, but I am already sad. I like knowing that I provide something so important and comforting for you. I'm not sure when we'll stop.
Here's a surprise. Suddenly you don't like to co-sleep anymore. For the last few weeks, if I bring you into bed, you thrash around and kick and only sleep fitfully. If I get up and put you back in your crib, you sleep soundly. This makes me sad, too (and even more exhausted!), but I am glad to know that you are doing OK on your own.
Technically speaking, the next month will be last month that I can call you my "baby". Well, you will always be my baby. I know that even if I have another baby, you will still be my baby. I will be your mother and take care of you no matter what.
Happy 11-months. Love always.