Monday, September 13, 2010

Letter to My Thirteen Month Old Baby

Dear Natey,

I know the title of the post says letter to my "baby" (and you will always be my baby), but I can't help but think of you as more of a toddler now...even though your toddles are few and far between.  You've been taking a few -unaided- steps here, a few steps there. Today I counted eight steps before you face-planted. I love that falling on your face doesn't seem to hurt a bit - you just get right back up and resume playing (or more likely you resume trying to get your hands on something you shouldn't be touching, like the phone, our dirty shoes the cable box.) You are one resilient little guy.

Of course every month brings a ton of new interests and behaviors. But this last month has really amazed me. I just cannot get over the level of our communication and the depth of your understanding. I'm a broken record, I know, but using sign language with you is allowing me to converse with you in a way I wouldn't have expected even a month ago. You tell me what you hear, what you want to eat for breakfast (PANCAKES), what you want to play with (usually BALL) and you know that I will understand you. There are moments when I'm not sure what sign you're using (because some of them look alike in your little hands), but as soon as I guess correctly you nod and point in confirmation with relief and joy in your eyes.  You are learning so fast that you are immediately remembering and using almost every new sign I teach you. Motorcycle, please, star, toy - all learned virtually instantly this past week.

And of course you're really starting to build up a nice collection of words as well. "Da da" has been a given for months and now sometimes takes the form of "Daddy." Poor mama over here can't get you to say her name yet - but you have started to hug (real hugs with open arms and squeezing!) and I'll take a hug as a consolation prize any day. You say balloon ("boon") and cat ("gat") and dog and duck quite regularly. You've started to say "hi" - but not necessarily always in context. Hi, hi, hi! And of course, we've already discussed how you say iron and ironing. My funny little odd monkey.

And you are funny and fun. You make me laugh and I love to make you laugh. You like getting tickled, games of anticipation (that's when if someone saw us at dinner time through the window I'd be crawling around the base of your highchair and popping up every once in awhile to your delight). You like funny sounds (especially those that sound most like bodily functions) and when we tell you that you have stinky feet.

Now that you are older and on the move, you need more stimulation that I alone can give you most days. I've been checking out classes and hoping to find one that will be a good fit. You love music, but the classes designed to have all of the participants sit in a circle don't work for us. You would much rather crawl through the middle of the circle, go through the contents of a stranger's diaper bag and then attempt to escape out the door. When your father and I took you to get our flu vaccines the other day, the waiting room was over flowing with kids of all ages and their parents waiting their turn. Most of the kids played nicely in the middle of the floor or sat quietly on their parents laps reading books. You? You were on another exploration mission. You'd occasionally grace the other kids with your presence, but most of the time I had to chase you down the hallway as you turbo crawled around the entire office space. I gave you as much leeway to explore as I could, but I literally worked up a sweat going after you.

I love watching you learn new concepts and experience new things for the first time - this week we used crayons to color and it was so much fun. I don't want to wish for the days to pass any quicker than they already do, but I can't wait to do arts and crafts projects with you when you're older.

Nathaniel, I love spending my days with you and teaching you new things every day. I love you more than tongue can tell. Here's a picture of you with your father whom you obviously adore as much as I do:

Love,  Mama

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