I do get a bit misty-eyed that my baby is growing up so fast, but it’s hard to stay sad for long because he is so So Much Fun now.
I have a friend who told me her favorite time with her (now grown) son was about 6 months old. I agree that was a lovely time; the child is just beginning to become aware, can actually leave the house, and is still a baby. But I must say that I think this time period, the 1-year range, tops it.
- Baby can drink by himself. Finally! No more bottles. No more formula. He can drink regular whole organic milk (found anywhere!) Out of a sippy cup (no more small parts to clean!) And by himself (no more bottle propping!) No more bottle racks cluttering up the kitchen. No more bottle nipples found under chairs, couches. No more brushes and tools laying around just to clean out the insides of ridiculously tiny tubes and pieces. No more burping!! He does that just fine (huge monster burps) by himself, thank you very much.
- Baby can self feed. Cut up a banana, steamed carrots, steamed broccoli, pasta, meats – and just leave it on his tray. He will take care of the rest. No more pureeing. No more blending. And he is starting to eat more of what we eat. Fewer special meals!
- Baby is mobile. I know everyone warned us about this and, it’s true, it means we have to keep him from getting into things and make sure all baby gates are closed and locked at all times. But it means he can get places on his own! “Come here” and he comes. “Stand up” and I can put a jacket on much more easily. “Give that to me” and he hands it over. I am no longer required to carry around a 25 pound weight wherever I go. Added bonus: unlike rolling, which is a silent endeavor, crawling/running means I can HEAR where he is at any point. It is only when there is silence that I start to worry
- Baby can play. Not just sit there and watch us playing. But actually engage and play WITH us. His newest game? Catch. And racing the toy school bus around the living room. And his “vroom vroom” cars. And throwing all his books in the bookshelf on the floor (I am trying to divert his attention away from that game). Climbing in and out of his wagon. Even playing the “Clean up, clean up, everybody do you share” game. But the most fun is at the park. He goes nuts! No fear. Barrels down the slide head first. Wants to be pushed higher! higher! on the swings. Climbing through tunnels. The more fun he has, the more I have just watching him.
- Baby is developing a sense of humor. He laughs. Pretends to give us something only to pull it away and then laugh hysterically. Throws food on the floor and then looks at me and laughs. Rubs food on my face and laughs. Throws banana slices on top of the dog and laughs. Throws noisy toys down the stairs and laughs. Throws stuffed animals out of his crib and laughs (following an innocent-sounding “Uh Oh” and shrug of the shoulders). There is nothing in this world that warms my heart more than that kid’s laugh.
- Baby is talking. Okay, so he’s not waxing poetic just yet, but he is TRYING. We have entire conversations in baby babble, peppered with real words. He has the expressions – questioning, then answering my questions, then explaining, then showing indignation. Every new (real) word is amazing; and then it becomes a game for us to try to make him say it again! say it again! He wakes up and calls for us. We hide and ask “Where are you?” And he answers. He’s getting it, and it is so much fun to watch.
- Baby comprehends. He understands a lot of what we say, and reacts accordingly. If I see him doing something wrong and say NO, he collapses on the floor with the most gut-wrenching sobs you ever saw (BREATHE, baby, take a breath!) If I ask him a question, he responds or attempts to. If I tell him to stand up, sit down, come here, go over there…. He complies. This also means that the minute I ask him to “stay away from that” – he is headed straight for it. So I suppose that reflects his assertion of will as well.
- Baby displays affection. I was waiting for this! He hugs me now. He blows kisses to me at the most unexpected moments (MUAH!) He pets the dog. He pets my arm. He lays his head on my shoulder and sighs contentedly. He is becoming happier to sit in my lap and cuddle for a few minutes – I was worried those days were long gone! He smashes his face against my face and holds it for a few seconds while saying MUH…. Which I like to think is his version of giving me a kiss. He does the same with the dog. Every night as I am sitting on the bed or the couch, he brings me my slippers and then pats my leg. He just seems to genuinely enjoy giving and receiving affection.
So overall, it’s just getting better. Easier and more fun. I can’t wait to see how he develops this year. The words and activities and games he will learn. 2013 is going to be a great year with my son! Happy New Year to all of you!